Old Faithful

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Regardless of our level of riding experience or how confident we think we are on horseback, we can all have our confidence shaken at one time or another.

Lately, my confidence in my own riding dropped as I've been struggling with my own timing on my two younger horses, Casady and Naughty. I came to Colorado with just those two horses, and I've only been running on and off since I've been here. That hasn't left much time for me to perfect my timing in competition with either horse, and that lack of timing has definitely been reflected in my performance.

But if you've been following this blog for a while, you ?might remember that in October after my trip to the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, my parents and I drove Onyx (Zippos Three Dee) out to Colorado to enjoy her retirement with a mountain view. Well, when an 18-year-old Onyx, who had garnered 5 Congress Top Tens and countless rodeo paychecks in my high school and college days, stepped off the trailer sound as could be, the gears in my head started turning.

Comfortably shod with aluminum bar shoes, Onyx started back into the workout process slowly. Lots of trotting, easy trail riding, and loping to build muscle. She couldn't have been happier to be shedding those pounds and working again. After a month and a half of daily exercise, I took Onyx to her first barrel race. I told Corey and my parents I was just taking her along for the ride so she wouldn't feel left out at home. Secretly, though, I knew in the back of my mind that I'd really, really like to see how she felt turning a barrel.

The end result:

In this video, I was holding her back the whole run, but boy was it fun. And the next day, Onyx still felt like a million dollars. She's been sound ever since, and she's been helping me, run by run, rebuild my confidence in my riding and my horses' abilities. Having a great, dependable mount like her back in the game reminds me that I know how to let a horse run. I've owned her for the better part of 12 years now, and our timing is pretty flawless. Getting the timing down with her makes riding the other two horses easier, and I'm excited about the summer ahead (as long as diesel prices don't totally derail my plans). Don't worry, I'll only run her once a month or so, so as not to overwork the old gal. But it sure is good to have old faithful back in the lineup.

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