Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Benton Rodeo Fun Show

Oh. My. Gosh.

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.

Warm up

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 bitch woman was coming in and was like, "Jesus, it isn't National Helmet Awareness Day!" I was actually pleasantly surprised at how many other kids had on helmets besides our barn (which runs a strict "Every ride, every time" rule). A random guy was walking by just as this most pleasant of women made that remark and he was like, "Every day is helmet awareness day if you don't want to break your skull open." To which wonderful woman replied, "Ha! I'm willing to take that chance!" Good for you, lady. That's a great stance to take, and you clearly have really good reasoning behind it.

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 wild great Blackberry came in with an 11.2. He may not have the stop and go power of a QH, but when your legs are this long, it doesn't really matter.

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!


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.


  1. When I did 4-H I used to do the contesting classes -- they are so fun! I was never in it to win it, so no pressure.

    Plus it looks like you have found Bobby's career after eventing: barrel racing!

  2. I love your barn. I love that y'all are doing fun stuff and that they enforce the helmet rule. And that lady is going to land on her head and be a poster child for Troxel.

    So proud of the Bobby! He needs a cape. :)

    1. Is it bad that I almost want people like that to fall off and hit their heads?

  3. You guys look awesome and yeah Bobby for being the calm cool and collected horse of the group!!! Way to be super bad ass!!

    And I love that you worse your helmet and that guy said something to that lady- she sounds NUTS!!

  4. Thats so much fun! I love gymkhanas cause my local shows are super laid back, and thats what makes it fun! My favorite event is single stake, you just get to run down the arena, around a pole and back, super simple for them and its fun to let them run and not worry about obstacles as much!

    I think you might have a gymkhana horse there!

    1. That sounds like an awesome event! We'll definitely set it up in the arena to play with!

  5. I don't personally wear a helmet, but to me it's rude making fun of people who do. I don't have anything against helmets, I just don't choose to wear one. It's a choice, though! Good for you for wearing one, and good for the people like me who don't. Wearing or NOT wearing a helmet doesn't make anyone a lesser rider or person in general.
    I love the barrel racing!! I mostly just trail ride but one day I'd really like to either show in Western or Ranch Pleasure, or rodeo, Red and I just aren't ready quite yet. ;) However, I can admire it until then. Red is one of those horses that'll pretty much at least try anything that I throw at him, I think he'd hurdle over jumps if I asked him even though he's always been a western horse. Not that he wouldn't try me, though. ;)

  6. That looks like soooooo much fun! I want to play :)

  7. Yeah!! You guys did awesome, looks like a ton of fun. :)

  8. This looks like sooo much fun, I'm glad you both had a good time!

  9. I joined the helmet camp when I returned to riding in my 20's. When I was a kid, they were NOT cool. I think its more of western mentality, rough tough cowboys/girls don't need a helmet. I did hit my head more when I did wear one on trails, I never could keep track of the added height.

    Glad Bobby was a rockstar!

  10. Looks fun! Glad you guys enjoyed it!

  11. Fun!! I used to game as a kid....good times.

    That lady clearly had a helmet up her ass.

  12. that for reals looks like the MOST fun ever!!!!!!!! I die over anything neon and Bobby looks stellar.

  13. That looked like a ton of fun, and Bobby looked as though he enjoyed it, too!

  14. Love it! Esp the orange :) Bobby is simply the best!

  15. What awesome corners! Your barrel ride was SO CLEAN!!! Glad you guys had fun.

  16. What a ROCK STAR! I love those events! Can't wait to see what Psycho Mare will think of them!

    There is a deep, dark place in my brain that secretly wishes anti-helmet lady would get hurt, badly for not wearing a helmet. I mean it's a pretty dark place and I don't like going there but those thoughts do exist in my brain. I don't wear a helmet as often as I should...but I don't judge anyone for wearing one. Western Bitches can be awful to deal with. I would rather deal with Dressage Bitches than Western Bitches. I've always been welcomed with open arms into the English/dressage/hunter world, and given the nastiest, bitchiest, cattiest looks and comments from western riders. I don't get it.

  18. Bobby is awesome, I'm sure he likes the variety. Most barrel horse I've seen act super crazy before running and they use the gate to stop them. I'm glad Bobby kept his cool and you both had a great time! Makes me want to try barrel racing. :-)

  19. So much fun!!! Way to go Bobby!

  20. Yay!!! That looks like so much fun! Sounds like you and Bobby had a blast!


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