03-04-2014, 02:30 AM
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Awesome. Last year most of the riders didn't own the horses they were riding, I didn't either so that's not unheard of. Practicing everyday is actually a great luxury, we did once a week in the beginning of the year then stepped it to twice a week closer to our performance.
The first year the horse I rode was fed after riding. He was always worked up by the end of the practice and then I had a 20 minute trail ride back to his barn to cool him out before he ate so it worked out. Second year the owner didn't let me come tack up/untack so I can't remember if the horses were fed before or not...depending on the intensity of the practices is be tempted to let the horses cool out and just eat after.
I cannot imagine riding with such young members, our youngest was in 8th grade and was a great rider but her youth showed in being timid to work as a group and not really knowing which adult on the team to take directions from. I'm sure young riders could work though!
I've noticed lazier horses are more tiring to ride on a drill team. We worked to be fast paced and the lazy horse I rode had me beat by the end of the practice! She was constantly needing lots of leg and seat to move forward and stay in formation. Another horse on the team was not happy to be pushed faster then he liked and we ended up having to switch him out for a faster horse.
Grand entry is a routine done with the American flag. We would come out first at the rodeo, do a slower routine at the trot, with flags and then lost of the team would exit while two riders would take a big American and a big state flag around the arena before stopping for the national anthem. Flag work was a lot of fun for me but that takes getting used to for a horse as well and requires a strong neck reining/leg yielding horse. When we didn't ride with flags we were required to ride two handed for ultimate control.
Sounds like you'll have lots of trips to town and working on how well the horse deals with new experiences this summer! Have fun, I'm sure you'll grow a lot as a rider with this experience, I know I did.
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