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Preparating for Mountain Tail Horse Competition

I planned on taking my five-year-old gelding to a clinic before signing him up for the Mountain Trail Competition. But as you know, things don’t always work out how we plan, want, or expect. As the saying goes: Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans! I think he must be belly laughing by now.

So what did He do? Put me right into the competition. Come June 10th Cash and I will be headed to our first Mountain Trail Competition in Walla Walla, WA. I’ve competed on a different horse during an Extreme Cowboy Race called Ride the West in Spokane, WA a few years back.

These competitions are similar, yet different.

Extreme Cowboy Race is fast and exciting. There can be indoor or outdoor events, both using natural and man-made obstacles.

Mountain Trail Competitions, I believe, have all natural obstacles. Higher levels are timed with intentional control. But my pony and I are entered into the first-timers for Cash and the old-timers for me!

Can you believe that! 50 and up are now considered old-timers. I thought I had another ten years and about fell off my stool reading that category on the entry form. At first, I refused to sign up for that class, and then I rethought the issue…aged cowgirls might be a little slower and it may be to my benefit to go ahead and enter! We’ll see.

Then again they may whip up on me in the end. Some of those lifers are pretty tough contenders, that’s for sure.

Either way, I’m in training mode. And now that I’m escorting our Lady Hornet Archers to Nationals in Kentucky, I’ll be a week behind. I feel somewhat panicked.

So I’ve decided to treat this competition as a clinic. I will see what spooks Cash and what builds his confidence. See how well he performs each task and find out what areas we need to improve.

All I know is it will tickle my fancy to be back in the saddle and competing again after a four-year sabbatical in order to train this little guy after my previous gelding came up lame.

So what we have been working on?:

  • Control of head, left side, right side, forward movement and backward motion
  • Side passing
  • Gate work
  • Jumping
  • Movement from a standstill into a canter
  • Rollbacks
  • Keeping a steady pace at a walk, trot or jog, and lope or canter and not rushing around like colts do
  • Water crossing
  • Downfall in the trees
  • Up and down hills in a forward motion
  • Spooky objects: tarps, road signs, umbrellas, etc.

What we need to work on:

  • Backing up small hills or inclines
  • Working with cattle–I’ll have to trailer an hour to one of our son’s ranch
  • Spooky objects (creativity works best here)
  • Ride, ride, ride.
  • In a couple weeks I will be hauling him all over. It’s amazing how well a horse will do at “home.” Take him away and boy do all the boogiemen jump out of the bushes!

I’ve learned a busy horse is a good horse. Long rides and wet saddle pads make safe and sound horses.

We’ve got our work cut out for us in a month and a half, but I’m up for the challenge.

What in your life are you wanting to do that stretches you? A hobby? Travel? A project?

I’d love to hear about it!


Happy Trails and remember to Gallop into Adventure!

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  1. Barbara E. Teter says:

    I can’t wait to read how your ride went, Carmen. I really admire you!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thank you, Barbara. I will post my encounter on the June 19 blog.

  2. Spooky objects (creativity works best here) – Hey, that would apply to me too if I were involved in this adventure. Love your close-up horse pics that show just enough but not too much. This sounds like a busy time. Good luck and welcome to the Wise Elders Club for 50 and beyond.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Judith, so many tips for horses work for humans, too! And visa versa.

  3. What gait are you mostly using in this competition? Is it mostly walking through the woods and then faster where it’s open? Also, how long is the ride?

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Brigid, this is new to me. It is outdoors, but there was not much info on the website. I’m going in blind. When I get back from our archery Kentucky trip, I’ll do more research on it.

  4. I am so excited for you that I have butterflies in my stomach for you. LOL. I would to go with you just to watch. You two will do great, even if you are in the Old timers age group. Welcome to my group. 🙂

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Come watch, Melody! I would love that. Today Cash had a good day but wanted to race around. That will be my biggest struggle with him. He’s young with lots of energy and go. I’ll have to have many days prior of long rides and wet saddle blankets. And thank you for welcoming me to the Old-timers group!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thank you, Mary. Will do. The first one is always the most nerve wracking.