Thursday, October 20, 2011
Training to drag!
Lady and I have completed our first ACTHA ride! I’m working on my November column, and you can read all about it soon! ACTHA is the American Competitive Trail Horse Association. Their Competitive Trail Challenge events are growing in popularity all over the country. Each ride is six miles with six obstacles, and each obstacle is judged, giving horse and rider separate scores. I worked with Lady for several weeks, maybe five sessions or more, to get ready for this event. After looking over the possible obstacles on the ACTHA website, I decided to teach Lady to drag a log. Or something like a log. I started by walking around her in the paddock, dragging a long rope. Then I attached a piece of wood and dragged it around her. After a time, I dragged the rope and then the piece of wood while leading her. I also laid the rope over her back and walked her around, and touched her all over with the rope. Then I rode her and dragged the rope and flicked it all around her. It was a moment of elation for me as I dared to flick the rope beside her on both sides, then over her head while she stood quietly. Finally, I attached the piece of wood and dragged it around and around, letting the rope touch her rump and letting her feel the pull of dragging. One day, after she had been in the round pen awhile, I brought her back to her stall and since I didn’t want to make two trips, I also dragged the empty muck bucket from the round pen to the barn while leading her. That was much noisier than the piece of wood, but Lady was good. I knew then we were ready to drag something. I just didn’t know it would be a “body!” Be sure to read my November column for the rest of the story!