What a weekend! We did all kinds of stuff that we have never done before, and considering everything, I'm so proud of Marley. We had great practice runs it was so nice to be able to work in the arena before the event started each day. Marley is still a little unsure of that big indoor arena with all of it's sights and sounds, but considering he has never even seen an indoor arena, I think he did great. My nerves didn't help much either of course, it's intimidating riding out there with a whole bunch of cowboys who I know have their opinions (I overheard).
We did improve though, which is what it was all about for us. Even with me forgetting the reining pattern and missing the roll back (don't worry, I turned around and completed it) we still got a pretty decent score in the reining. Perhaps the most hilarious part of today was that our best class (the one we thought we would do terrible in) was the cow class! Marley was much less afraid of the people in the stands, and only balked at them as we first trotted in. We even got a canter transition from a standstill! This is huge for us as our canter work in the arena has been a struggle. Once it was time to let the cow out, all of those games of chase we play in the arena must have kicked in... and I thought he was going to be afraid of the cow!
After letting Marley eat and relax for a while, we got to show off Marley's clicker training to some family friends and anyone else who happened to be in the barn. Marley was really cute, and even though he still wont do all of his tricks here, he has relaxed enough to stay pretty focused without a lead on and did quite a few of them.
Thank you so much to everyone who has been watching, reading, listening, supporting, and cheering for us. You've all made this experience even more memorable, and we've met some really great people here this weekend. Oh, and I forgot... of all horses Marley would be stabled next to, he is next door neighbors with Okie! The only other clicker trained horse in the competition! It was really fun to meet him and his trainer Mary, and it was great to swap stories and learn more about clicker training with horses.
Now, we just have to get through tomorrow.