Friday, March 20, 2009

Cowboy Race on a MULE?

For those of you who do not know what a Cowboy Race is check out

March 7th in Monroe, NC at a Farm Called Why Not An American Ark?
I arrived on Friday and checked in. Got Seven settled and met a few of the other people who will be competing too! The Ark is a very nice place they do have at least two of every animal, but very spread out! The barns, arenas, camp ground, bathrooms, etc are on opposite ends of the earth. So I was glad when Molly showed up to help. We used her Yellow Jeep the whole weekend to run around in! Jerry, owner of the Ark was kind enough to let me park by the barn so at least my tack and everything was near Seven! I did some riding and came back to the trailer and did some practice with some of my "toys" I had brought along. Then Molly and I went out for dinner!

The next morning Seven and I drew a spot in the morning ride so I ran to tack up and get out on the course. It was warm that day and we relaxed a little while other people took their runs. I watched, planning in my head how I would do things!

Here is the run down of the course and how Seven and I ran it!
Took off from the timer and down a small hill to two Bank Jumps. He jumped up the first one, about 2 1/2 feet, we stopped turned a small circle and it was about three steps to the next one that is three feet straight up! Then we picked his way through a heavy brush pile. Cantered a few steps to the log drag. It took me a minute to get the log going because I wanted to have my reins and rope straight. The log was so heavy that you had to Dally off of the horn. We then arrived at the Hay move. It is a box about 10x10 foot. You are to stand your horse in the box while you move the hay from one side to the other. Seven stood like a rock for me! I did have to say Whoa the whole time! Then down a hill and through a Hay Ring that was sitting in small creek. Then I walked over to a cone, bent way down and took a ball off of it, rode over to the next cone and returned it to the cone. We took off down a little hill to a big cross country jump. Picked up a flag and had to jump a 2 1/2 foot wide ditch! Then return the flag to another location. Next we took off across the whole course at a full gallop. At the Jump at the far end I put on a rain slicker! Seven again stood like a rock! Take off to the water barrels where I was supposed to get the bucket, scoop some water and them carry it to the other barrel and dump it. The small bucket was 1/2 sunk when I arrived as I touched it is sank to the bottom of the 55 gallon water filled barrel! So I had to dismount and stick my arm in the barrel of cold water to get the bucket. I should have hung on to the bucket but I put it floating on top of the water again. By the time I mounted and reached for the bucket the wind blew and if turned over and sunk again. I dismounted but before I could remount to get the water in the bucket I had the 30 second whistle blown on my, meaning I got a 0. DARN! I took off for the deep water crossing, which Seven did very well. He came out and crossed another small ditch, we stopped at a cone and I had to run the last 30 feet to the timers. Seven ran right with me with out pulling.

I was so proud of him! He did everything I asked, when I asked him to do it! All those hard obstacles! I have several people come up and tell me that I did a great job and that I should be in the top eight for the semi-finals! One guy came up and told me he thought my horsemanship was perfect! Wow that is quite a complement!

The placings and scoring from the Judges did not seem even (really to no fault of their own either) the top 8 consisted of 1-7 place from the afternoon riders and 8th place being the rider who should have been the high scorer from the morning. Several people from the afternoon who made it to the top eight had major faults, problems and not smooth rides. About 4 or 5 of us from the morning should have made it back to the top eight and about 4 riders had good rides equal to those in the morning from the afternoon. When I spoke to the Judges they told me they could not believe that I did not make it back to the top 8 and they had nothing that they could give me that was wrong with my ride (other than the 0 I got because the bucket sunk twice) One Judge told me that he was using my run in his head to compare the other riders with for scores. Oops...guess not scoring the same as in the morning.
My theory is that the Judges scored the morning riders. Then lunch, then while Judging the the Pro riders they got used to handing out bigger scores . When they went back to the last 8 of the Non-pro division. I later learned that the Judges are not allowed to check their placings and so the scores stood. I have written a letter to Bill Hull the pres. of the Extreme Cowboy Assoc with some of my suggestions. Judges training, score cards, ways of running heats and several other things need to be changed before I will spend my money on that again.
I got a nice letter back from Bill Hull thanking me for my constructive criticism. I hope they can change things so that it will be more fair to all and then I will come back to ride! I think this is a great event and one I want to see continue.
The lady who won the Non-Pro is Stacy McCall from GA. She had a nice Buckskin colored Dun Stallion named Silent Poco Sunday. I cheered for her the rest of the weekend! She and that horse where so smooth and quick. He stayed quiet and calm no matter that was asked of him.
I am not sure I could have beat her!
The most upsetting thing for me was that Seven did so well and did not get to try again!