Extreme Cowboy racer Robin Bond gets 'epic adventure' -- and near win -- in her first Calgary Stampede
CALGARY, Alberta, Can. — After three rounds of intense competition at the Cowboy Up Challenge Extreme Cowboy Race July 10-12 at the Calgary Stampede, Robin Bond and Jose Perfection fell one point shy of winning. Her enthusiasm upon returning home, though, sounded more like a champion’s than the reserve.
“For me — I’d never competed out of our country. I’d never BEEN out of the country,” said Bond, who received a hero’s reception upon return to Rancho Dos Palmas in Vista, where she trains. “It was just really exciting.”
And challenging. The fastest-growing sport in the equine industry, Extreme Cowboy Racing is a timed and judged event that demands both horsemanship and speed. It confronts both horse and rider with an extreme obstacle course of moguls, bridges, log crossings, tunnels, cowboy curtains, roll backs, and water crossings.
The 18-year-old Reche Canyon resident, who has trained with Jerry and Shelley Lunde of Norco since 2006, became a PtHA member three years ago and is a member of her local charter, High Desert Pinto. She was the High Desert group’s first queen, representing them as “Miss High Desert Pinto” 2010 -2011, when President Fral Lelli and Sector Director Laura Fowler encouraged her to run for the title of Miss Pinto of America.
She also showed two of her Lunde Show Horses-trained Pintos at the PtHA World Championships, William Potter and Certified Stride — earning Top Five with both. She rode William Potter in the pageant classes.
The show drew 2,035 entries with 579 horses over the course of 11 days and awarded $300,000 in cash and prizes. In addition to the 118 horse show classes, the Association also hosted the biennial Youth World Games; the Youth Team Tournament; a youth horse judging contest sponsored by Hart Trailers; Paint For A Day, an open all-breed youth horse show; jackpotted open all-breed classes; a Chris Cox clinic and a gift show.
Top horses and riders beat the heat at SCEC
The comprehensive line-up of classes at the 10-day show included cow horse events in both NRCHA and SCRCHA classes as well as a versatility ranch horse event. There also were (2- and 3-year old) pleasure futurities and a trail futurity for 3-year olds.
Competitors and their support teams braved triple-digit heat and humidity to have a shot at a remarkable pool of awards that ranged from trophy saddles to 42-inch LCD televisions.
One of the show’s multiple winners was Daniella Irvine, who secured the High Point Working Cow Horse Championship as well as the SCRCHA Rookie Rider Non-Pro Limited title with her Quarter Horse, Play Lika Martin, also known as “Ben.”
Next in a series
Last issue, we looked in detail at starting lateral flexion from a standstill. Now let’s look at rein position.
Once your horse is giving his head readily to the side from fairly light pressure, it might be a good time to experiment a little with how the position of your direct rein hand affects your horse. Although different horses will respond a little differently depending on conformation, you will find some general consistencies.
As you’ve probably experienced, if you take your direct rein way out to the side, the horse will oftentimes respond by sticking his nose out. Keeping your hand closer to your body and lifting up will encourage him to turn with more curl to his neck, keeping his chin closer to his body.
Clinician Stacy Westfall is coming to Chino Hills Aug. 27-28 for a two-day clinic presented by the Chino Hills Horsemen’s Association. In addition to a being a great chance to learn from one of the nation’s most popular clinicians, the event has another special purpose –- it’s a fund-raiser for CHHA as it prepares for a campaign to keep the rich equine heritage in the Chino Hills says the year-old club faces legal challenges to fend off efforts by developers who want to fragment equestrian areas. Says Suzi, “We hope other clubs will help support our efforts by publicizing Stacy’s clinic — we are facing now what many other horse communities could be dealing with in the near future.” Ticket sales are limited, so buy reserve your seat early. See the ad on page 83 for more information.
Founded: June 2009
Open to: Anyone…and you need not own a horse nor live in the city of Chino Hills.
Current Membership: 50
Meetings: McCoy Equestrian Center, 2nd Tuesday each month
About the community: More than a dozen horse trainers call Chino Hills home…World and National Champion Paint horses, Arabians, Buckskins, Appaloosas, Miniature horses, Quarter Horses, nationally ranked dressage and driving horses, hunters, and even racehorses…Hundreds of riders take lessons in Chino Hills each week, and there is a challenged-student program too…also home of the Chino Valley Equine Hospital, one of the most respected teaching “horsepitals” in the U.S….home, too, of the popular McCoy Equestrian Center…plus, nearly 40 miles of city-maintained, multi-use trails and hundreds more miles of trails in linked trail systems and open spaces.
The City Of Norco’s official mascot, the Mustang “Hail Yeah”, celebrated his sixth birthday July 10 at Starbrite Riding Academy with 500 of his closest two-legged friends (above), ranging from well-wishing Norco councilmen and dignitaries to children with hand-made “Hail Yeah” dolls – as well as plenty of gift carrots (including carrot cake). To enliven the party, O.H. Kruse Feed and Alltech sponsored a Kentucky bluegrass barbeque with Tom Cunningham and his talented band. Scott Helms of Ramona won the raffle for tickets to the Alltech World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., this fall. All proceeds benefitted the Compton Junior Posse, which received $1,729. O.H. Kruse sponsored the Compton Posse to attend a clinic with Hail Yeah’s trainer, Ray Ariss, in the morning before the celebration, which capped off a festive day at Starbrite Riding Academy. At right, Hail Yeah and his trainer, host Ray Ariss, receive a birthday present from Carson Badger, age 9, of Norco.
More photos: http://news.horsetrader.com/media/hailyeah/
Between events at the June 27 “V-Spurs” gymkhana show at Walnut Grove Park in San Marcos, Andy Krogh asked his girlfriend of several years, Melissa Northrup, to give him a hand “setting up the course.” Turned out he was setting up a surprise for his longtime sweetheart. Andy put down the tape measure, knelt on one knee, pulled out a ring and asked her to marry him. Surprised, Melissa broke into tears, and after the announcer said “look in arena two – something special is going on,” her young son, James, ran into the arena and asked his mom what was going on. “Is Andy asking you to marry him?,” her son asked. Yes, she told him. (The boy advised her to say “yes!”) She put on the ring and sll three walked off together. It didn’t hit Andy how nervous he was until he realized he had failed to inform his parents at the show of his big surprise. “They were just as surprised at the announcement by our announcer as all the other riders and families, “ he said. “It was a great moment that will last with us forever — and it was shared with our family and good friends from CGA and District 33.” The date is set for Sept. 26.
Let me start with giving you some principals to proper flexion. First, in order for a horse to bridle his head, he must flex or give in the poll and the jaw — and also in the neck. This will enable him to have the profile and head carriage needed for our Western and English classes today.
You can use several exercises to gain suppleness and control of your horse’s head and neck and enable you to teach your horse proper flexion. In order for a horse to flex or give in the poll, jaw, and neck, I must be able to take a hold of his face and ask him to soften in my hand — and give me his face. I have discovered an easy way to get control of these parts of my horse’s body.
I start with teaching my horse lateral flexion of his head and neck. I do this by asking for my horses face laterally or off to the side. I ride two handed and take one hand out to the side, asking my horse to really bend his neck, bringing his face out to the side. Then, I ask him to step forward while having the bend through his head and neck. As I have a hold of my horse, I do not jerk unless he is pulling away from me. If he’s giving his face, I stay soft but keep my pull constant while pushing with my legs to keep him moving forward. I pay attention to the cadence of his steps — if he’s jerky or very uneven in his motion, I work at this until he is fluid and cadenced.
I also pay attention to his body language, as in his tail movement, mouth, and ears. The quieter he is, the more willing he is. I will ask for a few steps in this maneuver, then I will drop off of him, giving him a break, letting him walk in a straight line. Then I pick him back up and ask for the maneuver again. If I get a lot of resistance, I will often drive him forward to the trot. The use of forward motion will often break through a stiff or resistant horse. I have found that when my horse’s cadence becomes consistent, a new level of willingness is achieved.
I never do this exercise with draw reins or a training fork, as I’ve seen horses bite at these and get hung up — extremely dangerous. If at any time your horse shows too much resistance, stop and seek the help of a professional. I always work both sides of the horse’s body equally, unless the horse is exceptionally stiff one way.
When that’s the case, I will work on the resistant side longer until I feel them get soft in my hands. My goal is always that my horse becomes soft and flexible.
When done correctly, this first exercise will teach your horse to flex through his neck and jaw and give in the face. It will help a horse that has a tight-looking neck and one that is intimidated in the face and behind the bridle to “stretch out and let go in their neck” — and to have a nice, level profile.
The previous exercise doesn’t, though, address flexion in the poll or bringing in a horse’s chin. This exercise will, though: Ask again for the exercise we just learned, and this time, once your horse is comfortable, relaxed and giving, you will bring your hand up and across in front of the saddle horn and ask your horse to drop his nose down toward your toe. Doing this, you will increase the bend and flexion while still having his head around to the side, but with more control of him. Do this with forward motion, starting at the walk — it’s a harder exercise with a higher level of difficulty and flexion, but it also brings you greater results.Evaluate your horse’s response and watch his body language.When you get your desired response, drop your horse and give him a break and then try again. Your goal is to get him softer and more responsive. Since this exercise has a tighter bend and a higher level of difficulty, it may take weeks to gain as much control and suppleness as we have shown here. Be patient, it is worth the effort!
After mastering the last exercise, here’s afinal one. Take a hold of your horses face with both hands, drawing straight back. Don’t jerk — simply draw your hands back and ask your horse to walk forward, encouraging him to be soft and light in the face. The trick to getting that nice level top line is to hold and push until he drops his head to level with his withers. Also pay attention to his feel in your hands. Your goal is that he not only drops his poll, but he also softens in your hands. Make sure when he does this you reward him by releasing your cue.
Best of luck to you,
P.S. — These exercises are also shown in many of my DVD’s in my Winning Strides DVD series.
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