Monday, July 30, 2007

Extreme Cowboy? Trail Challenge?

The other day we were watching RFD TV when a program that was new to me came on. It was called Extreme Cowboy Competition, and man did it ever look like fun! Cowboys were competing in a timed event that took them over obstacles that you may find on a ranch setting, from water to downed trees to dragging a log and loading into a trailer.

Another competition that is new to me is the Trail Challenge. From the little online information I've been able to come up with, it would appear to be similar to the above competition in that it's a timed event over obstacles you'd find on a trail. This rather excites me, as back in the day (before children and graying hairs), trail was my favorite class to compete in. When my horse and I would show up, the others would begin quivering in their boots. Okay, maybe not. But I did tend to place high and was known as one of those to beat. I LOVE TRAIL! I'm going to have to look into this type of competition a little further and see if there are many here in my area.

I've got a natural advantage here, of course, as my horses get exposed to all sorts of goofy things that arena horses don't even know exist. For example, my girl's get pastured with the sheep. A couple of years ago while at the fair, the horse superintendent came over and asked if she could borrow a couple of my sheep for their trail class. Horses were scattering every which way when they saw my woolly little hay burners; they had no clue what could be so fluffy and so noisy.

Sunny gets up close and personal with Pokey

Naturally, it takes more than an introduction to other livestock to make a good trail horse. Living in the woods allows for our horses to become accustomed to walking with branches swaying overhead; probably why the whole flag or bag on a stick thing just isn't a priority for me. We've got a trail that leads back to the neighbor's pasture which not only takes us through the trees, but across the creek as well. The horses have no problems going through natural elements such as this when they know there's lush, green grass on the other side!

Darling leads Quiet Storm into the trees.

Of course, there are unnatural obstacles that one will face in a trail class. Things such as streamers that are trying to simulate trees. So to get my girls used to having something less than natural floating above their faces, I've draped fabric and jackets over the paddock gate.

Sunny gives me the "You must be joking, right?", look as she passes under my scary set up.

For my birthday last month, City Boy and the kids bought me a tent to store my hay in this winter. Cool, eh? It's set up behind the barn, right at the entrance to our trail which leads to the pasture. I snapped this pic the day it went up; the box was still sitting there on the other side of the path. Not a single one of my girls had seen the tent there before, and all three passed by it without batting an eye. And because they never go to the pasture with each other, they're learning that it's okay to be alone; there are no herd bound issues here. They learn to rely on me for company and guidance instead of each other.

Super Scary tent creates narrower than usual entrance to the trail.

The other night I saddled Jet, then brought her out into the yard to help me fill all the water buckets. She's not so sure about that long, green, water spitting snake; she doesn't mind the water so much, just the snake like appearance. But after a few sideways steps she decided it wasn't going to eat her after all. While I filled tubs and buckets, she stopped to graze.

This is the sort of stuff we do here on a daily basis. It doesn't amount to a whole lot of time, and sometimes it's hard to picture leading a horse to pasture as training, but it all counts towards something in the end.


Rising Rainbow said...

I don't have sheep, but I do have lots of the natural elements that you have. And I agree that all makes for a great way to de-spook horses!

I love to take my show horses out on poker rides and such because it's great for their minds. AND it's fun to see others reactions because they expect the Arabian show ponies to give them a show on the trails but the horses turn out to be great trail horses because of all the stuff they are exposed to here. Not the ditsy Arabs the regulars at the poker rides expect.

BTW How to you get RFD-TV? I want it so bad but can't figure out what service or package it takes to get it!!

Tracey said...

I've no clue how to go about getting just came with whatever package City Boy ordered. I think the service we've got is Dish Network. I'd call who ever it is that you're using and ask about it.

Ain't it grand living where the natural elements help us along? The only thing I'm missing is a broke horse that I can pony my girls from, giving them a real taste of the trail out there.

photogchic said...

You should do Extreme Cowboy Race...I just love hearing Craig Cameron say, "I like it!" He says that alot. I am gone a couple days and all sorts of good things happening with Quiet Storm, Sunny, and Jet. Nice job Tracey. Jet=Extreme Cowboy Race!

~Dawn~ said...

I love the way you incorporate your horses into your chores and talking them for walks into the woods. I had a scary mare that freaked over everything and that's exactly what I did. People made fun of me but it worked!

extremetrialhorse said...

Hello, I'm not sure exactly where you are located. But in Northern California, we have a group called the Extreme Trail Horse Association. We do organized trail rides, trail trials and Extreme Trail Events (much like the "Extreme Cowboy Race".
check out our website at