'Cool Running Creek'

'Cool Running Creek'

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ft Worth = WOW

WOW, was that a trip or what? We left out last Tuesday afternoon Texas bound. Our plan was to drive right thru with 2 rest stops for Doc to offload, eat, drink and walk around. Estimated trip time 24 hrs. Well, things went well the entire trip and we rested 3 times and made Dallas-Fort Worth airport in 22 hours to pick up Emily. We then headed for the Stockyards area for some vacation time and boarded Doc at the livery inside the Stockyards District. This was really cool as he stalled beside the longhorns used for the daily cattle drive down Exchange St. He traveled well but did show dehydration from the trip. I picked up 2 tubes of electrolytes to mainline his system and this did pick things up quickly. On Thursday morning, after a good nights rest we had the opportunity to work in the arena located beside the livery for an hour for some relaxed exercise. Afterwards, and this was really cool,Medicine Man and I rode the entire length of Exchange St. For those not familiar with the area this is where for over 100 years cattle were brought in and either slaughtered or shipped out from all points south and west of Ft. Worth. A lot of history lies here.
This is one place where a horse really doesn't look out of place. I highly recommend this stop for anyone traveling with or without a horse. The afternoon was spent shopping and sightseeing and we moved Doc to the Will Rogers Complex later that evening. Folks, this is some complex. We were in the Moncrief Building. It contained 2 arenas, 1 for practice out by the stalls and the other a very large air conditioned arena with seating for 6000. The stall area would hold over 200 horses, each with a 10x10 stall. What a nice place.
After we settled Doc and I had scheduled a practice session for 6pm so off we went. He was very relaxed in the large arena and negotiated all the obstacles set up with no problem. He never got out of hand, (lots did) and moved as requested. I was very impressed with his manners and discipline during this new adventure. Practice sessions lasted only 20 minutes so back to the stall, feed, hay and a good night rest was in order. Friday would consist of 2 scheduled practices,
a conditioning evaluation by the Vets and a trainer meeting at noon. The first practice was a blur as Doc decided he didn't want pay attention. Not unruly just very energetic. I guess the 2 tubes of electrolytes did the trick. I knew his conditioning score was going to suffer due to his illness so we had really been giving him the chow. We took him before the Vets just before lunch for his condition score and made out a little better than expected. With a range of 1-40 with 20 being optimum he scored 16. The top score was 19.5. His only down fall was his weight. Feet and hair coat were great! From looking at the other scores he was in the middle. Just think had he not gotten sick. He was perfect for what they were looking for.
The Trainer's meeting was very informative with a couple guest speakers, first was Cody Christian, a motivational speaker suffering from cancer. His word really gave a lift to the crowd. The second speaker was none other than the 2007 Road to the Horse winner, yes, Chris Cox. This was another great surprise. The meeting finished up with a brief description of the 2 courses laying ahead by the judges . Their emphasis to us at the time was they understood what we were dealing with and for us not to get to caught up in the small stuff. (Boy, was that an overstatement). Back for 1 last practice that evening and then Saturday...
The in hand portion began at 8:00AM on Saturday with me drawing 33rd. I watched several trainers and horses go through and was impressed with the control shown. This really gave me the jitters so I dismissed myself back to Doc's stall. Our time came around about 9:30 and I'm sure he felt my trembles in his lead.
The course led off crossing 6 poles, forward thought an L formation stopping at the end and backing back through the L not touching any pole. A right 270 degree turn, stop, and lead off at a trot for 30 feet, sudden stop at the cone. Drop the lead, pick up all 4 feet. Next a left turn and around and across 2 poles in a right angle from far to near going around a plant sitting in the apex. Then a white stock trailer, in, around, and out finishing with an in-hand trot around 5 cones starting from right to left in a W formation and out the gate. Folks, I had never been so proud of 1 horse as I was of Medicine Man. No hesitation at no time, a perfect back through the L. Yielded all 4 feet without moving and picked up the trot every time I asked. The only fault I knew of was he ticked the first pole starting off. Not enough to move it but I did hear it. Scores were posted at lunch with Doc finishing 15 of 91. A great showing for Doc. (The video should be posted this evening)
Next came under saddle. A bit more complex course so I tried to watch as others took on the task. This confused me some so back to the stall and wait until my turn. My draw was 39th. I hadn't paid much attention to the other scores but I should had. This was going to be my Waterloo. The course started out leading Doc in, then with a left lead lope around the right side of the arena, along the judges setting in chairs inside the arena and stopping at a cone on at the end. Left in place turn, lope off on right lead back by the judges, around the end, back up the other side, figure eight with a lead change and ending up at the far end from the start. Stop at the cone, or so I thought, turn left, trot into an 8x8 box for 2 right in place turns, 2 in place left turns, trot out, turn right through 3 panels set in a W formation and continue to a platform. Walk across and trot through 4 poles with the last making another L formation. Back back through the L without touching, roll right and exit the arena. Well, I again was quite proud of the little man. He did break stride when we passed the judges but picked back up immediately and had a little rough stop at the cone passing it slightly. My fault, not his, I wasn't ready for the cone. His turn was good and he loped off and completed the figure 8 with a lead change. I over reined him in the box causing him to back out of the box slightly half way through, again my fault. After that we had 0 errors completing the course not touching any pole. A good trot through the W Panels, No hesitation on the platform, perfect back thru the L and off we went. My score? A big fat 0. Don't know why I was disqualified but am in search of the answer. When they posted the judges scores the crowd was such as I was going back an look into it. Later they had already taken down the scores. I hope to get the answer after the staff gets back in the office later this week.
All in all the course was good but over 50% of the trainers were disqualified from each event. In conversation with the staff I feel this will be rectified for next year with a better understanding of course requirements. More to come of the Finals and Auction!

Is Ft. Worth Ready for Medicine Man?

Trotting through the cones

Backing through the "L"

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