Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sticks Jumped!

My kind of horse show is the kind where I'm home by 1pm after my horse jumps her first show jumping round!!!

Stella's kind of horse show is the kind where she spends most of the time stuffing her face while standing tied to the trailer.  Notice her hay dunking bucket in close reach.

Dressage was so so, she was quite looky and after the 18 inches of rain the night before the ring was soggy in spots, and Stella isn't a fan of soggy.  We still managed to not get last place!!!!  She had some nice moments at the end of our warmup where she came onto the bit and started working in contact, something I was pleased with especially considering how busy shows can be.

I had chosen this location due to its friendly nature.  Everything is kind of open and runs into each other so your horse never really gets the idea it is going somewhere isolated.  It ended up being a small show which I thought was perfect for her, although there were plenty of zippy golf carts to give a hard look to.  After she saw a few of them she didn't care at all, which I liked.

Show jumping was literally right after dressage, as in I did my salute and went right to warm up!  This worked out really well, although I'd like her to get into the routine of being tacked up several times, it was nice to just flow one thing into the other to make it no big deal. I warmed Stella up over two groundpoles first before moving onto the crossrails, she stopped and sniffed the first one, walked over the second one, then she was golden.  She jumped and cantered away, and even used BOTH her leads!  I jumped about 7 warm up fences before deciding she was ready to go, I have always thought that anything you don't have at home you aren't going to find at a show.

She marched right into the show jumping "arena" and got down to business like she'd been doing it for months.  She remained forward, listening, didn't spook at anything, and only needed a little bit of leg and some clucking in front of a few of the fences.  The fences she actually jumped she cantered away from calmly.  Well, why am I telling you when I can show you!!!

What a good girl!  I can't possibly be happier with her.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Poor planning skills

What happens when you don't manage your calendar?

You go to an awesome show, then drop your horse off and ignore her for 5 days while you work a ton of overtime, then you ride her twice and "jump" her once before you pack her up for another show.  Over fences.

I hope the fences are small.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Stella's first show!

Last weekend I took Stella to her first show, and she did great!

She got what I think was her first full bath, although I wasn't able to scrub her rear socks, something I need to work on more in the future.  I was considering putting boots on her behind to help desensitise her, thoughts?

I made sure it was a show we could ship in the night before, I wanted to be able to hack her around outside, get her into the rings, and deal with strange horses.  I was really happy with her, she looked at a few things but didn't get "stuck" and only really spooked once or twice.  I've always found that it's a different atmosphere the night before (quieter) so I was prepared to have a different horse the next morning.

I was happy to see that Stella ate all of her hay and emptied her bucket, and I discovered that she grabs a bite of hay, then runs it through her water, slightly disgusting, but it would explain her dirty water buckets at home.  I don't think she laid down at night, but I'm hoping to see evidence of that in the future even if it means a dirty horse.

I entered her in Intro A and Intro B, I have not really gotten around to cantering her conssitently at home and I wanted to make her first dressage tests low key, especially since I didn't know how she'd react to being in the arena alone, the letters, or the judge.  Intro A is a pretty laughable test, almost 90% walk but it was great for being a low pressure way of getting her into the ring.  I already know that when she's not feeling confident she's hard to get to trot.

I chose to avoid warming up in the indoor arena, she doesn't seem to do well being penned in with other horses and I wanted her to deal with all the distractions of being outside.  She dealt with everything MUCH better than I thought, there were horses everywhere, people jumping, three warm up areas, people in lawn chairs.  I started my warm up by just hacking her all over the show grounds.  Into each arena, through the jumping warm up, into and out of the three other fields being used for the dressage warm up.  I walked her up to anything she looked at, then went back and asked her to ignore it.   Once I felt she was settled I started asking for trot work, then I had to insist a bit.  She'd trot slowly, because she couldn't trot and look at the same time.

Then we went into the ring.  I wasn't concerned about her being very forward, or straight, or bending, because those are things we don't have at home.  All I wanted was to show her that there wasn't anything to fuss or worry about.

This is Intro A

This is Intro B.  I entered two tests because I don't want her to learn she can rush through a dressage test and get it over with and out of the ring for good.  I also wanted to be able to continue to let her settle if she had a hard time in the first test.  Since she was so good in the first test I asked her for more forward in this one, to start to teach her to be more brave.   She did get stuck at X, I asked, I told, then I yelled!

Overall I was pretty pleased with her performance, you couldn't ask for a better performance out of a horse that has had real little formal fancy training and hasn't really done a whole lot of going places.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Stella's first show preview

I have to work in about 15 minutes so here's a sneak peek
of how Stella's first show went.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Versailles State Park

Saturday was an impromptu trail ride to Versailles State Park.  What would you chose, going on a trail ride or doing laundry and mowing your yard?  Yep, I thought so, although my yard did try to eat a cat last night.

The DNR website lists Versailles as having 20 miles of horse trails.  We found the trails to be average, a few hilly technical spots in a few spots but mostly level and wide.  We had a very very slow ride as most of the trails were extremely muddy.  When I did some post ride research (ooops) I found many people saying that the park is very boggy and it was muddy unless it hadn't rained for at least a month.  In the future we will avoid this park until summer.   Other than that it was easy to get to, and parking was plentiful despite it being very crowded.

Stella improved on this second ride.  She didn't start out as snorty and was relaxed much sooner into the ride.  She still got stuck in a few places, such as when we had to go off trail to avoided downed trees (I also saw reports of the trails not being maintained well).  She balked and needed a lead through our first water crossing but the next dozen she didn't even hesitate through.

I can see now that she also needs to spend a great deal of time learning to be patient, she was very very fussy being tied to the trailer.  It didn't seem to matter that her trail buddy was tied next to her, or that she was surrounded by horses.  She did better when she had something to eat, but I'd like to be able to tie a horse to the trailer for 30 minutes without hay and not have to worry about them leaving town.   She didn't pull back but she did test the rope a few times.  Patience my child.  Chill.

The rest of the week we are going to focus on dressage, with maybe one day of "jumping" to prepare for our show this coming Saturday.  I want to squeeze her in the wash rack a few times, clip her, and work on making her presentable.  There is also tack to find and clean, show things to assemble...... !!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Drowned rats

Last weekend I attended Rolex, I don't have a ton of things to say that you can't already read out there because pretty much everyone was there as well.  Like a bunch of drowned rats.  

The weather Friday was fantastic, great for shopping.  I had a very limited budget since I was saving for some upcoming horse shows but I still managed to buy two things that were on my bucket list.  This halter is one of them.  I've always wanted a really nice leather halter with all the bells and whistles and a nice shiny name plate for my horse.    I was really looking forward to Albrights being there as I saw their halters a few years ago and really liked the quality for the price.  They didn't come so I chose a small private vendor called Peacock Custom Leather which is a small, old fashioned shop.  As in, they just have a placeholder page on Facebook and no website.  Despite being utterly overwhelmed the shop owner was happy to answer my questions, and even called me on his personal cell phone (with no voicemail!) when he double made my halter and thought I'd forgotten it.   

Of course 10 seconds after this picture something slid off the wall and Stella ejected herself from the crossties.  I made sure the halter was safe first, and took it off her head to store in a safe place!  Horses.

Another thing on my bucket list was a shaped XC pad.  The scrooge inside of me cringed visibly at the thought of a $40 saddle pad but I talked myself into it, can't wait for Stella to figure out how to jump, how to jump cross country, and to show so she can wear it.  Closest thing I can find online of a picture is this, but it's listed as an Endurance Pad.  This one has a fleece lining, which was an option but I went with the plain bottom.  Easier to clean and I don't need the extra padding. It is a PRI pad who are well known for their quality pads.  I have also seen them available from this Facebook vendor.  

Saturday was Cross Country day

As the water poured into the laces in my paddock boots (the most waterproof thing I owned) I couldn't help but admire the grit of all the riders.  Kicking on over the biggest course many of them had ever ridden in a steady downpour.   Attendance was still high, and the level of dryness among the viewers seemed to vary.

I've never been a huge fan of going with trendy clothing, and the seeming requirment of wearing Dubarry boots or their knockoffs to Rolex in perfectly good weather just to show I'm both up on equestrian fashion trends and have deep pockets makes me a little queasy.  But Saturday I was feeling some serious boot envy.  Their feet were so dry.  So very very dry.  

I did spent the next several days googling Rain Pants and Waterproof Boots.  

I bet that some of the dogs out there also went home and googled "PETA"  If your dog is so wet he's shivering, maybe you could buy him a raincoat or at the very least freaking leave him home?

Overall I had a great time, and of course I'll go back next year!!!


 Hello all,  Life has been busy and I have not felt I've had anything worth blogging about.  Or that my blog is particularly interestin...