I arrived in Oklahoma on Monday evening after a very long 1150 miles of driving over two days! I had friends come along to help which made all the difference! Tuesday was a much needed rest day for people and horses! We checked in on Wednesday and got our bearings of the competition site. The arena where we will compete is ginormous!! That was a bit overwhelming but we get to practice in there today, so that will help ease the nerves.
So it’s Thursday, the day before the competition and I am up early and eager to get to practice. I can’t believe I’m here! It has been a long 6 months of work with Moonshine. In the beginning I wasn’t sure how far we would get. In my heart I really want to get to the top 10 but I instead set my goal to develop Moonshine into a safe kid-worthy riding horse for his owners, the Kohr family. The kids, Dillon and Delaney are 11 and 7 respectively. They have come to watch often and have such a love for this horse. And Moonshine lights up when they come visit. You can see they have an affinity for each other!
The competition starts tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 3). The first day is the Liberty Competition where I will work on foot with Moonshine loose in an arena space around 70′ by 140′. We are allowed to have a tool (like a stick and string or something in our hand but not allowed to touch them) We must demonstrate 7 compulsory skills:
the harmony walk (leading without a halter)
weaving 4 cones
figure 8 with him doing the figure and me standing still
having him circle me 20′ out then facing up to me and going the other way
having him circle me 10′ out and showing a smooth turn to the other direction
back thru an “L”
send him over a jump, have him face it and jump it again
Then we must show 2 moves of our choice. Quite a tall order!
The second day is Cowboy Dressage with a test that is also quite a tall order. Here’s a link to the video: https://www.cowboydressage.com/videos.html
The third and last day is the Extreme Cowboy Racing where we go thru a bunch of obstacles and perform some ranch tasks like throwing a head loop on a plastic cow head and drag something from our horse. We are judged on partnership and efficiency and best time thru the course.
For each phase of the competition, we are given points and after the last event, the top 10 finishers will present a freestyle where they can showcase whatever they like with their horse in 10 minutes or less. From that the winner will be chosen!!
Well, it’s time to change my goal. I know it’s last minute but when you reach a goal, you need a new goal! Yesterday afternoon during a practice for my freestyle, Moonshine showed me our goal of creating a safe kid-worthy horse was reached! At the end of my freestyle (when I make the top 10) I am inviting Dillon and Delaney out to help me lead Moonshine out of the arena. I decided to let the kids each have a pony ride on Moonshine. When Dillon went to mount, the mounting block was on uneven ground and both the block and Dillon fell underneath Moonshine. My heart stopped for a second, but Moonshine scooted two steps sideways and stopped, looking at Dillon like what are you doing down there!! Dillon got up and mounted up on a very relaxed Moonshine who acted like nothing had happened!! So my new goal-Make the Top 10!!! I love this pic of Dillon on Moonshine excited for the competition to begin! Let’s go win this thing!!
Wish me luck!!