The first weekend of May, I was fortunate enough at the last minute to take Hayden to AQHA's Quarterfest and ride in a few clinics with Mike Major!But first let me tell you about our trip up!
Murfreesboro,TN. is about 6-7 hours north of us. No problem. Hayden has been hauled from Canada to Arizona to Colorado to Alabama and all over this state! However,in all of those travels that I am aware of,he comes off the trailer looking like a greyhound with a drawn up heave line. He still eats,drinks and poops with no change. Doesn't holler and carry on and seems fine except for that one detail. No matter how filled out I get him at home,he looks thin by the time I get him to where he's going! Going to Quarterfest was no different. We even popped him every am with a tube of electrolytes to no avail.
Thursday afternoon after we had him settled in, I rode him around in the outdoor arenas where our clinic would be. Hayden rode around and worked great! No issues and he seemed to be comfortable and relaxed. Even with blowing banners on fences!
Friday morning was our first clinic with Mike Major,Working Ranch. There were 13-15 of us and we worked on boxing cows for the 3 hours, with Mike stressing that your horse be soft in the face and responsive to the Whoa cue and be able to back up willingly and straight! Hayden does this no problem so this clinic was pretty easy. The cow part I was worried about since we hadn't worked the hydrabull since Oct. and haven't worked live cows since September! But Hayden was great! All the hydrabull practice was the key!I was tickled to death!
The awesome and amazing Mike Major:
After lunch was Ranch Cutting. Although we've done the one Ranch Cutting in Sept., it was ONLY one! But Mike was patient and a great teacher! He had us rotate around and work at herd holding as well as turn back positions! Hayden was SUPER again! We were able to work 3 sets and unfortunately Chuck only got a few pics of our 3rd set when Hayden was sore and tired and the cows were DONE! But that's ok!
I was tickled that Hayden did so well! He really wanted to work those cows!
Hayden during our 3rd set of Ranch Cutting (BHC Photo credit):
I was able to talk with the very talented and personable Ken McNabb while there.I asked him about Hayden's traveling habits and the drawing up.He suggested I put him on Nutrena's Empower and see if I could get him fatter than I think he needs to be so that when I haul him he has a little in reserve so to speak. We picked up a bag the next day! Photo credit:BHC)
I let Hayden have Saturday off and I hand walked him in the am and pm.Of course this was also the day the heavens fell open and flooded Nashville and surrounding areas! All the clinics were moved indoors and sessions were cut to one hour.
Sunday morning I was able to warm him up in the coliseum but he hated the rail and could not get real comfortable. He really likes the outdoor pens better!
Our only clinic that morning was Ranch Riding. We were supposed to be working on extending and shortening the jog but Hayden was not settled and Mike suggested I just lope him around to help him get settled. And lope we did for what seemed like forever. But we guided around there with no problems. Didn't run over a soul!
Mike and I talking before the Ranch Riding Clinic (Photo credit:Dee Goodwin):
Next was the Stock Horse Competition with Curt Pate and Mike Major judging. It was just for fun so I tried not to feel pressure but when they said we had to ROPE the CALF,OMG! Panic set in! Hayden hates ropes and I have not roped anything but the dummy off of him.
First we had to open and shut the gate,trot a figure 8,lope right lead circle,box cow,track cow,stop cow,then rope it. No problem,right? HA!
Hayden didn't want to by himself in that pen so he tried going back out the gate.
Then,I failed to close my figure 8 and only made it a serpentine.Followed by not closing my circle.But my cow work was excellent,(they said) and we were commended on our STOPS! (YEEHAW)
I have never handled one of those 50ft. ranch ropes before (with a breakaway honda) so my attempt was an honest one but with no experience to back it up we didn't catch! BUT HAYDEN did GREAT! So the little roping of the dummy helped but probably not as much as helping de-rig steers for Homer and Kaston did! Thanks Homer and Kaston!
So Quartefest was a success for us in my opinion and I hope to attend next year too!
This week the boys and Chuck were gone so I was able to really put some hours on Hayden! We rode 2 hours on the trail on Sunday with Lisa. An hour and a half of schooling at the arena with Jane on Monday,a 4 hour ride at Blakeley with Deb and her sisters on Tuesday am and then 4 hours of working the roping pen later that night. LOVED it!
We received a "curriculum" from my riding mentor last week too so Monday's session was devoted to introducing some lateral exercises to Hayden in hopes that we will be ready to start our Spins and Lead Changes when we go up to ride with Tom again. He did great! We worked on moving his hips while at all the gaits while still keeping a relaxed forward motion and keeping his face soft. Did I mention he did great!? LOL! We even had a great little stop where we ended the day's session! BTW-does anybody else get excited to see big ole' sit down spots in the dirt!? I go so far as to take a pic of it with my phone and post it on FB! I'm crazy like that! I can't help it!
At the roping pen,we worked the de-rigging chute,tracked steers,pushed steers back up,and then Kaston and Homer worked Hayden on the skid dummy! He did pretty well for his first time. Then I sat on him and roped the skid steer. It went. Homer sent a calf dummy home with me to practice on so next week we are hitting it hard!June 26th is our clinic and then show with the Alabama Stock Horse Association. My goal is to comfortable enough with the rope to actually rope the calf instead of circling there. We will see!
This weekend we are working at the Hangout Music Festival so Hayden gets the weekend off. But Monday-IT'S ON!
PS-Hayden had a birthday this week! He turned 6 on the 8th!