Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Road to the Horse 2012 - International

Team U.S.A. - Team Australia - Team Canada....what a great idea!

By now everyone knows that Team Australia won the competition.  Great job!!!
I also want to say that there were three great teams with six different styles of training but yet the same... 
With Team U.S.A. I saw the all American cowboy with gentle training methods.  It was always the horse first.  And of course both of these guys are not only educational to listen to, they are funny and have a great time.
With Team Australia I saw a couple of guys who are not only GREAT entertainers, but they are also great trainers who care about the horse.  Aussie horseman are just different in a great sort of way, and they made their country proud.
Team Canada was more cowboy and less entertainer.  Both guys were very personable and their horses were a challenge, but they also put the horse first and did what needed to be done so the horse could learn, but not pushing so much that they went on overload.
I am not one of these people who say "Every kid must win an award so nobody feels bad" but I will say that in this competition, there were no losers.  There were winners and one team just had more points.

We picked up a hitchhiker along the way...fellow EMM trainer Greg Reynolds rode down with us.  We were driving thru his town on the way down, his wonderful wife had bought him a ticket, so we threw him in the back of the car.  Woo hoo!  RTTH here we come!

Day 1:  We did not get there too early because doors didn't open until 10:30 for our group...this is the line in front of us to the doors.  What a beautiful sunny day!  One year we went it was rainy windy and COLD!   

 Here is Greg and Brian with the line behind them curving off to the right.

Greg had the pleasure of going to an Aaron Ralston clinic, and guess who goes walking by?  Yep, Aaron himself!  Greg ran over to say hello and chat a while.

While moseying around, I noticed that Guy and Dan were at their booth, so I ran back to get my jacket for them to sign.  I ended up with signatures from both of Team Aussie, and one from Team Canada, Jonathan Field and his son Weston.  :-)

Me and Guy just hanging out....he is one of the best entertainers I have ever seen and heard, and the man LOVES horses!  All the trainers love horses, but the closest I could come to describing him was he loves them in a girl sort of way...

 Dan James, who is half of the Double Dan's, and I hanging out.  Another very fun and talented guy.  He and the other Dan put on a show of flaming whips.  Talk about exciting!

 I loved this shirt....it was in Guy's booth.

My camera just doesn't take very good inside pictures, but  I tried a few anyways.  This and the 'swinging bridge' trailer were used by SEMM mustang trainer Bobby Kerr and his mustang Poncho.
Byron Hogan and his mustang Hawk performed the following day with a Choir group.  

Here is the swinging bridge built on the trailer, then at the other end is a tilt trailer.  Love it!

 Canadian Glenn Stewart on his Lusitano warming up.  He is riding in a rope halter (Yay!) and he was showing people how to teach a horse to collect without a bit in their mouth.  What a gorgeous horse and Glenn was so approachable.  We didn't venture outside much because the days were packed with the event happenings, so did not get to see anybody else.

Love horse butts!

Before the singing of the National Anthems.    Each country had a representative sing their Anthem, and it really was beautiful.  I would love to hear the Australia singer sing our National Anthem.  She has such a beautiful voice!

In the South, Spring is springing....bradford pears were blooming all over the place!  I loved it!  This was taken the morning we headed in early for Pat's 2nd training session.

This little tree is much more pink than it looks in the picture.  It is outside of the hotel, and it is one of those little trees that made me smile every time we pulled in the driveway.

It really was a great weekend.  My only complaint (yep, there really is only one!) was the people sitting around us.  They treated it like social hour, so we missed over 90% of the commentary from the trainers and announcers.  We know about everyone's brothers sisters uncles dog, and which ones are indoor or outdoor, we know that some teachers think it is horrible to spell kids names weird and they should all be 'normal', whatever that is....we know about people horses, what the trainers did wrong, and we know that they missed a lot too because I was asked many times what was going on.  We know who drives what and why, who came and who didn't, and why they didn't.  We know who is nice and who is mean and why they are nice and/or mean....  REALLY?  If they would sit down, shut up, and respect the fact that those around them just might want to hear and watch the show, they might not have had to ask.  It was very frustrating and disappointing.

There were a couple of twists thrown in the mix by Tootie.  The first one was after trainers picked horses, they could get extra points if they would trade with their team mate.  Team Canada took advantage of that one.

Then when it came to the obstacle course day, Tootie again offered extra points if the trainers would ride their team mates horse instead.  Team Aussie took advantage of that one...they said that they both trusted each other and their level of training, so they went for it.  The crowd voted for Team U.S.A. to keep what they had, and Team Canada stuck with what they had.

When the obstacle course first started, Jonathan was up first.  He goes in the ring and he and the crowd start talking about how that isn't his horse....he just thought it was part of the mystery obstacle.  Come to find out, it was the original horse he drew, not the one he trained after the swap.  OOPS!  Thankfully he said something and they got him the right horse.  :-)

Pat's horse from day 1 was not feeling good, so he had to pick another horse.  He did round 1 on day 2, then started round 2 at 5:30 Sunday morning!  Reports are there were about 300 of us that showed up.  This is a 5:30 start that included the time change!  Woo wee!  But it was like we all got a free clinic and Pat was in his element and got to talk a lot.  It was a win-win.  They told everyone to sit around where he was working so we sat in the seats we have reserved for 5 years.  We got booted out of them this year because Nation members get to order tickets ahead of time...it was a matter of time.

That is all I have time for right now.  There are a lot of great pictures from other attendees on Facebook so go check them out.

Happy March everyone!

Until later...Karen and Tripp who hopes his girl doesn't get too crazy trying to crack a whip like those Aussies!  ;-)