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Archive for November, 2010

I now regret waiting so long to write about the competition because this post will go on forever. 🙂 This post will be photo-less and the next post will be all of the pictures from the trip. (I don’t have the pictures on this computer.)

On Wednesday, September 22, Eve and I left Grand Junction with Ren in the back and were on our way to the great…? state of Nebraska! If I was to say our trip over was without obstacles, I would be lying. We blew a tire in Eastern CO and had to change it on the side of I-80. The spare tire we put on was really low on air so we took the next exit to find a gas station to pump it up. When we found an air pump, it was so slow that I swear I could have personally blown it up faster with my mouth. 😛 That night, in the flooding rains of Western NE, we pulled into Gothenburg to rest up and finish the trip the next day. The overnight facility that we boarded Renaissance at was less than luxurious. Wooden floor boards and all. He didn’t try to lay down all night, even after being in a trailer for so many hours. The next morning, we got on the road casually and pointed ourselves towards Lincoln.

Upon arriving at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln, I spotted a familiar face! Abby! Shortly after, Jessi, and Brooke. It was such a blast to get to meet and hang out with the gals I had been getting to know via Facebook throughout the training months. This aspect of the competition was less of a “competition” per say and more of a supportive admiration for each other. After all, we were all in this event for a similar cause: to help the Mustangs!

I unloaded Ren and got his hip number painted before putting him into his stall.

Ren was happy to get out of the trailer and into a nice stall and I was happy to get out of the truck!

Abby, Jessi, and I took the horses out and walked them around the place to get the horses moving around and us chatting.

Eve and I put up the “Renaissance” style stall decorations for the stall decorating contest.

That night at the trainers meeting I decided to sign up to compete in the Extreme Cowboy Race In-hand with Ren. I was really excited to get to do that event as a side event from the Mustang Makeover.

The rest of the night, I spent with Ren in the arenas. We spent a ton of time together preparing for the competition the next day. I felt so unprepared as everyone else had their freestyle routines well mapped out and practiced and mine was still a work in progress in my head!

The next morning we started with the Cowboy Race Preliminaries with Craig Cameron. The obstacles included ALOT of running! We had to jump barrels and poles, back through an L, weave cones, drag a HEAVY sled, lounge over a pinwheel, go through a cowboy curtain/carwash, go through gates and push a ball, load in a trailer, sidepass over logs, go over a bridge that was really a narrow metal ramp, and do “rollbacks” into the fence. Did I mention that this was ALOT of Running?! I was so out of breath upon completion of the course that I could barely answer Craig’s questions. 😛 Renaissance did great throughout the whole thing, the only mistakes we made were my error. I would try to do something extra to get extra points and would run out of time. But regardless, we advanced to finals.

Forgive the poor photo quality! Dad blames the flourescent lights.

After the Cowboy Race Preliminaries was the Handling portion of the EMM. In this, we had to weave poles, pick up a bucket and carry it, load in a trailer,pick up the feet, turn around in a box, back through an L, trot over pinwheel poles, and brush the horse. This was quite a relief since it wasn’t a race and we didn’t have to run everywhere! We also were judged on conditioning and catching/releasing skills.

Next was Showmanship. Our pattern included walking, trotting, a pivot, backing, and setting up for inspection. We then had to answer two industry related questions: How do you teach a horse to pick up his feet  and  What would you tell your friends to get them involved in the EMM. Then we had to line up and wait for all of the other competitors to show before we could leave. I was ordered first in this so I had to stand there FOREVER!

That evening was the Extreme Cowboy Race Finals. We had basically the same course but in the large arena which meant MORE running! The finals went the same as the preliminaries. Any lost points were my fault for trying to do something extra and then running out of time.

I finished 3rd in the Extreme Cowboy Race and won a $100 gift certificate to Smiths Brothers.

The next day was the main event. The final round. Freestyle routines and the winner is….

However, it began with a VIP Breakfast with Craig Cameron…which he didn’t show up to. I suppose when you get too big of an ego, it’s hard to submit to events with us “little people”.

The whole day was spent preparing for freestyle and finalizing the thoughts in my mind into a routine. When the time finally came to compete, I was already crying. The thought that this was the Ren and my last Hoorah  flooded my mind. I couldn’t stop hugging him! When it came closer to my time to perform, the rush of “What the heck am I going to do?” took over. Once it was my turn, I helped my stage crew (Dad, Grandpa, Jessi’s Parents) set up my obstacles and got ready to go in. From the second my music started playing I was such a disorganized clutter of thoughts that I completely improvised my routine. I came out driving, went to drive over the teeter totter (which I had never done before), he didn’t refuse it but wasn’t going over straight so I moved on to jump the pole driving (which I had also only done a couple of times). He went over well and then we went to drive through the cones and switch to a lead rope. From there, I led him over the teeter totter, onto the pedistole where I moved his hind quarters around it with his front feet on top. I pivoted him both directions, crossed a tarp and draped it over him and stood on his back(and almost fell off because his costume and my socks were slippery!). We ended with a bow. I am trying to put the routine of Youtube and I’ll let you know if it is successful! Through my entire routine, I had no idea how much time I had left or really what I was going to do next. But the chaos in my head obviously didn’t come out as much of a mess as I thought because the judges scored me pretty high(mostly 9s and 10s). I had a cumulative score of 87.5/90. I was over joyed! But in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but still think about my almost expired time with Ren.

I spent the remaining time watching my fellow competitors routines. Everyone did so well! 🙂

At the end of it all was the award ceremony.

Renaissance and I took Reserve Champion. 🙂 And the well deserved first place spot went to Luke Lundahl and Chester with a cumulative score of 89/90. They definitely earned it! 🙂

What an event to remember! From the pool party with the gals to the entire competition, it was worth every bit of my time. Despite the failure in the auction, Renaissance found a home with a nice rancher who will treat him well. I cut this part down to just a couple sentences because the literally endless tears began before the auction well past the time we left Lincoln and they do not need to be further relived! 🙂

I will never forget the experiences I had nor will I forget the great friends I’ve made. I thank you all for the endless support you’ve provided me and I apologize again for the terribly late closing post!

For the future, I will update my blog from time to time with other horse event stories. 🙂 If you would like to keep up with me and my equine adventures without having to check up on the blog all the time, just click on the “Subscribe” button and it’ll send you an email whenever I update my blog. 🙂

A big thanks to Alamar Stables for providing me with such a wonderful training environment throughout the whole thing as well as the Friends of the Mustangs for being a huge support also! I also thank Eve Arias for transporting me to and from Lincoln and being my “show mom” for the week as well as Ginger Fishback for helping me so extensively with the costume and creativity of the freestyle! Thanks to everyone who donated to help relieve the financial burden of the event and thank you to all of my blog followers!!

Happy Trails!

~Stephanie

Have fun. Be smart. Be safe.

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