Monday, September 8, 2008

Happ's Trail Challenge

Just to let everyone know, I did not ride in the trail challenge after I discovered that each class was $50 (I would have done two of them), and that Amber's truck cost $175 to fill, and that it uses a whole tank of gas to get down there and back (the joys of a V10!). Basically, what I thought was going to be about a $75/day, would have been around a $200/day, and having just forked out over $2500 in tuition costs, books, back to school clothes, and sports fees for the kids, I just didn't have the money to blow on what would have been a very fun day :(
So...even though it was really depressing not having my horse there, I did have a great time watching Amber, Martha, and Kristina compete, and I got to walk around and meet a lot of really nice people and their horses.
On Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:30, and headed over to Amber's house. We proceeded to go to her and Martha's riding buddy (and now mine!), Kristina's, house, and then over to Martha's house, to load up tack and horses (our horse trailer is a three horse, slant, stock-type trailer, with a tack room, but in order to fit three, big horses in it comfortably, we have to remove the tack room, and haul a horse up front). This meant that every ones tack got loaded in the bed of the pick-up, and I am sure that we made quite the sight, driving down I-5.
When we left our area, the sky was clear and full of stars, but as we neared the trail challenge, a thick, misty, rain appeared, and stayed until about noon.We unloaded the horses, registered for classes, and then went on a walk-thru, with one of the designers of the course. Remember how I said it was nice when we left our houses? Well we only had light jackets, and did not have the proper shoes for tromping through a three-mile long course, in the wet grass and mud. My feet never dried off, and by the time I got home that night, they were shriveled up little prunes!
The course was huge and well thought out. The designers strategically placed a llama out in the middle of a big, open stretch of field, that just so happened to be near the beginning of the challenge. Horses either totally ignored him and walked right by, like Curly, or as was the case with Waska and China, spazzed out, and got points taken off for the rider having to dismount and lead their horse by the big, hairy, rabid, blood dripping off of his fangs, llama...lol!!! Both Amber and Kristina said that Waska and China never fully recovered from the llama incident, so they did not do as well as they did last time, which was make it to the championships. However, Martha and Curly were another story! They placed first in both divisions (the classes were broke down into a training/beginning level, and an intermediate/advanced level, which were further divided by age group. I think it was 16 and under, 17-26, and 26 and over), and then they kicked booty (won!) in the championship round as well. I don't think that Martha and Curly can ride in the training/beginning level anymore! (Amber and Waska waiting their turn to load up on the trailer) Curly following Martha around like a puppy, while waiting to load up in the trailer!Here are the lovely duo, who make up Kristina and China, after completing the course. The last obstacle/event, called for you to dismount, lead your horse into a trailer, tie them up, close the door/divider, and then back them out. Poor Kristina. China decided to go into heat (I think it was being surrounded by all of the gorgeous horseflesh that was there!), and she just wanted to find Curly, or keep up with the geldings who were ahead of her. Even though she is smiling, Kristina was rather frustrated at being at the mercy of her hormonal, lovestruck mare!
I don't know about you, but it looks like Waska has his brain back in this shot! If you look closely at this picture, you will notice that Martha is riding bare back. That's right folks! The championship class required that you ride the whole course bareback, and I am proud to say that only Martha, and one other rider, had the guts to do it (there is some table-top jumping involved!)!
You have to look closely at this obstacle, but you can see just how steep it was, and again, Martha was bareback! You go girl!!
All in all it was a nice day, and as you can see from the pictures, the sun finally decided to come out, and then it got down right HOT. I even got a sun burnt forehead and nose! As I previously mentioned, I was really bummed out not to have Bo there, but like I said, I did get to meet some really cool people, including a gal who has won the Extreme Mustang Makeover, and will be competing in some woman-of-the horse competition down in California. How cool is that?
Oh well...maybe next year... It is definitely something that I will have to budget into our already expensive life :)
Another highlight of my day, was that I got to hang out with the professional photographer that was there taking pictures of the event. I lamented to her about my camera, and she looked it over, and said that it was a POS...no kidding!!!! I don't feel so bad now. The link to her photographs is here. Amber and Waska are under "Rider #45 & 47," Martha and Curly are under "Rider # 48," and Kristina and China are under "Rider # 43 &44." Oh and my favorite horse that was there, an absolutely gorgeous, bay, QH gelding, with a lot of get up and go, is featured under "Rider # 30." He is a roping horse, and boy can he ever move!

One last parting shot of Curly(above). We had a lot of bonding time together, but I am not supposed to let our little secret out...lol!! I am told that Curly has always been a rather shy and reserved horse, but he was literally climbing in my pockets that day! Isn't he too cute, and can you see the flies on his poor face? He had just been sprayed, but they flies were literally swarming the horses down there...not sure why....Until next time!!!

17 comments:

cdncowgirl said...

Applejack and I would have been SOL on the trailer loading part of that test. You can't tie him in the trailer (he's claustrophobic I think)

And I looked at the pics of that bay rope horse.... wowee! What a looker!

Train Wreck said...

Great pictures and comments! Beautiful pictures! That paint is gorgeous! Next time tell the person taking your picture to get a little closer!! Waska is beautiful, you are too tiny I can't see your pretty face!

Melanie said...

CDN-
I actually thought of you and your search for a new horse when I saw the bay. The lady had brought another horse, a young grulla, and he was for sale, so I asked about the bay, and she just laughed and said "If I had a penny for everytime I heard that!"

TW-
The girl in the pics is my sister, Amber, not me...lol!!! I'm a blondie, not a red head.

jesterjigger said...

Oh wow, that looks like so much fun! Sophie would lose her mind, but wow, it looks like fun. Great pics, thanks so much for sharing.

Stephanie said...

Neat I have always wanted to learn more about competitive trail rides!

Boy that paint sure was clean!!

I had one with even more white on her than that and I KNOW that its not easy to achieve such clean. Kudos to her!

Twinville said...

Wow. What fun! Bummer you weren't able to particpate, though. It's a shame that horsie activities are always so pricey. :-P

Wask looks amazing crossing that water. Alert and focused. Well done.

Marth and Curly are quite a team. I'm amazed that she was doing that hill bareback. Love that Curly follows her around everywhere.
Baby Doll will do that with me in the arena, round pen and pasture, but I don't know about out in a strange place, especially if there is grass around to be eaten. haha!

I was giggling about the rabid, blood-dripping-from-fangs llama because I'm just getting ready to post some photos from my recent llama trek...which involves some horses who got hot and heavy over my female llama! You'll have to check it out. I know you'll get a kick out of it.

~Lisa
Laughing Orca Ranch
New Mexico

Twinville said...

And I don't know what happened to my letter "A", but I meant to type MarthA and WaskA.

Sorry about that! hehe

~Lisa
Laughing Orca Ranch

Cara said...

That looks like a fun day, but I too would have passed it over because of expense. I also would have backed out of the championship, (Like we could have made it!) because of the anatomical spine on spine thing the two of us have going.

The llama challenge would have been somthing! We would have lost major points for capriole, but Janow would have recovered himself nicely.

Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

OMG that course looks SOOO cool! I would love to do that. We dont have anything like that around my parts (at least I dont think we do). I am going to run off an see if there is an event near me. It sucks that horse related stuff is so darn expensive. Reality bites! LOL

Andrea said...

That looks like sooooooo much fun! I think maybe the only thing I could have done was load in the trailer!! LOL!!! That log up the hill thing looks awesome!! and then bareback!! that lady must have legs of steel!!!!! Awesome pictures,not matter what the photographer says!!

Melanie said...

Stephanie-
She really was clean, wasn't she?

Lisa-
Since Waska is a gelding, can we maybe borrow Cateleya? Who knows, maybe he would love her too!

Cara-
Yes, I imagine that a Lippizan would have rather high withers! Martha was VERY brave to do what she did!

AHCM & Andrea-
Too bad there are none of these around you. They are fun to watch. Thanks for saying that my pics aren't TOO bad...lol!!!

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

What fun! I love the photos. That pinto sure photographs well. This fuel cost thing has taken away a lot of my fun - everyone's fun, and i am getting fed up.

Mrs Mom said...

Boy howdy does THAT sound like a BOAT load of FUN!!! Wonder if they have those round here... have to look, so we can go watch!

Glad that you still got to go, even if it was horseless! Still sounds like you had a blast, and learned a lot.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Man oh man does that look fun. Makes me wonder what some of my guys would have thought about the llama? LOL

Seems sorta expensive, but did they give away nice prizes? Buckles?

Congrats to Martha and Curly on their win!

Melanie said...

BEC-
They had ribbons, sheets and buckets full of grooming supplies for awards. I say just have ribbons and cut the price in 1/2!!!

Pony Girl said...

Hey Melanie, it was fun to see and read about these obstacles! Wish I could have been there. You know, I recognized Kristina and China from the trail challenge I went too last summer, as well! And I recognized Curly, too!
That steep obstacle, where did it lead to? It looks like a dead end?
I love that they had to ride bareback in the final round. Wow!

Momma / Cowgirl said...

WOWWEE!!! Man that looked like it was so much fun (for me it would have been something I would go to watch, not ride in) can you spell NOVICE?

fantastic pics and narrative about the event. Thank you for sharing with us!