Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, December 28, 2009

Great Hunt

A couple weeks ago Dave and I joined a friend and trekked down to southern New Mexico for an SCA event. Katharyn had invited us - actually invited us and a horse to go down with her, since she was going to have an open space or two in her trailer. I hemmed and hawed about it for a long time, and finally fessed up that trailering horses for so far was freaking me out. Not to mention that it's difficult to take horses away while Ginger has lessons going on. So we ended up accompanying her and her horses.

For a 12 hour trip, the ride down went remarkably smoothly. We'd spent the night at Katharyn's the night before so that we could get up early (ehem.. 4am early!), get the horses in the trailer and get going by 5.

We didn't know much of anything about this event - a big part of the reason for going was to get together with Isabol, who as the Kingdom Equestrian Officer, is my counterpart at the kingdom level. We've emailed a lot, but haven't had a chance to meet since she lives in Las Cruces. Katharyn has been friends with Isabol for years -- in another Kingdom. So they were looking for a chance to see each other again, and heck - Katharyn was actually delivering a horse to her. Voila, we loaded up and headed for Artesia, NM, knowing very little of what to expect.

We pulled in at 5 pm on the dot to a private ranch. Unloaded the horses - being introduced to the absolutely most pernicous goat head stickers I have ever come across in my life! Bad news to let your lead rope drag on the ground there - and then try and lead away horses who were seeing freedom for the first time that day! Somehow we were just unlucky enough to unload in the only spot not de-stickered because the rest of the weekend we hardly saw any.

Looking around, it was immediately clear this was going to be a small event. One other person was scheduled to arrive with horses. That combined with Isabol, who didn't haul any of hers in, and Emma, the host, made for 5 riders. OK.

Camp set up fine - the bed assembled great. :-) We were really glad to have brought with us ready made cabbage burgers which we could heat up courtesy of the cutest little microwave in Katharyn's camper. Those eaten sitting around the bonfire geting acquainted with the half dozen other folks camping out made for a great evening.

Saturday was the event. In the morning we learned that the other equestrian had emailed a cancellation, so we were it. We saddled up Aramis and Minerva and took turns warming up. Isabol had said she'd work with me on jousting, so we did some of those basics. It was a special challenge because neither Aramis nor Minerva neck rein very well. Aramis is a Belgian draft, and Minerva a draft cross, so both are entirely capable of going where THEY want rather than listening to a rider. Being my first time riding either of them, it was a humbling experience. But we muddled through and after a couple hours of that we put the horses up for lunch.

David, meanwhile, had gone off to join the Archery folks. They had loaner gear, and he's been talking about trying it for a while, so took the opportunity. And what a day he had! They shot pretty much all day long, and I kept hearing comments to the effect that he was doing very well for what essentially was his first day.

They had quite the assortment of Archery contests going on. They had targets set up at 10, 20, 30 and 40 feet. The 30-30 contest had them shooting as many arrows as you can at the 30 foot target in 30 seconds. Without a doubt, however, most amusing event I watched was the charging bull. Yep, a bull profile mounted to a wagon, starting at 40 feet away charges towards the shooters who try to hit it as many times as they can.

Most of the time the pully / wagon system worked great... but not every time. I think Dave and his opponent ended up with like three false starts.

They eventually just dismantled the 30 foot target since it seemed to be so alluring to the bull! Finally they had their run, and Dave managed to get two arrows in - one as a head shot.

After lunch they started the Mounted Archery event. But with their own twist on the 'mounted' part. Boys and their toys, I tell ya.

They even so kindly reversed directions for the south paw.

And then the REAL equestrians had their go!

Aramis, deciding he needed to run away from the twang of the bow string

Me, on Minerva

Emma, our hostess, and her Haflinger Billy ran the course too!

I'm not sure any of us managed to put an arrow in the target or not, but it sure was fun to give it a try.

Later we all ran an obstacle course / quest, again including Emma and Billy. I've never ridden with someone driving before - they had an impressive amount of manoeverability with that cart!

Another evening spent around the firepit with food, drink and friends. Going to bed, the night before, we were rather conscious of the fact we had been seeing our breath fog up for some time. It was darn cold! And though we'd taken blankets to put between us and the airmattress, it still sucked all the heat out of us. That was a long cold night. The second night we were better prepared, having laid down an extra blanket AND both of our wool cloaks underneath us. That and the fact it must have been 20 degrees warmer made for a very pleasant sleep Saturday night! We really like our new bed!

Sunday we headed out at the lazy hour of 10 am, headed for Phyllis's place to over night. Managed to hit snow just as we crossed into Colorado. Uff Dah -- that too will be another post.



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