4-H 2011 Journal
Today we had our first 4-H Horse & Pony practice of the year. There were about 7-10 people there, so it was perfect size to get a lot of practice time in. We worked on things under saddle first then did showmanship,
I took Buttercup and she was the absolute best I've ever seen her be! It was like she was a totally different, well-trained horse. I was able to ride her in a lose rein w/t/c, something I've never been able to do with full control of her. She was a saint for putting up with me riding in stirrups that were a couple inches too long(new saddle, just got it, never tested it yet). Somebody that I highly respect and admire commented to me about how relaxed she wasand that made my night. Buttercup is always very high energy and wanting to run, so this was a great feeling.
During showmanship, she was very attentive and her transitions were great. She actually kept a good pace instead of trying to walk quickly like usual. She even stayed inside a too small box when turning. She was just an angel.
Afterward, I got my project book back from last year and found out that I got an A+ with merit.. I've never gotten more than an A, so this was just icing on the cake.
I'm very excited for the upcoming 4-H year because I've been working my tail-end off. Starting next week I have contesting on Tuesdays and then western and showmanship on Wednesdays, so you can anticipate many updates!
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Today was our first practice in a while due to flooding. It was an all contesting practice and we did pole bending, barrel racing and then flag racing.
We started with poles and Buttercup did excellent. She stayed so close to the poles and had great turns. We just need to work on our turn at the end a little.
Next we did barrels, our first two turns were consistently good, we just need to work on the last barrel.
Last, we did flags. This was one that has been tried many times on Buttercup but she has never successfully completed it..She either comes to a sliding stop at the first barrel or wont go close to it..but tonight she was a pro. She ran it like it was nothing. The only thing that went wrong was I grabbed the flag but it didn't come out and then when I got it, we took off and somehow my stirrup came undone.
She was an angel tonight, and she loves contesting more than anything, so I had one happy pony. Tomorrow I have another practice with pleasure, halter, showmanship, etc. if weather permits, so we will see how it goes.
Today we had a long practice. It was Western pleasure and halter/showmanship from 2:30 to about 5:40, then barrel and flag racing from about 5:50-6:30.
With western pleasure, Cup was the best she's ever been. She was completely collected and kept her head where it should be the entire time. We had 4 cavaletti poles laid out that we had to walk over and she didn't even bat an eyelash at them. Then we had some water that my 4-H leader told me to try going through. Cup doesn't like water, but she did it for me. Then we had a box that we had to do a 360 turn in, and we need to work on that. She started to get it, but it could use some fixing. After that we had to back in the 'L' shape and she did well. As I was going past my 4-H leader, he was sitting with some people and he pointed at me and I heard him say quietly 'she's so much better than last year.' that made me feel great.
During showmanship our pattern was set up at the first cone, walk to the judge and set up, be inspected, trot to the last cone, back 3 steps, turn a 270 to the right, then trot to line up. I was the demonstrator for the younger members and Buttercup did amazingly well. I couldn't believe her. Then we all lined up and the 'judge' inspected us so we could practice our quarter movements. I think I've finally got them down, which is exciting for me! (:
During contesting there were only 2 of us because everyone else left so we got plenty of practice and Buttercup had excellent turns. She ran great and turned sharp. I was proud.
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A few pictures from yesterday's practice:
Practice last night was cut short due to a huge storm rolling in, but it was fun. We did Speed & Action and Keyhole, but I was afraid to let Cup go as fast as usual because the arena was still rather wet. We got a little speed in though. It was super humid out so we were trying not to work them too hard. Cup was really good and well behaved, but we need to practice tighter turns for keyhole.
Yesterday's practive was pretty awesome. It was a long oner from 2:30-6:30. We started with riding around the arena doing pleasure stuff. Buttercup was very good at the walk and trot being very calm and keeping her head down. At the canter she was soooo good compared to normal. She even backed pretty well and I switched reins from my single gaming rein to my 7' split reins, so I actually got to ride her on a super loose rein.
After that, we did horsemanship- Cup's least favorite thing. She was better this time than last time and she wasn't too bad but you could tell she just wasn't into it, so I think I've decided to skip that class at the show.
Next, we did showmanship. This was our best activity of the day! Cup was absolutely awesome and I think we've improved A LOT this year. I think showmanship is what I'm looking the most forward to on show day. Cup was just so great for me and my 1-2-3's have gotten much more confident.
After SMS, we did trail. The pattern was the gate, cavaletti, 360 in the box, backing up straight, then the bridge. This was the first time I've done some of the obstacles with Cup and she was really willing to try them. As I was trying the gate part the first time, she decided to 'help' me by pushing open the gate for me and pulling the rope right from my hands...everyone watching got a good laugh from that.
Next, we did contesting. We did keyhole and speed and action. Cup was great and didn't step on the line once. I was pretty proud.
Our show is next Sunday so the nerves are really starting to kick in.
Here are some pictures:
Today was our last contesting practice before the show, which is next Wednesday. We did all the events that will be on the showbill, so it was pretty interesting.
We started with keyhole and my best time was 11.19s, which was our personal best and the best time of anyone there.
Second, we did speed & action. Our best time was 8.63s which was also our personal best and the best time of anyone.
Third, we did barrels. Buttercup was tired because we did keyhole and s&a 3 times each, so she didn't want to run as much on this one. Our best time was 26s, which isn't very good for us, but we run a bigger pattern than most so it wasn't a bad time. This was the second place time of anyone there, but a first place out of the ponies.
Fourth, we did flags. Buttercup was even more tired because we did barrels 3 times each so our best time was 18s, which is a personal best for us since she'd never run this one before and put as with a second place time in this one out of everyone, but a first place in the ponies.
Last, we did poles and she was worn out so our best time was in the late 20's somewhere I believe. This isn't great for us, but it was a second place time overall and a first place in the ponies.
She was really well behaved and tried her heart out and I'm very excited for next Wednesday.
Tomorrow we have our last practice of the year and it's a western pleasure, horsemanship, halter, and showmanship practice. I get nervous everytime I think about the show which is coming up soon.
Yesterday's practice was very interesting. I changed Cupp over to a curb bit which she absolutely hated. She wasn't bad but she wouldn't back up straight or stop well in it.
We started with showmanship which she was good in except for one turn which is no big deal because it was more my fault.
Next we did some pleasure work and she actually kept her head low much better than normal with the curb bit, but she wanted to walk fast for some reason. Her trot was like heaven..she was slow and collected and I couldn't have asked for a better one. Her canter was nice and slow too for the most part, but she kept picking up the wrong lead. When it came time to back up she didn't really want to unless I used two hands.
During horsemanship she wasn't the greatest. She didn't really want to stop at the first cone, then she wanted to walk quickly and fly into the jog, but her lope circle was really good but then she didn't want to stop right. I had to use both hands to back her up again, but she wasn't bad necessarily.
My 4-H leaders are letting me show in the bit I normally use which looks like this:
I think the show will go fine since we can use that. Tonight we're turning in our books and papers and whatnot and getting our showbills and going over them.
The show is in 4 days and I'm super nervous already.
The show was rained out so now it's supposed to be on the 24th. The contesting show is supposed to be tomorrow night if the arena is dry.
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The contesting show went pretty well. We started with poles and she almost blew a turn, but we were able to get around it and ended up knocking down a pole, which gave us a 5 second penalty and put us in 4th place, which wasn't too bad, especially with a penalty. I believe our time was in the 30's with a penalty. Without the penalty, we would've had second place.
Next was barrels, we got a 25 second time [again, larger pattern] and ended up with 4th place only 2 seconds away from the 1st place time.
We got a no time in flags bec ause I couldn't quite grab the flag, thought we finished the pattern with a really good run, would've had a great time.
Keyhole went really well. We got a 12 or 13 I think..which was second place 1 second behind first.
Speed & action also went pretty well with either an 8 or 9..which was also second place, less than 1 second behind first I think.
Pictures and videos soon to come.
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