As time draws nearer I continue to hear the famous question… Are you and Charlie ready for Oklahoma?
Thoughts jot through my head about Charlie and me: where we started, our Challenges, our successes, and where we are today.
When we began, I spent 5 days in the round pen before I received a touch from Charlie. Finally, on day 5, I was able to halter him. The next several weeks presented challenges in catching him in the 12 x12 stall. What once was an introverted horse whose day was filled with explosions is now a quiet, relaxed, willing partner.
We are now traveling down the trail working though obstacles and working on softness in every part of our relationship.
Last month we had the opportunity to perform demonstrations at the Nevada County Fair. We learned that clapping wasn’t so bad. We also had the opportunity to meet fellow competitor, Megaan Evans, and watch some of her Fabulous Cowboy Dressage Demonstrations!
A picture of Charlie and I giving our liberty demonstration at the Nevada County Fair.
The following week we went to Norco, California. Also knows as Horse Town USA. We rode the trails through the city and spent the day at Rancho Santiago Obstacle course. Charlie did amazing! He especially loved the big tractor tire full of dirt to stand on. Last week we did a Trail trial, competed and rode Drag. Drag is when you are the last rider and you make sure everyone is back safely. You also collect any ribbons left from marking the trail. The most fun for me was not the trial itself, but riding drag. Allowing my horse to long trot and searching for the ribbon tied in the trees was great laser beam work for Charlie and me. We’d spot the ribbon, trot to it and try to stop exactly where I sent my energy to without the reins. Towards the end of the 5 miles we were in the groove.
Charlie, after the Trail Trial with all the trail marker ribbons in his mane.
Yesterday Charlie and I went to Running I ranch Obstacle Course with Megan and her horse JD. This obstacle course was awesome! Perfect for preparing our horses for the trail and the challenge. My favorite was the sheep hide we had to drag back and forth on a line next to our horse. It took Charlie about 15 minutes to become okay with it but when he did, it became fun. He was really challenged by the deer decoy with the big antlers. Interesting, though, that the cougar decoy posed no threat, Lol All in all we had a fun day learning some new skills and hanging out with Megan and JD. Can’t wait to go back!
Along with things going great, we are still ironing out a few wrinkles. Charlie’s hips have always been quite sticky. Though they have shown great improvement, there is still stickiness in there. The hip is where our canter comes from, our stop, our back up, our roll backs, good shoulder yields, and eventually collection… essentially they are super-duper important. If our hip is sticky, these things will not work to their fullest potential. Our bridle work is coming along beautifully! He is finding flexion at the poll naturally, and has an incredibly soft feel.
For me, remembering to dance with my horse, is vitally important. Dancing brings him to life. As well as myself. Without the dance we are merely completing a mundane task with the absence of passion. It is where all is lost. Opening the heart and allowing my movement to flow freely is where all is found.
With only 2 weeks left we will continue to have our conversations and make steady progress. Through all of this I must remember the importance of who this is about: Charlie. He is still young and has learned so much in such a short amount of time. I must remember to never cheat him or rush him just to look “BETTER” out in the ring. We are where we are. It’s all beautiful to me, because it’s our journey. He is counting on me to prepare him for the rest of his life and I won’t let him down.
We will take our excitement, open heart and of course our dance, to Oklahoma and do our very best!