My little horsewoman rode in her first gymkhana of the year on Fanny, the new horse. Fanny's never done anything like this before. Even after tons of practice sessions, she still couldn't figure out what on earth we were doing, making her stand out in the sun for hours on end, only running around in the arena once in awhile. She wasn't altogether pleased with the situation.
It was a rough day for Littlest One as far as gymkhanas go. She didn't place in any of the five events. Her horse - even after hours of practicing - didn't do everything perfectly. But despite that, I'm gonna call today a success. My mama-heart couldn't be more full with pride and awe.
There were twelve kids in Littlest One's age group. She was the youngest. The oldest was four years older. While she didn't place, she was only two hundredths of a second too slow in two of the events to place. Through it all, even when her horse wanted to do something entirely wrong, she stayed patient and calm, she followed through, and worked like a real horsewoman to get Fanny to listen. Those two are an incredible team. This is a learning year, for both horse and rider. And while I wouldn't have chosen rodeo, everything in me is so happy when I watch them, when I see my little girl's character growing by leaps and bounds, when I see her sportsmanship and good attitude and that big, beautiful, missing-tooth smile as she races back to the gate.
It was a really, really great day.
For posterity's sake, her times today were (in seconds):
Flags: DQ (missed the bucket on the first flag)
Special 1*: 38
Special 2 (Mountain Cowhorse): 17
*Can't remember the name of this one. Two barrels, up the center, around the first barrel, straight across, around the outside of the second barrel and back to the gate through the inside.