I can't speak to gymkhana events in other parts of the country but in Butte County, California, local gymkhanas are like a three ring circus always teetering on the edge of going wrong. I went to the local Sheriff Posse's monthly gymkhanas fairly regularly when J still lived close by--in fact I should post one or two of our buddy photos with Chief and Blaze from a few years ago--but hadn't been to one in over a year, since my focus honed in on LDs with Blaze, endurance, and conditioning, and training and and...Today's gymkhana was the first of this year that didn't conflict with an endurance ride on my schedule so I loaded up the Blazer and had a go at it.
Feel so naked without breastcollar, boots, packs, etc! My saddle sure was light though..
N joined us with her other mare, Kate, who I have never met before. She is a very beautiful coppery chestnut and looks great in the yellow/tye dye N has her in.
Untying the ribbon
Like this shot, nice looking mare
We entered the 6 single events (2 team events we didn't do) including single stake, barrels, and the bow race. Blaze trots nicely in frame for the most part, with the odd nose in the sky for effect, but whenever I ask for a canter at a gymkhana he immediately sticks his nose down and starts trying to buck. He's always done it and I can't decide whether he's totally sour on the thought of running home or wants to be let out to flat out run home. I bought him locally as a 12 year old so there is a good chance (especially in this area and the size that he is) he was run in gymkhanas in his life at some point. Since I'm not wild about joining the ranks of those who eat shit off their horse at the gymkhana (however unlikely that may be), I usually "EH EH" him for the naughty thoughts and stick with the trot. We didn't get any ribbons, as trotting haughtily around barrels in frame doesn't beat galloping flat out, spurring and hollering at yer pony.
There was a tiny pony being ridden by a little girl and Blaze was in love. He usually spooks out and is terrified by small/baby animals (goat kids, foals, etc) but for whatever reason this petite pony looker was his kind of gal. He watched for her, snuffled her whenever she was near (and she politely nibbled his face back), and nickered at her so softly that he sometimes didn't even make noise but I could feel his diaphragm fluttering with it. Then he tried to eat the pony rider's little brother's Doritos out of the bag and that won him some serious fans, so we spent the latter part of the gymkhana extricating ourselves from a pony/kid crowd to trot our events. Blaze is a charmer, what can I say.
I was so bummed I didn't get a picture of the pony and then I loaded my photos on the computer and saw that N had taken an accidental shot of her mare's butt, but just behind it in the background was the pony! Gotta love zoom, here she is:
A few people fell off, some horses bucked, a horse or two reared, one lady was wearing shin guards and had her boots tied into the stirrups with baling twine--but we all survived.
Did I mention it's way too hot? 98 in the shade here..