Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obstacle Course for Best of America By Horseback Ride

I headed for my favorite place in the world, Leatherwood, with one mule and a trailer full of stuff! The TV Show Best of America By Horseback was having a national ride this weekend and they had asked me to host a Trail Challenge for Sunday afternoon. The place was a buzz of people, vendors, riders and good food smells! Friday night was a nice dinner and people getting to know each other or seeing old friends. It was rainy and drizzly and cold, yuck! That night it poured rain on and off and in between the rain storms the wind blew and blew! I had to get up and put my awning away. Poor Sadie was tied to the trailer in this lovely weather but she was partly under a tree and had a warm winter blanket on too!

Saturday morning was a much different story, clouds pulling off and the sun!! We all saddled up for our group ride to leave out at 9AM! The ride went well and I was glad that I had a t-shirt on as it got rather warm. The group stopped at different times for various reasons and my group got separated from the rest so I got to lead them up the mountain. Best of America had cameras along the way to film us as we rode by.
After Lunch and Beverly arrived I started loading things into the arena. At dinner we sat at a table in the back and got a few more people to sign up for the trail course!
Sunday AM Bev and I met Abbie for breakfast. Bev had told me Abbie wanted to have breakfast with us and then Caroline from the resturant also gave me a hard time about not yet eating at the resturant yet. Well I was surprised at the end of breakfast with two cakes and a singing of Happy Birthday! Apprently Carolin and Bev could not remember which cake was my favorite so she made both! Boy was I surprised!

After several mad hours of setting up the course it was done! All my extra work had paid off as I must say the course looked good. I could not wait to see how the horses and mues did with it!

Sadie Mae was a pack mule for the advanced group. They had to take her from a handler and lead her between some cones and return her! She did very well, esspcially not knowing the horses or people who were leading her.
Everyone seemed to have a good time and once the scorces were added up and awards given it was time for a mad clean up! Lots of people helped get the things taken down and out of the arena. Lucky for me and Bev her friend Mike stayed and help us actually get the things loaded back on to my trailer! Sunday night was a nice dinner and cake!! Then Bev left for home!

Monday AM I took my truck and drove around the roads outside Leatherwood to see what I could find! I found lots and lots of wild turkeys and one beautiful mountain view!

Cattle Working Clinic with Brad Cameron

Photo of Seven and my boot taken by a Newspaper Reporter who came to write a story about the clinic!

On Oct. 2, 3 & 4th a group of Mule riders gathered at Flintrock Farm in Reidsville, NC for a Mulemanship and Cattle Working Clinic by Brad Cameron. The Clinic was hosted by my good friends Holly and Bruce Fisher. The Clinic started with about 20 people in Mulemanship 1 Class at 9AM. Brad started everyone out with ground work and then exercises in the saddle to help build a foundation of training and trust with you and your mule. At 1pm the group I was in gathered in the lower arena to start working cows. A few of the mules were fearful of the cows and they where not even in the pen with us yet! Seven was calm and relaxed about the whole thing since we have worked cows before. Brad went over the basics and showed us some of the movements we will need our mules to do to work the cows.

My friend Deby Cochran brought her donkey Pauline and Alison who owns Pauline's sister Joy also came. Bad said this was the first time he had ever had donkeys in is Cattle Working Class. Both did really well!

He then let them into the ring and we took turns moving the whole herd around the outside of the arena. Brad paired me and Seven with the mule that was the most scared of the cows to give that mule support. Seven was more concerned with what that other mule was going to do next instead of the cows. Towards the end of the session Brad let me and Seven do some extra things with the cows so that Seven did not get board. He paid me a big complement by telling my I had a nice and well broke mule!

The next day we got to do some sorting of the cows and learned more how to ride to stay ahead and cut the cow off from the rest of the group. Seven caught on and was having a great time, me too!

On the third day we practiced working cattle out of a group and Jay Lankford joined in for some fun with us. His great mule Zip, who had done some cattle working before jumped right in. I saw the mule get impatient with a cow and reach up and kick at a cow with his front hoof!! Amazing! Jay said he has used Zip to load cattle onto trailers and that is when he started doing that.

Then they divided the riders into two groups and set up an obstacle course for us to herd the cow through. It was very entertaining to watch the cows cross a bridge, go over a small jump and be guided between black tubes on the ground. We had to work as a team to get this all done! After the last class was over I got to stay late and help load the cows on to the trailer for Jay to take them home!