Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Horse shows, and a ride by moonlight

My stepdaughter (14 years old) is here for a little over a month this summer, and it has been a busy time. She had a horse show in Idaho, about half way between her home in Moses Lake, WA and ours here in Laramie, WY, so B. drove out to meet her at the show and bring her and her horse back here. Her horse, Callie (Cruise On Callie) is a Quarter Horse palomino mare with the cutest ears I ever saw, slightly curved inward so they almost point to each other. She is also a very well-trained show horse, and Stars has become an excellent rider. She has this horse trained to jog and lope as slow as a walk, and to turn, stop and back immediately with just the lightest touch of leg and rein. She is trustworthy enough to put the twins on her, bareback!

We went to a show down in Greeley, CO and Stars and her horse Callie won almost everything in sight, coming back with SIX trophies, high point in the English classes and Western classes, and that meant she also won high point overall for her age class (14-17 yrs). She said, however, that there wasn't the same level of competition at that show that she is used to, she was only competing against 3 to 4 other girls. Last weekend we went to another show in Cheyenne, and she did almost as well, winning high point in the Western classes.

This girl is very serious about showing, with more horse gear than you could possibly imagine for just one horse! Three saddles, three bridles, three blankets and a "sleezy" (that's a covering for head and neck), dozens of tail bags, a show halter, dust covers for everything, myriad boots and spurs and hats, beautiful sequined show outfits, and some doohickies I don't even know what they are used for! When I showed, way back when, I certainly didn't have all this fancy stuff!

I am familiar with all the English show classes, but it has been an education learning about the Western ones - "showmanship", "western pleasure" "western equitation", and "trail". Most of these require very precise movements while executing patterns. The trail class is most complex of all, with opening/closing gates from horseback, stepping over and backing through rails, crossing a bridge, retrieving items from mailboxes, and other things. I'll post a video of the trail class here soon.

Since Stars rides almost everyday to keep Callie fine-tuned, it has been great motivation for me to ride more and work with Blaze and Dreamer with their riding, too. I am taking turns riding all our horses to figure out which one will work best for Blaze to show. She is interested in barrel racing, too! I'm also really tempted to get back into showing, especially jumping. Though we have six horses right now, none have been trained for barrel racing or jumping. A couple are just barely ridable yet at all. It's going to be a lot of work, but we have to get them trained anyway because we can't afford to keep all six - B.'s plan all along was to sell a couple after getting them trained.

A couple nights ago Stars asked me if we could go for a ride at night. I used to do this on full-moon nights once in a while, just for the thrill, but I haven't done it since moving to Wyoming 15 years ago. At first I was a little dubious, since there was only a half moon. But there was plenty of light - enough even for moon-shadows. And since there are a lot less than trees than in woods in New York where I used to ride, it wasn't quite as scary, even when we trotted. Still there were a few moments that made me catch my breath - when we startled an antelope alongside the road and it in turn startled the horses when it took off running. Thank goodness I was riding my old pal Rebel, who doesn't spook easily. But thrills aside, there is nothing like getting out on a warm summer night under a starry sky. We went up to the end of our subdivision road, toward the foothills, high enough that on our way back we had a glorious view of the city lights twinkling below us.

Besides riding, Stars has been spending time with a couple friends and also with her Granny here in town and her aunt's family in Cheyenne. She is a voracious reader, like me, so during one of our Cheyenne trips we visited the fancy new library there. The library had a great play area for the twins, so I could browse through the shelves to my heart's content without having to keep chasing after them. I was only going to pick out two books, but it was just too tempting. I came home with 5! Between all the riding, and now these books, my writing progress has dwindled to nothing. Ah well, there will be time again after Stars heads back home.

My stepdaughter really likes to pick outfits and dress the twins up, and then fix their hair up fancy with curls or braids or flips. She said I really needed to get more outfits for Serious and Starlet, though. Well, money being pretty tight around here, buying new clothes wasn't an option, but when I told her that I can trade out-grown clothes in at a store in Cheyenne in exchange for other clothes, she said "let's go!". So after our library trip we went to the "Once Upon a Child" store. I got a $9 credit for clothes I traded in, and we lucked out that they had a bunch of clothes on clearance for $1, so I let Stars pick out 9 shirts, dresses and shirt/short combos for the twins. She had a blast. Now today she is on mission to go through all the toys in the house and organize them. Blaze and Dreamer are gone for a week (at Grandma and Grandpa's in South Dakota) so it is a good opportunity to sort through everything and box some stuff up. We definitely have way too many toys and the girls don't play with even half of them. I have been meaning to get a system for "rotating" toys but just never seem to get around to it... so I am happy, and amused, that Stars wants to roll up her sleeves and get to work.

Stars with Dreamer and Starlet (right before Starlet got her cast taken off)

Dreamer's fancy hairdo - she loves to have her big sis fix up her hair!

The twins just love to crawl up on the fence and pet the horses. Starlet trying to reach Ally, and Serious trying to reach Jewel.

Folly looks a little uncertain about having both twins trying to pet her!

Blaze and Dreamer riding Callie with only a halter and lead rope!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you guys are having a great summer!