Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Game On!

Sunday was the first Western Gaming Playday at Meridian Riding Club for this year. Smokey and I were, of course, in attendance.

While we held our own last year, with 15 people in the Super Senior Division at this event, and with placings only up to Fifth, I thought for certain we were going to get skunked. While this event is primarily about having fun, many of these folks ride like they mean it.

Well, I hate to brag, but...we brought home ribbons in five of the six events. Looking over my times from last year, I shaved as much as 3 seconds off some of my times. A friend commented to me "you've really stepped it up a notch." Having not practiced one iota all winter, I can't really claim to have worked on improving. So what changed? I had to think about that.

My conclusion is that the improvement is two-fold.

First, and foremost, I have implicit trust in Smokey. I know that if I give him the right signals, he will respond as I want. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body, and while he spooks rather easily, and in a rather large manner, he won't buck, rear, bolt or do anything dangerous. But make no mistake, Smokey Joe is fast, and needs very little encouragement from his rider to take off like a rocket. I know that horses don't think or feel the way humans do, but I dare say he enjoys a good run.

Second, I have gained the confidence in my riding skills to safely sit perched atop a running horse. I think I have reached the point of being a good rider. Not a great one, nor do I think I will ever achieve that level, but good, yes.

It was a good day, and the weather was beautiful. I have the ribbons and sunburn to prove it.


Bag Blog said...

I do miss the days when we loaded up the horses and went to the arena for games - lots of good people having good fun.

You didn't mention anything on the Navy T-shirt I posted the other day - of course it had to do with Navy pilots, but still it was Navy.

Andy said...

Congratulations, old man! That's gotta feel good...when you know that you're finally "getting it."

Good on ya'! And Smokey Joe! Give him a carrot for me, or something...

Buck said...

Not a great one, nor do I think I will ever achieve that level, but good, yes.

Good works. I know that from some competitive experience on horses of the steel and aluminum variety. But what REALLY works is having fun... the rest is gravy unless you wanna turn pro. But that's another story, innit?

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Good for you and Smokey! I used to run barrels when I was a kid, then I had a 25 year break from horses. In '99, I was up at a little sagebrush rodeo in NM with my 16 year old daughter. She had heard the stories about me barrel racing when I was her age. She turns to me and says, "I'd enter if you would." She DARED me, can you believe it?

What can you do when your kid dares you? Some friends of mine loaned me their gelding and I entered. My daughter chickened out when I was paying the entry fees ...hehe. I didn't win a ribbon, but I had a GOOD run. I was nervous as a cat until I got in the arena and then it was just me, the horse and the barrels. When I came out, my daughter was speechless and hasn't dared me to do anything since. Gotta love it.

: )

Jessica said...

Good job! I'm sure your confidence helps, and your riding ability, too--but I'll bet just going out there to have fun is the best trick of all.