Friday, October 31, 2014

Uniform = Costume

I bet people think I'm wearing a costume today. Happy Halloween!
Had some shopping in town after riding.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October's 10 Questions

1. How many pairs of breeches/jods do you own? 
Fleece on the left, everydays on the right
  • 4 are Kerrits KP Sit Tight and Warm fleece lined that I use in Dec/Jan when the temp is sub 45.
  • 1 Ariat demins that are still too small for me, so unworn.
  • 1 FITS Beka in tan that I show in.
  • 8 SmartPak Pipers, all of which are KP except the plaid which are fullseat.
2. How many horses have you ridden?
I probably rode around 9 different horses as a kid, which was divided between vacation trail ride horses and random chances at a ride. I took a few months of lessons when I lived in Cali around my mid-twenties and rode probably 3 different horses. From there I can solidly count (not including any horses I tried at while shopping - which wasn't many) 8, owning 5 of those.

3. How many trainers have you had?
  1. Mrs. Pennington of Pennington Farms. As a kid I took 16 weeks of lessons total, once a week. She and her staff of teens taught me everything I know about basic horse parts and tack. What I learned there, I muscle memory and apply as an adult. It's amazing that that information sticks when the rest of my memory is crap ;)
  2. Claire of a barn in the silicon valley that I will never remember the name of (see memory is crap). I was in my mid-twenties with three kids already and my trainer was around 18/19 yrs old with a total alternative look, complete with piercings everywhere. And she was awesome and I was sad to move away.
  3. Lorraine? was a dressage instructor who came to my house for approximately monthly lessons for almost a year when I got my first horse at age 28. 
  4. Jessica is a top dressage rider of the slightly famous Welsh Cob, North Forks Cardi who competes at the CDI GP level. She was my trainer for monthly clinics at my old barn with Brie, lease horse and then with Smudge, the mare I owned. We worked together for about a year in dressage.
    Jane & me, 2013
  5. I started working with dressage trainer, Harriet, when I moved barns four years ago so I could get weekly lessons instead of only monthly. She's kind and clear and I super love her. While I don't take dressage lessons anymore, she's also my barn manager and the main trainer at the barn, so we have a great relationship anyway.
  6. Jane is my current jump and everything else trainer. I started with her 3.5 years ago when I had issues with my mare and took lunge lessons with her. She comes to my barn twice a week. Eventually I switched horses to Sam because I decided I wanted to start jumping and needed a horse I could learn on. For 2 full years, I took twice a week lessons every week with Jane. This last year has been more miss then hit on even weekly lessons due to finances, but Jane still yells at me from across the arena when I need it. ;) She's my biggest cheerleader, has tons of experience both as a rider and working with other top trainers and is just super awesome. 
4. How many barns have you ridden at?
Five. Boarded at 3 of them.

5. What is the name of the horse you consider yourself to have the greatest bond with? 
That's easy. Sam.

6. What is your favorite show name you've ever encountered? 
I don't encounter many names really. I like plays on words or something witty. I've only shown two horses and have used both their registered names - because I'm not cool enough to come up with my own. But Sam's old owner showed him as Teacher's Pet because she is a teacher. That's pretty cute.

7. What do you consider your greatest weakness or flaw in riding? 
Laziness. It's too easy for me to just stop trotting because my legs hurt, or I'm hot, or I'm out of breath. And it doesn't help that my horse is all, "We should stop." And I'm all, "Good idea."

8. What do you consider to be your greatest strength? 

Brie, my lease
Surprisingly contrary to being lazy, is my competitive edge. I want to be the best student and win shows. So I am very picky about what I work on and I don't drill to death, just get it right and move on. I think my horse appreciates that too. I'm a quick learner and pretty sporty, so I don't usually make the same mistakes for very long.

9. Have you ever leased a horse? 
Yes. Brie, a welsh cob mare that I rode 3x/wk. I leased her for 2.5 months. Then I had to buy again. :) I'm definitely an owner.

10. What is the name of the first horse you rode? 
Blue. A carnival pony ride horse. I was probably around 5 or 6.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The show of the year.

I ended up only going to one show this year due to finances. And while it was far from perfect, it turned out favorably.

This was the first show I went to with both my barn riding buddies, so that made it super fun and helpful in the several hour wait until our warmup time started. It was a MUCH longer wait then prior shows due to many jumper entries.

We had 3 over fence classes and 2 flat classes in the Open Hunters 2'-2'3" SS/LS division. This was the same class/show I competed at the end of last year and earned division champion.

Eventually the warmup came which was in the show ring, as this was a local schooling show. And it was a very short 20 mins, full of riders zig-zagging everywhere. That's ok with me since I like to do very short warmups - just hop over each type of jump or a strange line and be done. Sam was his normal relaxed self in warmup.

After that, it was all, heavy in my hands - though not really on the forehand - though forward. Sam's not naturally a forward horse. So, I spend most of my energy managing Sam and less effort on things like good releases and chicken wings. I can only keep track of so much :) Plus, I was actually nervous for this show because I felt a lot of pressure to do well from my barn mates, etc since I always get champion or reserve. But it had been exactly a year since my last show.

Our first class was the worst. I was distracted by his head shaking and we got a long distance that I wasn't ready for and left me behind to start the course. Then he was forehand heavy and I knew I wasn't getting that right flying change. So a simple change. After I was done I thought we had counter cantered to both lines, which I didn't realize until after I was lined up for the lines (too late to change then). So I came out VERY disappointed and frustrated. It wasn't how I wanted to start the day. And I think it fueled me. (I did see later on the video that I had my leads.)

The softer lady voice in the videos is my trainer - so not a random lurker critiquing me, haha. Some of her comments are funny.

Second class was smoother. Still had to trot the change in that same corner. When Sam's pulling/leaning we NEVER get that right change, and it just gets worse if I try, so I didn't. A pretty hard chip in the first line, but I pushed him and had a great distance on the exit. We did finally get a right flying change off the last jump which you can see me rewarding. I wanted to be clear to him that that's what I was looking for. And in the next round, he figures it out :)

The last jump class was the EQ O/F. And while still not perfect, couple small chips, crap releases, it was our best round of the day. If you watch the video, I had forgotten to move my sunglasses to from my helmet to the face so you can see me barely doing it in the ring (right in line of the judge box) as we are trotting to the first jump. Sam was apparently ready to show off too, because we did not one, but two flying lead changes after the first jump and before the corner, also right in front of the judge. And then another flying change off the 2nd jump - the right change is his harder side. Ah, now we have Sam paying attention. He is still crazy pulling in my hands (my legs ended up getting the whole day off) and you can see my nice white shirt cuffs easily when I come around left after jump 3 as I'm lifting him up and half halting so we don't actually touch the fence.

The flat classes were more of the same pulling, esp at the canter, which from where I sit, feels almost behind the vertical, but it was actually a bit nose-pokey which is good. With 11 people in the ring, it was busy too. The good news was that I didn't get very tired since I wasn't needing to prod with my legs every stride (or any stride). I felt the flats (one Hunter U/S, one EQ Flat) were pretty good for us, though I'd have preferred to have a loser rein, but I had to ride what I had that day.

Originally the adults and kids were pinned together. I was the only adult (4 of us) to pin all the classes and I actually took 1st in the last jump class, EQ O/F. And that made me really proud.

The SS/LS COMBINED placings. I took Fifth, Third, First, Fifth and Third in that order.

I did win Reserve Champion, but didn't know it until the next day after points were published. Later that week, I went to pick up the ribbon and was asking the show owner how many adults where needed to split the SS/LS and she said only 3 and that we should have been split. So, to make it right, she went through the judges cards with me and gave me and my barn mates the ribbons we should have been given at the show. And that's how I got my first clean sweep show and named for a second year in a row at the same show/same division, Division Champion. :)

And my LS only placings, as it should have been. :)

A few takeaways:

  • I'm really happy that per the videos, I had heels down every fence. (working on that lately)
  • Almost all my distances were good.
  • We improved every jump round.
  • It was my first show in a show shirt and jacket - YAY! And I didn't overheat and die!
  • Cuff up my show shirt going forward so the white cuffs don't give my hands away!
  • Keep working my releases, even if Sam is pulling - still need to release at fence.
  • Keep my elbows in - which is actually easier if I'm actually releasing.
  • And I already knew this one, but keep remembering, my rounds always look better then they feel, so don't get so angry after imperfect rounds. ;)
More pics:

Weeeee, pulling pony!

Dem heels, like a boss!

We are so cool

Ah, yeah, you can totally see my hand fisted, no time for pinkies!

My favorite trot shot
My current all time favorite shot of us

Friday, October 17, 2014

Clean Sweep

My first clean sweep. Feels awesome. Full write up on Monday. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Trot it out Thursday

More to come about my show last weekend. But for now, here's a great trot shot. Love my EQ and the random gleam off my stirrup.