The Darbies are a good way to get into the competitions and get comfortable competing before moving on to the ADT's & CDE's. They are also just a lot of fun for you both, even when you do start competing and move up. You maneuver through the obstacles, have to go through the cones without knocking down any balls and you have to remember your chosen course, navigating it all as you go. You may change where you decide to turn, take sharper or wider turns, all depending on how your horse/pony/VSE is doing when you get there...
I am trying to post the course or a picture of the course map here, so everyone would have an idea of what it was. As soon as I find my map, I will get it up here.
When we were on course, Kat was ready to go. He walked in and stood still while I saluted the judge and looked ahead to the first obstacle. We started off and the whistle blew as we went through the start/finish gate. I let Kat go and work at a good strong trot as I turned him to aim through gate #1. My intention was to go through it, make a sharp left and head off to circle around left and through gate 2. That was the idea anyways and it only sort of happened like that.
We made the turn, just not as sharp as we needed too. The right shaft tip slammed into the pole and the cart stopped dead! So did Kat and so did we. Kind of. I think hubby and I both slid forward a bit on the seat. (Go ahead and laugh. You know you want to!) When we hit the pole I may have said 'whoa', or maybe not? I really don't remember, but I do remember thinking, "He handled that well enough!" as I looked at my pony's back and rear end. I backed Kat a couple of steps, turned him to the left enough to clear the pole this time and we took off again.
We made it through gate two, three and four, then we headed off for the gate to number five. As we neared the gate between the fields I realized my right hand hurt. I must have hit the rein rail with it when we hit the pole after gate number one. No time to worry about it now... We went through gates 5, 6 & 7 and headed back to the gate and into the field for the rest of the course. For all of the 'big scary objects' on the course, Kat spooked a little bit at the person judging the gates around the covered wagons as we went by them. Seriously? He ducked out a few strides to the left before I got him straightened out and back on track.
We went through 8, made a left and went through 9, circled around to the right and went through 10, circled left around 8 and back through 11... headed off for #12, through it, and back around to the right for 13, sharp left for 14 and "Whoa!" I stopped him dead again just before Kat would have ran
We turned to the right and headed out for gate 16- through the pipes. I had never thought about it and whether or not Kat would spook at some of this stuff and the trooper that he is, he blasted through it all unfazed. Sharp left and through 17, sharp right and into 18. I was going for it and so far we were clear. Our turn in 18 wasn't as tight as it could have been and I had to stop Kat again, back him and turn hard to the right so we didn't hit another pole. What is it with the stupid Poles???
We went through 19 and headed for 20. I circled around it to inform the judge/timer a ball on #15 was down before we went through it and came around lined up at 20 headed the wrong direction! I realized it and called out "Pilot Error!" as we turned at the last minute, swung around and went through the cones the Right Way!!! and out through the start/finish gate.
I was feeling quite pleased with our performance. I managed to pull off a clear round for once! Even with slamming into the one pole, almost hitting another one (on #18) and nearly plowing over the cone at #14, I figured we did pretty good. Until....
One of the guys there on the sidelines come over and told me I went through #9 the wrong way. I had been eliminated as soon as I went through #10 because I hadn't corrected it before going on. Dammit! Again, I had to sit there and stare at the cones, think about the way I went through that one, LOOK at the red one sitting there on the right- had I gone through like I should have and it finally, Finally sank in. RED ON RIGHT! I had even said this out loud just before we almost went through #20 the wrong way.
I realized what I had done. And started to laugh. WTH??? Maybe if I stopped looking at my pony all the time and watched the course? Because this is another thing I do a lot and shouldn't. But it is sooo easy watching him as he works and I forget to pay attention to what I should be doing, where we are supposed to be going and yeah. This is the result.
The gentleman who told us about our error on #9 also asked if we had hit the pole after gate #1. Um, yes. Yes, we did! He wondered because all he could see was the cart moving and then all of a sudden it wasn't! *snork*
This weekend I will be going over the cart and checking everything to make sure there was no damage done and if so, what needs to be fixed and how? It's always a good idea to check things over once in a while. After something like that- it's kind of important that you do it. I am also going to look for a red light or red tape or something to put on the right side of the cart as a reminder of which way I am supposed to go through the gates. Maybe that will help ME get it right. Or maybe not? I guess we will find out at the ADT in February.