“They’re flight animals. They have survived all these many, many, many -you know- thousands of years by getting the heck out of the way. You know. So that’s their instinct. If they are unsure, they would like to leave. So it takes a lot of trust for them to stay and do what you’re asking them to do.” said Mary Eaton, Competitor.
This time, the riders are asking their horses to navigate ten scary-looking obstacles.
“Horses see things differetly than we do, you know. It -their vision is way different than ours. So, sometimes its hard to figure out why are they afraid of that.” said Eaton.
They face challenges from walking backwards to rib tickling.
“Everybody likes anything with the pool noodles, and this year we have a new obstacle. We call it the rib tickler because it hits the horses, like, rib high.” said Joni Haner, Chairperson for Event.
The top riders received a belt buckle and a cash prize as their award.
“I am very competitive and I like winning. But horses humble you, so (laughs). You’ve got to take it down a step.” said Eaton.
“You can compete and you can think you can really -you really got things nailed down, and you just crash and burn. And I would say, just don’t get all uptight about it. Just go out and try it again.” said Steve Merck, Competitor.
For these riders, the challenge is worth it.
“The broker the horse, the more likely they are to do any of these obstacles. Which is really fun to watch, because the same people -and obviously new people- but the same people that come back year to year, you can see how much they’ve progressed and it’s just really exciting to watch how far they’ve come with their horse.” said Haner.