I rode in my first trail trial a week ago Sunday with Daisy.
We arrived and Daisy seemed her usual self in a strange place-absolutely fine. I tacked up in the Abetta endurance saddle that Jean's sister Jenny owned (yes. past tense. guess who owns it now x) ) and booted and bridled Daisy up. (Booted referring to her blue leg boots; I chose not to use her easyboots). We headed over to the start of the ride, and I was first for the first obstacle--up and down two moguls. What are moguls? I didn't know. Turns out they're hills that are very steep going up and down. I've gone down a lot of steep hills, but none quite that steep. Luckily, it wasn't long. Daisy walked confidently to the top of each one, stopped for a moment to look, and then continued on with a squeeze. I thought we should get full credit...is it so wrong that she paused to look? It was maybe a 3 second standstill at the top before she kept going on. A perfect score for all the obstacles was a 10. We received an 8.8. I guess that's not too bad (We didn't learn scores until the end).
We rode on a bit, and then hit the second obstacle, titled Fall Fiesta. The juniors simply had to walk over a tarp, which was held down by ground poles on the edges. Daisy was a little sticky...She walked up, and didn't want to go, but I squeezed her and talked to her and she went pretty quickly-maybe 6 seconds before she walked on. She went over the tarp, didn't jump it ;), but walked quickly and picked her hooves up high. We received a 4.0 score.
In between the second and third obstacle disaster struck. I chose to ride Daisy western, partially because I wanted to be able to use the western curb. I thought if something happened, I'd be able to stop her in it for sure. Ironic how things worked out. We started up the end of a field that was on angle-a hill-at a trot. We then picked up a canter, and after a bit, Jean let us go for a full gallop. The decision was made quickly, and I said right away "uh oh, this may not be good". It wasn't. As soon as Bubba took off in a full gallop in the front, Daisy was as gone-r. She galloped, truly galloped, not just fast cantered. She outran Bubba, at his top speed, in seconds. She was flying past him and as I felt her speed up, I said it again "uh oh"...apparently Jean said "Is that a good uh-oh?" but I don't remember that. The answer was the fact that Daisy blew past everyone. I very quickly attempted a one rein stop. I literally dropped on and put two hands on the other and pulled, trying to spin her around. All that accomplished was to turn her in the direction of the barn and trailers. I'm sure any horse person can guess that that's not good. :P She went flying back down the field. It's not incredibly steep, luckily. She was far from everyone before I finally got her to a stop. I was so mad. As she galloped, I thought "Crap, she's not gonna stop." and then "Should I bail?". I didn't. I had to walk her all the way back up the field. After that, someone grabbed a stick off a tree for me, to make up for the crop I'd forgotten. Freaking curb bit. A snaffle would have been better!
The next obstacle was a back-up station, L-shaped. Daisy was still completely tense once we got there, and so was I, so the obstacle that we normally can pull off blind folded ended badly. She was totally riled up, and trying as per her usual to pretend she knew what I wanted without listening to what I wanted. It ended up involving sidepassing over the back-up pole...yes, Daisy, very impressive, but no. Needless to say we got a 3.5 on that one.
The next obstacle was found in the midst of the woods. There was a metal garbage can hung between two trees, and you had to walk up and (as a junior) hit the can with your hand. I walked Daisy up to it, and hit it gently first, and when she handled it ok, I hit it harder so that it was louder. I'm not really sure why we only got a 3.5 on that one...were you supposed to hit it very loudly? I don't know. I thought I did well. Oh well.
The next obstacle was the one in the first picture up there (all the pictures are by Raspberry Hollow Photos...I don't own them...hence watermark). That's not a rider from our group...I simply wanted a picture of that obstacle to explain it. You simply had to walk your horse around that group of "animals". I really want to know how trail trials get judged. As far as I could tell, Daisy didn't even bat an eye around the animals, and we got a 9.
The next obstacle was "it's a drag". That's our group of riders up there.
You had to pick up a jolly ball on a string from one can and circle another can with it dragging behind the horse. I'd never done something like that, but considering it simply slid along the grass and wasn't noisy, it may just be coincidence that Daisy didn't spook :P
Our score was a 9.1 on this one.
This next obstacle shows Oliver on Scout. You had to ride up to this funky looking "stand" with a crate of corn and pick up a corn w/ husk and carry it to a barrel. Honestly, I don't think Daisy would have been bad, but that the corn husks made noise when I picked one up, and it startled her a little. We got one though, but I was forced to sort of toss it on the barrel...probably not good :P We got a 6.2
Next one was called "Showtime".
It featured a curtain. The curtain was a big piece of carpet hung on a board between two trees, high up, and it simply had slits drawn through it. At first glance, it looks solid. We had 1 1/2 minutes to complete the obstacle. Daisy didn't want to go through at first, but in the end I held aside some of it and she walked through. We got a 3.0.
Ironically, the hardest obstacle was the gate obstacle. I know, I know, it's just a gate. Yeah. That's what I thought.
It was one of those gates where, if you leg go, it swings back right away. You were supposed to take the loop holding it closed off the fence post, open it, go through, and loop it closed behind you. There were 17 juniors. I was the only one to complete it. Out of 100 riders, only 16 finished it. It wasn't possible to get partial credit. We did it and got our only perfect 10 ;)
The last obstacle was simply a ditch you had to go over. It was the easiest ditch to ride over I've ever seen...very wide, and grassy at the bottom, so it was barely considered a ditch :P We got an 8.9.
Scores were calculated. We were incredibly close to a 4th, but I think mostly due to our disastrous back-up station deal after Daisy's little run-off (little=understatement), we were left in 5th (which out of 17 juniors for our first time is awesome :) ). Another girl in our club got 6th, I got 5th with a score of 66.4 (1st place was 75.7), and Oliver beat me by 1 point and got 4th :) It was so fun! And I got one of those great, 'big' ribbons...not the wimpy ones from county fair ;) That adds up my total number of "big" ribbons to two. Blue and pink :)
Since the trail trial, I've taken Daisy only english and in the snaffle. We're working a lot on stopping. The whole situation has really hit home about how much work we need on it. Daisy is incredibly stubborn...but we're working on picking up the correct canter lead, no matter which one I ask for, doing about 5 strides, and then going to a stop. She needs to be reprimanded often. Someone pulled over the other day and was like "are you training your horse"....haha...my answer "Well..sort of...no...you know, just the usual reprimand. I suppose I'm constantly training" haha. I was really proud of her at the trail trial. She can be so nasty, but I love how when she's bridled up, she's the sweetest thing. We had another little girl come over to pet her afterward, and she stood totally still and let the girl pet her all over the face and neck. She's a good girl, deep down.
Best part...I got a Cosequin hat at Stuart Horse Trials a couple years ago but have since had it abducted, sort of...my prize with my ribbon was a new one. :P :)
Daisy and I will probably be doing a cross country schooling next week Monday, the same one we did last year. Hope it works out :)