NWMHC schooling show

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Well-Known Member
Jun 27, 2004
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Lakeport, CA
Sorry this is a little belated!

I took the kids for the first outing of the year to the NWMHC clinic and schooling show on March 18-20th and they were totally full of it. I was startled to find Kody was able to lunge comfortably Friday night so I turned him loose in the arena and watched with delight as he took off running and bucking. He hasn't felt good enough to do that since he got hurt in spring 2009! He kept going too and miracle of miracles, did not seem sore the next day even though he went over a couple of low jumps. Jumping is probably the worst thing he could do for his back but he came alive when he saw the fences and practically dragged me over there.
His joy in doing what he loves is far more important to me at this point than holding him back "for his own good" so I guided him over a couple of the lower ones and watched as he sprouted wings and launched like Pegasus.
That horse is fearless! I was so happy to see him trotting out soundly and galloping around without crossleading from discomfort; it made my night.

Turbo also got lunged and turned loose and I was pleased to see all my liberty work over the winter had paid off. He got "lunged" for the first time at this clinic last year (with me walking in big circles holding his normal leadline while he alternately bucked and spurted forward) and hasn't really been lunged since except for once at a July show where he did typical baby stuff and tried to dive in on one side of the circle with each lap. I spent a lot of our training time in the fall working with him at liberty to spiral out when I ask him to, to stay balanced, and getting his gait commands and to my pleasure I put him on the lunge line this time and he acted like he'd been doing it for years. Walk, trot, canter, whoa, reverse, and stood quietly while I wound up the line and came to him. Good boy! Remember he's not quite three yet so I've been avoiding anything that would stress his legs. I was pretty sure he had all the skills in place but we'd never put them together so it was nice to see I was right.

Saturday Kody was my demo horse for the harnessing clinic and with the exception of pooping in the conference center was a very good boy. He's not fond of standing on slick pavement for an hour while I talk but after four years he's used to it.
He was SOOOO excited to be out that morning, dragging me to the lecture building at a jigging trot like a race horse on the way to the gate.
Considering last time I had him there he developed bad ulcers and spent the whole weekend miserable and depressed until I figured out what was going on, it was an absolute joy to see him so full of life again. Margaret Slape's granddaughters walked with me and were full of admiring comments about how "Kody was BACK!" There's no missing my little redhead when he's on his game, that's for sure.

After our clinic I ground-drove Kody back to the arena, unharnessed him and hustled in for the bring-your-horse clinics on jumping and obstacle. Kody made a quick round of the jumps, did the obstacles and then went back to his stall while I got Turbo out. The little man had stepped over a very low cross-rail fence last year as a yearling and I'd been building his confidence over ditches and natural obstacles around our house since then but he'd never taken a formal jump. Friday night I'd had him go over some ground poles, a low cross-rail and then one single tiny jump but Saturday he learned to go over a couple in a row and ended with his first in-and-out.
We won't do much jumping until he's about 3.5 but it was nice to introduce him to it! I spent the rest of the day watching my friends, helping with harness and having a good time but didn't enter any classes with Kody as it felt unnecessary.

Sunday morning was the driving clinic and Halter Presentation and then it was on to classes. Turbo (completely unclipped, not even his bridle path) went in Amateur Stallion/Gelding halter where he was very good in line but got the gate because he cantered through the trot-out. (Judge Eitel is very big on seeing their movement, as he told us. You don't trot well, you don't get placed.) We went back in for 2 and Older Gelding Halter, trotted nicely, and got 3rd out of 8 against several National Top Ten B minis!
Mr. Eitel came up to me in line, asked how old my horse was and made a surprised face when I said he was 2. He then commented "Wow. You've got a NICE colt there. He's a heck of a mover; should be a dynamite driving horse. Good job!"
I was quite excited! I was also thrilled because Mr. Creeps-A-Lot planted all four feet where I told him to, stood up and gave me ears the entire class without once moving forward. All that training over the winter paid off!
He's still leaning a bit but I know how to fix that so we should be better by the first real show in April.

The final class for us was Liberty and I'd entered both horses. Margaret's granddaughter Holly offered to be my assistant and it turned out Turbo was the first in the ring so we got our whips and turned him loose. He gave a decent run for only his second time, bucking energetically and trotting a little but mostly cantering around and occasionally hovering by the gate; however just as the music stopped he finally started getting down to business and doing some serious galloping and leaping. The ring steward called out "Good luck with that one, Leia!" and we all laughed. I crouched down anyway and called him and he flipped his head at me and trotted past like a lord. I called again and wiggled my fingers and he looked at me, then took a better look and I could see the moment his brain came back online. His eyes brightened, his ears radared in on me and he made an abrupt U-turn, galloped up and stopped dead to put his nose in the halter. As we trotted out the judge said "That one's going to be hard to beat!" Holly and I high-fived outside the arena and I went to get Kody cleaned up from his nap in the shavings.

I'm always careful to warm him up because of his back so we walked the parking lot while six other horses did their runs and Kody was higher than a kite. He galloped into the ring bucking and leaping and took off nicely when his song came on. Being Kody he used the ring both ways and played with me joyfully, but at 01:30 when the music usually stops in AMHR he was ready to come to me in a perfect catch and was very confused when I said "Not yet, buddy!" Three times he tried to come to me and three times I had to send him back out. The second time he stopped dead, backed up energetically as I snaked the whip at his forelegs and then took my invitation to rear and leap forward over the whip while our friends cheered. The third time he didn't want to leave me and run again so I took a chance and turned my back on him to bolt away myself. I was praying he wouldn't stand there and leave me looking stupid but he pricked his ears, thought a second and came tearing after me, bucking and kicking. I love that horse!
When the music finally stopped at two minutes in, he trotted around for a second then zeroed in on me and came trotting right up just as Turbo had and stuck his nose in the halter. I was so proud of my two boys I could have burst and everyone whooped and hollered and called his name as we took a victory circle and cantered out. I couldn't resist commenting "You'd think I trained them for this or something!" and everyone laughed.

When they called the ribbons, out of ten horses Kody was 3rd, the lovely stallion Columbia Top Flight was 2nd, and Turbo was 1st!
Turbo's breeder was ring stewarding and she was so happy for us. She said Mr. Eitel had commented again how much he liked Turbo and what an awesome driving horse he was going to be. I was just pleased as punch that both boys were in the Top 3 and had performed so well. Two stellar catches in one day is a lot to ask for and I was more than happy with them.

It was a nice way to start the year! I met new friends, found a halter mentor, enjoyed talking with old show and CDE friends alike, got Kody back out there and tried out the new RV, which is wonderful. Turbo got a TON of compliments over two days and there were lots of giggles over Kody poking that little red nose out of his stall door by the show office and mugging people for donuts when all you could see was wriggling nose, long forelock and little perked ears. Talk about Thelwell pony! Horse show season is officially underway now and I'm excited for the events coming up. Hope to see updates from all of you as well!

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Leia, great description and narrative! It was so great to meat you and your boys. I really appreciated you tutelage during the driving clinic and it was pure joy watching your boys in liberty. I hope to be at the April show and will look forward to seeing you there.
Your boys looked great Leia...and I agree Turbo looks like he will be a nice driving horse...I think he'll be very competitive!

Your boys looked great Leia...and I agree Turbo looks like he will be a nice driving horse...I think he'll be very competitive!
Thank you Tracy! As I told you at the show, Turbo's goal is to grow up to be your Elvis.
He's definitely got the mind for driving and nice action when I remind him about it. He was moving a bit lazily/stiffly at this show but now that he's gone over some trot poles at home he's got that nice fluid stride back.

I hope to be at the April show and will look forward to seeing you there.
Sorry Mary, I won't be at the AMHA show in April. I'm showing R so my first show is the Spring Fling in Eugene, OR April 29-May 1st. I'll hopefully see you at the ones in Spanaway in May and June though!

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How incredible Leia! Nice job with your boys and I am glad Kody is doing so much better. Was your Judge Roger Eitel? I really liked him the few times I have shown under him, very fair and even across the board with his placings. Any plans for the weekend of June 24-26th? You should bring Kody and Turbo down for the Area VII Regional show, I would love to meet them!

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