Monday, September 20, 2010

Tripp and I went on our first ACTHA ride - Benefited Ride On St. Louis

Tripp and I rode our first ACTHA ride to benefit an Equine Assisted Therapy Riding Center - aka - therapeutic riding.  It was a way to have fun and to try to calm these nerves that I still have.

Here is their Mission:
The program mission is to use hippotherapy (therapy with the aid of a horse) and/or therapeutic horsemanship to achieve emotional, mental and physical benefits for the developmentally and physically disabled, as well as the disadvantaged youth of the community.

After the ride there were different speakers and demonstrations, and the gal who told us about the riding center was a great speaker and had some beautiful stories about the people who ride at the place.  It is not an age specific facility, which I love because disabilities come in all ages, genders, shapes and sizes.

The ride was held at Greensfelder Park in Eureka, MO.  It was literally right behind Six Flags!  While driving up the windy two lane road, I could see the frame for one of the roller coasters....I saw wood, so maybe the Screaming Eagle?  I did not look long....skinny road meant I had to keep my eyes ahead of me.

First of all I would love to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to April and Bryan.  They are a couple who is part of the Midwest Mustang and Burro Riding Club, and they spent their anniversary on the ride.  Jessi (Jr. rider and trainer for the 2010 EMM Yearling Competition) took this picture - isn't it great?! 

Sign up was at the Mustang appropriate....  :-)

A few Missouri members of the Midwest Mustang and Burro Saddle Club met for the ride.  Angela and her daughter Jessi let everyone crash at their place Friday night since they were less than an hour away.  It was a fun time.
Our group from left to right: Jessi and Kahlua; Bryan and Zip; April and Nevada; Diana and Cochise (her 2010 EMM mustang) and myself and Tripp (my 2008 EMM mustang).

I saw this couple when we arrived....aren't they cuter than heck?

April on Nevada and Bryan on Zip...

Bryan and Zip going over the bridge......
Look at the dark and light wood.  Isn't that the prettiest bridge you have ever seen?  I wanted to make a table out of it.  Tripp thought it looked weird so he only sniffed it - we were running out of time so we passed it up to make sure we exited thru the cones on time.

Diana and Cochise on the bridge.  Cochise was picked up the middle of June when the rest of us got our untouched mustangs and he did very well!  He is such a layed back and willing horse.  He is one tall dude too!

Jessi and Kahlua....

April and Nevada putting the slicker back.
We had to put it over the front of our saddle, then the back.
I got it picked up but Tripp jumped and I did that sick knot panic thing and dropped it.  That is was my only real sick knot of the day and I was happy that he sniffed it and let me pick it up off the post.

Here I am getting ready to drag the branch.  We did drag the branch to the other post, and as I was getting Tripp closer to it, I dropped the darn rope!  Oh man!  I was so close......we just laughed and moved on to the next one.

Here is our full group including our safety rider, Bill.   Bill is part of the local search and rescue team who volunteered their time as safety riders.  They each have their own horses and take care of them themselves.  What a great team of people. 

Bryan and Zip dragging the branch....

There are bicyclists and hikers along the trails thru the park.  The trail followed a little bit of the road and here came a cyclist...Tripp was interested but not too concerned.  We also saw a couple of small groups of cyclists on the trails and they were so polite....they announced themselves then said they were pulling over until we passed.  It was my first encounter with cyclists on a horse trail and I was very impressed. 

Bill waiting for everyone to make it thru the obstacle.....see the horse in the background?  This was an older guy on a big horse and I don't think he was part of the group judging the way he rode around us in the opposite direction.  There will be another picture of him further down....

One of the switchbacks on the trail.  Diana and Cochise in the lead with April and Nevada following, then us....
The trail was pretty rocky with a few nice sandy spots.  Lots of shoes and boots on hooves, and a few die hard barefooters rode on this.  We ended up booting the front and left the backs bare. 

When this picture is enlarged, on the trail below you can see the cute couple on the palomino horses.

Diana and Cochise going up one of the trails.

Waiting for riders to go thru an obstacle.

Diana and Cochise on the bridge.

All 5 of our group, plus Bill riding safety behind us.

Jessi and Kahlua, and Bryan and Zip are behind me.....Bill following up the rear.

Jessi and Kahlua going up one of the trails.

Here is the older gentleman on the big horse.  I tried to get a picture of the front but he was moving along pretty quick!  Such a cutie!

Tripp and I in camp.

Riders waiting for obstacle to clear.

Yep, a self portrait!  Hee hee! 

Tripp watched Jessi and Kahlua do the bridge.....or I thought he did.  When we got close to it he said "No way! It looks weird!"  then he sniffed it.  I was happy he sniffed it.....then they called my half way point for time and I opted to go around so I would not lose any points I had.  If you don't  make it thru the exit cones within the time limit, you and your horse each get a zero.

Tripp looking cute.

Tripp and I on the trail.

Riding back into camp.  We are headed to the very last stop, which is a soundness check.  You trot your horse for the person.  Once you pass that, you are done.

Bryan being silly!  That is what happens when you ride for several hours on your anniversary.  :-)

And look at him tormenting his wonderful wife!  Hee hee!
Bryan, April and Angela (Jessi's Mom and Volunteer Judges Asst)

Jessi and I were doing a self portrait and she had her eyes closed.  She says she always does that so I counted and told her on 3 I would take it so open her eyes big.  I kept counting but the flash did not go off I did not think it took.....

........but we got this!  Jessi with big eyes!  Ha ha! 

We were so tired after the ride.  Jessi 'rested her eyes' a little while.  I can post this because I know she has one of me 'resting my eyes' too.  :-)
This was during the nutrition speaker.  It was getting a little too technical for us.

This is awesome!  Notice the black cowboy boots to his left on the ground.

This gal won the Open division plus best dressed.  Doesn't this look like fun?

Her friend who won the Pleasure division.

Jessi was giving Tripp and Kahlua treats....and they had to kiss for them.  I think they were supposed to kiss Jessi but they were kissing each other instead.  Jessi and I say that Tripp and Kahlua are married now.  Kahlua is very picky about who she likes, and she and Tripp were nickering at each other.

They even shared the same hay bag.  :-)  Aren't they cute?

It was time to leave.....and Kahlua was saying good-bye to us as we walked to our truck.  Jessi said that Kahlua let out a big whinny when they pulled out.  We will have to get her and Tripp together soon - maybe plan another ride.  :-)

Considering I have not ridden Tripp for quite a while, he did fantastic!  He was a little energetic at first because he did not think Cochise and Nevada were walking fast enough, so we had to so a lot of zig zagging on the trail.  We were warned of some rocky areas - and that is no joke!  I am so glad I had boots for the front!  I put them on after obstacle #3.  I got the Cavallo Sport boots because I had ACTHA bucks to apply towards the purchase.  I think they are a little big, so the next pair I get will be one size smaller and will see how that goes.  On the flats Tripp was fine and was trotting okay with them on.  But on the hills it was like he could not get a grip like he does when he is totally bare.  I got to thinking that might be because they were a bit big and maybe his hooves were moving just enough in them to make a difference going up the hills?  That is my only opinion about how they perform since I am not real boot savvy.  I will need to ride more in them to know how I feel.  I will say they are easier than heck to put on!  Gotta love that!

I really did have a great time and loved the trails.  We rode on some 'cliffs'.....okay, they were not cliffs but I call them that.  It was a skinny little riding trail and the edge was almost straight down into the trees - so yes, to me, who has never ridden on the edge of anything like that, it was a cliff.  :-)  And where did Tripp want to travel when I let him pick his path thru the rocks?  You guessed it!  Right on the edge!  Woo wee!

Thank you to Jacquie Greer for putting on this ride.  I know it is a busy busy busy venture to get things together.  GREAT JOB!

Again I say, if you get a chance to ride or to volunteer at one of these rides, I highly recommend it.  The obstacles are timed but that has to be done otherwise Tripp and I would have taken 10 minutes to do the bridge or the vine curtain.  Ha ha!  Other than that, it is a very easy going ride with beautiful scenery.  Small groups go out at a time so it is not one big pack of horses and riders.  Sometimes you do catch up with other groups, or they catch up with you, but it doesn't stay that way long.

Gotta go.....only a couple days until we leave for the EMM.....totally not ready yet!  :-)

Until later....Karen and Tripp who is glad to be home...he was tired and admits he is out of shape.  


Jackie Greer said...

I will be thinking about you and Tripp all week!!! Don't get nervous, you guys will do fine :) Thanks so much for coming to our ride wish I would have had more time to talk but hopefully we can meet up again when I am not a "crazy lady" LOL!

Jackie said...

I meant Boom :( Reading your posts got my names mixed up, LOL

Kirstin's Mustang Project 2008 said...

Hey Karen,
Just wanted to wish you and Boom luck as you leave for the EMM.
Love and hugs to all!