Monday, October 25, 2010

Freestyle Reining

Well as many of you may already know, the Alpine Open Freestyle Reining was held this past weekend at the Sul Ross rodeo arena. A day of fun and visiting with friends, laughing at costumes, and having a good ol' time. For most at least... I will say this; I don't know if I have ever been more nervous in my life! Sounds silly doesn't it? Anyways, here is my story of how the day turned out for me!

My horse PD is standing there half asleep as I'm sitting on her bareback more awake than ever. We are patiently waiting our turn to enter the arena and perform our routine, as we practiced the whole week before hand. With each passing second the butterflies become so bad that I have to look down at the ground and concentrate on a rock. Usually I can handle the nerves but for some reason they were really getting to me this time. I guess I put a lot of time and effort in getting ready for this day; starting six months ago. Before I know it the rider that just finished is walking out of the arena and I know that it's my turn. "Up next is number 270! Pink! Are the judges ready?" I hear from the announcers box. As the judges nod their heads, the gate opens and I walk in.

My heart is pounding in my chest when I wave my arm, signaling for my music to start. As soon as I hear the music start, all my nervousness disappears and the adrenaline kicks in. I run PD down to the center of the arena and signal her to stop. She doesn't stop the greatest in the world but when you say "Wow" you better be holding on because she's guna stop. We continue to do our spins, 4 in each direction. I learned a cool trick a few years back that when you are doing anything in the arena that is being judged, you want to show off your horses good side last. When the judges are watching you, they tend to remember what goes on last. PD doesn't spin very good to the right so I spun her that direction first, then to the left, which is her better side. After the spins I start my circles, to the right first because PD does a better lead change to the right than she does the left.

She is a very complicated horse and it has taken me many years to learn how to ride her. When we first got her she was a 3 year old that had just won an open snaffle bit futurity so she was pretty high strung. I didn't like her one bit and complained when I had to ride her. It wasn't until a couple years ago that I really started riding her and we have taught each other a lot since then. She is now a 9 year old and still frisky as ever.

Anyways, back the reining. PD was definitely feeling good today because she was fighting me the whole time we were doing our circles. On top of that she missed her lead change both times! Well partly missed them. She switched in the front but not in the back and everyone knows that riding a cross-firing horse is not very comfortable. When our circles were complete we made one last big circle to do a rollback. We ran down the fence and I said "Wow!" She stopped so hard and fast I almost lost my balance and came over her neck, but luckily she did her rollback hard  and I was able to catch myself. The  next rollback I was ready for her and it was perfect. We circled back around and did one last stop and a couple more spins, to finish out my music.

I was breathing hard when we walked out of the arena, and was very glad that it was over, but at the same time I wanted to go back and do it again. PD did excellent but since I did it bareback there were quiet a few mistakes that I could have avoided. Oh well, I did the best I could and everyone said that it was really good, the best one they had seen in my age group. The next three hours were just terrible as the rest of the riders went and everyone filed back into the arena for the award ceremony. First they read off all the sponsers and thanked them, and named the judges and thanked them. What is cool about this deal is that everyone gets a prize and as they read off last place first, everyone received some sort of award. Sub-juniors went first, then juniors, then it was my age group; seniors. There were nine in my group and when they got to third place, I thought for sure they would call my number, but they didn't. They did however, call it for second place. I was both thrilled and disappointed. I placed better than I did last year, but I wasn't first. That was all ok though because it's all about having fun. The kid that won first place had won for the last couple of years. Tell me if I'm wrong but somehow it didn't quite seem fair that he won again, but I'm not complaining.

When all was said and done, only two awards remained; A gift-certificate for a brand new Spradly hat and the saddle. These awards are only for 4H members who are currently enrolled in 4H. I wasn't expecting anything but when the kid who had won first in my age group was awarded reserve grand champion, I couldn't help but smile to myself. People kept looking at me and my friend Stormie said "It's going to be you!" I said I doubt it. "And the winner of the saddle and highpoint champion is number 270!" I don't remember my first reaction but they made me walk in front of everyone and they put the saddle on PD. I was absolutly thrilled!

 This is my dad and I and PD! As you can see our costume was pink!

It toke me quite a while to paint the Aerosmith logo on PD, she just stood there and toke it like a champ! Not to mention tying all those ribbons in her mane and tail.

Stormie and I waiting our turn to ride! Before the show even began, Stormie, her sister-in-law Chelsey and I carried the flags during the National Anthem! I carried the Texas Flag.  

The saddle that I won. It says "Freestlye Rening 2010 4H Highpoint, Alpine, TX" It's actually a pretty good saddle and I can see it sitting in my room for a while!

Ya'll have a good day now!!


  1. I really wish we could have made it over to watch, especially since you rode bareback!!!

    Thats too awesome, girl!
    Looked like lots of fun!! :)
    Great job too, congrats on the saddle too!!

  2. Whoo Hoo!!! Congradulations!! Wish we could have seen it. Tickled for you.


  3. Very descriptive writing Jaelyn, you've got some talent :O)