Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shakerag Hunter Trails

Dear All,

Katie, Sarah B. and I loaded horses in the dark, Bob joined us in truck, and we rolled exactly on the planned 6:45 AM!  Got to Shakerag Clubhouse to enter and warm up at 9:15, and Trials began at 10 with Warm Up Over 2 foot fences.

Both Erin, who was entitled, and Tricks, who was not, went like very green horses, lots of looking!  It was a big class and we did not place. Class 4 was Hunter Trail, and was an interesting obstacle course. Tricks and I rode into the ring and had to pick up a jacket from a jump standard, carry it while we crossed a plywood on landscape timbers bridge, then put it on a fence, open a rope gate, pass through and hook it back,  dismount and lead over a log, remount, and hand gallop back to the center. While he had flatly refused to go near that bridge in the beginning, Tricks conquered his terrors and did it for me. The rest was all old hat to him, and I was very proud of his performance. We stood 5th, behind 4 long term members.

Our next was supposed to be number 11, so I put Tricks into trailer and looked forward to watching the girls! Suddenly they were announcing Handy Hunter, so I ran to read the course map while the girls ran to get my horse!  It was indeed a tight, handy course, with some specified gallop stretches and some trot fences.  He can turn on a dime and jump, so I was pretty confident. We trotted the first fence, jumped the next 2, on a circle, out of canter, then straightened downhill at the gallop to an in and out, folded back to jump the "in" from the other direction, come down the field to two "skinny" coops with big wings. One was to jump in, halt for 5 seconds, trot over the second, gallop across the field to a line of 4 coops, jump the second in the line, break to trot and fold back to jump the 4th coop in that line, and walk through a gate. The skinnies got to Tricks and he quit. I let him look, but as his back muscles started to relax, I legged him up, and we jumped the first. The halt was no problem, because when they mowed the field the mower had thrown mud and clippings on the face of the second coop and it dried there! He stopped dead in holy horror!  I had a full 5 seconds to negotiate with him, then got him to trot over the monster, but he landed determined to get away from it. We were supposed to gallop, and we did!  Flew the big friendly coop, next stride after landing he was back in trot and turned and was very handy over the other coop in the line, had already done gate once so that was no problem.  I finished the course still astonished and irate about the quits, as he doesn't quit very often, and I was thunderstruck when we won the class. A nice silver tray and our names engraved on a perpetual trophy in the clubhouse.

Katie was up next on Echo in Junior Hunter Over Fences and did a lovely job! Echo has been timid about coops and did look at the skinnies, but she put her leg on and he answered and they were clean over the course and stood third!  She not only made him look a mannerly junior hunter, but in Sissy's words, he looked like a reliable school horse! Katie was third!

Sarah took Truffle in Junior Hunter Under Saddle and rode well in a narrow area of undulating hill. She got her canter leads both ways, but Truff did slip on the wet grass and break to trot. She sat right into him and lifted him back to canter, on the correct lead, and she stood third in her class!

I was very proud of both girls! They really rode and looked great! 

Photos by Katie Tighe and she regrets not getting any of Sarah or herself!

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