Wonderful Weekend of Ridiing

Wonderful Weekend of Ridiing

Post by Terri Ferri » Sun, 16 Mar 1997 04:00:00

Hi Everyone!

Late last summer, we finally got our horse moved to our new place and
I began learning to ride.   I didn't get to ride near as much as I
wanted or needed to and my rides only lasted no longer than an hour
max, but I was starting to learn.  Winter set in and I didn't get in
much riding at all.  Got my new saddle for Christmas and haven't been
able to use it a half dozen times until this past weekend.

My husband and I were asked to judge a birddog field trial together on
Saturday and Rex was also judging on Sunday.  Well, with only one
trial horse, we had to borrow one and I told Rex that BJ was mine.  He
could ride the borrowed one.  Inexperienced as I am, I didn't want to
ride a strange horse, no matter how gentle it was supposed to be.  At
one point, I was regretting that decision.  

Naturally, 2 days before the trial, the Texas rains set in.  Saturday
was in the 40s, overcast, the creeks were running and the ground was
really soggy.  We saddled up, got to the line and told the handlers to
"turn 'em loose".  Each brace is 30 minutes and the course is about
1.25-1.5 miles long.  Came to the first creek and Rex' horse goes to
its knees in the creek.  Somehow, he stayed in the saddle and the
horse recovered itself and got back up.  He's got bruises on the
inside of his thighs from gripping the saddle to keep from getting
dunked in the creek:)  Went on a little ways and BJ is really feeling
frisky....and spooky.  I have to keep reminding her that we follow the
handlers and not the dogs.  First she shied at a water trough set up
on the course for cooling down the dogs, then she shied at a big tree
limb on the ground.  We got close to the first sharp turn on the
course that was just past a small oak grove and something about that
grove she just didn't like.  She stopped and started trying to back
up.  I made her go forward and she reared with me.  I stayed on and
got her stopped, made her go forward again and she reared again and
this time the saddle slipped some.  Scared the c*** out of me, but I
stayed on.  Got her to move forward and stopped her, got off, fixed
the saddle and we continued on. She didn't give me too much trouble
again, just acted a little antsy.  We immediately started the second
brace, she was still antsy but we were doing allright, until we got to
that same oak grove and she reared on me again.  Now, I was really
nervous and was just about ready to switch horses with Rex at the end
of the brace.  All he said was that I would regret it, so I stayed
with her.  The 3rd brace started and she was settling down, still a
little bit antsy but doing much better.  Another mile and a half
around the course and we were cruising:)  We ran 4 more braces before
breaking for lunch and it was smooth sailing.  After lunch we judged 4
more braces and I enjoyed every minute of it.  

The trial was run on part of a 1000 acre ranch and the course took us
across creeks, through washouts, up and down hills, through pastures,
and stands of trees. You name it, there was just about any kind of
terrain you could imagine.  Dogs were racing around sometimes right
underfoot, guns firing, whistles blowing, birds flushing, handlers
hollering for out of sight dogs....all this, anywhere from 20 ft away
to right next to us.  Whenever a dog was on point, we had to ride up
close to the dog to observe his birdworks and determine that there was
actually a bird in there.  With the ground so soggy, the horses were
sinking in the mud everytime you turned around, but BJ never missed a
step and we even leaped over a couple of small creeks (her choice).
Of course, we took it slow and I let her find her way through the bad
areas and once we hit higher ground, we would move out and gait.  All
the other action, she handled like she didn't even hear it.  It was a
blast.  I got to ride for nearly 8 hours and we covered around 15
miles.  My new Cordura western style saddle really got a workout and
let me tell you, after this weekend, I wouldn't trade that little
saddle for anything.  It was so comfortable that I don't have a single
sore muscle or tender spot anywhere.  The only problem I had was after
riding for 2-3 hours and getting off for a bathroom break or for
lunch, my knees were killing me and everything below the knees was
numb.  Walking around for a few minutes worked it out though.

We stayed in camp that evening for a barbeque supper and had to listen
to everyone joking about the "rodeo" we provided as entertainment for
the trial.  By then I could laugh along with them:)  After the trial
was over for the day, I met one of the handlers who turned out to have
been the first owner of BJ and he was able to give me a little more
info on her.  He told us her name was originally "Kizzy".  Someone
between him and us owning her renamed her "Billie Jean" or BJ for
short.  Her sire was a registered Missouri FoxTrotter who was a solid
white blue roan.  He said this horse was solid white until he got wet.
Then you could see the blue skin and a small amount of dark hair would
show through.  Her dam was half Amer. Saddlebred/half Tennessee Walker
and was solid coal black.  BJ came out a solid blue roan.  He also
told me that her sire had been bred to a bay mare and produced a colt
that is a carbon copy of BJ that is so identical that you have to look
underneath to tell the difference in them.  He said that her sire was
a total kid horse even uncut, but her dam was a lunatic that you
didn't ride unless you carried a 2x4 along. I know where BJ gets it
from now:)   I'll be getting in touch with him to find out more about
her sire.

Sunday,  we got up to find a misting rain and warmer temperatures.  By
the time we get to the trial site, the temperature dropped, the mist
turned to rain and the wind started blowing.  Since Rex was judging, I
let him take BJ and I rode the borrowed Walker.   We were so bundled
up with sweaters, coats, slickers, gloves and hats that we could
hardly move.  Nine more braces were run on Sunday and about halfway
through, it started pouring rain.  The creeks started rising, the
washouts were running and the horses were sinking deeper in the mud
than the day before.  I rode half the braces and spent the rest of the
time in camp loading up our gear and our dog, and took care of some of
the trial paperwork so we could get out of there as quick as we could
before the water rose over the road leading into the ranch.  Everyone
got out just in time.

As miserable as the conditions were, I thoroughly enjoyed getting out
and riding BJ.  I was really proud of myself:)  There's another trial
being held this coming weekend just outside of Victoria and we're
planning to attend just so we can ride.  This time, since he's not
judging, Rex plans to ride Flip, the crazy QH that lives with us..
Now, THAT ought to be a rodeo!  He's not really crazy, just a former
racehorse that has hardly been ridden and never at a trial.
Terri Ferrier