LeDan Morgans/Southwest Scoot Boots
LeDan Morgans/Southwest Scoot Boots
Tucson Saddle Club hosted this clinic by retired Mounted Police Officer Instructor Bill RIchey seven times over 5 years attended by 150 riders during that time. Dan was the Chairman of the committee that organized them the entire time. The Final Exercise of one of those two-day clinics is pictured in the video below.
Bill begins the clinic on Day 1 by gathering all the riders around and telling us what we're going to be doing for the next two days.
This is me, Dan, on Rhythm, our gaited Morgan, formerly our stallion but gelded at this time, as we're getting ready to start. He was a very good boy and was a real gentleman the whole time.
We started at the basics and worked our way up the increasing challenges. Rhythm and I here on a simple wood bridge.
Bill had a retired police car complete with flashing lights, siren, and a police dog as well used throughout the clinic. Here we are introducing the horses to the car, just sitting there at this time with nothing turned on. The horses are teamed up in two lines of four and approaching the car and will split to form up around it, two in front, two on each side, and two behind; then reverse and face the way they came from. In this initial drill, we just walked back to where we started with the car staying in place. Eventually we would do this with the siren and lights going, Bill on the car's loudspeaker, and the police dog barking from the rear seat open window as the riders escorted the car away. This exercise simulates extracting an officer surrounded by a mob rioting to safety. Amazing what the horses tolerated after practicing and working up to what you saw in the video above!
We worked our way up through an obstacle course adding one new obstacle at a time until we had a long row of them including fire, smoke, barking dog, and even the police car running up and down with lights and siren on. We never had anyone come off their horse, or thrown off, or a horse refuse to do anything as we gradually worked up the chain of challenges. The one exception was, we learned mules will not cross over fire!!
Here is Letha on Pearl, our gaited Morgan mare, crossing a line of fire for the first time. Note that the police dog is constantly around in and amongst the horses.
Here is Letha on Pearl crossing a bridge bordered by fire.
Here is Letha and Pearl going through another obstacle with fire all the way around it. (Note: The riders were divided into two groups and Rhythm and I were in another group watching at the time and I am taking the pictures.)
Pearl and Letha experiencing another new obstacle; an archway belching smoke. We were so proud of this girl! She had not previously been so brave in our experience,
Now Pearl and Letha going through the "Car Wash" obstacle. The obstacle course has now gotten so long both groups are going at once and Rhythm and I are just behind Pearl and Letha.
Here the police car is sitting right in front of the obstacle course exit point with lights and siren running!
Rhythm and I on the course with Letha and Pearl just behind us.
Letha and Pearl walking around the police car with lights and siren going.
Rhythm and I going over the bridge with the fire for the first time. He wasn't so sure about this but he did it fine the next time.
Rhythm enduring the smoke too, but probably thinking, Really!
Rhythm toughing it out; looking like, "Are we done yet?!"
Pearl going through the fire and Rhythm approaching behind her on the brige with noodles to push through.
Noodles and fire at the same time?!
Pearl and Letha. Yay!! We graduated!
Rhythm. I survived!