Posts Tagged ‘mgaa

Boomerang competes at the MGAA MA#1 – bitless and treeless

Over the weekend I packed up Boomerang and headed down south to Maryland to compete in the MGAA Mid-Atlantic #1. It was the first of the mid-atlantic mounted games series for the year and we were excited to attend.

chesapeake boomerang competes in mounted games

Boomer and I were dusting off the cobwebs a bit as typically I give him the winter off due to being pretty busy at my shop – so this was sort of a “getting back into the swing of things” competition for us.

chesapeake boomerang competes in mounted games

Boomer was the only pony at the competition to compete in a Bitless Bridle and Treeless Saddle – and you will also notice our treat bag hanging from his saddle, used when I am clicker training him during competition – because the training is never done.

chesapeake boomerang competes in mounted games

I think one of the common mis-conceptions about treeless saddles is that many people think that without a tree the saddle won’t be stable on the horse’s back. But, all you have to do is watch me play games in it to prove this wrong. All weekend I was leaning off the saddle like a monkey, and vaulting on from the ground.

chesapeake boomerang competes in mounted games

I’m in love with my freeform saddle for so many reason, but mostly because it is the most comfortable ride I’ve ever had, for me and my pony. And as much as treeless saddle are rare in the mounted games arena (in fact I believe you are not allowed to compete in treeless saddles if you ride with the USMGA organization – why, I do not know!) Bitless bridles are probably just as rare.

chesapeake boomerang competes in mounted games

I think with equine speed sports especially probably a lot of people think you won’t be able to control your horse without a bit when it’s in racing mode. Now Boomerang may not be the fastest pony out there, but he wants to run towards the finish line just like the rest of them. Because I took the time to clicker train him a really nice stop, and to respect my seat and leg aids just as much as the rein pressure I am able to successfully compete him in his dr. cook’s bitless bridle.

Many riders in the US now compete in hackamores – yet these have a much different way of steering/stopping the horse by using sensitive pressure points on the nose. Bitless Bridles use painless and even pressure to help guide your horse in the direction you want to go and does not interfere with the horse’s breathing.

And while I personally am an advocate for the bitless bridles I do believe that using a bit or not is a personal decision that most times depends on the horse too. Not every horse may be a good fit for a bitless bridle and I think it just depends on what works best for each animal in the most humane way possible.

You can check out more photos from our weekend of games on our Facebook Page. And make sure you read Ammo’s recap of the weekend’s events here and here.

And finally, here’s a quick video I put together of Boomerang having a blast competing.

We hope to make it to some more MGAA competitions this year – and for anyone who is interested in getting started in the sport be sure to take a look at our upcoming competitions at Iron Horse Farm.

You can read more about mounted games here.

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New April Paintings in the Shop!

Well it’s taken me way too long to get the paintings Minnow created on April 1st at the Point to Point Races up in the shop. Several of them have sold already, but we do have a few left that are available for purchase.

We tried something new this time with a few of Minnow’s paintings. Instead of having him paint on canvas, he painted on bristol board. We then matted them to fit standard size frames and made them available for a budget friendly price of $45!

Below are three of the paintings we still have available in the shop – click on each image to see them in the Shop!

Minnow also painted a new canvas which we titled “April Fool” on account of him painting it on April Fools Day at the Point to Point races.

Purchase it in the shop HERE.

I think all of his new paintings have the perfect touch of Spring in them. Don’t you?

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Camping, Thunderstorms, and Late Night Talks

Last weekend we took the ponies to a mounted games competition in New Jersey. This is one of my favorite competitions of the year, because not only is it a short distance from our home base in PA, but it’s also an event that most of the riders camp at. I love camping, especially when I get to bring along the ponies AND the dog.

camping with ponies

We arrived just as it was getting dark and dropped two of the ponies (Blitz – who came along for the experience and more training, and Jet – my sister’s mare that my mom would be riding for the weekend) at the stables. We bedded their stalls and tucked them in for the night, all while Boomerang waited patiently on the trailer.

Then we drove Boomer up to the campsites where we set up his portable corral from Travel n’ Corrals. This was the first time I got a chance to use the corral at an overnight competition – and also the first time he had ever seen it. And did I mention it was dark by this point?

boomerang travel n corrals

We unloaded Boomer and put him in the corral while we set up the tent. He looked around for a second and went straight to eating his hay. I was pretty amazed at how he acted like everything was no big deal. His friends (who rode in the trailer with him) got dropped off somewhere else and now here he was up on the top of a hill next to a campsite, in a corral he had never seen, with not a single horse in sight…..just quietly munching his hay. Pretty cool pony.

boomerang travel n corrals

Well, he was pretty cool until about 1am when he ran out of hay. Ha. Should have known it would be too good to be true.

With his hay gone I think he looked around and realized “what the heck, where am I and what happened to my friends?” His ear piercing whinny woke me instantly. I think he would have eventually stopped calling too – had his big brother Blitz not heard him a mile away in the stables and called back. And yes, it was DEFINITELY Blitz – he has a VERY distinct whinny. Every hour or so they would call back and forth to each other – if I only knew what they were saying! At one point I even heard Boomerang lay down in his corral – yet continue to return Blitz’s calls. He wasn’t frantic, he didn’t try to escape (not that he could – these things are really well built) or do anything horrible – he was simply having a late night conversation with his big brother….on the other side of the facility!

boomerang travel n corrals

Hindsight, I probably should have set the corral up closer to the barns so that he could at least see another horse. But regardless of the fact that he stayed up all night talking I was still proud of how he handled the situation I put him in.

Not only was the corral a new thing for us at this competition, but it was also the first time I got to compete with my treeless saddle. I wish I had some pictures to share, but since my mom and I were both riding together we had no one with us to take pictures. If only somehow I could train the Dachshund to do it! Hummm. But, the saddle was awesome! No slipping, and both Boomerang and I were SUPER comfy in it. I even got to do some full out vaulting into it without any problems. I really wish I had gone treeless years sooner – I’ll never go back!

In between competition sessions my mom worked on training Blitz to tie (without his friends around). Blitz has progressed in leaps and bounds with all the training my mom has put into him, but he still has one major issue they are working on. His separation anxiety. He has a real problem leaving his friends and being alone.

This is what well behaved horses look like when they tie:

ponies tied to trailer

And this is what naughty Blitz looks like when he ties without his friends around:

ponies tied to trailer

Blitz spent a lot of time working on tieing in the woods by our campsite. It was very tough for him not to have his friends around – but my mom thinks she hopefully made some breakthroughs with him.

tieing ponies

With high-hopes of working even further on Blitz’s training on Day 2, we were instead hit with a nasty Thunderstorm on Saturday night. Camping proved to get a little wet – but atleast we were nice and toasty in the tent with our little heater named Ammo the Dachshund. Ammo is such a trooper, he’ll put up with pretty much anything – and any situation. Thunder & Lightning is no problem for this guy – I think he might sleep through a tornado if no one woke him!ย Camping Console is your best guide if you have plans to go camping.

ammo the dachshund

Sadly when we woke up the next day the competition had to be canceled. With no end in sight for the storms, they were forced to pin the divisions based on standings from the previous day. But we still came home with a second place finish!

ammo the dachshund second place

We packed up and headed home – only to be hit with one last road block just minutes from the farm. Luckily Peco was nearby and able to help us out before the ponies got too hot in the trailer. And next time I’m going to REALLY try to remember my rubber boots so I’m not stuck wearing soggy sneakers all weekend!

fallen tree

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Breyer Model Clone

I had my suspicions before, but now I’m pretty certain that I have a “fan” at the Breyer Model Headquarters. Why you may ask? Because within the past few years several models have been popping up that bare an uncanny resemblance to Minnow & I.

First it was the Pony Games Set, Breyer’s very first mounted games rider and pony.

This model features a female rider with thick RED braids โ€“ tip off #1 that its me. When competing in mounted games I usually wear my hair (my RED hair) in 2 HUGE braids because trust me, you have never seen a red-head with as much hair as me. Not only that but the rider is on a pinto pony, that may not look exactly like Minnowโ€™s clone, but there are some definite similarities.

Then a friend sent me over a link to the Art Class Set.

This model also includes a female artist with RED hair and a pinto pony. If that wasn’t enough, they come with paintbrushes and paint! Really!

Me and Three Future Breyer Models

Minnow says his sidekick Ammo the Dachshund has to be included too

Whatever Breyer’s reasoning behind these two models is, it’s certain that their “plan” has worked. Because I am now the proud owner of both of them! ha ha. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m really really hoping that my “fan” at the Breyer Headquarters is reading this, because Chincoteague Minnow would be more than HAPPY to model for your next “debut” mold of his likeness. Why not get the real thing? Complete with little Dachshund side-kick and all!

I bet it would sell out instantly! ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you guys think? Should Minnow be a Breyer Model? Should Ammo be the first Dachshund mold? Does anyone else see the resemblances that I do?


Images from Breyer.

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Extreme Cowboy Race Winner

The winner of the 2011 Extreme Cowboy Race at the Horse World Expo was Wayne Yoder. He was actually the only rider to be undefeated the entire weekend too!

After the preliminary rides he was in first place, with me tailing right behind him by about 10 points. But after his amazing ride in the finals he jumped to a huge lead on his Stallion, Ornery.

Boomerang was fortunate enough to be stabled next to the winner in the barns, which meant I got to learn all about his “story”.

Wayne is a horse trainer from Ohio, where he trains between 12-14 horses a day with his business partner at Lonesome Hollow Stables. He works with problem horses, as well as starting young horses under saddle. When he’s not training horses his favorite thing to do is compete in Extreme Cowboy Races. Wayne said that at the Horse World Expo he was going on his 9th competition.

Wayne actually had his own rescue Stallion that he used to compete in the races, but a few months ago he died unexpectedly. He later discovered the horse had an abscess in his stomach, something that probably developed when he was malnourished years earlier.

Wayne’s friend Morgan, a horse chiropractor and masseuse, decided to offer him use of her Stallion, Ornery. The palomino stallion’s registered name was something like TC’s Golden Mist – but I can’t remember for sure, Morgan calls him Ornery or “Orn” for short. Orn’s story is also a rescue story as well. He was in a situation where his owner’s were not caring for or feeding him, the owner was forced to surrender their horses, and Morgan rescued the now 15 year old Stallion.

6 weeks ago Wayne started working with Orn, who’s previous experiences were mostly in trail riding. And this would be the stallion’s very first Extreme Cowboy Race.

I was immediately impressed with how quiet Orn was. He had never been around the applause and cheering (like most of the extreme cowboy race participants), yet when I saw the horse experience it for the first time – he was nearly unfazed.

Unfortunately I don’t have any videos of Wayne competing, but through most of his rides Orn was just as steady as ever. But what I was most impressed with was Wayne’s initiative to better himself and his horse through this competition. After the preliminary rounds, Wayne realized that there were some areas he could improve in with his horse while at the Expo. He set out and found a riding instructor that agreed to give him a jumping lesson after the expo closed for the day. So the night before the finals this cowboy attempted to learn the proper way to release his arms over the jump so as not to catch his horse in the mouth. And when I saw him take the big jump on Orn in his western saddle the day of the finals I was so happy for him.

Wayne, if you ever read this, I think you deserved this win! I know you were just as nervous as all of us, as we all huddled in the arena entrance breathing deeply. I wish you much success in your Extreme Cowboy Race endeavors, and I hope we meet up again soon!

Here’s an article I found on Wayne and his efforts to organize an Extreme Cowboy Race in his area.

Photos curtsy of Black Rock Photography.

Find out on monday what I did to better my horse and myself at the expo! I’ll give you a hint, it involved a lariat! ๐Ÿ™‚

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