"Mahm, I really think you have me confused with some other horses that wants to do stuff like this..."
On Sunday Jingle and I went to our very first gymkhana ever. There's a fun (affectionately referred to as "Beer League") by some Gymkhana series close to our barn, and during winter/spring I had it in my head that we'd work toward that and by the time they started Jingle would be loping all the patterns like a bo$$. Well... my season turned into a bit of a season of Jingle being lame, sore, pulling shoes etc. etc... so by the time the August Gymkhana hit I think i'd only been "riding" him for two weeks and that was light, light riding. Realistically by the time this one came around I hadn't been riding much either, but we had gotten back to loping, he was listening to me as good as he generally does and most importantly, he was feeling strong again. So, I thought, heck - let's do it, who cares if we only trot the patterns!
There was a photographer who was there, and luckily for me there's photos from both times I did barrels.
I was weirdly nervous but Jingle entered the arena just fine and trotted happily through the pattern, we just recently started "going left" to our third, and I really need to keep my leg on him through the second barrel... so I think that's what this face is all about haha.
This is Jingle, just looking like a serious boss.
These photos crack me up for various reasons...
Barrel 1, First Run:
Barrel 1, Second Run:
.. Oh, you know, just casually doing the exact same thing with the same dead-angry look on my face. Realistically though I had my reins much too loose for both my runs and wasn't focused enough to crawl my reins. I learned my lesson, and Jingle definitely took advantage of my extra-long reins.
On our second run, Jingle blew out on me past second and picked up a bit of a frazzled lope, causing his rider to get even more frazzled. I could hear "WRONG SIDE" and I thought, what? & then, I realized - doh - I was coming at the barrel from the wrong side. Due to the fact I've just started "going left" with him, I completely forgot the pattern - rookie move. haha I just laughed it off, finished it off and loped home. What more could I do?
I love this photo... I love my horse.
Unfortunately there is no photo or video documentation of poles. Jingle was really good, I had visions of knocking every single pole home, but thankfully he weaved just the right amount and not a single pole was knocked. My only issue during poles was that I was letting him lope home and his stop was ... not quite there... I honestly think I should have just been sitting down and shutting him down sooner, but my friend Caron and her horse Quiz did have us hurtling into her area once she was done her run. Woopsies. The guy at the gate gave me a stern look and a "turn the other way next time", sure sir, I promise I wont "plan" to run into my friend again. haha Sigh.. the amount of times Jingle has run me into inappropriate things in my life.. I tell ya.
It was wonderful timing that my friend Sarah and her son, Ben, arrived to watch the last two events we participated in, so we have video AND photos of those. Also, my friend's mom was there, and she also rides with us, between Poles and the next event, Stakes, she basically told me to buck up and start loping.
The conversation kind of went like this...
Her: "Louisa, you have a good seat, it's time to pick up the speed, what's the worst that could happen?"
Me: "Uhm Jingle could run into the other person, and then hop the fence and maul a child..."
Me: "Ok. I will."
So she is the voice you hear on the videos saying "LOUISA! COME ON!" haha.
Photo Ops are always welcome because my horse is the most gorgeous boy in the whole world...
Seriously, some random lady told me that, no joke.
She said she "loved him and thought he was exceptionally beautiful"
Jingle says, "datz right, I am zeeeeeeee prettiest of all zeeee paints in da world"
The venue isn't so bad either... a beautiful day with hay bales and the rocky mountains in the distance..
K, I'll shut up now, video time:
Stakes Race, Run 1
Stakes Race, Run 2
Jingle and I clearly need to work on our speed-turns, we were kind of taking them like a giant wrecking ball, hence the announcer telling me to stay on my side in that last video. I think they feared we were going to wrecking ball straight into their eye-cameras.
Thread the Needle:
Thread the Needle is kind of nerve-wracking, you have to run into an "enclosed space" turn quick and then book it right out... I had visions of just mutilating ALL THE POLES.
Thread the Needle, Run 1
Thread the Needle, Run 2
I thought our Thread the Needle went really well, especially our first run - homeboy pivoted like a goddamn champ. Anyways, as you guys can probably tell - I am on cloud 9 about how wonderful my boy did at the gymkhana. We had some hiccups about getting on - apparently Jingle thought not allowing me to get on would be a fun game, and I always forget he HATES arena dirt in back SMB's, so he stomps around like a whiney baby until I can take his "dirty socks" off.
Please critique and give me advice as you see fit, but much like my friends 12 year old cousin being told she needs to shorten her reins in her patterns, I'll probably just give you the same "lalalalalalalaa i love my horse" big-ass smile, and not listen to a word you have to say. WEEEEEE, Jingle is da best.