Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Riding Course

Katee has written once again, giving us an up front look at the riding course from yesterday's competition at the Midwest Mustang Challenge:


Saturday Riding Course:

Well, i have to start by saying again just how many people are here at this fair. The traffic this morning was backed up for a couple miles coming in. Once out of your vehicle the throngs of people were a bit intimidating, but some bobbing and weaving got me to my seat just before noon.

Event was scheduled to start at noon, but started about a half hour late. The event prior to our mustangs ran a little late, the Judges were late and there was a lot of discussion about the set up of the course. It was pretty impressive seeing all of the trainers walk into the arena to check out the course. Very fun to have a chance to cheer wildy for them without having to worry about spooking a horse!


lead horse in


jog over 3 ground poles

canter right lead


canter left lead


spin 270

canter right lead

walk over single pole into L

back through L

spin 270

trot around cones

walk onto bridge


The only real tricky spot was the second canter--the one on the left lead. In total, for even the smallest horses, the space for that canter was at best 5 strides. It was tough to even get into a canter for these green horses in 5 strides. Most of them gave a good hard mustang look at that bridge, but ultimately walked over quietly.

The 2 minute free time was nice because it allowed the trainers to demonstrate any special things they'd taught their mustangs as well as to simply show off their gates. A couple strides of canter/trot here and there throughout the pattern really wasn't enough to show how smooth these mustangs can move.

There were some really well trained horses. A couple with trots that looked ready for the western showring, some flying lead changes, bridle-less riding and even a piaffe! There were a couple of horses that looked super green. No WAY I woulda been on those horses in a big scary show ring like this.

Only one mishap and I admit it was my fault. Ok. Not just and all my fellow audience members got a little excited and clapped wildly causing a big crash. I don't remember the riders name, but he was a 68 year old Vietnam vet and cancer surviver. He was riding the biggest horse I'd seen all day and had a pretty good ride. His freestyle concluded with some pretty nice bridle-less riding. To really put a big finish on it, he stood his horse, still bride-less, on the bridge then stood up on top of the saddle and waved his hat to the crowd. We went wild! The wild mustang ran to the gate. The rider fell with a big BANG flat on his back on to the bridge. He was able to walk out on his own and appeared to be in one piece. There was a lot less wild clapping after that.

More on the finals later....just as a teaser you should know that the 6,000 seats of the Coliseum were full and there were so many people standing in the aisles that the fire marshal was literally threatening to shut it all down! The mustangs certainly didn't let the crowd down.


What an unfortunate incident with the gentleman who came off. I think folks are so excited by what they've seen with Stacey Westfall that they forget a very important thing here: These mustangs have only been in training for 90 days! I can forgive a crowd for their excitement; many of them are truly clueless regarding horses in general, let alone green horses. The trainer really did accomplish a lot with his horse, but should have realized that standing and waving a hat on a green broke horse was not the wisest decision he could have made. I'm glad no one was hurt!

I'm waiting for results on who placed in the top ten; as soon as I find out, I'll let y'all know!

1 comment:

Rising Rainbow said...

Wow, that's impressive stuff for 90 days under saddle. I'm glad that rider didn't get hurt.