Bobby Magee is the most bad ass gaming OTTB you will ever see in all of northeastern PA.
|"excuse me, i have business to attend to. please stop taking my picture."|
I don't think this horse has ever had so much fun doing something before in his life. No repercussions if he didn't do something perfectly, all his best friends got to hang out ringside with him, he got to share a trailer ride with The Godfather ("OMG, hi best friend! Hiii!!!! We're going someplace together! Isn't that so exciting?! We're going to have so much fun! I love friends! I love going places! We're friends that go places together! Hiiiii!!!!"), and he got to run as fast as he wanted across the arena. What more could a horse ask for?
Well, he probably would have asked not to be dressed head-to-toe in neon orange, but he can't have everything.
Somehow Sarah and I ended up with nearly matching light orange shirts that we bought at two separate Tractor Supply stores. Great minds think alike? More like Sarah's shirt was the only one in her size, and I was committed to our gaudy orange look. Regardless, I give you Team Peach:
|we're not in english land anymore.|
None of the barn's horses were concerned about the crowded warm up, although I was a little confused about why ninety percent of the riders were only going left. The other ten percent were too busy spinning around in circles to track in any direction.
|practicing a turn.|
We did a brief w/t/c before heading back to the trailer since neither B or Bobby seemed the least bit concerned about where they were. On our way out, a
|we'll take our helmets, thanks very much.|
Sarah and I did a milkshake and bathroom run before gathering up her boyfriend and mom and heading back to the trailer to get the boys ready for keyhole.
Keyhole is the most basic concept ever: Run straight down, pass between two cones/barrels/flags (cones in our case), turn around, and run back. Fastest time wins. This is super easy if you have a horse that a) stops, b) turns, and c) will go straight.
On Monday, when I was practicing with the camp kids, I still had Bobby in the slow twist loose ring, with a tie down added. He still had zero brakes. BO gave me a slightly horrified look as I ran my horse into the fence to stop him, and kindly suggested adding my hackamore on top of the bit. That reminded me that I had a rather beastly contraption lurking in the bottom of one of my tack trunks from a brute of a horse I had many years ago, and I pulled that on to try on Bobby the morning of the show. This thing is a monster, but I had brakes, and I had steering, and Bobby didn't seem offended by it in the slightest. I guess if you're a wild western horse, you're okay with wearing wild western bits.
Bobby walked calmly into the chute for his turn, something that half the camp horses that have been doing this show for years couldn't manage (I got a good warm up running horses down to the gate, the punks), and took off down the arena like he'd been doing it forever. Then he saw the cones and was like, "Huh? Let's just go around them." while I was like, "Don't you get us fucking eliminated!" That slowed our time as I straightened him out, and then he was like, "My feet! Hold on, what are they doing? Why are my legs so long?!" before we got turned around and moving again. We ended up with a 12-something that certainly didn't put us near the top, but it wasn't an embarrassment either! For comparison, the
Sarah and I probably looked liked idiots as we high fived and cheered each other's runs, but who cares? That's what fun shows are all about, right?
I was the second rider in our age division and Sarah was the third, so we had to wait for the rest our group to go, and then barrels had to get set up and the peewee and junior groups had to run through before we went again. So back to the trailer for another sponge down, some grass for the ponies, and funnel cake for me.
Barrels were not running so well for our barn. I think I led in four horses this time around out of the eight that we took (not including Bobby and B), and out of those four, the one that did the best in the ring was four year old Pilot on his first ever off-grounds experience. The one that did the worst was old man Silver who spooked at the barrels like he'd never seen them before, even though he's been going to this show for years. Fortunately, none of the girls seemed to be too upset, and we all had fun cheering for everyone.
|baby pilot being a total rock star!|
Obviously barrels took a lot longer to run through than keyhole, and then they had to drag the ring right before our division started, so we didn't end up going in until 10:30 at night. I was ready to fall asleep, but I had Blackberry to keep me awake. He's been to this show before, too, and he clearly knew what the next step was. He was being the biggest douche bag, and I ended up having to pony him off of Bobby around in circles for half an hour while we waited. Pony a Quarter Horse off my Thoroughbred in the middle of his first rodeo? My horse is the best.
Bobby marched right down the nearly pitch black chute without a moment's hesitation, and the second I touched him with my legs, he was gone.
Bobby: YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE'RE RUNNING!!!!
Me: Bobby, head right!
Bobby: YEAHHHHH!!! THERE ARE BARRELS!!!! I WANT TO DO THEM ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!
Me: Bobby! Right! We go right!
Bobby: Whew! Got that out of my system! Let's get down to business!
You guys, I could almost cry with pride over how well this horse did. Could he have gone faster? Yes. Would he have gone faster if I had let him? Absolutely. But it took me the whole ride to sink in how amazingly he turned those barrels, and as I was riding, all I was thinking was, "Don't let him get too fast so you don't have to pull on this bit if he blows the turns."
But watch the video. He hugged those barrels like this was something he'd been trained on his entire life. I literally could not have asked him to turn them better.
And when we were done, he calmly walked back into the chute, we collected the crazy Blackberry, ponied him in, and turned him loose.
We ended up with a time of 23.15, and Sarah held the lead for awhile with a 21. It's not stupid fast obviously, but the fastest time of anyone the entire night was in the 16s. For being such a huge horse--he was the tallest horse there, and people kept commenting on his size--he got the motor running as best as he could for a short distance, and he never once lost his cool.
Best $5 ever spent, and we are totally going to be on the lookout for another gymkhana in the future.