Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Niche for RC?

So the Dressage bulletin boards are just abuzz with the new "Rider Tests" for Training, First and Second levels.

Evidently these tests will be added to the shows so that the rider, not the quality of the horse, will be judged.. no scores for gaits or submission.
"How can we compete against THIS!?!?"
"Oh... we're not? Whew"

Which is all well and good in theory, but really, how does one separate the horse from the rider... especially in dressage? There's always a huge outcry of "they just won because their horse is fancier"... which I find is true only in rare cases. Because, let's face it... don't we do dressage to improve our horses' gaits? Ergo, the better rider will be on the 'fancier' horse because s/he can get more suspension and cadence out of that horse than a weaker rider. Conversely, a horse with natural cadence and suspension will look less talented/frustrated/uncooperative with a poor rider, where a talented, more advanced rider may make the horse look brilliant.  So we can conclude, in the end, that dressage scores aren't based solely on the quality of horse that you're riding but the quality of riding that's occurring. Makes sense, right?

Now, I rather like the idea of adding what is effectively an equitation class. I want to know what position mistakes I'm making and this could be an effective training tool. The training and first level tests are well written and more challenging than the existing tests (which would be perfect practice for the championships, am I right?). The second level test is written a little bit like the author has never actually ridden a dressage test, but no biggie.  And, in my opinion, if you have more horse than talent... just skip this class.

Of course there's some internet squawking about using these rider tests to initiate a 'qualifying system' to prevent the unwashed masses from moving up the levels before they are ready. This is America, Land of the Free, where we hate it when people try to tell us what to do. Just look at the ruffled feathers over the helmet rule when it was imposed. Now no one thinks twice about trotting down the centerline in their helmet.  Moral of the story: Change is hard, right?

Of course, I'm not undualy worried about a qualifying system. I have scores in the mid to high 60's through third level, and if that's not good enough, Delight's tearing up the levels earning high 60's to low 70's. We can qualify, no biggie.
But what of people who have done their time in the trenches, so to speak, and don't have a TL-2nd level horse available? Will they get grandfathered in? Would that be fair? Life is so hard...

Obviously, the biggest question here is how fair would it be for me to ride RC in these classes? I mean, this class was designed for him! A horse with average gaits who is easy to sit, obedient, calm and very well schooled... We could rack up some serious points in these classes.
And are there any year end awards for this?
That's right. Just send that ribbon this way....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Quoth the Raven 'Nevermore'..."

OK, I know it's been a while... But I've been busy.
I mean, I too some students to a show in Wisconsin (which was successful yet exhausting), then had a week long soaking rain (in which London has sulked for another week because his Highness got chilly) and then I caught the flu (or a cold, either way it's not my best weekend).
12 first's, one second, Open high point and Jr/YR high Point

But I'm back. Kinda

I took Tilly out for a ride this morning since she's been so terribly neglected for the last week or so. Of course, she kind of like her rain soaked work free vacation. It gave her a little time to relax and reflect.. and grow a new winter coat. She is now a puffy pony version of herself...

So during my ride, where I attempted to convince Tilly that what she really wants most in life is to be the bestest Dressage Pony Ever, I became increasingly aware of my least favorite of the local fauna.

The crow.
Uh, your title says raven. Crows are not ravens.
Fine, you find a literary reference to crows. Have at it....
... I see your point. 

I mean, who likes crows? They are loud, ugly and - let's face it - creepy. This one chose to settle down in the corner of my arena to eat what I assumed was some sort of disgusting carrion. I was wrong.
As Ponita and I careened by the crow in what is becoming a working canter, I notices that the crow was not, in fact, eating a piece of road kill. the crow had chosen to bring something even worse into my little dressage haven.

the crow was picking apart a wasp's nest.

The wasps were not fans of this.

Tilly and I exited stage left... And I dearly hope that the crow flew off taking it's dinner with it. Otherwise, I might need to go buy some wasp spray.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Fall

 I know, that title got your hopes up for an exciting post about me parting ways with one of the ponies, didn’t it? Well stop that. Stop that now.

Also, thanks for the vote of confidence.

I was actually referring to the changing of the seasons; what with labor day come and gone, the warm days of summer are waning, giving way to the icy grip of winter.

Stop being so flippin’ dramatic. It’s autumn. Suck it up.

Fair enough. It’s just been one of those weeks, you know? You may have noticed that it’s been a while between posts… That’s because I have had absolutely nothing nice to say in the last week. I’ve been cranky and tired and my horses are trying to self destruct, evidently.

In the last week alone…

London has tried to off himself on something out in the pasture, during the day. He came in Wednesday with a two inch gash on the inside of his right forearm above the chestnut and three punctures on the inside of his left forearm. I walked the pasture up down and around looking for a stick or fence post or one of RC’s lost shoes (I swear they end up in Narnia). Nothing. There wasn’t so much as a a twig that London could have used to hurt himself.
Note the one bell boot on RC. Protecting that last shoe...

RC lost a bell boot and a shoe. Off of different feet… Explain that one to me. I had been so proud of how long he’s gone between lost shoes, even though he did lose a bell boot last shoeing cycle- but he kept the shoe, which was the important thing (and had to wear the Pink Bell Boots of Shame and Sparkles until I can replace the cheapie black ones). Of course he’s due to have his feet done in a week, so if it were any other time, I’d just say screw it and let him go around one shoe short of s full set (it’s a metaphor for his life…), BUT I have a student who would like to take him to the schooling show in Wisconsin this weekend. Who hasn’t ridden him since the last schooling show…. Which is a whole other source of stress for me.

Tilly has developed a girth gal, so she’s had a few days off until it disappears and I can stop feeling like a terrible trainer. Poor pony…

In retribution for the girth gall, Tilly evidently then decided to give Delight a haircut. A week before the schooling show. She chewed off half of Delight’s mane at the unbraidable length of ½-1” long. For half of her neck. There just isn’t time for that mane to grow back to a neat and braidable length before the championships. So I roached the mane off of my sport pony.
Look at the damage Tilly inflicted...

I’m going to repeat that so that everyone can absorb the true horror of what happened.

Immediately post roach.... I'm tearing up.
I roached the mane off of a Dressage Sport Pony.
The shot that explains why just doing hunter braids wouldnt work.
Look at how much pulling that mane would require.

I need a drink. And might possibly cry. I felt a little like those women on TLC’s What Not To Wear who have their hair cut for the first time in 35 years and can’t handle the change.  I just have to keep telling myself that by next spring she’ll have her annoyingly full mane back for that I can show her in lovely little braids.

Of course on Friday and Saturday, a cool front blew through and it rained – Poured, actually. So no riding. I needed some saddle time!

The whole herd takes a run...
But when I turned the horses out in the 50 degree weather, they had a grand ol’ time, which was fun to watch and made me smile again.
Name this move.... RC style

"I'mma Cutting Horse!"

The boys... 

"Whoa. No one saw that..."

My favorite part of this picture is RC just out of frame...

Of course, when I brought the horses in for dinner I discovered that during all of their fun and games, 
London lost a shoe.

Why of course he did.