Well its over now for the year, what a relief!
For the most part, things went according to plan, but I learned a few new things.
- Its hard to tell someone they aren’t ready to enter the higher division. Its especially difficult for me because I dont know some of the riders personally. In one case, a girl had entered a division that Laura didn’t feel she was ready for. I got to be the one to break the news to her. Its especially difficult when the parent isn’t a rider and doesn’t understand how horses can be. We came to a compromise where she could complete the first lap as if in the lower division, and if she still wanted to, she could complete the second loop, boosting her up to the higher division (distance-wise). Well, the trail helped explain it for me, the girl had a fall when her horse stumbled getting out of the creek. She went on to finish and won the lower division. Happy face! It certainly made up for the rocky start.
- People at our barn go a lot slower than an actual OCTRA event. The gobble gallop was designed to be the same as bronze level set speed, but I don’t believe any of the riders met the minimum 4.04 mph. So perhaps next year we will knock it down to 2 levels again and just keep the slower speeds. Everyone had a lot of fun simply going around the property, speed isn’t a concern!
- Volunteers make all the difference! (Ok I already knew this) but it certainly became further ingrained. Marg was there to help us out, and what a help she was! Cannot thank her enough, the girls loved her and she was so informative. She even brought Desmil for one of our girls to ride with.
- Some things just cannot be planned for. Cranky horses who don’t want to leave the valley so you cant leave gates open? Unexpected parking lot work being done? Tremendous gale-force winds? Lame horses? 3 people asking for the same horse? Spanky horses who turn good horses into ride and tie mounts so they can go back to barn? Yes there was a lot of changes to be made as we went along and proved to only be minor speedbumps instead of total roadblocks. Perhaps this will help us next year, more “what if’s” to consider.
- Check the files! Oops, I emailed myself last years harvest hack spreadsheet and lost all of my work calculating literally EVERYTHING out and the list of all riders. Luckily I had all the forms with me AND had made the packages up in advance with good notes on them.
- People like pizza!
Stacey and Maddy turned into a ride and tie team when one rider had a fall from her pony who just wouldn’t cooperate!