Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween with ranch races!

This year at our barn Halloween party, we celebrated with ranch races!  Last year we had costumes and hay rides — click here to read about last year's Halloween party.

I opted not to do the ranch races.  Panama has been a bit too unpredictable lately, and I decided I was better safe than sorry.  Afterward I led him through the course, though, and he did fine.  He might have been all right, but then again, with me on his back and lots of people and horses milling around watching, it might have been a completely different story.  Since most of the obstacle course was out in the open field behind the outdoor arena, I didn't want to risk going down in the history books as the one who fell off her horse at the Halloween party.

My decision did, however, give me the opportunity to take lots of pictures!  Enjoy!

The day started out with a practice session, which I didn't attend, so the horses weren't really running all these obstacles with no previous exposure.  Then everyone enjoyed lunch...

Halloween party at the barn

...and some of the riders milled about waiting for the races to start.

Halloween party at the 
barn

Listening while the course was explained...

Ranch races at the 
barn

The course started out in the outdoor arena.  First you had to canter one circle fast to the left...

Ranch races at the 
barn

...then one lap at a slower canter to the left.

Ranch races at the 
barn


Then you had to turn and trot one circle to the right.  (A lot of the horses wanted to canter this one, too — they didn't understand why they had to slow down once they were all fired up.)

When you finished your circle, you grabbed a rope that was hung on a jump standard at the starting line, and dragged a log in a circle to the right, at whatever speed you wanted to go.

Ranch races at the 
barn


Some of the horses didn't care much for being chased by a log.

Ranch races at the 
barn


Once you hung up the rope, you had to exit the arena, opening and closing the gate (including unchaining and rechaining) from horseback.  Then you were off to the obstacle course behind the arena.

First you went through the puddle (a cement depression with water in it for practice purposes)...

Ranch races at the 
barn

...over the bridge...

Ranch races at the 
barn

Ranch races at the 
barn


...and got a letter out of the mailbox.

Ranch races at the 
barn

There is a large track in the field, which you had to ride all the way around it with that letter in your hand.  Most people ran it since the race was timed.

Ranch races at the 
barn

Ranch races at the 
barn


On the way back there was a log you had to go over.  Some horses jumped it, some just stepped over.

Ranch races at the 
barn

Then you put the letter back in the mailbox.

Ranch races at the 
barn

Next you took your horses into a square made with four railroad ties.  There were tons of empty bottles and red Solo cups on the ground.  You spun your horse in one direction one revolution, and then the other, and then backed out the way you came.

The final obstacle was a roping obstacle.  Without dismounting, you picked up the rope, and then threw your lasso from behind the pole.  You had two tries...

Ranch races at the 
barn

...after which you got down and replaced the rope on one of the horns.  The trick: Your horse had to stay behind the pole and not follow you!

Ranch races at the 
barn

Once you were remounted, the clock stopped!

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3 Comments:

At November 2, 2010 at 3:51 AM, Blogger Kate said...

Looks like fun! Young horses need time to get used to these things and you were probably wise to sit it out - but it looks like you had fun just being there!

 
At November 2, 2010 at 8:36 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

How fun!

 
At November 3, 2010 at 8:59 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Kate, I had a blast! I took a few hundred pictures, and some of them turned out really well! I'm going to work with him on the obstacle course in the field over the next year, though, so that maybe we can do the race next year.

NM, I love that our barn does fun things like this. We have Christmas parties and other get-togethers, too. It makes it feel like one big family!

 

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