Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gymkhana Pics!

Pope Valley Gymkhana!

I got to the ranch at about 7:15 in the morning. Not a bad accomplishment given that I live an hour and a half away and only got 3 hours of sleep.

Ahh, insomnia!

The cliff swallows were already hard at work wheeling around in the air, building mud nests, and catching insects.

After a quick breakfast where I had about a third of a sandwich, everyone pulled out the horses we were going to take to the gymkhana for the day. Leo, Remmy, the Little Bay Gelding, and Teddy Bear.

Tedders took a while to trailer load. We managed though!

Then it was time to hit the road.

A lot of folks were already there when we rolled in, but some came after us as well. Some people had shiny new horse trailers, and some had older stock trailers.

Nice butt on that palomino.

This kid was so cute with her short, massive tank of a horse!

Team D&D Ranch, grooming up the horses and getting them all ready for the day. Bo is a man of action, as you can see!

I got my first view of this little guy. He is 3/4th Fjord, 1/4th Percheron, and 100% lovebug.

I brushed up Teddy Bear and Bo had me follow him and Remmy around the arena and over near the roundpen. Everyone was riding around in the arena, getting their horses warmed up and used to it.

After a while they called everyone out of the arena. A lot of the kids wore helmets. I think one adult did.

This lady was a hoot. I love her pony, who was asleep on her feet a lot of the time. I guess I really like short tank type horses.

Almost all of the little kids were much better riders than I am, hah! I'm not afraid to admit it.

I just absolutely loved this girl on her pony. That pony was so good to her, and she was happy as a clam. She told me that the pony seemed to like a hackamore a lot more than a snaffle. They ran barrels together and wow did they tear around, without her slamming on the pony at all... that little horse really seemed to love her job.

Oh here's the one adult wearing her helmet with her daughter. They were visiting from out of town. Their horses were very high energy and forward.

Team DDRanch, looking at the field next to the arena. That's our Leo!

Everyone was watching the flags get run around the arena for the opening ceremony after the national anthem.

That was the last photo I got of the flags, as Teddy Bear suddenly realized that horse-eating flags were COMING RIGHT FOR HER! There were about 30 or 40 people lined up with their horses, most of 'em mounted, watching. Luckily Teddy and I were a little apart from the group. She started snorting and spooking and rearing a bit, really scared. I just stayed calm and said "hooo Teddy, easy, eeeeasssyyy" and Bo said "get her away, they're going to come back around!" So I did. She got really snorty again and spooked Remmy a little bit, but we managed to calm the ripples in the water, so to speak, and nobody else's horses spooked.

"Hey Bo, how many Gymkhanas has Teddy Bear been to, anyway?"

"This is her first one, Ev. She's a ranch lesson horse. She teaches little kids to ride. She's never been to something like this before."

Oh, haha, good to know!

After we watched people do various patterns for a while, and then Bo had me take Tedders back to the trailer.

"Okay Ev, you're in the middle of nowhere, with no mounting block in sight. How are you going to get on your horse?"

I told him I guessed I'd climb up on the wheel well of the trailer and mount from there. So that's what I did, and Teddy stood like an angel for me.

Look, look, I'm riding at the gymkhana!

Sorta, haha.

I was taken for a ride at the Gymkhana. It went pretty well though. Bo lead her around, and that was fine, since she was still a little amped up anyway. This was all really new stuff for her. And she still hates geldings with a passion.

I love Tedders!

The folks at the gymkhana were so nice that they said encouraging things to me sitting on this horse and getting lead around. That's the way it is at these little shows out here- people are really nice, and if you have difficulties they just cheer for you more to raise your morale and help you get through it. If a horse spooks people just say "yeah you can do it, you'll be fine!"

Here's an excellent illustration of the way horses tend to work. The horse on the right doesn't have any other horses with him. He's getting upset. He reared, even. The horses on the left have a buddy, and are nice and calm. It's not as cut and dried as that all the time, but Bo says that horses are usually happier having at least one other horse with them even if they don't like that horse, especially if they are in a strange place. It's like having a battle buddy to watch your back. Horses depend on each other to tell one another whether or not things are safe.

Next, Bo rode Teddy Bear for a while.

It's the Fjorderon again! He is so cute. His owner rescued him from someplace in Canada. She says he's her own teddy bear.

Remmy might be a bit of a pain at times because he is so playful and high energy, but he sure is a pretty boy.

Okay I obsessed on this boy, I admit it. Bo saw this and grinned. He said "now that's your horse there, Ev. If I'd met you a year earlier I'd have helped you find the right horse for yourself." Of course, I don't regret saving my Solly! He didn't end up being an appropriate riding horse for me though.

Okay so there was a family at the gymkhana, and I just loved them. They had a great sense of humor and were just having so much fun. They had both the smallest pony and the biggest horse. This was the only big draft there.

They called the dad on his draft up, and of course his horse decided he had to pee right then.

The dad just laughed and grinned, calling to the judge "Sorry, we're gonna be here a while. Big horse, big bladder!">

I loved this drafty with the white rings around his eyes and his big dinner plate hooves. He was NOT the fastest horse around the barrels. He was kind of like a freight train. But they really seemed to have fun out there. That's the important part, right? They rode in the Beginner class I think, or maybe Novice, which for some reason is one level higher than Beginner.


I love his Edgar Allen Poe part.

Here's their horses. I think they must have had a second trailer, right? But I love the height differences.

At lunch, the horses of DDRanch hung out. They were fine with their herd.

Here is one of the girls who takes lessons at DD Ranch, though not as much as her sister I think.

This girl rode the Little Bay Gelding, and she won two second place ribbons on him, despite him spooking at the barrels on her first run, haha. She is such a good rider, and so very calm and soft with horses. She did well on a young horse like him. He's going to be 4 years old soon I think.

Remmers and Bo!

This pair brought in three 5th place ribbons. I think this might have been Leo's first gymkhana, but I'm not totally sure. The judge actually commended on how pretty he is while they trotted through their patterns.

LBG working hard at being brave, and his rider being very calm with him.

What a good boy!

As the day wore on, he really got into it, I think.

People at the gymkhana watched a lot of the show from horseback. Some of the horses didn't compete- it was just a really good experience for them to be exposed to all this stuff.

I hope I can be as good of a rider as this little girl is someday!

Here is the Leo team! He is a pretty boy. I love his trot, too. Great floaty Western jog, nice little extended trot too.

Nobody on team DDRanch pushed hard to be the fastest. Everyone on our team worked hard to give the horses a good, safe experience.

And have a blast doing it.

What a pretty boy!

And I have saved one of the best things for last- that family with the pony and the draft- one little girl wasn't quite ready to ride the barrels by herself yet. I think this is the cutest Gymkhana thing I have ever seen!

At this point I was exhausted. Three hours of sleep and getting up so early had taken it's toll. I ended up climbing into the trailer's tack locker with the saddle and curling up around the grooming box and cookie jar. Bo tried to talk me into lying down in the back of the truck but I was pretty insistent. I told him I fit better in the tack locker, and honestly it was way less hot than the back of the truck. It might have looked a little silly with my boots poking out of the locker, but I found it to be pretty comfortable in there, hah!

I woke up to Remmy mouthing my jeans and stealing brushes out of the grooming box.

Not long after that we loaded the horses up and went back home. Teddy Bear did not want to go back into that trailer, and I made a dumb mistake- I tried to hold onto the rope when she ran back out of the trailer! I might have said a few cuss words. Live and learn- I had dead skin on my fingertips for about a week. Lanolin oil is amazing on rope burn though. Bo had some stuff he puts on saddles to refresh and supple the leather. It worked miracles on my hand. Hah.

When we got back to the ranch, I pulled out Solly and loved on him a bit, then chatted with Bo. I ended up spending about 10 hours up in Pope Valley all told. Wow! 10 hours with horses, 3 hours driving, 3 hours of sleep. I'll toughen up yet!

Bo asked me, at the end of the day, "had enough of horses, Ev?"

"No Bo, never."


Sonny said...

wow. that draft horse doing the barrels was amazing! and the little kid on the horse was the cutest thing i have ever ever seen!

Lady Penelope said...

fantastic amount of details there. loved the photo's and the description of the gymkhana...Those horses look fantastic...and the riders of course!!

Evergrey said...

Gosh, thank you both so much! :D