Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hazards can be hazardous




After lunch the group of us went over to watch a few of the minis complete their cones course.  We got to watch Ann and JoAnn maneuver thru the course and turn in some smoking times.  I helped Jim take down the cones course and got a chance to talk to him about course design.  We all headed back over by the bathrooms and Cindy and I went to the truck to prepare Kat for our last part of the ADT- Hazards! Or they prefer to call them Obstacles now. I guess it seems a bit safer when you put it that way.


I’m pretty sure this is in Hazard #1. Can’t remember which part though.

Kat was hitched, Cindy and I climbed in the cart and headed over to the holding area by the start gate. As soon as we got there and checked in, we were told- “You have 1 minute to start.” We circled around and got maybe one circle at a trot in and they were calling us… Sheesh. That was close!

Gate A on hazard 1 was wide enough that I planned on swerving in and back out to make Gate B. Kat had other plans. We ended up stopping with his head dang near IN an ocotillo plant. One move too far right, left or throwing his head would result in cactus needles jabbing him. He stopped, held still and agreed to back up. We moved over and took off. I could tell Cindy was a bit surprised by all of that. Heck I don’t blame her, I would be too if it hadn’t become fairly routine for us…

We cleared the rest of the gates and shot out the out gate heading for Hazard #2. The volunteer timing Hazard #1 was the same person who had been at the Horsepark for our epic blowup waaaay back when we started driving. She is still a fan of my pony and agrees we have come a long way since then.    

Kat was still a bit reluctant to run. He is a little pudgy, so I grant him that and didn’t push for too much. But when he ran- he RAN! We sailed thru the gates on #2, nearly crashing thru some bushes in the process. Cindy at one point said “Whoa” quite by accident, but Kat just kept trucking along. We finished Hazard #2 and went on to #3.


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Hazard #3 was a straight shot in to A, hard left, go down to the end, make a left and loop around a barrel, going thru B between the barrel and some fence panels forming a triangle. When we came thru B we were mighty damn close to those panels. Cindy took her hand off the back of the cart on that side and mentioned something about not knowing about the risk of losing fingers. I didn’t catch all of it, because I was looking down as the wheel passed within I.N.C.H.E.S. of the fence panel. It was only about 2 or 3 inches clearance between things as we sailed by.  Those 2-3 inches look mighty narrow when you are at a full gallop. How we didn’t hit it I do not know.  It’s not like we haven’t crashed into things before though, it’s just that these would have moved where the other stuff didn’t.   

 

Cindy had mentioned the Alligator dance. I thought it was completely different than she described to me. Her description was something along the lines of laying on your back, arms and feet flailing. As we headed towards and rounded the palo verde tree to get to Gate C, I mentioned the ‘gator dance and we both laughed long, hard and loud about it.

 

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After clearing Gate C and D and heading over to Hazard #4, Kat was still rolling along at a decent clip. We cruised thru the gates and finished and before we knew it, we were done. We went back to the holding area and I can remember Cindy asking “What else do we do now? That’s it?” Another one of the competitors came off the course not long after us and said, “I wanna do it again.”   That’s the thing about hazards- It’s too much fun and you’re done too quick. I’m sure the horses might object to that idea, but a lot of them enjoy it too and get excited about doing it.
There were a lot of people out and about and I met a few nice ladies out as spectators who are down from Canada. They were enjoying the weather and wearing shorts and tank tops. A few of them drove or were new to driving. Some of them hadn’t heard of an ADT before, but were open to the idea. It was fun. Everyone seemed to have a good time and everyone in the club cheered everyone else on. A few people E’ed out (Eliminated) but the number was small. It was a blast as ever and I am looking forward to the next one.  I have a few changes to make and hopefully we will do better next time around.

As ever, I am proud of my pony. He has been easy to train in comparison to a lot of other horses I have dealt with.  It has been fun learning the new stuff and finally moving up the levels. Although I hope we can go all the way up the levels at some point, No matter how far up we move, I am just thrilled about getting there. If we had never started, we would never have gotten as far as we have. He hasn't always been easy to handle, but the easy ones don't teach us anything. When the horse challenges us and makes us think, that's when we learn what to do, how to handle it and how we improve.  It's been a hell of a ride so far, that's for sure.






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