Brian and I made a quick weekend trip to visit the Texas EMM. We went the first year as spectators, the second year as a trainer and wonderful support staff, and this year as spectators again. My camera bit the dust so I only got a couple of blury pictures. We got a few with Brian's camera, but the color is is not great, but I am going to post a few.
We had a great time, and I have realized that the more I learn about training, I look at what riders are doing differently than I used to. Sidepassing used to be "Wow, that is so cool!" Now I say "Wow, that is so cool...I can barely see him/her cue the horse. Cool!" When I can see the cue I say "Wow, they are doing so good! Look how light that trainer is asking the horse to move over." I love light and gentle. I love watching it be done slowly and patient for a great result instead of being asked firmly/roughly just to have it done quickly (usually spins). I don't love jaws pulled all the way to the chest, or spurs that are jabbed in the side of the horse so you can't see the rowel. I look for stuff like that. I would never say that one method is right or wrong, unless there was outright abuse involved. I would say that one method might be right for ME or wrong for ME. I know my personality, and I need to do what works for ME. What works for me is usually going slow - and part of that is experience, I realize that. Either way, being in the horse world is like one big classroom, and I love it! Watching what everyone has done with their mustangs in just 3 months is still just as amazing as it was the first time I saw it. Having that many mustangs in one place is a huge rush - but sad too. I would rather see that many on the range, but that is another topic in itself.
Here are the Idols (non-pro (altho some are pro) and beginners) doing a walk thru with the judges.
Terri and Rage came to our Midwest Mustang & Burro Show about a week before the EMM. They did great! Watching Terri and Rage is like watching a dance...they are a great team and made Top 10 in Idols at the EMM. Yay!
Here are her ribbons from the fun show. She proudly displayed them on the stall.
Here they are sidepassing around the square...
Turning in the square...
Trotting over the logs...
Our stall neighbors from last year competed again this year. These two boys are amazing and so gentle! When I was inquiring about bitless bridles, I found their web site. It was pure luck that got us as stall neighbors!
Their site is: www.horsetenders.com
Here is Nik and Ranahan. You really need to check out their web site because there are some awesome pictures of Nik on his horse and his brothers horse in the ocean! These guys are daredevils and love stunts. The best part is they can do stunts, and their horses are totally comfortable with it.
Here is Nik doing a back flip off his mustang...
Then he butt hopped back on to his mustang, and landed in the saddle! No joke! Nik is a long legged fellow and his horse was pretty short, but still...very cool! I could not have done it!
Nik competed in the Legends (experienced/pro trainers) and they walked over the logs, and they had to turn sideways then forward, then sidepass to the 'L'. I think he got 14th place in Legends. I wish he would have made it to the Finals. He would have put on a heck of a show!
Nik's brother Kris was in the Idols, and he made Top 10! Woo hoo! He ended up with 3rd place overall in the finals! Woo hoo!!!
This shows you what kind of trust Kris has with his horses. He blindfolded A Boy Named Sioux and cantered around the arena...
And a sharp turn...
And he guides Sioux on to the bridge - while Sioux is still blindfolded!
This is the kind of guy Kris is...he is giving Sioux all the credit. He and Nik both are very polite, fun, talented young men. Their whole family is the type that you wished you had as a neighbor, and I don't like neighbors! :-)
Now, the EMM isn't just for horse training...sometimes romances start at the EMM...they just did not know it yet! (wink wink) Jenny Jess was a trainer last year and again this year, and she found Kris on Face Book or one of those pages after the EMM last year, and they became friends. Well folks, they became good enough friends that they decided to get MARRIED! Woooo hooooo hoooooo!!!!!
Here is Jenny with her mustang...well, one of them. She took on two mustangs this year, and rode one.
Here she is backing thru the 'L' and she has a smile on her face. Yep, she will fit in great with her new family!
Before the youth trainers got started, they came out to do a dance and one of the judges, Bob Morehouse, joined them! What a fun guy!
One of my favorite people from last year was this little gal. Here is Kirstin and Tuff. Tuff e Nuff to wear pink! She took on 3 yearlings last year and did amazing. I don't know how she did it. In just a year she has grown up so much!
There was a lot of pink worn by many trainers...the announcer asked the audience to stand up if your family has experienced cancer, and I sure did not see many sitting down. I lost my Dad to cancer too, so I have seen what a horrible disease it is, and I have had that helpless feeling because there isn't anything we can do to fix it. I keep hoping that someday they will find a cure. :-)
Here is Kirstin and Tuff while one of the judges asks a question.
The youth trainers had to answer a question that they made up themselves. Well, I don't care if you make it up yourself, I would still be a nervous wreck and probably choke on my tongue! All the youth did great - I was proud of all of them, and so impressed! They are all so creative with their yearlings and they gave me ideas!
After going thru the course each trainer had to let their horse loose in the pen, shoo it away, then catch it again.
Here is Kirstin and Tuff...no problem!
Nurtural Bitless Bridles had a booth set up this year, which was great because I got to see all the different styles in person.
Here is Gilbert with his mustang (Gilbert doesn't know I know his name...hee hee!) Gilbert and another girl were interested in the bitless bridles, and each was having different problems with their horses and the bit. The bitless people went out to the practice ring with them and fitted them in one to try out. Both people really liked how their horses relaxed. The girl's horse (from what I heard) was doing a lot of head tossing, rearing and a little bucking, so relaxed was a nice change. I wish I had a picture of her too! Both horses did great considering they were just introduced to something new a few hours before.
Here Gilbert sports a hot pink bridle to go with his light pink shirt...yep, another family touched by cancer.
Something new this year was the Mutt Makeover! Patti Colbert, who is a business genius, got together with the Humane Society in TX and they decided to do a Mutt Makeover. Ten dogs went home with trainers and they had 7 weeks to train them and bring them to show. It really was cute, and I wish I had pictures of all the dogs. There were a few big dogs and a few small dogs.
This is Harry - we thought his ears were cute!
And another dog...
Then there is the little Aussie dog who started barking at the judges and the camera man. The trainer could not get the dog to pay attention after that, but we all thought it was cute. I thought he was protecting her! :-)
At the Legends Finals, the top 3 dogs came in and did a finals performance too. In our opinion, the dogs stole the show! The trainers and horses were good, but the dogs added something special. We also enjoyed the Idols Finals more than the Legends this year. The past couple of years there has been something different that makes is say "WOW!" but this year was a little different. No matter...it was all good and we will definately go again!
Until later...Karen and Tripp