Saturday, June 12, 2010

I rode a horse through many a town

Today started out cloudy and it threatened to rain but it cleared up nicely, except for the wind! I decided to visit the Hammers and Hooves Horse Fair and Blacksmith competition. I don't know how many men were in the blacksmithing competition but the tent was full and, boy, was it hot! I'll bet they sweated off pounds today.
Here's the judges reviewing the finished products. That must have been a tough job!
I watched them for a bit but I really wanted to see the horse fair.
I came in at the end of the vaulting demonstration.
I like the way they braided the mane.

Then I watched a clinic on backpacking.
The guy giving the clinic had a draft mule. He was so big and had such long ears! His name was John.
Believe it or not, these containers, and another identical set, came out of the panniers you'll see in the photo after. What a way to go camping!

This was one of the Search and Rescue team who were riding around. He was riding a giant Clydesdale.
The backpacking demonstration was put on by a group of riders who do trail maintenance in our Pecos Wilderness area.
The clinics ran an hour each and began every hour. There was hardly any time to look around at the vendor booths or buy anything to eat. Thankfully, I brought snacks: granola bar, cheese stick, an orange, and a drink.

This lady presented a clinic on conditioning. She had the prettiest dark brown and white Paint gelding. He had two "glass" eyes. She showed how to take the pulse and respiration and to set up a program of riding or working the horse at least 2x a week to keep it in minimum good condition.
There was a clinic on competitive trail riding. She was a competitor in and talked about both the ACTHA and the NATRC. She told all about the differences in the many levels of competition and gave a great suggestion on how to bring the pulse and respiration rates down really quickly during your ride. She suggested taking off the bit (she used snaps to hold the bit in place) and to teach the horse to drop it's head into your lap. She said to breathe loudly, deeply, and slowly and the horse learns to breathe with you and fall asleep. This helps lower the P & R within the allotted 10 minutes during vet checks. She had a lovely combination Aussie, English, Western, and trail saddle which was custom made for her. Her horse is an 8 year old Mustang.
This young girl demonstrated the use of aids (hands, legs, weight, etc.) and how to make your horse sensitive to them. She said that you should ask first and then "punish" (use the bit or your legs) if the horse doesn't respond. To reward good behavior, keep still and don't use hands, legs, etc. unnecessarily. Make him work if he doesn't do what you ask- go in circles at a lope to slow him down, say "eeeeeeasy" and sit deeper.
She showed that although she used a high port curb and spurs when she rode, she didn't really need them. She could also ride bridleless and slide and spin with the best. See below, she had only a neck strap which really is another form of control. I am a follower of her theory in that riding very, very light on the 'aids' makes a super enjoyable ride. You become a partner with your horse and then they begin to do what you are thinking or asking, rather than telling.
Here is an example of high line tying the lady was talking about for endurance riding. Horses must be tied overnight to horse trailers in NATRC rides, whereas in the ACTHA, horses can be penned. The yellow caution rope isn't really part of her trailer set up. I was amazed how calm her horse was with the yellow tape rippling in the wind. I think my horses would have gone airborne!
This lady demonstrated the art of riding aside. Her usual horse had an accident in the morning loading and she was using an alternate horse. He seemed to do very well. Oh, and the other horse was okay too.
I thought this was cute!

I rode a horse through many a town - song: Bars of the County Jail, artist: David Bowie


flowerweaver said...

What an enjoyable day this must have been! And to get to ride your horse from event to event, even more fun.

Breathe said...

What a great event! What a dress - and in June in NM?

I'd like to get better with my aides, I'm just starting to learn to quiet my hands. So much to learn...

Are you thinking of getting into the competitive trail or endurance?

Hope you're feeling better.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I guess my title and the sign is misleading. I was horseless but there were many horses being ridden around. These were the various demonstrators and the Sheriff's Posse Search and Rescue team members.

I would like to trail ride for pleasure rather than competition although the ACTHA sounds fun. My wish is to do an overnight trail ride in the mountains.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

If we had been in town I would have been there. Our farrier, Craig Trnka, was one of the judges if I'm not mistaken. He's a world champion farrier.


Shirley said...

Any day spent learning about horses is a good day! Thanks for sharing.
Janice and I belong to the Kootenay Back Country Horsemen. They do a lot of organised trail rides and maintain trails throughout the Kootenay area. But like any club, there are some folks who make the rides pleasant and others who don't. It's nice when you can pick companions who have good trail etiquette.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

How nice to have such an event close by. My town is quickly moving away from being an equine community and becoming more of an engine-powered community. If you are into motorcycles, ATVs or hot rods, there is plenty to do, but horse people are becoming the minority and we have to fight for our space. I'll know things are really going downhill when the two feed stores in town go out of business. At the moment, several hay farmers are going out of business. We are also losing equine vets. I'd love to just see a small farrier demonstration in my area. It sounds like there was so much more happening at this event.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I missed it yet again. If I remember correctly we missed this last year because the two of us were preparing for the birth of Yalla!

Looked like fun, though. Lots of stuff to see and learn about. I see a picture of my friend Matt Columbo on his Clydesdale, too.
He, along with some other Search and Rescue folks were going to be safety riders last weekend, like they did for our April ACTHA ride, but they'd already signed up to do a clinic at the Hammers and Hooves.

Don't you just love his Clydesdale? When we rode with the two of them in the April ACTHA CTR, Apache kept looking up, with a worried look in her eyes. We felt so small riding beside them. lol!

Glad you had a great time.