Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Danger of Silicone

No, this is not a post about the hazards of augmented breasts (though I imagine that it would be tough to sit the trot)....

As many of you know, I have a secret obsession with tails. I love a big full thick tail... And with Delight I finally have at least one tail in my barn to be proud of- seeing as Tilly and RC have skimpy little mule tails and London has a full but short tail I guess I have to make due.

And what is rule number one of tail care (for those of us who just cant do the 'ignore it until show day' thing?
Always use a product before brushing to reduce the hair damage.

Unfortunately the Showsheen that love to use is silicone based. What's the issue, you ask?
The issue is that I did my ten minutes of brushing and playing with Delight's tail, then proceeded to tack up and (probably) wipe my hands on my pants.
Genius, I know.

Of course I didn't give any of that a second thought until Delight and I flushed out a turkey.
Then I realized that the coefficient of friction between the seat of my breeches and my flat crosby saddle was approaching zero (for those who don't speak engineering... it was slippery!).  Only reflexes like a cat and a core of steel kept me and Delight from parting ways and Delight merrily cantering home to the sound of William Tell's Ovature.  

Fortunately, I was able to spare my pride the walk home to retreive my horse, and we actually had qute a good ride with lots of sitting trot and transitions (pony has to go to a show, so we'd better get our shit together).

You can bet that I didn't showsheen RC's tail until AFTER I rode him (even though he's my WonderPony who would never try to squirt out from under me over a bird).

What do you know, I CAN be taught!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Act Your Age!

Have you ever had those days where you just throw your hands up and say "Screw it! I'm sick of being a responsible adult!"?
If you have, you can relate to my Friday night (then again to my Saturday morning). I went out with my cousin and we let our hair down and were single-handedly the life of the party at the 'club'. 
It was epic. 
I am never drinking again.

Until next time....
Moral of this story is that my horses had an easy weekend. Saturday was off and Sunday was mostly trail riding (though Tilly and Delight had to actually work prior to their trail rides... Because listening to me isn't optional).  
 Is that a read paved in daises? RC isn't sure this is legit. And for the record, he's outta here if munchkins come out of nowhere and start singing. Or if I steal shoes off of some squished chick....
 All right, so it was a read end. What of it?
London can NOT believe that I would force HIM to sleep outside! In the open! On this beautiful, insect free night! For shame!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Drum Roll, Please!

Be fore warned: this is going to be a picture heavy post. There might be some gushing or other effusive praise, but really, I'll try to keep it moderate. 
 Delight strolling around the warm up... the day after the monster truck rally. She really had to be convinced that it was worth her time to behave like an adult, and go forward, but not EXPLODE forward. Subtle differences, but can really change the outcome.
 Trotting around, trying to convince her that the car crusher next door really isn't going to kill her. Delight was not impressed.
 Awkward photo, but look how darling little button braids look on my show pony! I had one of the kids unbraid her while the adults packed everything up, and I quote "It's like these braids were put in my magic faeries! They'll never come out!"

 The gratuitous Delight head shot. Such a pretty face (good thing she grew into it, huh?)
The whole group, after an unnecessary amount of time was spent deciding on if the horses should stand in color order, and if so which order? Black-red-black-red-black (which was our winner), or red-black-black-black-red (there are some shots of this line up too). Either way, that's me and my pony front and center, surrounded by my students before my first level test. RC was telling Delight all about his tests that morning.
And the whole group at the end of the day, full of reds, blues, whites and smiles (Dude is even modeling his high point cooler!).

Everyone just can't wait to do it again! And the next schooling show is a two day ordeal...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Many Ways to Skin a Cat

Or ride a horse....

So, as I sorted through my deluge of horse related magazines that happened to come in the mail yesterday (fortunately for me, since we were also experiencing a deluge of rain... 2" worth) I got to thinking... There is a horse sport out there for everyone. And each one of us thinks our sport is the best, or at least better than whatever your sport is (I feel like this sentiment should include the 'sticking tongue out' emoticon, however I refuse to add emoticons to this blog. Standards, people, standards)
Standards. I have them.
Of course the myriad of horse related publications I get would probably lead a person to believe that I have no focus whatsoever in my equestrian pursuits. Horse & Rider plays to the western/breed/open show crew, Practical Horseman caters to the hunter/jumper crowd with the occasional nod to us dressage enthusiasts, Equus keeps me paranoid about what possible diseases my horses are exposed to and Dressage Today makes me feel at home.

Sure, I may not see any allure of the western pleasure world (except for the sparkles. I want that), but someone must. The sloooooow shuffle-y gaits aren't my thing, but there are many-a middle aged lady who wants to sit and pose up on a slow safe horse, swathed in rhinestones. More power to them. Just stop wrecking the HUS classes by throwing english tack on western horses. I'll be shocked to my very core (in a good way) if I see a cross over with any suspension.
All hunters can do second level...
Moving on to the hunter/jumper world. Yes, I am aware that hunters are not jumpers and the two just happen to coincide at the same shows. Hunter =/= Jumper. Check. The hunters hop over fences on their quiet-to-the-point-of-zombie-horses while jumpers are pretty much the fast and furious of the horse world over some major speed bumps. I used to think that maybe it would be fun to dabble in the H/J world... until I saw the horse and rider combos at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX. 90% of the riders used the wall to turn and stop and there was not a single horse working straight through the bridle. Outside rein is there for a reason, people! I will say that when any sort of jumping goes wrong, there are some great pictures/videos. I mean, watch a dressage test go wrong and you'll hear "oh, yeah, she sure was late in that change wasn't she?"... a bad jump is more along the lines of "WIPE OUT!" Much more entertaining.

Eventers? You people scare me. There is no way that I would want to run my horses at solid obstacles and not squeal like a little girl. Kudos to you guys, but your on your own. I will be staying in my sand box.
To finish is to win... or is that endurance?

Moral of this story, I like my sand box. Sure this level of attention to details isn't for everyone, but is there really any more satisfying feeling than the controlled power of a dressage horse really through the back and on the bit? The unfortunate side is that watching horses go around the ring with a stiff jaw or those who have taught a 'frame' via draw reins or a training fork (we can tell... Really, you're not fooling anyone the way your horse is backed off the bit) is really annoying.

Moral of this story: There's a horse sport for everyone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rain, Rain.... Sigh.

It's been raining off an on for three days now. I'm good and tired of it.
I know, I know.. the area needed a good soaking. Yeah... rain can bee a good thing
(Rain makes corn...Corn makes whiskey... Whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky!)

But it makes it darn difficult to get all of my horses worked! I have to plot and plan and be ready to hop on a pony (because they do NOT work in the rain).
As it would turn out, Delight also does not like the horse flies. Nothing like a trot-buck-squeal-canter transition to show her displeasure at being subjected to such conditions! Tilly is much more accommodating to the conditions (and we're working on her extreme distrust of the the fly spray bottle) and has been making steady progress. I'm starting to think that our August debut might not be a stretch!
Delight will have to work the buck out of our transitions before our next show...

Now, RC... my poor RC. Steady, dependable RC.
He had to work in the rain. And he worked well! Turns out that he doesnt mind a steady mist to the face when practicing his simple changes.
(I never liked the rain until I walked through it with you...)
There was something refreshing about riding through a steady light rain, asking for RC to work through it as the drops run down your arms and his neck and shoulders... It was a neat change from our normal pace.
(When I hear it I just can't believe I never liked the rain)

Also, this was a good excuse for me to trot out my favorite 'rain themed' songs. Guess what's stuck in my head now?

And I'm still waiting on pins and needles for my show pictures, because, really, who doesn't love show pictures?

Monday, June 18, 2012

We Survived!

Why the celebration?
Because I brought four students to a one day dressage show (and Delight)... And I survived it. 

I survived the monster truck rally taking place NEXT DOOR to the warm up on friday evening. Delight was NOT a fan....
See that barn in the background? That's the show barn...

I survived making sure that everyone got braided. 

I survived getting everyone dressed and into the warm up on time. 

I survived the car crusher that operated across the street from the show grounds (popping of breaking glass, crushing metal)

I survived the disappointment when they didn't go out and just clobber the first test. 

I survived the excitement when they heard their placings, and walked away with white, red or blue ribbons.

And what's more... I had a lot of fun infecting the next generation with the 'dressage bug'. As it would turn out, dressage shows are a ton more fun than open or hunter jumper shows. Especially when your coach is there to help you through it, it would seem.
Colbert Nation's Official Sport of Summer: Dressage!

There are pictures.... but I don't have them yet, so you guys will just have to wait for it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Back In the Saddle

I don't know if anyone else heard my sigh of relief when I finally made it back in the saddle of my other ponies yesterday.... But it was there. And loud. Possibly epic....
"We're ready to go back to work!"

Yesterday I finally got back on Tilly and RC. London gave a lesson and Deli had the day off, so everyone was happy. I'll admit that I felt a little trepidation getting on Tilly for the first time in a week and a half (darn you trade show!), but like a bad ass I opted out of lunging.
"Pick me!"
Mostly because lunging is boring and I can't really see what it brings to the table, so to speak. Pony gets tired, but doesnt really learn to improve herself, so what's the point? (Wo)Man up and ride. So I did. 

And the Tillner was great. Sure, we had a little conversation about turning, but other than that we had a good w-t-c ride. There was even a few steps of leg yield in there, so I'll count it as a win. 

RC started out a touch stiff, using his short little neck against me but after a few minutes of 6 loop serpentines and ten meter circles, he was the champ we all know and love. The great thing about RC is that I can leave him literally out in a field for a week and a half and the next time I get on the guy, he's the same horse I got off of last time. We ended our ride with some excellent lengthenings. I dare say that he's actually improved this summer!

Make good choices, RC.
Of course, this morning it was 47 degrees... a 30 degree drop from yesterday, so the horses were happy to ho out sans fly sheets this morning...
They segregated themselves. Delight doesn't seem to care. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Can't Take the Heat?

Everyone knows that when the much anticipated horse show rolls around, the weather will not cooperate. It's either cold and raining, hot as blazes or come combo of the two. This weekends show was no exception. 

I did mention that I was going to my first show as a professional, didn't I?

And that it was Delight's first recognized show?

And that I was a a trade show in Washington DC all week prior to the show? 

Doh. Of course, with a week off, Delight was fat as a tick when we got to the show, so it was time for some crash dieting (La Ponita was NOT a fan). She was also introduced to the concept of working (hard) twice a day (also not a fan). And it was hot. The odds were stacked against us. 

But we prevailed. 

Now, I have reason to believe that horse shows on my birthday weekend are lucky (remember that SLADS show in St Louis on my 21st birthday where RC, London and I were unbeatable? No?)... And that may have been what pulled us through this weekend. 
Bacon Models my birthday tiara
Of course, my show started out kind of shakey... what with Delight being fat and spoiled, but we pulled it out with training level scores in the mid to high 60's and first level scores in the mid sixties. All in all, I didn't totally embarass myself, so that was great. 

My final test of the weekend was my crowning glory. 
69.2% on Training level  test 3. QUALIFIED!!!
It was all that I could do to quell the urge for excessive celebration 
What is that? 8 for rider score? 
Of course my crew was ready to go home by then....