Jun 052020

By Patty Wilber

Here we are with good weather and no in-person horse shows, so virtual shows have taken off.

Sounds great--get the info, pay some money, video your go in the comfort of your own (or a nearby) arena. No long drives, no all day commitment.


I did my first video class (Ranch Pleasure, a pattern class) with the NM Paint Club show.  

It was in the comfort of my own arena, but did NOT turn out to be one and done.

Oh no! There were bobbles! We can’t have bobbles! They had to be refilmed. And since I entered four horses, that took a while.

So, when I got to my second virtual show, The Virtual Red Hot Ranch Horse Challenge, I was semi-prepared.

The first class I tackled was Open Ranch Trail, and I cut the number of horses I was showing from four to two.  I learned that two were going to be plenty.

I authored the open Ranch Trail pattern for this show, but, for whatever reason, did not make it with my personal (smallish) arena in mind. I did manage to get it to fit.

The first day of filming was less than ideal. My biggest challenge was the lope over logs.

I put the logs outside the arena, in a “chute” I have, but because one log was also needed for a sidepass, and I have a railroad tie perimeter, I had to put that first log pretty close to the start of the loping area where the railroad tie was not very high…

So, that left only a few lope strides before the first log.

I also put the two logs down at random. I did not measure the distance between them. By golly, a ranch horse should not need to have a walked off distance between logs, especially two logs over 30 feet apart!  They should adjust their stride. I mean, really!

H was not thrilled about the short distance to the first log, so that threw him off, then the second is coming up, so maybe lead change! No! Stumble over it! No! Trot over it! Or maybe leap it, or maybe just get your feet all tangled up over it.

So, I walked off 36 feet between the poles, and this made H’s life quite a bit easier, but not quite easy enough for a keeper video. (And Lucy was pretty happy about the 36 feet, also.)

So, got the logs figured out, but then we had all sorts of of other things conspiring against us!

Lucy was working on a nice first go, but the camera quit half way through as the memory filled up at just that moment…Erased stuff.

Next go: A dog popped out of the trees…Tied the dogs up.

Next go:  Bobbles.

Next go: A flash of lightning. No rain in a month and now we have lightning!…Those clouds moved on.

Next go:  The neighbors decided to rearrange their deck, which made a weird noise. And they are not even that close by, but the sound carried.

Next go: A phone call which killed the video…Put the phone on airplane mode.

Next go: Lucy rolled a log, but I didn’t fix it, and then she could not seem to lope without hitting the second log, even though she was fine before I had bothered to measure…re-measured the logs.

We got down to the “this is the last try of the night” go. It went well until 10 feet before the final obstacle. A rabbit shot across the arena out of nowhere and Lucy stopped dead.

Are you kidding me?!!!!

Turns out that even if the rabbit had not ruined the run in the final seconds, the whole video was too dark and would not have been usable, anyway.

So, back at it the next day and got good runs for both horses (I re-reset the logs) for the trail pattern.

And then I realized (thanks to Jenn) that I had walked in a spot that required a trot and, to make that mistake worse, remember, I WROTE THE PATTERN! 

But, the next day (Day 3 now) we got the correct pattern, nicely executed, in just two tries with Lucy.

Day 4 was H’s day, and despite more lightning (yes!) and more yard work by the neighbors, we also got it in two tries.

Now on to Ranch Rail, which I already know will go really well until the very end where some major error will occur, necessitating a redo.  Who knows how many days this will take me?!

I also have three more classes (Ranch Riding, Ranch Reining, and Ranch Conformation)…

I feel a virtual headache coming on. No, wait, I feel a real headache caused by a virtual show, coming on!!

There is still time to join the Virtual Red Hot Show! https://www.facebook.com/groups/VRHRH/

Happy filming!

  15 Responses to “A Virtual Headache”

  1. love this..thanks for sharing:>)

  2. Neighbors! Every time–no matter what time of day–I make videos, the next door neighbors emerge from their home to distract my horse and make all kinds of noise. It’s like clockwork. They usually ride their horses, too, which is a slight distraction (and makes for good video bombs), but sometimes they ride two and leave one, meaning the left one runs and screams the entire time!

    • LOL! Rabbits, dogs, neighbors, lightning, dustdevils, technology. AY! A regular show is easier! Go in, do your run, good, bad, ugly and you are done! Done, I say!

  3. This is like me with rally and obedience virtual match work–Neighbors! Muffler-fails! The entire neighborhood dog alarm goes off! We find a cactus on the course! I stumble stupidly in our horror-footing and mess up a run!

    In the dog world, people (WHO ARE NOT PARTICIPATING, she says, shouting) are sneering at the rally video title, currently limited to novice. No awareness of the commitment that goes into setting things up, or the way trialing in a dedicated venue buffers one from distractions, or (with some dogs) fires them up and focuses them for performance. (Also no apparent awareness that many obedience trials take place in the facilities where people train, so how is that any different?) Plus I’m finding that performing for video has all the same ring nerves.

    So I’m delighted with the option to do video stuff (especially in an area with very few trials even in non-COVID times), and think it’s really cool that horse events are also helping to lead the way!

    • And no bad videos can be submitted, because then what is the point!? LOL.
      Just ONE MORE try. x100.
      Well, good practice anyway…and the horses did improve!!

      • Yes! x100! But it seems like it went pretty well once the ring was sorted out?

        (I only did twice for the rally stuff and then sometimes submitted the first one anyway. He was performing steadily so it became about the fussy details and there is *always* going to be a fussy detail. Otherwise it was just about which thing was the least intrusive–the “stepped on a cactus,” the neighbor, the volunteer videographer who sneezes… The one that needed more than two runs I ended up ditching altogether, because he wasn’t acting right overall. Turned out he had an upset stomach. )

        PS now I just put a bucket upside down over the cactus, ha ha!

        • Yep, once I got it sorted out, it was not too bad!!! That first day was so frustrating! I am down to two classes left….

          • We’re preparing for a virtual match video. (nothing official.) Two days plotting the logistics on paper, one night to set up the ring space and brainstorm the pattern, another night to do footwork run-throughs because I haven’t entered at this level before, and Mr. Other is serving as videographer and in a couple of instances, ring steward (about which he knows nothing). We’re planning one more run-through, and meanwhile doing things to prepare the dog for these wholly unusual circumstances.

            Hoping I’m not as awkwardly nervous as last evening when we did a run through with the youngster in a baby class that was SO much simpler and I still walked around with all the grace of the Ghostbusters giant Stay-Puft mascot while the poor dog tried to heel beside me…

          • I am always impressed by how good you look doing the runs with the dogs, just so you know!!

          • Well, shoot-fire! Thank you!

  4. I loved this! Thank for showing us!

  5. Really fun to watch. Challenging trail pattern, especially with railroad ties to navigate. But it does take some coordination with good friends willing to video for you (and have the skills to zoom in/out when necessary). Just wondering, was your cinch strap hanging? Looks like it came out of the keeper during your trail course run.

    • SHHH!!! Don’t tell anyone about the cinch strap!!! The run was good and after all those redos, I just could not face another one!!

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