Wow! Today we are slammed! I signed us up for one morning practise where we worked the obstacles from the ground. Pate did ok, but was dragging his feet. He is tired and has lost weight from his long travels. He does not seem to be eating very well. I am worried about him.
I then rush off to a two hour trainers meeting where we ate lunch, met more of our fellow trainers, met some of the judges, discussed the patterns to be used in the ground work and riding courses. Man, the patterns are HARD! Much different than what they warned us about. Many of the trainers are stressed about the difficulty of the patterns, especially the riding portion. There is a ton of loping in the test and many of the horses are not loping yet. It immediately kills the chances for the more novice horses. Pate has only JUST started to lope out and I am keeping my fingers crossed that he lopes at all, much less on the correct lead! The competition will be Pate's 25th ride in total.
Much to our excitement, they announce that Chris Cox, 2007 winner of the "Road to the Horse" will be there to be the 4th judge during the finals! Cheers and whistles erupt! Many trainers were concerned about the lack of a natural horsemanship type judge, as the other judges were big time Quarter Horse judges. Needless to say, Chris was the only judges name that I recognized. LOL
The trainers get to ask only ONE question each about the event. ONLY one. I ask if the trainer has to stay on the inside of the poles during the in-hand back through the "L". The answer is "Yes!" Many trainers ask about the adoption and how to ensure keeping their horses. The answer is "Bid the highest". That does NOT make me feel better. I think I am more worried about that, than the event.
We pick up our official Trainer shirts!
We then head over for a group picture.
I then have to present Pate in-hand for his conditioning score. He stands like a trooper and gets a high score, even though I know that he has lost ALOT of weight in the past few days. The score puts us tied for 7th along with about 8 other trainers!
I start my tack cleaning process, get Pate tacked up for his two afternoon riding sessions. My parents arrive at the arena to help.
Pate works REALLY well in the afternoon. He is soo soft, willing and compliant. I practise our loping and some of the maneuvers I know we will have to perform. He is so good and I feel ready.
I give Pate a bath and get him all sexy for the big day, then hurry back to the hotel to change for the big trainer introduction party at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. The introduce us to the backdrop of the song, "Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy!" It was a long party and they announced that next year the competition will be even bigger with 200 horses and $75,000 in prize money! They are also doing a second event with 50 horses starting in February.
Unfortunately, the food runs out before the trainers get a chance to eat, so a few of us head out to dinner. We swap training stories and worry about the riding portion of the event.
We head back to the barn to feed our horses, hang around and chat for awhile, then I head over to Target to buy a few fans to to attach to Pate's stall. It is hot and the heat is getting to him. I want him to be as fresh as he can be in the morning, but the heat is sapping his strength. Once again, I cannot sleep. I have to get up REALLY early and I too exhausted and nervous. I end up only sleeping about 3 hours.
2 years ago