Oh my gosh, where do I begin? Today was the Mustang Makeover Preworks hosted by fellow competitor, Dennis Cappel and his wife Cindy. It was going to be a day of riding around to get comfortable with things, meeting and greeting other trainers and fans, and working thru an obstacle course by hand and in the saddle for those of us who were riding.
It was right in my back yard – Midway Expo just outside of Columbia, MO. I think the lack of turnout was a little disappointing but for myself, I HAD A BLAST!
We arrived before 8:00 a.m. and the 4 local gals who are in the 007 Yearling event were already there. They had two of the yearlings in the arena already, so we joined them. This was the first time we have been around other people or in a big area like that. These monster fans were running making all kinds of noise, and there were trash cans placed at the outside of the arena that worried Tripp – A LOT! He was a bundle of energy when we first got there so we walked around and explored. We did that for about an hour, then I saddled him up.
Here is Starr and LaShawnda asking questions about Tripp. They are the trainers for Thunder and Reece.
I had never ridden in an arena so I was soaking up the feeling of being there. We wandered around, trotted a little bit, then Dennis and his wife Cindy showed up. They told us to keep on doing what we were doing and they were going to get some stuff unloaded. A couple of banners went on the wall - hmmm, something to snort at!
Knight is Dennis Cappel’s mustang, and he is gorgeous! I need to figure out how to get the kind of collection he gets – or something close to it! I taught Tripp to back up first, and he does it fairly light. Now I don’t know how to teach him to tuck that nose without him thinking he is doing something wrong. Little did I know I was doing things backwards! Live and learn, right? I will have to do some investigating and try to figure out how to make that transition as easy as possible on Tripp and I both.
This picture shows Knight's arched neck - I think he is purdy!
After our meet and greet we walked thru the obstacle course in hand. The girls did pretty good with their yearlings. Like all horses, the 4 babies had very different personalities. Some were easier going than others.
Tripp got his feelings hurt by one young filly by the name of Prada. I let Tripp touch noses with her and here I was thinking “Awwww, how cute” then all of a sudden the little snippet squealed, striked at him, made mean faces then turned around and started kicking in all directions. Prada even made contact with her trainer, Vernita – she is okay, just not happy about it. Prada was not at all happy about Tripp getting that close to her! OOPS! Don’t guess I will encourage horsey friendship any more. :-) Prada was very nervous going over the tarp – that little girl could jump! Dennis took time to help Vernita and Prada work thru it – very cool!
Starr and Thunder, LaShawnda and Reece, and Arriana (forgive me if I didn’t get this name right) and okay, I am trying to remember the horses name too – Chekota or something like that, all did great, learned a lot, and seemed to have fun. I know I enjoyed watching them. I found out that the whole group, including the Cappel’s, are staying at the same hotel we are so we will all be able to give each other encouragement! Yay!
Tripp did great for the in hand part of the course – although backing thru the ‘L’ was rough. Oh yeah, he would not trot either……here I am trotting and his head is out flat towards me giving the illusion of speed! I really thought I would get a trot out of him…oh well, another thing to work on. He also stalled at the horse trailer, but finally jumped in. I was glad we did the trailer because he has only been exposed to our little stock trailer. I wanted him to see, feel and smell a different one.
The riding part of the course was fun! Okay, the whole day was fun! I was nervous and Tripp was feeding off that….I think. Once backing thru the ‘L’ we did alright. It was faster than what I wanted, but we made it thru. When I went thru again – total disaster. I just could not get him lined up, and he was getting mad and was ready to quit for the day. No can do my friend! Besides, Dennis was there to prod us along – we could not quit now! Dennis rode over by me and was giving me tips on different things I should try. I was feeling the differences, and just need to practice practice practice!
Here is Tripp and I in the 'L' when we were relaxed...
Remember in my last post I made a comment that Tripp has been great out by himself - doesn't hoot and holler for the other horses, he just goes. And I thought that might could possibly be a problem once other horses were around. It was. When we first got there the yearlings were walking around, and he just could not keep up with where they were at. Then Dennis rode Knight and that was the first time that Tripp had seen anybody else up on another horse. It took a while for him to get used to it, and even tho he got better, we really need to find places to go for him to get comfortable with lots of action around him.
Here is Tripp and I just soaking things in. Dennis was riding Knight, Tell, one of Dennis's employees was riding his newly adopted BLM mustang in the pen, and the girls were going thru the course. Lots of hoopla!
This is Dennis helping me out...we were trying to prepare Tripp and I for the lope, but we had to get comfortable with the trot around the arena first. Tripp was doing a lot of stop and starts, plus he was seeing things that would make him shy away from the wall. So we trotted and trotted, and trotted some more. I finally tightened my saddle girth a little bit and I had to raise my stirrups a notch. Duh, should have done that days ago! Much more comfy!
Here is a video of our first canter! Up until now, Tripp and I have not loped/cantered. My goal today was to canter him since we were going to be in a controlled environment. I got my wish! I will not lie to ya, it was rough, and I watch the video of us and I say to myself “Yep, it looks as bad as it felt!” Ha ha! Tripp was learning to carry my weight in a new way, and I was trying to relax and just ride it out.
Here is video of our 2nd attempt at loping.... :-)
When it happened, I thought that Tripp just took off bucking, which of course felt pretty big compared to how it really looks. After watching the video, I realize he is responding to Knight being behind him, and thankfully nobody got hurt! Whew!
In case you can't hear it....after the 'ride' I turned to look at Brian and asked if he got it on video because I wanted to see if it was a BIG as what it felt like! (It wasn't) Okay, I am a little freaked out, and I looked at Dennis and said "I guess that means we have to do it again, right?" Yep!
And we did. We cantered a couple more times, and it was much better than the first one! :-) Will post video of that later...have to play with it because it is long.
There was a yellow rain coat hanging on the arena fence, and it isn’t that Tripp didn’t like the coat, Trip doesn’t like to be close to the fence. I rode back and forth several times just to get him close, and when he finally got close enough to suit me, I headed to the next obstacle. I didn’t want to get him close to the fence, then reach for that coat and have him freak out. No need to scare him and then have to start from scratch again getting him close to the fence. I have realized that here at home it has been a problem getting close to the fence, and have not pushed it. Time to start pushing it!
Which leads me to the main things I need to work on: 1. Being assertive, 2. Being assertive, 3. Quit leaning forward when I am looking for speed – sit up straight, 4. Being assertive……you get the point.
Dennis thinks we are doing good, I just need to be more assertive at certain times, then release at different times than I had been. It was more detailed…this was the easiest way for me to put it in print.
Like I said, I had a fantastic time, and a huge thank you to Dennis and Cindy Cappel for doing this! Help was there if we needed or wanted it, and the one on one time was very much appreciated! Hours and hours on the trail would not have prepared us for what we did today. And what we did today was small compared to what is going to happen in Texas! We had quite a crowd today, and them clapping helped the horses get used to that. First time clapping - EEK! After that it was like the horses were thinking "Oh, they are clapping so I must be brilliant again..." Ha ha!
Karen and Tripp