Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Extreme Cowboy!

Or Extreme CowGIRL!  So Fun!  There is a sport called Extreme Cowboy racing and it is a mix of everything!  There is speed, precision, sportsmanship, freestyle, etc.!  If you YouTube it, you will see what it's all about. 
It's obstacles deluxe!  And you have to be precise, calm, cool, fast and fancy all at the same time.  And you have to be nice to your horse!  It's not tug and pull and jerk and spur. 
I was able to go to a clinic and it was amazing!  Sooooo fun!
As I have written in the past, I bought Sunny last year and started him under saddle myself.  And I'm no professional.. I follow the Parelli program and have brought him through his development using level 1 & 2 and now we are playing in Level 3. 
When the organizer of the clinic asked me about me competence or level of riding I wasn't sure what to say... Because there were two groups this weekend.  A more beginner group and a more advanced group.  Many of the participants have done these clinics before so I didn't think I was beginner but didn't know what the more advanced people were able to do! 
So I sent her a video of our Parelli audition and she put us in the more advanced group... I think because she could tell Sunny was not afraid of obstacles.  (Which is a huge part of competence in the racing). 
It was wonderful to be with people as friendly and nice as this group was.  The clinician was great and I was on a 'high' being at my very first clinic with Sunny and HIS very first clinic! 
He loaded beautifully thanks to great advice from Karalee Bell (Sunny's breeder) and he self loaded into a step up trailer that he had never been on (after I cleaned out the snow from his hooves...)
He was calm in his stall and never seemed to worry about new horses, buildings, barns! 
I felt like we were in the right group.  Sunny was very good with all the obstacles and was able to be near them, over them, around them with no trouble. 
Funny.. one of the 'tricky' obstacles was to BACK your horse through two culverts that were about 18" apart.  Most horses were having trouble with that one. 
As fate would have it... LOL... I had been practicing with Sunny to put two back feet on his pedastal AND back UP my trailer ramp!  OMG - I never thought it would be SO hard!   I realized that it was like pushing a wet spaghetti noodle (with attitude!).  It's amazing how many ways they can avoid things with their back feet and butt!  LOL
Insert picture here.... heheheh of the moment (after 2 sessions of  playing with the concept)

At this point it was still MY idea but the next session he started to offer me the behaviour when I started backing him towards the ramp.
This paid off in spades!  Because when it came to backing him up to the very narrow space between the culverts, we had REAR END control!  hehehehe and I think he sort of 'recognized' the concept. 
There are pictures of the event somewhere on FB but I'm not on FB so I can't say where they are!  But I have a 5 minute movie and description of the 'run' on You Tube. 
As most of the competitors were nervous and tight, I was just out there having fun with my pony!  So I was smiling and you can hear the crowd laughing because most of the other competitors were serious and hardly breathing! 
I am so proud of our development and am already playing a few new 'games' with him to help improve our performance for the next clinic in May! 

Cyndi & Sunny in Eastern Ontario, Canada


  1. That is awesome, Cyndi! You have accomplished so much with Sunny! You really raise the bar, at least for me. I wish I lived closer to the big events, but there is no reason I can't fashion stuff out of things laying around the barn and yard to fine tune my horses.

  2. I agree with Janeen, you really raise the bar for us! I love hearing about all the stuff you have accomplished with Sunny. What a team you two make! And, you have so much fun. If we lived closer, I would definitely love to be riding buddies. I enjoyed your comment about the wet noodle when trying to back your horse into something he does not want to back into - that was spot on!

  3. Congratulations!! Wow, you guys did fantastic! I was laughing and cheering you on while watching the video! So much fun! I think it's great you not only contended with the obstacles but the echoing of everyone laughing etc. You make me want to turn our front pasture that doesn't really get winter use into an obstacle course!!! Can't wait to hear more from you and Sunny!

  4. Cyndi, as I once told Donna about her awesome horse, I think and believe it makes a world of difference when you train your horse yourself, don't matter if you had experience or not you can do a great job of it and have a better in tune horse for it, thanks for sharing all, job well done

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  6. Harold, I wouldn't have believed what you are saying before I did it... but I totally agree. The relationship is SO different when you can do it yourself. And you end up knowing the horse SO well. I think they don't care how much you know (professional trainers) until they know how much you care! (doing it yourself). They are forgiving if they know you care about them but make some mistakes.

    We ROCKED the obstacles!! We were able to do all the obstacles almost right away. And the gate! We actually had done a 'back through' gate in practice. Even harder! I had never done a back-through before.
    When I brought him in to the arena each time, I did ground stuff with him BEFORE getting on. I just let him see them all with no pressure. I find that many people get determined about them and their horses sense the pressure and get over reactive. I just let him wander around and in fact, for the first 5 minutes, until he started to look at ME again, I just followed him around like another horse would. Just moved WITH him on the ground while we investigated everything. No pressure to do anything or stay anywhere. Then he blew out, licked lips and looked to me for direction :-)
    Then I put him through a few obstacles from the ground so I could show him how to do it with out my 'bad' body positions, uneven weight or uncertainty. Once he had done a few really well and was offering me nice behaviours, I hopped on!
    Like Linus, and probably most of our Curly's! he took great care of me and sort of 'knew' what to do when I would start to look towards an obstacle.
    But the Extreme Cowboy is tricky! They will have a set of things out but then TOTALLY change up what you are supposed to do with it!!
    Super cool! So the horse has to be confident with the equipment but also listening for direction!! Make NO assumptions! hehehehhe

    There was a tarp there, at the race. It was held down by straw bales (that decieveing look like hay! hehehhe) and the clinician put a little jumpy-thing in the middle. So they had to go on the tarp, over the jump and back onto the tarp. It was a little 'change' that some horses didn't appreciate! heheheh
    Sunny didn't even notice.
    He's a trail horse... and not a 'clean' trail horse.... we trail blaze often.... He doesn't care about stepping, through, on or into anything!!


  7. Cyndi, I loved how you described how you introduced Sunny to the ring. You let him think about it all on his own until he was ready. You really know your horse and your stuff in general. Great going! It is good to see someone else who in it for the fun of it instead of the wins.

  8. I am competitive but only against myself. I don't blame my horse or myself, just try to figure out what to do better next time. I'm competitive with dogs! So I'm used to being humble! I'm really good with dogs but it really doesn't matter how good you are in the end.... animals are animals and they have a mind of their own!! hehehe
    So, I try to keep it fun. Way too easy to get frustrated!
    If Sunny would have been scared, I would have just backed him off. I can push him... and believe me.. I have! LOL... but it usually turns out better if I just let him have a few seconds or just take him away, no big deal and then he trusts me more the next time.
    I think that's what Harold means though.. when he says it's better when you train them yourself... you just get that 'knowledge of each other'.
    Sunny has taught me alot and I hope that I have taught him. Before I met him, I had no idea what a Bashkir Curly was!!! I was SOOOOO missing out!!!!! hehehee