This blog has MOVED!

Please visit for the most updated content. All these posts and more can be found over at the new URL.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Poker ride

A poker ride is where you ride a designated trail trail, picking up playing cards or tokens that will later be exchanged for playing cards. However the ride is set up, you end up with 5 playing cards and.....a poker hand! Top hands (and the worst hand) are called and you get to pick a prize!

Saturday I arrived ~9:30 at Camp Far West with Dad and Mike.

Although I didn't really need to, I set Farley up on the spring-tie. I figured that a lot of people at this event may have never seen one and this would give them the opportunity to see one in action and ask questions. A few minutes after my arrival, I had a small crowd around looking at it.

Once saddled we headed out. More rigs were pulling in and it looked like it was going to be a full ride. We followed the pink ribbons. Dad did especially well at keeping us on task and not getting lost. He'd be a great endurance rider! I made sure that Farley's ears were in the picture so it's really a picture of all 3 of us!

The five tokens along the path were tied in buckets to trees. None of us had to dismount to get our tokens. The poker ride was quite long for this sort of ride - 7 miles.

We took several lake and grazing breaks. All the horses did really well. Dad rides a Morab that can get a little hot and this was her first outing in 6+ months. She did really really well (no major spooks). Maybe at 11 years old she's finally starting to mellow!

I rode Farley in a hackamore. This was her 3rd or 4th time in it. She did well, but didn't rate very good. She has a habit of throwing her head, inverting her back and jigging. I had a hard time convincing her that this was NOT an endurance ride. I will definitely stick with my bit at the beginning of rides and only switch if she's fairly mellow and I can find a decent bubble (so that I can ride by myself)

Once back at start we handed in our tokens for cards. I had a pair of sixes with a queen high. :( Not likely to place. The lunch was wonderful and we waited for the prizes to be called.

During lunch we watched a lady in riding tights canter down the path that split the parking area. She was riding an arab. Unfortunately, the horse was the kind of arab that makes the "cowboys" standing around at these events say "yep, it's an arab. crazy thing...". She made a not-so-controlled dismount outside of camp and the horse galloped back to her friends. She did hang on to the reins but didn't seem to be able to leap up after her fall and the horse got away. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on my sister about not getting up after falling. It seems like I may be the anomaly, not her! At this point I felt for the women. It's never fun to be dumped - never mind in front of a bunch of cowboys with tights on, riding an arab. I next saw her climbing along the edge of her trailer with her horse in one hand. The horse knocked her off balance, she fell and the horse once again galloped back to it's friends. It was at this moment that my concern turned into something else - I'm not sure what - but it was a kissing cousin to frustration. It's been a long time since a horse got away from me on the ground. It's one thing to fall off and have the horse run away - it's happened to everyone, or is going to happen - but unless the horse is absolutely NUTS, or very talented, it's unlikely to get away on the ground. It was obvious that this horse and rider partnership had a few issues to work out, and the problems didn't start in the saddle. As the rider caught the horse and galloped/cantered down the center road, yet again, in a vain attempt to show the horse (and the cowboys?) who was boss, the comments started "an arab". I laughed because if it had been any other breed, the spectators would have been unlikely to say "a quarterhorse" or "a paint"! My dad pointed out this is why he wears jeans. Because if he shows up in "fairy riding pants" aka "tights", this what people assume he's like. I guess this is not the groups first experience with people showing up in tights with an arab. Predictably the horse came galloping back up the road...riderless a few moments later. It was at this point that the manager went and talked her discretely and (I assume) let her know that he would appreciate it if she would stay dismounted for the time being.
It was about the time she galloped down the road the second time that I did get frustrated. I'm fairly tolerant when it comes to rides. We are all there to have fun. But sometimes, you need to know when to quit. It's one thing to be embarrassed about a fall. It's another to do something stupid to prove yourself after a fall. If you have anything prove, stay off the horse. The horse doesn't understand your need to make yourself look good. I can think of very few training issues that are solved by galloping your horse out of camp.

I did meet 2 people at lunch that lived locally and have both finished the Tevis "a couple of times". They were both wearing belt buckles. Now, I do not have a habit of looking in that particular...ummm...region, so we had actually been talking "endurance" for ~45 minutes before I saw the buckle and asked. They invited me to come ride sometime which would be fun.

After lunch I headed back out. I did 5 miles on foot and finished up mounted. Including the poker ride and run, I got about 18 miles in. It was great. When I was out by myself, I rode IN a herd of cows. Cows were not more than 10 feet away, weaving in and out of a herd, of about 30-40 cows! Wow. Farley was GREAT. First time she's EVER been OK with cows. Not one snort or blow. I'm not sure what changed, but I LIKE it!
This post ending up really long - one more thing. Farley sustained a crack in the front of her left front cornet band. not sure what caused it, but it's definitely a split and it extends a little down into the hoof. I'll get a pic later if I can. Errrrrr! Not sure how she did it? Knocked it on a rock? One more thing to worry about for Wild West. She's not lame or ouchy, but it still worries me.


  1. One more comment - I struggled with whether or not to tell the story about the lady falling off. Honestly - if she had just fallen off once and had the horse get away from her on the ground, I probably wouldn't have even remembered the incident. I don't like telling embarassing stories of people I don't know just to tell a story (too much like gossiping). HOWEVER, it was when she galloped through camp for the SECOND time for a REPEAT performance that it passed from "poor lady" to "object lesson". Flame away at me if you wish, but I stand by my decision to tell the story! LOL :)

  2. Nice commentary on the Arab lol
    I assume I'm not the sister you speak of when you mentioned falling off? :P

  3. Oh what a fun ride!

    I admit that I'm rather breed prejudiced - in Memphis I knew one full Crazy Arab and one moderately crazy half Arab. But I knew tons of hot little speed QHs, and more than a few hot show TWHs. I'd probably have just hid my head in my hands in embarrassment for that rider.

  4. Great story, Mel! I think we all have known at least one person that falls into the category of "crazy horse/crazy person." At our local trail head around here, it's more of the crazy Paints and macho cowboys!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.