Monday, April 2, 2018

Game Night

Before recapping a night of shenanigans, I want to say thanks for all the advice on my trailer unloading post. I've been working daily with Opie on the one step back only game (or some variance), and there's been a lot to address there--and we haven't even gotten back on the trailer yet. But I'll save that for another post. My truck's ass end is back together again, so the trailer unloading training can resume. Shit's getting serious: one month to the kickoff of show season!

barnmate: what does he need the figure 8 for?
me: cuteness.
barnmate: AGREED.

Speaking of show season, I felt like the best way to prepare was to throw a borrowed jump saddle on my horse and gallop him around the ring willy nilly with a bunch of other horses. I mean, he got to wear a ribbon on his bridle for the first time so it was basically training for future victory gallops, right?

My barn throws various low key events throughout Never Ending Winter to keep everyone from going bat shit crazy. We missed the last game night because Opie was too foot sore to participate, and I've opted out of jumper nights since I'm trying to conserve every dolla dolla bill for dressage shows (and, you know, Opie is not currently a jumping bean). I was therefore really looking forward to hanging out with barn mates I don't usually get to see because of conflicting schedules and participating in loosely structured hi jinks that always result in hilarity. 

plus the barn moms feed us. #macandcheeselife

Game night involves a bunch of Games for Grown Ups Children, varying on which ones we remember to do and if we veto something. For instance, the adults wisely vetoed potato sack race this time in which you run your horse to the end of the ring, throw it to a handler, and run stumble and fall back to the finish line. 

See? Straight shenanigans. 

"need more cookies inserted for this venture, plz."

Our games this night were, in no particular order:
  1. Ribbon race
  2. Egg and spoon
  3. Pony express
  4. Musical stalls
  5. Scurry race
  6. Poles
  7. Barrels
  8. Command class
  9. Sit a buck
I was bound and determined to get one of the two giant ribbons up for grabs, so no allowances were made for Opie's greenness. That meant he was expected to do things like canter. And steer. And maybe don't fall down. TIME TO UP THE ANTE. 

We started with Pony Express which is a two man relay race. We teamed up with fellow OTTB Oz. Opie started the first lap, "baton" in hand. I let him get a running start into the canter instead of bursting forth at the start cone because transitions are sometimes hit or miss throw a giant shit fit. The little fucker picked up the canter at the first touch of my leg and cruised around totally balanced. Then he got his first lesson that game night involves lots of sprinting followed immediately by having to stop right away

SAD.

proven sprint winner on the track. not a proven stopper.

We won that, finished mid-pack for musical stalls (wherein "stalls" are set up with poles and you run into one when the music stops) and egg and spoon, possibly won poles, and did pretty well with barrels. Dopie had the speed games figured out right away: run fast to the end, sort of maybe do some steering in between, and then as soon as you get turned around, you get to run really fast again. 

The first couple of times involved our run back ending with me yelling, "Stop, stop, stopstopstop!" between breathless giggling because I'm a grown up for sure, but we all figured out that if the horses waiting their turn just left a chute to the closed arena doors Opie had a solid stopping point and no one died. #winning #??

He was adorable for scurry race which I've always heard called barnyard jumpers when I was gaming Bobby. It's two jumps (tiny Xs for us) set a couple strides apart--run down, jump the jumps, turn around a cone, run back over the jumps. Opie got to the first jump and was like, "I got this! I'm a jumping horse!" and bravely jumped it like he knows he's supposed to. Then he landed and was like, "Wtf there's another one!" but hopped that one, too. He trotted them both on the way back, but landed in the canter on the last one and ranhomefast because gaming horse. Obviously. 

Ribbon race:


BM eventually called a tie for win because we were just too talented to be defeated. I was super proud of Opie for steering with one hand though as that has historically not been the case. And he didn't try to kick Oz even though he was feeling a bit like a rage monster after coming in second in the command class which involved his first group canter and five thousand transitions, neither of which were his cup of tea. 

We finished the night with bareback sit a buck where we also finished mid-pack after I lost my dollar while cantering to the right--Opie's first time cantering bareback which definitely made him a rage monster. 

BM: this is a cute picture opportunity!
opie: fuck you.
We ended up doing well enough to get the giant high point ribbon so mission accomplished!

Overall though, it was just a really fun night of introducing the baby horse to some of the stupid things he's going to be expected to do in his new life. He learned about standing still surrounded by other horses, even if you're not being a fed a constant stream of cookies for doing so. He learned that he can be passed by lots of horses and not have to race them. He learned that he can't stop and molest innocent bystanders for snackies while his rider is trying to steer one-handed. 

he really wanted to turn his head to get his cookie
but couldn't figure out how to see around the ribbon

Just about six months off the track and already doing all the stupid shit I love to do. Better than satin? Maybe.

"plz just get off and give me the cookie already."

39 comments:

  1. YAYAYAYAY! What a good baby Opie! Sounds like a blast. I haven't done a game night like that in several years but I'd love to!

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    1. They're so much fun, even for "grown ups"!

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  2. What a good snootiemcsnoot! and yay ribbon!

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  3. That is awesome!!! and I want game night at my barn now too!

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  4. That sounds like so much fun!! I feel like Katai learned double what she normally would have when I was goofing off at Drill Team. Sounds like he made leaps and bounds and you had fun :)

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    1. He definitely made some big mental leaps forward. I don't know how much it did for his dressage training lol

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  5. Fun! What a good experience for him and yay for big ribbons!! I miss my old barn that used to have game nights. My two favorites were horse soccer and the trotting race!

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    1. We really need one of those big jolly balls for horse soccer.

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  6. how much fun was that? And Opie was such a good pony! YAY. LOL you really can't complain about him....I am not sure Remus would have behaved as well as he did! :) YAY

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    1. He was so good, even when he started getting pissy about how much standing around had to be done to wait his turn. He wanted ALL the turns!

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  7. It sounds like so much fun. Your barn is very smart.

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    1. It's such a cool thing to have around when everyone is stuck inside for the winter.

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  8. That’s the best night ever! Opie did great for his first night of adult shenanigans and even got the bigg ribbon!!

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  9. Yay Opie!!! And dang I’d forgotten that he’s just 6 months off the track until you mentioned it. Seriously good boy!!!

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    1. I guess he's really only 5 months, but ya know, who's counting? ;)

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  10. So fun!! I love his face with the ribbon hahaha!

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    1. He was SO confused about how to get his cookie with his ribbon on.

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  11. OMG so fun. I wanna board at your barn. Except for the whole upstate NY thing. But so fun. And ribbons!

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    1. Olivia, I said the same thing OH I want to board there. wait it is cold as shit there, never mind :) HA HA HA

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    2. This from the person looking to move to VT or ME! We basically don't even have winter compared to up there! :P

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  12. This sounds like a freaking blast. I love your ability to take horses and turn them into such solid citizens who handle all levels of shenanigans, too. Good job, Opie, and well done, Carly!

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    1. Every horse has to be aboard the Carly Crazy Train, no exceptions.

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  13. He’s already a freakin champion, what a good baby dopie!!! That sounds like the most fun ever but I think old man Charles would end up confused and disgruntled by it lol. You kids get off my lawn!

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    1. Poor Oz is that way. He thinks Game Nights R DUM.

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  14. OMG his face in the ribbon pictures. Poor abused Opie. But I love him and his ribbon winning ways!

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    1. Already making the satin dreams come true!

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  15. Those expressions are PRICELESS! :D

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  16. I know he has his moments (who doesn't) but he really does have a pretty great brain in there! Sounds like tons of fun! Nice work getting that big satin!

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    1. Yeah, his moments are really not even moments in the grand scheme of past horse moments!

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  17. The Trifecta- Didn't die, Had fun, and Got a Ribbon. WIN.

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  18. I'm just catching up but AH that sounded/looked like so much fun!! I've shamelessly joined the Pony Club group at my barn's game night before and this gives me ideas for the next time I (show the kids how it's done) participate ;) Yay for good ponies (even if they're pissed) and ribbonz!

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    1. I don't think you ever grow out of games on horseback!

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