2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Feels like home!

Yesterday morning Pony and Emi were loaded up early (WAY too early. Like 5 am early) in the morning and we headed up to the Yamhill County Fairground for Emis first show. It was a welsh/open show so there were both halter classes for her and open classes for Pony and I. The whole show was extremely poorly run, even with as few of entries as they had. That set aside we had a blast as normal! Both of the ponies were great but I will leave it up to Alanna to give you the details on Emi :)

The judge was really nice and was actually supposed to judge a Gypsy show in June that ended up being cancelled. He said that Mystic is a very balanced and nice gelding! Mystic was super good, as always, and tolerated all the visitors (minus one lady who was very strange and was holding a cigarette. I have never seen him purposefully ignore someone before but he did NOT like her). Due to the poor communication/running of the show I ended up having his tacked up and going for almost 2 hours total just for 2 flat classes. It was definitely irritating but we made the best of it by hoping off of him, loosening all his tack, and just chilling in the arena watching the Welsh pony races, I mean kids classes haha Going along with the poor management I got back on him with 2 classes to go before our turn. Turns out the gate person told us the wrong number of classes and we had to go in right away. In good old Pony fashion he went in a plugged around to win the class but was very, very lazy and my legs were killing me after the 2 minutes in the arena! So before the next class my friend was kind enough to run back to the trailer so I could remind him that he does in fact have to move off my leg. A quick refresher helped and he went on to win our next flat class also! By this time we were all exhausted and ready to head home so we immediately headed to the trailer to untack and pack up. About 10 minutes later the gate person tracked me down and said they needed me at the gate? Then they said that I needed my horse because there was a tie for champion english horse and we had to do a ride off. In all seriousness I asked if I could do it bareback since I had already untacked him and was ready to load up but they wouldnt let me?! I thought that was stupid and was super annoyed at this point. I mean couldn't they have told me to wait and see the point totals before I left the arena? I finally just said that the other girl could just have it since I was so irritated but some people followed me back to my stall and talked me into it. Luckily Alanna and April (our barn owner) helped throw his tack back on so I could change back, and put my spurs on this time, and we headed back to the arena. We were tied with this 12 year old girl who was SUPER snotty and rude so we all agreed it was good I decided to ride so she could be put in her place! After some confusion on what the judge wanted us to do for a pattern we finally figured it out and the little kid was quick to tell me I had to go first, which I obviously didnt care about. We had to walk in, turn down what would be the centerline, pick up the trot, circle right, circle left, pick up left lead canter, canter to the other end of arena and do a approx 15 meter canter circle left, continue the canter and take it into a counter canter to the right, counter canter down the wall, halt, rein back, and drop the reins to the buckle. Pony went in and although he was thoroughly confused as to why we were tacked up and back in went in and did the pattern to win! So between Alanna and I we came home with 6 blues, a champion, and a cool horsey decoration thingy. Not to shabby!

Whimpy ribbons are still blue ribbons!

Warm up

Cheesin' it together

English hi point!

Usually I give Pony the day after a show off but because this was an 'easy' show we went back to work today. After all its less than two weeks till our next recognized dressage show! It definitely felt like home to be back in our dressage saddle and we had an amazing ride. I thought maybe he would be heavy and need a re schooling but he was super solid. He is feeling more amazing every day and continues to impress me. This boys simple changes are super solid and pretty much dummy proof at this point. As long as I give him a half way decent ride he nails them. We also worked on some half pass and did an exercise that we learned in our lesson from Monday. We took the shoulder in into a few steps of half pass back into a shoulder in. That really helped me keep him truly on my aids and not falling to the inside. I really feel like we have improved even since our last show and cant wait to head back down the centerline in a few weeks!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Feelin' It

After a 3 day vacation, semi vacation since I still took him on bareback walks, Pony went back to real work on Thursday! I would have actually ridden on Wednesday but I had a babysitting job so he got to enjoy one last day. I figure he earned it :) We came back and had a really nice dressage ride on Thursday. I think this is the first show that I have come back from where I actually feel like I can ride my horse better. Its amazing the difference when your trainer is at the show warming you up, I am definitely excited to improve on the last show at our next one in just a few weeks. We got our confirmation and are officially in for our next big boy dressage show the second weekend of May!

Today I decided to take him on a little hack up on the hills. We havent been up there, and done more than a walk, since the great abscess of 2013 but with the recent rain I figure the ground would be nice and soft. It turned out to be perfect! It was nice, sunny, and the ground was soft and had minimal parts with more loose sharp gravel. I really hate to 'condition' (I use this term lightly because lets face it... most horses could run circles around mine!) up there because the ground is generally hard + steep hills + loose gravel = high potential of lame Pony. I picked the shorter and flatter route and after our .8 mile walk to get to the trail we picked up a trot and off we went. I wish this trail didnt connect to the super steep area so that it could be a longer, nicer route but we just have to settle for what we get. Although he was sweating and huffing by the time we went down to a walk for the cool out home everytime I picked up the reins he was ready to go again. He was also going more forward with a longer stride up the hills instead of backing off and trying to walk, I would call that an improvement! He definitely isnt in bad shape, for him, but we have just been doing the dressage thing recently so his stamina leaves much to be desired! When we got home I hosed him off and even gave him a linement bath in case he got a little sore, we didnt do too much but we havent been on the hills for awhile, and we have a dressage lesson tomorrow that will kick our butts again. I figured he would be tired and ready for a nap but boy was I wrong. After his bath, and our first swat/sun screen application of the year, he got all sassy! He was super uppity, for him, walking back out to pasture so I decided to practice our trotting in hand that we will have to do when we go to Emis show with her. He got his big trot on and was even trying to canter. Wouldnt it be nice if he would do that at a show and not just at home?! Once I turned him out he took off cantering to go play with the other boys and ended up taking a few laps around the pasture bucking. Im not sure what got into him but I like it! I was very happy to see him so full of energy even after our ride.

I need to plan weekly hill rides if we want to hit some one day events this year and not die. I think we are going to pass doing a big recognized 3 day this year and just do some one days/derbys. With at least  3 recognized dressage shows on the books for the year ($$$$) I just dont think I can swing doing a recognized 3 day also. But that doesnt mean we can't hit some derbys and go xc schooling! Who knows, maybe later in the season I can figure out a way to go to one but I dont think Inavale is in our cards. I am not ruling it out but its also not first priority (which will really suck when I am watching xc and dont have my horse there competing). Its not like we dont have enough going on anyways! Next weekend is Emis first show that I agreed to take Pony to in hopes it will help Emi (we will do the open english classes), the weekend after that we are hitting the beach with our boys, and the weekend after that is Heart of the Valley! Then there is a weekend off before the one days at Inavale that we will go to if I get my butt in gear. Busy spring for this Pony!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Video Evidence

Here is video evidence that we actually looked like we belonged at 2nd level :) It is really bad quality because for some stupid reason the CDs that you buy of your tests at the show can't be transferred to your computer so I had to take a phone video of the video playing on my tv. Better than nothing though :)

Hopefully at Heart of the Valley I can just get someone to video us so I can upload them easier. Our entry was sent in and we are doing the exact same tests as this last show. The only reason we didnt just go second level is because we want to quality for championships at both and we need one more first level score (have to get 2 different scores at 2 different shows under 2 different judges) and dont want to push him to do a 1st and 2nd level test in one day. After HOV we will go to just doing 2nd! How exciting!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Weekend of Firsts

What a weekend! It was full of a bunch of firsts for us including some first places, but more importantly (I mean I was the only one in the jr/yr division) it was my first time riding at DevonWood, both Pony and my first recognized, our first time doing 2nd level, and I just thought of this but it was also our first weekend long dressage show. That is a lot of firsts for one weekend! This is going to be a long one so I will try to break it up with pictures :)

We will start with a picture (by Alanna!) of the gorgeousness of DevonWood

We hauled the ponies up Friday early afternoon and both quickly settled in. After getting slightly organized we tacked up and went for our first ride. As a warm up I decided to walk him around the property. For those unfamiliar, DevonWood has 5 outdoor arenas with walking paths all around them all and the view includes mountains, trees, and the gorgeous barn. Just simply being on my own horse walking around that property, with that view you see above, was a dream come true for me! Seeing all the big fancy upper level horses and actually realizing I was at a recognized event started setting in and I definitely let it all get to our ride. It wasnt awful but it wasnt anything close to what we can do. The good part was that we got to ride in the indoor, where we had to ride both our Saturday tests, and our ride was in no way a reflection of how he was being. He was cool as a cucumber, as usual, and after untacking he got his dinner and tucked in for the night.
A spacious room with a view. Just how he ordered it!

Saturday morning we started out with first level test 3 (they dont really run anything in order). He warmed up really well but I was definitely super thankful to have Mary there to warm us up. I tend to, like many others who have putzed around the lower levels, get into my test and stop actively riding my horse. Who would have thought that if you keep riding your horse your ride gets better?! The last minute advise was to not be afraid to really lift up on my inside rein and get him bending around my leg. We headed down the centerline, turned left at C, headed for the diagonal for our trot lengthening, and boom the best one I have ever felt from him! So springy and powerful, keep in mind he is a fat Gypsy so it isnt anything spectacular still, and the rest was smooth sailing from there. It wasnt a perfect test and I didnt ride him super well but it was a solid test and earned us 65.96 %. It was easily our best first level test ever and I was slightly disappointed with the score but I just needed to tell myself that the judging is MUCH tougher than anything we have been faced with and out of 12 or so horses in the class (if it was not split into divisions) we were in a 3 way tie for 2nd but we got ourself a blue ribbon because of the division split :) A huge thank you goes out to Alanna for always showing up and cheering us on even when we are an hour and a half away! She is the best when it comes to helping me get ready (like when I have had all morning but still end up not getting ready soon enough and end up rushing to get on!), keeping me relaxed, and taking the best pictures. Good horsey friends are seriously priceless and there is no way half the shows I have gone to would have gone as smoothly if she wasnt there!
Pony cuteness before our first test
We rode our first test just after 11 am and then had a nice 6 hour break before we had to ride first level test 2 just before 6 pm which gave him a nice rest and he got to visit his favorite part of DevonWood, which was the grazing area that had foot tall green grass to eat. I literally had to drag him away from that area the entire weekend and he tried dragging me to it during every walk! Going into our second test we knew we needed as little warm up as possible and I hoped on him 25 minutes before my ride time and had a nice walking warm up. Sadly what was supposed to be 25 minutes until my ride time ended up being about 40-45 minutes until my ride time. Tired Pony + extra 20 unneeded minutes under saddle = really lazy/tired pony. The long day definitely took its toll on both of us and I didnt pull my weight as much as I should have. I began tickling him with my whip throughout beginning of the test which helped but since I havent ever really used it in a test I forgot about it towards the end. Something that I need to keep working on as he responds very well to it. That being said it was still a respectable test, under a more stingy judge, and got us a 64 %.  Considering that not one single horse broke into the 70s that day I think we held our own against the big boys! One thing that I was also proud of was that on our collective marks, for both tests, I scored a 7 on riders position and on harmony between rider and horse! He is just so consistent and reliable but really needs my help to get him carrying himself and if I dont show up to really ride he doesnt get the ride he needs.
M is for Mystic :)

With day 1 under our belts, along with our first level scores needed for our bronze medal since they were under two different judges, we only had to focus on one test for today which was our second level test. Thankfully we didnt do first level today because they started out the day, beginning at 7:30am, and I was so glad I didnt have to get up any earlier! Our test was not until 2:12 so I had time to help/watch Mary along with re wash Pony and take him on a few "here have some more energy" grazing walks. I hopped on at 1:40 and we just walked around for 10-15 minutes before picking him up and really getting him to work right away. I tend to let him talk me into less demanding work so it was nice to finally have Mary with me so she could help coach me through a shorter yet more effective warm up. Our parting words were to a) still dont be afraid of lifting my inside rein b) dont be afraid to tickle him with my whip, especially in the mediums and c) if he gets heavy push him forward do not pull him back. That was, by FAR, the best ride I have ever given him in a test. I had some errors here and there, as far as the geometry of the test and letting up to early in our mediums, but we didnt completely blow anything just had a few not as great moments (such as one of our shoulder ins that I didnt get him into very well so it took about half way through for me to get it back... hello 5.5). I was THRILLED from the moment I saluted at G at the end of the test. He was spot on for the ride I gave him and all of the little mistakes were completely my fault.

So what does a fat black and white pony score at 2nd level? 64.4% of course :) Out of the 8 riders we tied for 3rd, but ultimately got 4th because ties are broke by your collective marks (aka: our 6 for impulsion). What a good Pony! We actually got quite a few 7s including our walks (both medium and free), both our simple changes, a counter canter serpentine, collected canter circles, our centerline, and for our collective marks in both rider position and harmony. Not to shabby for our first time! Nothing new but we just need to keep chipping away at improving our mediums, especially at the trot. The good part is that I feel like we actually improved some of our work over the weekend and found ways to begin improving it also. Now we have a month to get back to work to hopefully do even better at Heart of the Valley in May! Overall I could not be happier with how this weekend went and Pony earned himself a couple days off, he was one exhausted pony tonight!  I will try to write more about the non-show aspect of the show such as peoples comments and thoughts about him later. For now, I am off to bed!

For those that made it all the way through... I leave you with this seriously amazing pictures taken by Alanna

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting Ready

Monday we had an awesome pre show lesson where we got some seriously fun collected canter going on. He may not be the most amazing mover ever but dressage has seriously improved his gaits, especially his canter! We know that our trot lengthenings/mediums are going to be low scores but as long as I give him a good ride he is pretty solid in everything else. Trot lenthenings have always been our weak point and although we have improved them for some reason I am not great at setting him up for them or riding them. Sometimes I can get good ones, for him, and sometimes it looks like a train wreck. I have a bad habit of getting into my test and just being a passenger but I think with Mary being there with us this weekend it will help!

He got a nice pre washing yesterday and today and depending on how he looks tomorrow will get more touch ups while at DevonWood. We are hauling up tomorrow early afternoon but dont show at all until Saturday so we will be able to go school in the arenas and do some clean up work on him should he need it. Then Saturday we get to ride both our first level tests in the beautiful indoor arena and Sunday we get to debut at 2nd level in the seriously gorgeous big outdoor arena (one of the 5 outdoor arenas!). I am hoping there is a videographer there and will get all my rides taped. Alanna is coming up Saturday armed with her camera so I am sure we will get gorgeous pictures too :) This weekend is what I have been waiting to do for years and years! Go Team Pony!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Almost Time

We are now officially one week away from having the first day, of our first recognized dressage show, under our belt! I am getting very excited for it and cant wait to see what the judges think of us. I am trying not to get my hopes up but when I see other horses scoring really well with not so correct looking work (to me at least... I guess I could be all wrong!) I thank God that Mary is helping us get correct work instead of faking it, which we might still do sometimes but try not to! It may not be easy now but when we are ready to move up to 3rd it would bite us in the butt! Seeing other horses tests and scores makes me feel a lot better about where we are at and definitely encourages me. It may be my super competitive side coming out but everyone that knows me knows how much I like to win. Not to mention Pony has spoiled me rotten by winning majority of his tests. I honestly think we have gotten like 3 second places, either behind our trainer or another trainer who is also our friend, and have won the rest. We have also only scored below a 65 % very rarely and over 70 % several times. Yes, I have been very spoiled :)

We have had several really nice rides this last week. Yesterday we had a relaxed bareback ride to break up a few hard dressage rides before getting back into work today. We have a lesson on Monday, then will do a light ride Tuesday, dressage Wednesday, bath on Thursday, and hauling up on Friday morning!

Tomorrow after we ride I will get back to work on his hind feather and pee stains. I also still need to go over my tests. I havent looked at them at all and my memory is awful. I have ridden both 1st-2 and 1st-3 but it has been over a year and I dont remember them in full. Although I have never ridden 2nd-1 I watched Mary ride it with Pony last year and have the gist of it also. I just need to print them off and learn them really well so I dont do something stupid like going off test on a 1st level test haha! YAY for the start of our 2014 show season!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vacation Hangover

I definitely have a bad case of a vacation hangover and havent quite gotten back into the swing of things but I am getting there. We didnt get home until 1 30 am on Sunday morning but I still managed to pull myself out to the barn the next day to take Pony for a spin. He really wanted to be really heavy but by the end we got some nice work and called it a day. With the new term starting on Monday and me not catching up on my sleep enough I headed home after work on Monday and didnt get a ride in. I figure it isnt bad for him to have a few days getting back into the swing of things with me since we are now officially in buckle down mode until DevonWood in the Spring which is next weekend (SO excited!)!

His best beggar face after his ride

Tonight I got in another ride (after getting trampled in the pasture while trying to catch my horse by another stupid gelding) but it wasnt anything super hard. Alanna ended up bringing baby Emi up to the barn because Roz is a little off so we just did a quick walk/trot/canter getting him moving off my legs and not being heavy in the bridle before we took Emi over for some ponying trot work. Both the ponies were good and Emis trotting by us improved a lot by the end, yay for baby ponies :) It is really nice to have Mystic for all of these baby sitting duties! He is really good and even if she would get a little excite or run in to his butt he just kept trucking forward (probably wondering why his mom makes him do all this crazy stuff ha). I love this boy!

Tomorrow we are back to real dressagin :)