The purpose of the Registry (est. 1993) and the Association (est. 1995) is to preserve the McCurdy horse historic bloodline as a distinct breed, promote their use & enjoyment, and enhance the knowledge and appreciation of the McCurdy Horse as a treasured legacy of the Old South.
Okay, June, way more than you probably wanted to know! ;-)
Well, I’m just tickled to death! Today was Rebel’s second field trial and you’d think he’d been trained to do this his whole life. For those who don’t know, Rebel is my 5 year old McCurdy (recently gelded) gelding that I raised from a yearling. It’s only been one month since he got the big snip. I never took him to field trials because he was intact, so this is a new adventure for us.
Last weekend was his introduction to field trialing and he did so well just riding in the gallery that today I decided to up the ante and try scouting with him. We ran two dogs this afternoon at Fort Campbell. There were three braces after lunch and, of course, we were in the first brace. I had hoped I might have an hour to get Rebel settled in but, nope, I scouted off a “fresh” horse. I had someone hold Rebel for me as I turned the first dog loose because I wasn’t sure how he’d react to the gallery leaving him. It was funny, all Rebel cared about was sniffing around on the horse of the man holding Rebel’s reins for me. WIth Rebel being a stud all these years I’ve never allowed him to sniff/nose/greet other horses while under saddle. It was like Rebel realized this guy didn’t care and he just went to sniffing. I kept yelling over to Rebel to stop it and told the guy to feel free to scold Rebel. Luckily that man’s gelding wasn’t offended and I apologized when I went back to mount Rebel. The man kept saying it was fine and it wasn’t a big deal. That was my first “note to self”.... make sure anyone holding my horse knows it is okay to scold him for any silliness like that. The man stayed with me as I mounted and Rebel was still since he had another horse standing with him as the gallery took off.
We turned loose in a HUGE open field and it was incredibly windy today. In only a few minutes after we took off our dog was pointed WAAAAAAY at the end of this huge, long field. You know what that means. I had to haul butt cantering across that dang field. I had hoped I’d have some time get Rebel settled in but, noooo, I had to kick him into high gear from the get go. (*picture of field below) And for those who haven’t field trialed, you haul butt and then you bring the horse to a stand still where the dog is pointed. Rebel was a little antsy after all that cantering but he did good for me. It turned out our dog didn’t have birds -- she started moving before Jim got off -- so I didn’t have to dismount. Jim whistled her on and we took off again.
I don’t know if it was the wind or what but it seemed like all I did for that hour was chase after our dog. She’s usually an easy dog to scout but she’d get off in brush and I think she was having trouble hearing Jim calling for her. Even *I* was having trouble hearing Jim “singing” to her and this dog isn’t hard headed. Poor Rebel practically cantered the whole hour. I feel a bit bad about that because he was getting tuckered out towards the end of that brace. I’ve not really conditioned him to canter THAT much. Our dog did have a find less than two minutes left in the brace and Rebel stood still while I dismounted and helped. I think he was thankful for the break.
Our second dog was in the next brace so I decided this would be the perfect time to teach Rebel to walk up with me as I turned the dog loose. I knew he was tired from cantering so much and it worked. After our dog took off, I went to get on Rebel and he didn’t move. There were some people in the gallery watching out for us and I hopped on pretty quick, so Rebel wouldn’t get worried. Within three minutes, this dog had a find but she took them out... LOL... which meant we had to pick her up (she didn’t hold her birds... she ran in chasing them which is a big no no). Jim put a roading harness on the dog and we left the gallery and rode off in another area of the wildlife area. Luckily my phone has GPS because we almost got lost but found the road where the dog wagon was parked. We waited there for the gallery to cross the road and then joined back in. Rebel took all of this in stride. It was great!
(Continued in next post... I exceeded the posting limits... *snort*)
For the next two hours I just worked with Rebel on various things. You never know what you’re gonna find on the grounds at Fort Campbell. We were riding down one field and there was a big old broken down helicopter in the middle with lots of brush grown up around it. Rebel didn’t know what to think of that and I thought, “Aaahhh, perfect training opportunity!” When his ears perked up and zeroed in on that monstrosity, I started side-passing him near it. He did as I asked and never spooked... just snorted. My trainer, Jason Crawhorn, has helped us so much with these sorts of things. Another cool thing was when we were riding down a narrow road through some woods and one of the handlers needed to come back through. I was in his path but all I had to do was side pass over and Rebel did it perfectly. A woman I was riding and talking with said, “Nice side pass!” I beamed and said, “Thanks!” She has a background in dressage and eventing and I had been telling her about the Gaited Three Phase Event. She’s never done dressage with gaited horses but is interested.
At the end of the three hours, Rebel still had plenty of zip in his steps. I had worried about how tired he seemed at the end of that first hour but know that was because I was really asking too much of him too soon. The excitement and cantering probably got to him but he got his second wind in that second hour and held up wonderfully. As we were riding back to camp, his head was a noddin’ and he was gaiting so smoothly. I’ve had lots of compliments on him at these two trials. He really is a beautiful animal and he’s finally coming into his own. I think I’ve got me real field trial horse.
Well, I'm whooped (been getting over a cold all week) and will catch up more here soon. So glad to see more posts here!!!
*To give you an idea about that first field we hauled butt across, here is a picture from a trial back in Feb. of this year. I’m standing at the breakaway and see the trees waaaaay at the other end? Our dog was pointed to the left on that far line of trees, so Rebel and I cantered across that field not long after we started!
Good Boy Rebel! What was the reason for him recently losing his manhood?
Pixie, WOW !!!.....what a successful day for Rebel!
Sorry about the takeout of the birds for your dog, but it sounds like Rebel had a wonderful day of new experiences. It's amazing how a horse starts to listen when his saddle pad becomes wet! (snicker....) Wish someone had had a camera to document the whole event. You should be proud of him. I'm glad that you didn't have any big incidents and that the whole day was successful.
Brenda and I are off to the hills this morning with the young McCurdy fillies. The wind is up and the rain drops are flying.......but we look forward to a great day of riding. I will bring my camera....keeping it dry...(I hope!)....and hopefully get some photos to share!
Have a great day!
June and Brenda, how was your ride today?
Brenda, I gelded Rebel because I've decided to have a moratorium on breeding. The horse market and the economy really stinks right now. I hated to leave Rebel intact and alone. I let him live with a pregnant mare the past two years and didn't want to keep him isolated. He's already living peacefully with one of my geldings, so I feel good about that.
I've got too many horses as it is and I get WAAAY too attached. I'm really not cut out for breeding on any big scale. I worry/fret/get too emotional over them, so I'm trying to be more realistic. Raising a stallion has taught me a lot and I'll always be grateful to Rebel for that but now I'm ready to enjoy him as a gelding and not worry with stud stuff. Maybe I'll cross that bridge another day now that I know what all is involved. And I know where some incredible McCurdy stallions are available if I do choose to breed again! ;-)
I wish I had thought to bring a camera, too, June! I'll try to do that at our next trial.
Hope you two got some good pictures today!
Oh, and June, you're right. This past year of lessons has really paid off. That's what it is really about, isn't it? It wouldn't have mattered where or what I did with Rebel.... it was our partnership that resulted in the good outcome. It gives me hope and a feeling of excitement to look forward to trying other new things with him.
I so appreciate your encouragement, June!!!