Saturday, March 24, 2012

A History Lesson - Part II

I figured it was about time for another history lesson - I'll tell you why at the end!  However, to start things off, I did indeed ride today (it was beautiful out!).  We jumped and I tried out a waterford with a figure-8 to see what Charlie thought of it.  I'm trying to come up with something to help me on cross country although it will be tough to recreate the problem while not on cross country at a show.  So I'm really just trying to see what he'll tolerate and what he hates.  He didn't hate this get up but I'm not sure the bit is right - no real reason other than my gut.  

The exercise today was off-set verticals - I took a picture because I won't be able to explain it without making it way more complicated than it really is.  Charlie was really good once he understood the question.  It never fails to amaze me at how catty he can be.

Hopefully you can see it but basically it's 3 verticals with the center one off set.  It's 42 ft between the 2 end verticals and 21 ft between the ends and the middle.  It's basically a steering exercise and I'm happy to report Charlie's steering definitely works! 

And now for the history lesson...

Cowboy and me at King Oak BN - 1991.
This is Cowboy.  Cowboy was my first "real" horse - I'd had ponies before this.  He was some sort of quarter horse cross with some appy tossed in for fun.  He was fairly nondescript - he was kind of deer colored brown with white flecks around his eyes and spots on his tummy.  He was low key and fairly easy to deal with on the ground.  We got him from a local lesson barn and the next day took him to a hunter pace which he cruised around with no problem.  I was 10 when I got Cowboy.  My first recognized event was the following year in 1990 novice at Shepley Hill (I can't believe it's been that long!) and to say it was a failure is a mild understatement.   I fell off at the first fence and was eliminated at the third.  Fun times.  To add insult to injury, when they allowed us to do our stadium round, he ran away with me.  Our second event was the following year at King Oak BN and it was much more successful - I didn't fall off at the first fence and I actually made it around the whole course!

1992 was an even better year - this was the year I met Cherie and I made the move up to Novice.  Cowboy was never very good on the flat.  If you asked him to really use his hind end, he had a bad habit of going up on 2 legs so I just sort of had to make do.  But since I was eventing in the "dark ages," if you went clean on cross country and stadium (which we usually did by this time), you almost always walked away with a ribbon.  For some reason, I can't find any pictures from this year.

1993 was a big year for us - I went to my first Groton House which used to be a really big show (fantastic facility and just a ton of fun to show there), we went to Pony Club Championships for show jumping, and made the move up to training.

Groton House I Novice - 1993
King Oak novice - Spring 1993 (remember this saddle pad)

As you can see, we'd come a long way.  Cowboy ended up being a really great horse despite our partnership starting out a little rough.  He was super safe and super fun to jump - absolutely made up for being such a turd on the flat.  He was so good, my mom inherited him once I got Fuzzy (see A History Lesson - Part I).  She evented him Novice and did little combined tests with him.  Basically, she had a blast with him.  I taught the occasional pony club lesson on him and some kids took their D-2s and D-3s on him.   

Pony Club Championships Culpepper, VA - 1993 (I look fierce don't I? Haha!)

King Oak Training - Fall 1993

I got Fuzzy right after Pony Club Championships and King Oak in the fall was our last event together.  I'm pretty sure I went off course in SJ.  Some lessons we learn the hard way...

Now for what sparked this trip down memory lane.  Remember that saddle pad I pointed out on Cowboy?  Well, check Charlie out - took this right before our ride today.

Charlie rocking a saddle pad that's almost 4 times as old as he is...

I love saddle pads and have a very tough time throwing them out...obviously!  Oops!  I forgot to tell you the saddle pad is what sparked the trip down memory lane.  Lots and lots of memories tied up in this saddle pad.

Edited (for the last time!) - I'm apparently too sleep deprived and have resorted to repeating myself.  For some reason I thought I had forgotten to say why I wanted to stroll down the memory lane but obviously I didn't. *sigh*


  1. Charlie looks darling. :-p He can wear figure 8s with aplomb.

    Cowboy sounds like a super little horse.

  2. Is it wrong that I'm secretly hoping a figure-8 will help on cross country because I think it looks cool? I think he looks quite smashing in it for all the wrong reasons! :-). Thanks!

  3. Replies
    1. Haha! Didn't notice that until you pointed it out. My first pony (the one in my profile pic) was a pinto, my second pony was a strawberry roan and Fuzzy was obviously a bay. Didn't realize that Charlie and Cowboy were the same color (relatively speaking). I thought I would end up with another bay but I'm loving the chestnut thing - they never look dirty! Now, if I could only teach Charlie how to keep his nose clean...