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June 10, 2018: The Trail Riding Community

It has taken some time, and in part has been circumstantial, but we now have a fairly active and strong trail riding community. Today we had evidence of this out in the Butte, at Saddle Up arena. What transpired was really amazing.

The plan was this – one person would be in charge of vendors and a tack swap. Another would be in charge of the Competitive Trail Riding clinic. Another would be in charge of the Backcountry Horsemen of Alaska table/promotional area. And still another would be charge of the BCHA obstacle course. Oh yeah, and Pete was in charge of the horse weighing scale. Here, those who weighed their horses at the gravel pit were welcome to

CTR Clinic riders heading out for trial ride

again weigh their horses, and compare weights. Pete spent considerable time getting this going because I told him that the gravel pit scale was inaccurate.

I was the one in charge of the obstacle course. Yesterday, I gathered together my agility course equipment and Pete loaded it all into the truck and then transferred it into the trailer. This morning, we drove to Saddle Up – Cathy Foxley met us there, with hands on her hips. This seems to be her characteristic greeting pose – we are always late.

We immediately went about setting up the course – I was glad to have help with this because I am still limping. And furthermore, the arena surface is deep sand. My plan was this – at 11:30 a.m. have a human walkabout. At 12:00 p.m. have a human and horse walkabout. And at 12:30 p.m. have a horse rideabout.

I did not expect that those who were going to ride the course would walk it. I knew that it would be of benefit to them and their horses, but this was not something they were aware of. I did have a handful of walkers and I attempted to make the horse/human connection. I have done better with this in the past.

I did stress that they could do the obstacles in a variety of ways and that each one could be chunked down. I also talked some about the importance of play and how we lose our ability to do this.

The horse walking went well – there was a sudden influx of horses and handlers. I pretty much stood back and watched. I saw some very good horsemanship and some very poor horsemanship.

The rideabout was a little chaotic – interesting, people will play while riding their horses but won’t play when walking. Again, there were instances of good and not so good horsemanship.

In the late afternoon, I instructed individuals who were in the arena – for me this was the best part. There was one teenager who was having a hard time getting her horse to walk through the wading pool. I had her first walk over a tarp, then walk over a tarp with bottles. The horse then clambered through the plastic pool. This made me feel good, as did my spending a few minutes with a woman who was riding her mule. I focused on just one basic, soft eyes, and yes, the mule then did multiple obstacles.

And my friend Heather got Rio to go through the scary corner (which was really scary) at a trot.

I now realize that I could have shown some of the riders some of the resource material I had on hand. I think being gimpy took it out of me, without my even realizing it.

The day a success or so all who participated said.

Next: 162. 6/11/18: Rain

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