The first issue: El’s first response to being in that arena alone was to run. I’m not sure if she was feeding off of my adrenaline or if she was uncertain about being in that arena all by herself but you can see it in how she’s moving her hips around as we ask for the cow and as we’re approaching the cow.
Since this is a novice class, I have 45 seconds to box the cow on that far side fence.
I had been watching the other horses in that arena and they were spooking at the cows magically appearing from behind the tarp. So I asked for the cow about half way into the arena to give El enough space to see what was going on. This ate up a lot of our 45 seconds which looking back, I think I should’ve been a little closer to the gate to save us some more time on the calf.
On our first turn, El bolted forward which cutoff the cow, making it turn again. Ideally, I would’ve stayed just behind the cow, driving it to the other end of the fence before cutting it off.
Finally, we slow down a little and drive the cow down and as we move forward to cut it off, El swings out and away. We’re working on this at home to where she’s not swinging out quite as much.
We get stuck in this corner. El is still wanting to bolt causing her to be a little too quick in her turns, forcing that cow to stay in the corner. The good thing here is she’s really showing off her ability to turn quick and on her hind end, but this isn’t a cutting class. I should’ve been a little more aggressive getting El into that corner to push the calf down the other side of the fence.
We finally get into the corner to get the calf going down the fence when time is called.
Overall, we tied for 5th in this class. We zeroed our maneuvers (no penalties or awarded points) Since we drive the calf very much, the judge put us on the bottom of that tie- 8th place. Looking back, I should’ve had El on a tighter rein with a little more control of her speed.