Monday, July 26, 2010

Show update

My niece and I woke up early Saturday to go pick up Grace.  The trainer was at a big paint show in NV so we were on our own for the schooling show.  Got to her place early and of course the gate was still shut.  I called her to ask if she could help and her poor nephew got the 6:30am wake up call to walk down with the remote and open the gate for us.  What a great kid!

Soon we had Grace out and groomed.  Loaded up our show tack and headed out.  The show was close by which was very nice but at an arena I hadn't been to before.  It's a small public riding arena but the footing looked good and there was a small warm up area too. 

I had my niece change while I got Grace decked out for Showmanship.  She looked gorgeous and we got many compliments from the other competitors.  Once I had her ready to go I handed her off to my niece to practice her pattern while I got us signed up for classes. 

We worked a little on her pivot and set up and then it was time to head to the arena.  My niece went first and forgot her pattern a little but otherwise they did great.  Got a second in their Showmanship class.  I had decided to give the 18+ class a try to so it was my first venture into the Showmanship world.  I wasn't nervous at first and had gotten the last spot out of about 5 or 6 so had time to watch everyone else do the pattern.  It was a simple L shaped pattern.  Walk from A to B then jog to C and halt.  Pivot 270 degrees and walk to the judge for the set up.  I'd watched almost everyone else screw up the pattern by not stopping in the right place slightly past C to line up with the judge.  The girl in front of me finally got the pattern right.  I totally intended to nail it and then got nervous and halted too soon anyway.  LOL.  We got set up quickly but then during the inspection Grace stepped forward and I had to move her back again.  Sigh.  We placed third which was good and I got a nice compliment from the judge.  She told me to work on the set up because Grace would make a very nice Showmanship horse.

Next was equitation.  We went back to the trailer where I discovered that I'd forgotten a cinch.  A really nice family let me borrow one.  Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.  We got tacked up but my niece was complaining of a stomach ache and decided to sit out of the walk/jog class so I decided to add and had her lay down in the car for a bit.  I think she was nervous.  I warmed Grace up a little.  Her jog felt ok and her lope was pretty good.  I took my niece's spot in the walk/jog class.  We didn't do as well as I was hoping because Grace wanted to be to quick and was looking around at everything new.  I think I focused too much on getting her to listen.  Probably just should have focused on me and let her go around with her head up.  In the 18+ eq class I felt her staring to relax at little but we still didn't manage to place.

Next up was ranch versatility.  We've never done this class but in the description it just said that you would also be asked to halt and back in the class.  My niece was feeling better so rode in the walk/jog class.  The did pretty well but her hat flew off during the first jog and she lost her concentration.  I'm just proud that she remembered to steer and it went smoothly.  I had entered the 18+ ranch versatility class and I was in for a surprise.  We were asked to walk, jog, extended trot, lope, gallop.  Then we had to halt, back and pivot to change directions.  Next we were asked to lope off the rail, halt and side pass back to the rail.  Then one at a time we had to lope half the arena and then gallop half of the arena and halt back where we started.  I had gotten the first gallop with the group but this time I got nervous again and I accidently got Grace with both spurs and she responded as trained and slid to a stop nearly ejecting me from my seat!  I couldn't be mad at getting exactly what I asked for...what a good girl.  Gotta work on cuing a gallop if I'm going to do that class.  We got going again but it was really still a lope.  While we didn't place it was the most fun I've ever had in a show class.  I think I'm going to work on this event.  I loved it.

Next we were entered in a walk/jog Horsemanship class with about 10 riders.  We went toward the middle of the order.  We were finally relaxed and clicking with each other.  It was another simple pattern.  Three cones in a row.  Walk from A to B.  Pick up a jog and jog a circle tracking right.  Contine jogging to C and halt.  Then back four steps.

We nailed the pattern and got another third.  I felt pretty good about it because we had a trainer enter the class on her old lesson horse and they won it.  I kinda thought it was awful of her to compete against the kids and ammys but I know it happens and the show let her do it.  I'm still counting that as a second place in my head and its the highest score we've gotten in a riding class.  Yay!

My lessons for the day...put my cinch in the saddle bag with my show saddle.  Dress down a little more for this schooling show if we do it again (and I absolutely want to!).  Most riders were wearing nice western shirts but not the blingy pleasure rail tops.  Lots of straw hats which looked so much less hot than my black felt.  Work on the gallop and practice my showmanship.  Grace seems to like the pattern classes.  It may be her niche.  I think I'm going to ask the trainer about learning how to do the trail patterns too.

Sorry we didn't get pics for you.  My camera broke and it's very hard to do pictures when it's just the niece and I and we're running around getting ready for classes.  Next time I'm bringing a friend to play photographer!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Show this weekend

Another schooling show with Grace to prepare for an actual Paint show next month.  Maybe I can get my horse to jog in public this time?  I'm sure hoping I can.  I'm taking the niece too and trying to decide what classes to try.  Keep your fingers crossed for us and I'll update next week on how it goes.

We're doing this show without the trainer who will be in NV for another APHA show.  I'm nervous again!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Long days, short moments

If anyone has any suggestions about how to stop the asian spam comments on my blog let me know.  How annoying!

I've kind of taken a break from riding.  I hate when it starts to feel like time takes for ever and flies by at that same time.  I popped on Grace for a few minutes Saturday morning but other than that nothing.  I've been so busy with the move, with helping my sister with some things in her life and with other animal related issues I'll get to in a minute.  Why does real life always interfer with my riding right when things are getting good?  I did get some pictures of the new place to post though.

On Saturday I also let the trainer know that in August I want to move Grace home for a while.  Actually, what I want to do is move her to our neighbor's until we get the fences fixed up.  I'll be cleaning stalls and feeding about 10 horse two days a week in exchange for board.  I'm actually looking forward to the work.  The trainer was totally supportive and tried to give me another trail horse to take home as a companion!  Stormy is so cute I can't even look at him or I'll end up doing it and I don't need another horse.  He's a pretty red roan with two high whites and a baby doll face.  He's got ring bone or I'm sure he'd still be out showing.  I'm sad to be leaving though and told them I would be back for weekend lessons and if we go to a show I may take her over a week or two before for a tune up. 

I also had an appointment for the vet with December.  She's had reoccurring sinus infections and lost some weight.  We were pretty sure her teeth were involved so it was time for x-rays.  We went to see the now infamous Dr Carlson who floated her for me back in December.  He's too cute and the new vet assisting him, Edwardo, looks like he should be on the cover of a romance novel.  He even comes complete with a shy smile and latin accent.  So cute!  Even though I was pretty distracted by the pretty scenery, Sister says I went a little pale when they told me she had to have a tooth pulled.  I know a human tooth can cost a lot so I was a little nervous about the cost.  In the end it was expensive but not, like, I need to sell one of the children expensive. 

WARNING - These are pics of the gross tooth the vet came out to give me so I could take it home.  I felt the need to share. I can't believe how big this thing is and she's 14 so has significantly smaller roots then a younger horse!

In the second picture you can see the fracture in the bottom left side of the chewing surface that allowed the infection to start.  Hopefully with the tooth out we've resolved the issue but time will tell.  If there was any bone damage in the sinus we'll have to have that removed too. 

I'm back to riding this week.  I have lessons scheduled with Tax for Thursday and Friday.  I'm praying it doesn't completely kill me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Our Newest Guest

Yesterday evening I walked out in the new pasture to see if I could get to the pond to check out what was going on down there.  I found a little trail to the water and I did wonder for a mintue what was making the trail.  It was too big to be rabbits.  I just about gave myself and a young deer a heart attack when it popped up out of the bushes about two feet from me.  I heard it first and had just enough time to think, "uh oh, that sounds big" but before I could panic it leaped up and I saw its beautiful face.  Amazing.  I've never seen a solitary deer before. 

Did I mention we have wild turkeys too.  So cool.  I think I'm going to like it here.  It suits me well.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mostly moved in...

We've got most of the stuff moved in to the new place.  I haven't ever lived this far out in the country before.  Last night I had the window open and there was some kind of weird shrieky noise coming from outside.  What the heck?  I couldn't decide if it was an owl or a mountain lion prowling around our yard.  I'm convincing myself it was an owl.  At least I didn't hear any coyotes.  I know they're out there and they scare me.  And, yes, Sister, I know they won't attack a grownup but that doesn't make me any less scared.  That's why the call it a phobia.  Its an irrational fear.  My brain is convinced that coyotes are invested with evil indian spirits that make them stronger than regular dogs or that they're really inhabited by aliens wishing to spy on my house.  Apparently, I read way too many horror novels...

Friday, July 2, 2010

On riding the broken pony and on moving...

Haha....I just read Sister's last comment.  So, here's how it went with her broken pony last Friday.  He's gotten pretty relaxed with her but apparently I'm still kinda scary.  When I first got on he wanted to work himself up to a tizzy.  I think this is because I ride with slightly more contact in both my legs and reins from being a mainly English rider.  It took him a little while to realize I wasn't going to pull on his mouth, just the soft contact felt a little different.  I stayed very patient, I stayed very quiet.  It was REALLY hot but I wanted him to relax at the trot and carry his own frame and not feel like he was going to run off with me.  Finally after trotting around the arena a gagillion times there was no head tossing and one very nicely moving pony.  We got there but by that time, his eyeballs were already sweating.  I'm not kidding...he lathered up in the crease of his eyelid.  It did, however, feel really good to get to that point without fighting with him.  See, I am patient.  Sometimes...

What I'm saying is that sweat was his own fault.  He didn't have to work so hard.  I didn't ask him to do anything but trot.  He wanted to be silly and get himself all sweaty but we worked it out.  We also walked down the driveway while we were cooling out and he was really good...didn't even try to look back at the barn.  Maybe he was tired?

Sister, I was running late and spent my time cleaning your pony so he wasn't itchy.  I owe you a saddle cleaning too.  He let me clean him up without pulling back or freaking out though.  :)

I also cantered Tax!  Like a real somewhat collected canter that felt like I had time to steer and I wasn't even in two-point.

I also made it out to ride Grace and she's really fantastic right now.  Her jog has actually gotten much prettier then I thought it would.  And she's maintaining it now without me constantly reminding her.  I almost have a finished WP horse.

I don't think I've mentioned it yet but we're moving.  To the country.  With 9 acres.  I'm pricing mare motels and tractrors right now.  I think I'm going to leave Tax in training for now but I think I'm going to bring Grace home to live with us.  The thought of a soft muzzle in the morning before work has me just as happy as can be.