We set our sights on the barrel racing competition. Well, I did, Sahara had no clue why she was running in a clover leaf pattern repeatedly.
I set up barrels "we" (mostly Sahara) carried across the river as it was the only flat sandy spot. The sand was a bit deep so we couldn't run too fast. Running in the same pattern would get old quickly for Sahara. She would get bored. Fair enough. I limited it to 3-5 times. If we did an amazing 1st try we would stop and call it good. We had no way to get to the competition except by me riding her to Dadz house where she would stay the night and I would ride her to the competition from there as it was 15 mins or so from his house. We won't mention her wrecking his stall overnight. Dadz told me the second I left she acted like I had abandoned her and tried to break out. He thought it was funny. I was so embarrassed that she had kicked holes through his walls. He said he was just about to redo them and she helped with the demolition.
Riding in Philippine traffic. A freakin NIGHTMARE for me. I had people honking their horns to say "hi" or get out of the way even when we had the right of way. Kids being funny and trying to throw things to scare Sahara or just way too excited to see a horse. Motorcycles weaving around us way too close. One passed us and touched her bum because he just wanted to touch her. No ill intentions even said "Nice horse!" but still...EEEEK! Sahara was completely unphased. I however was a nervous wreck by the end of it. I think it was about an hour to get to the city. Then Dadz told me when we arrived "By the way, there is also a pole bending part to the competition." Great...and we were to run on grass. I never did pole bending before, I knew the concept/pattern as I had seen videos of it and Sahara definitely had no clue what a pole was. Just wonderful.
"Oh one more thing, there is a parade through the city you should join."
Marching in line with horses we didn't know. Drums, people cheering and dancing. WE DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS! Luckily, I was with some of the same people we did the trail with. Sahara was a rockstar once again though she didn't exactly like following. It's not like we were prepared in any shape or form.
She may have peed during the national anthem. *face palm* A LOT. She knows how to make an impression.
From there if I remember correctly we went to a golf course repurposed for this competition.
I was pretty introverted and shy (even til now) and with there being a lot of people it was a bit overwhelming. I had family come to watch so that helped, plus Dadz being a solid cheerleader. We had to do our practice run for the barrels and doing the pattern on grass was just odd. In the sand, we kind of sank in but the grass was a bit slippery. Sahara was a bag of nerves. She hit every barrel and couldn't walk a straight line. I was bouncing all over the place. What I am getting at is we didn't look pretty! I was so flustered as everyone was laughing at us.
After watching everyone else do their practice run they started the actual competition. I was in a certain category/group I forget which but there were a lot of fairly experienced riders from what I gathered. I also saw my trail mates who did pretty well.
It was our turn. I was so nervous. Having everyone watch us plus how badly our practice run went. Something felt different. Sahara was cool as a cucumber. She just went for it and I just had to sit there. I thought we did really well. Then we had our second run. Same thing. I had no clue how well we did but Dadz came up to me and said we won, we had the fastest time in our group! I didn't believe it at first, I was just so glad we didn't hit anything.
Then came the pole bending. Did our practice run which was something funny to watch I am sure. Sahara did take a pole to the face as we had a miscommunication. Whoooops! We watched everyone go until it was our turn. Sahara and I figured it out pretty quickly and liked the pole bending on our run. We didn't knock anything down and seemed like we made good time. Dadz came up to us again. You are doing really well, you had the best times in your group. I was just ecstatic. There was no prize but I didn't care about that. I was just so glad that we did well together.
We also made new friends (who later would turn out to be my future teammates) that day as someone offered to haul Sahara back to our home if we paid for gasoline. I was all for that as I don't think my nerves could handle the ride back. I made a bowl of bananas with a bit of sugar for her prize.