Friday, July 21, 2017

WTFriday - The Wardrobe

While browsing Ikea for a wardrobe, I noticed this photo:

I suppose the same person who stores their old school dressage saddle AND high heels in the same cabinet WOULD be the type of person to hang their bridle like that.... on an antler....

I wonder if the person who staged the photo though the bridle looked more artistic like that?

You can buy your own from Ikea here:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Second and Third Shows of 2017

Hey, look who's behind on blogging?!?!?

This summer we are showing in a different Ranch circuit from the past two years.  This one is closer to home and doesn't have cattle.  We've had the first two of three shows so far and we are really enjoying this new circuit.
That trot though....

These three shows have points going towards a high point buckle for each division: Youth, Open, Amateur, and Walk/Trot.  There are also Jackpot classes that have cash payouts, but no points.  We are showing in all 7 classes in the Amateur division: Trail, Reining, Pleasure, Ranch Riding, Horsemanship, Conformation, and Showmanship.  The point system is a little wonky in my opinion. Points are based on the number of entries in a class and go to 5th place, so if you win a class with 20 entries you get 20 points.  Second place gets 19, etc.  SO the shitty part is that if you get 5th you get 15 pts but if you get 6th you get zero.   So someone who was only one place ahead of you could get 15 more points than you in that one class.  Awesome for the person who gets 5th, not awesome for the person who gets 6th.  More on that later.

The first show was May 25th.  The biggest thing I was worried about for these shows was that it was going to be the first shows that Huck and his girlfriend were both at.  I was concerned that he would lose focus and be stupid if they weren't together all the time. Luckily that turned out to be barely an issue at the first show and no deal at all at the second.

At the May show we didn't have a great morning.  I DQ'd us in reining by spinning 5 times instead of four.  Seriously I cannot be trusted with numbers!  And sadly it was one of our better runs ever.  If we had zeroed those spins instead of DQing we would have had 2nd place.  :(

We didn't place in Trail which disappointed me as I thought we had a really nice run.  I read the scoresheet afterwards and I am still baffled how the judge was using penalty points.  I had like 3 penalty points on the bridge but we rode it just fine.  One of the penalties was for touching an obstacle..... um.... how do you cross a bride withOUT touching it?  That's the game of horse shows I guess.

We were in the finals for the big pleasure class but didn't place. During the finals, every time we came around one side of the arena Huck saw his GF outside the arena and bent himself to the outside and lost focus.  :(

We won our Ranch Riding class, no place in Horsemanship, First in Conformation, and 2nd in Showmanship.

So our afternoon went much better than our morning.  I ended up in 4th place for the High Point standings, with the leader having almost double my points so we've got some catching up to do.

The July Show was highly anticipated because I was out of town from June 10th-July 5th so I only had two days to ride before show day.  Yikes.  Luckily a friend was working my horse a few times a week while I was gone.

We had a much better show than the May Show!  In addition to the 7 ammy classes, I also entered the Jackpot Ranch Riding class.  I figured we can use all the mileage we can get before the Congress.

Reining was first and we WON!  It wasn't our best run ever, but it was good enough to land us first.

Next we managed a solid 2nd place in Trail. I had one error in judgement otherwise I thought our run was really nice.  The pattern ended with a right lead lope and then asking the horse to straddle a pole and walk along it with right feet to one side and left feet to the other.  I stopped too close to the pole so he didn't get a good look at it before we got to it and ended up on one side, but I managed to get him to step back over it and finish all right.

It was a big pleasure class again, but not big enough to need splits and we managed to get 2nd in Ranch Pleasure.  Considering the first time I took him in a rail class he tried to do a rundown every time we hit the long side of the arena, I am super happy with how well he's doing this year!

Next up was the Jackpot Ranch Riding.  It was a huge class and I thought our pattern was really really nice and somehow the judge thought so too, and pinned us first with a prize of $150, which nearly paid for my whole show fees.

But to balance it out, the universe put us out of the ribbons at 6th in Ammy Ranch Riding which gave us zero points - hence my earlier whining. I would have rather had the points!  But I guess I could buy my own damn buckle with my winnings!  LOL! We came around for the lead change and a piece of paper flew into the arena right in front of us so he lost focus, did an ugly head toss/lead change and took too many strides to get himself back together.  I though that was what took us out of the placings, but when I looked at the score sheet we had 4 penalty points for ticking poles, which was my fault, again, for coming down from the lope too close to the poles so he didn't get a chance to assess them.

We managed a 5th in Horsemanship which I was happy with since I assumed we were dead in the water when he loped off instead of extended trot after the last pivot.  Such a nice forward horse....

We won Conformation again and were 4th in Showmanship.  I could NOT wake his ass up for showmanship! He just stood there all askew and ignored me when I was asking him to set up.  And when I asked for the pivot he did not want to move so he got all bent before he moved a foot.

Overall I was really happy with the day.  He stayed focussed and with me all day, I just need to figure out how to wake him back up for showmanship!  The High Point tabulation isn't posted yet so I've no idea where we all rank right now.  The final show is August 19th and has a freestyle reining class which I am very excited to get my costume together for.  Hopefully my plan works!

We are probably going to an open show this weekend to do trail, ranch pleasure, ranch riding, and reining.  Mileage mileage mileage!

Good start to the morning! 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Show of 2017

Our first show was April 6th.

It was chilly!
About the Show Itself:  Part of a local traditional (English/Western) summer open show series. Last year they added 7 Ranch/Performance classes to the end of the day. This was the same show we started with LAST SEASON.  There are paybacks for classes which is pretty sweet, but I admit I still like getting ribbons and prizes more.  This was a double-judged show and it was the kind of show where they dismiss a class and bring the next one in and then call the placings later so I am not sure exactly how we placed in some of the last classes.  It's hard to listen and show at the same time. Oh, to think there was a time that I would religiously record our placings and how many were in each class.  Over 20 years of showing will do that.  LOL.

It was a day of scattered showers but we managed to avoid most of the rain since the show was indoors.  There wasn't a warmup area, but they gave us time in the arena before our classes started.  I was wearing a base layer top in the morning but I got too warm and took it off before we left the farm and stupidly left it at the barn.  I could have really used it later!  Good thing I had my sweet new Noble Outfitters vest so I could look ranchy enough to show in it!

I was really happy we got to go show, partially because our next two will be part of a buckle series and since our first show last year was a bit of a .... learning experience... I wanted to get one out of the way before it "counted."  There are always things we need to work on and going to a show is the best way we can really know what's working and what's not, and make a plan of what to work on before the next show.... and yes, that's always a moving target.

I couldn't be happier with how Huck was at the show.  He's never bad at shows, but I tend to get pretty nervous and he does feed off of that.  He has taught me to "be the grownup" when I need to be, but it's so against my nature that it gets a bit exhausting.   This time around he flinched once when coming around the back of a trailer on our exploration walk.  No idea what he saw but it only lasted a second.  He was cheerful and obedient all day and I was happy with how we placed.

Ranch Conformation: 1st & 2nd.  We usually do well in this class and he's learning how to stand still for ages without moving.... but he moved right when one of the judges came to do the inspection.  I read somewhere to just calmly reset and if the judge leaves, she'll come back to get a better look later.

Walk/Trot Trail: 1st & 2nd.  This was our first trail placing!  [Our first (and only) trail class last year included the word "unruly" in the judges comments. Yikes! To be fair, he did EVERYthing I asked him to do in the class but he was a dancing giraffe the entire time.]  This time he was super awesome.  The class set up was really tight but he handled really well in the tight space and didn't hesitate stepping up onto a strange bridge.

Reining: DQ This has become my least favorite class, even though it's what all his training is in.  Our spins were wonky and dumb because I have a hard time relaxing and trusting he'll go off of my subtle cues.  Our lope off and first circles felt so un-cadenced and out of control and his frame was stiff and bent to the outside and he broke to a trot a few times.  For the 2nd set of circles I decided to DQ the class and take him two-handed and school the rest of the class.  Once I got him a bit more rounded up/in he felt much better and our lead change was solid.  He did the run-downs nicely and because the footing wasn't really good for reining I didn't try for slides.

Jackpot Ranch Pleasure: 1st/4th.  Clearly the 2nd judge didn't see the wrong lead (took left instead of right) and the brake to the lope on the 2nd extended trot.  I was really happy with the class.  It's almost baffling how he can be so out of sync in reining but drop his head and be cool as a cucumber in a rail class..... maybe it's me...
That trot though...

Ranch Riding: I think 2nd and 2nd?  This was listed as a Horsemanship class but it was a standard Ranch Riding PATTERN which I was thrilled with since I need all the mileage I can get on our future Congress class!  He did all the things, we just lacked some finesse.

Ranch Pleasure: ?/?.   I honestly don't remember, but it might have been a 1st?  No idea why they have two pleasure classes.  He still picked up a left lead instead of a right lead so I'll need to remember to bring his hip in when I ask.

We won all but $0.40 of our entry fees back with the payouts, so that was a neat surprise.

Our next show is on the 27th.  It's the first of three in a brand new Ranch series.

So what are we working on in the mean time?
-Picking up the Right Lead
-Quiet and steady in the reining
-Correcting the bend in reining circles
-Finesse in Ranch Riding transitions

Hopefully we will have the patterns a few days ahead of time so we can get comfortable with the trail, reining and ranch riding/ranchmanship patterns.

Post-show pasture naps are the best.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring is Here!

Spring is officially here.  It may even be time to send the winter blankets for cleaning, but that seems like asking for an April snowstorm.

Practicing Bridges

The last few months were a little busy on the non-horse side of things, so I'm just now getting back into riding on a consistent schedule.  Huck is getting his sliders on this afternoon while I'm at work, so I look forward to trying him out tomorrow.  He's also getting a massage tomorrow and seeing the chiropractor next week.  He's so spoiled.

Yesterday we played on all the bridges and the ditch that will become the water obstacle.  He was SOOOOO good about everything.  He's now mastered the teeter-totter bridge from BOTH directions.

Showing!  We are hoping to attend several shows this summer.

We are taking a break from the ranch show series we've gone for the past two years.  I liked those shows, but they're two hours away and the shows are getting so big they last forever into the night.  Part of our decision not to show there this year is that the Ranch classes are getting so popular there are TWO series right in our back yard!

Circuit #1: brand new Ranch Horse 3-show series. Our first is May 26th and they're just 30 minutes north of Columbus.  Our entire barn is going so it should be a lot of fun.  There are no cattle classes at at these, which doesn't bother me at all, but there are some people complaining that "you can't call it ranch if you don't have cattle" and I want to point out that HUNTER shows don't have foxes.

There are 3 shows in the series and they're doing year-end high point awards for each division.  So I'll show seven classes in the Amateur division:
Ranch Pleasure
Ranch Riding (pattern like AQHA)

There will also be a Freestyle Reining at the August show.... already thinking of ideas for that... and there are Jackpot classes for each of the riding classes so I may show some of those.

Circuit #2:  Just 10 minutes from the barn.  We're hoping to show up to five of those shows.  They're under a new name and new management and they added more ranch type classes this year. It's your typical open show with classes in western and english that caters to the 4-H and amateur crowd, plus some trainers schooling prospects.  The first time we showed there in the Ranch Pleasure there were only two of us.  It's grown each show since!
At those we can show:
Halter (if I feel like it)
Adult Showmanship (mixed seat Adult and a $200 Open)
W/T Adult Ranch Pleasure  (and a $200 Open W/T mixed seat class)
WTC Adult Ranch Pleasure (Adult and a $200 Open class)
Adult Ranch Riding
Open Reining
Open W/T Trail