South Farm Redux

Monday, May 31, 2010

Well Memorial Day weekend was a busy one for me. Luckily Friday afternoon we did get out of work early (Yay!) and so I was able to make it out to the barn by 4:30. Colleen and Carlee were there for a lesson, so I helped Carlee get Fanny ready and then watched her ride. And then Bonnie had me tack up Kaye for a short jump school. We just jumped through the quad a couple of times as crossbars before calling it a night. We wanted to take it easy on her, plus we had Saturday to raise the fence height.

I was at the barn early Saturday, we only had a few hours there since we had to leave by noon to get ready for Kezia's wedding. Rachel was there first and she had a great jumping lesson with Kaye. And then a quick tack change and I was on. Jumped through the quad about 3 times as crossbars and then Bonnie started turning them into verticals. She started with the last one and then each time I jumped through she added another vertical. Then we jumped the offset oxer a couple of times and the helicopter. Very good jump school for me. All the fences were set right about 2'11" exactly what I would be jumping at South Farm. Actually probably a bit higher than South Farm. So really good ride, very pleased with it going into the show. Henry and Astrid rode Fanny and Mickey while Ari and I took a quad ride back to the pasture to take down some fence. And then finally Ari had a ride on Fanny before we settled the horses in for the day and went to get ready.

Kezia's wedding was beautiful. The service was held in the Wurtemburg United Methodist Church in Ellwood City. Key made a gorgeous bride.

Sunday morning found us on the road to South Farm again. Since we were only taking Kaye, Bonnie decided to load Pele up as well. That way he could keep Kaye company plus Bonnie could ride him around the grounds. I don't think Pele has been off the farm in a very long time, so it was the perfect opportunity to get him used to it before he needed to show next weekend. We got to South Farm and saw that Rachel and her Dad had beaten us there. While Katie and Bonnie checked on the horses, I headed inside to pick up packets and turn in entries for next week. When Bonnie joined me a few minutes later we ended up running into both Rob and Desiree so that was pretty cool to catch up with them.

We headed back to the truck where Katie had tacked up Kaye and gotten dressed. We finished getting the horses ready and then Bonnie got on Kaye while Katie hoped on Pele to head down to the ring. Bonnie worked Kaye a bit before the two of them switched horses. Katie finished warming up Kaye and then it was time to head into the dressage ring. The two of them had a nice test except for where Katie got a little too eager for the circles and had an error of test. Of well -2 for that. So a quick rider change and Rachel was in the saddle. Unfortunately Rachel memorized the old Beginner Novice B test and so she was thoroughly confused in the ring. Jennifer Patton, the judge, was super nice though and gave me a copy of the test so that I could read it to Rachel. She still ended up with 2 errors of test but she had a nice ride, and Jennifer complimented me on the pair when I returned her test. Another rider change and Katie was back in the saddle to do her jumping round. She ended up having a double clear round, but instead of trotting like Bonnie told her too, she sort of ran Kaye of her feet. All in all though, Katie had a good day, it was enough to put her in 4th place.

After Katie finished her jumping round, I was finally able to get on my horse and warm up for our dressage test. We had a really good warm up. And then I hoped off her to give Kaye a bit of a break. When I got back on just before my test I couldn't quite get back the same feeling I'd had before. But I was still much more relaxed in the dressage ring than I usually am. And Bonnie said that my test was even better than the last time, so I'll take it. Plus Kaye didn't completely jig through her free walk! Jennifer's comment was actually 'relaxed, but needs to show more stretch' instead of 'jigging' The dressage was good enough to put us in second place with a score of 37.4. I'll definitely take that! After I finished my test, Rachel got back on to do her jumping round. She and Kaye had a very nice, controlled ride. They left all the fences up, but did have a handful of time penalties from trotting a little more than they should have. Still even with the time penalties and the 2 errors in dressage, Rachel finished the day in 4th place. Not too shabby.

After Rachel finished, she and Bonnie took Kaye back for a quick hosing off while I walked my stadium course. The course was pretty easy compared to what Bonnie has been having us jump at home. The fences were all a tad under 2'11" and there was only one combination on the course a two stride vertical to oxer near the end. Bonnie brought my horse back to me and I quickly warmed her up over a few fences. We only jumped the crossbar twice before moving on the vertical. Jumped that a handful of times and then turned to the oxer. The first time we jumped the oxer Kaye tripped a bit on the landing. Man did she not make that mistake again. She jumped even bigger so she could not even land in the same spot. So we finished our warm up and headed into the ring for the Novice stadium. Kaye and I both had a blast! She was pretty strong in the ring once she saw the bigger fences, but I was able to keep her from getting too fast. She was jumping big, but man was it fun. We had a double clear round, and since the horse in front of us had a rail in stadium it moved up up to first place! My first blue ribbon at Novice! Woohoo!

Love the big grin I'm sporting!


Red, White and Blue Horse Show

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not much that went on since the Combined Test at South Farm, so we'll just sorta skip all over that and talk about the horse show at Canfield this weekend. I took Friday off from work (shh!) and Bonnie took X and I over to the fairgrounds. Tom was already there with Dalal and his new stud colt. They had gotten in the day before. And that was nice because he had a stall held for us right next to him. So I got X settled into his stall and Tom was just starting to get Dalal ready for his first class, Reg. Arabian Western Pleasure Amateur. Got him tacked up and I hopped on while Tom got himself ready to ride. Just walked him around the grounds a bit and then handed him over to Tom. At that point I figured there was no time like the present to see what my beastie would do. I pulled him out of the stall and tacked him up in the western saddle and then we headed over to the smaller warm up ring. I lunged him around there for a while and then finally hopped on. As I expected he would not settle down to walk, but that's ok, I was fine with him trotting. Of course then every time he saw something new he had to break into a canter. And then after about half a dozen strides he realizes nothing is going to eat him and he wants to stop, I don't think so Bup! So we cantered a lot that first day. By the time I headed over to the main ring to watch X was completely lathered. And of course he chose this time to show me that he can be a little energizer bunny when he wants to be. Tom still had some time before his class and so I joined him in the warm up ring. Tom and Paul Clemens were there as well and I just have to say it was very weird to see them both on chestnuts rather than their black horses. So X still decided he was going to canter around the warm up rather than trot or walk like a sane horse, so when Tom and Dalal finally headed into the show ring he was dripping, it was quite gross.

Tom and Dalal had a great ride in the Ammy class in which they won out of 5. And Kelly and Lark were 2nd. Kelly was completely shocked! Going into the class she kept thinking they would be 5th, but she put in a nice ride. I was really happy for Kelly. She's been through some rough times with Lark and she really wants to do this. So good for her.

After the class was over both ponies went back and got hosed off and then tucked in the stalls with some hay to munch on. For the rest of the afternoon I got to just hang out and catch up with everyone that I haven't really seen since last summer. Nikki showed up later in the afternoon, so it was good to get to see her as well.

That evening I got to ride Dalal in the Reg. Arabian Western Pleasure-Open class. We had a pretty decent warm up, especially considering that I haven't really been on the horse since September. We had a decent ride in the class, except going the first direction Dalal broke at the lope and then I got the wrong lead when we picked it up again. Luckily though the judge didn't see any of it and we ended up 2nd in the class. Pretty good for my first trip back in the show ring!

After we headed back to the stalls and got Dalal settled I was introduced to Danielle, who Tom met online while watching Nikki at Scottsdale. Danielle had groomed for Tommy Garland at Nationals and so she and Tom had started talking. And then about a month or so ago she moved to Washington, PA from Michigan and so Tom invited her out for the show. I have to say, I really enjoyed meeting her, she's a couple of years younger than me, but we really hit it off and had a good time together.

Although it had rained during the night, Saturday morning dawned pretty nice, unfortunately it didn't stay that way. The sun was out and shinning when we headed down tot he main ring for Tom's Men's Western Pleasure class. Unfortunately it had started to rain by the time he went into the ring. And Dalal was a little shit for the class. There was only one other horse in the ring, this little appy mare that was in heat. And Dalal was well aware of that fact. Luckily the other horse wasn't even close to being competition, but Tom certainly had his hands full. After the class we got Dalal settled back in his stall and then waited out the rain. Unfortunately it didn't want to stop any time soon.

After a while Kelly, Danielle and I decided that since it was raining and we couldn't do anything anyway we would head out to get something to eat for lunch. We piled into Danielle's car along with Kelly's son Gavin and headed into Boardman to see what looked good. We ended up trying out this Stonebridge Grill and Tavern. Kelly had mentioned that she always drove past it and thought it looked good, but she hadn't eaten there yet. So we figured we would give it a try. The food was delicious, I had a tasty lobster bisque soup and a turkey sandwich. Everything was quite yummy!

While we were eating the rain had stopped, so when we got back to the fairgrounds, I pulled X out of his stall and tacked him up for a ride. I lunged him first in side reins and then after a while I went ahead and hopped on him. He was pretty good in the warm up ring, so then I took him down to the main ring. I figured since the show was on break until the evening session at 5 I might as well take advantage and get him into the main ring. He wasn't too bad, but he was once again using every little thing as an excuse to spook and start cantering. So we cantered a lot of circles. Eventually he settled down and we got some good work in. I even rode some centerlines towards the judge's tent in the middle of the ring. While he wasn't too thrilled about that to start with, he did get better about it. So good ride overall, when I started to hear thunder I figured it was time to take him back to the stall. I quick bath and X was tucked in his stall with a couple flakes of hay, happily munching away.

So we waited out the afternoon rain and it did stop by the time we headed up to the ring for the evening session. Tom was first up with the Jack Benny class. And then just two classes later I had the Ladies Western Pleasure. And then at the end of the evening was the Open Western Pleasure. So Tom and I had a little friendly competition going on. Whoever did better in their class got to take him in the Open. As he was heading into the ring I tried to get some support for my cause from Tina and Judi. Not that either one of them needs encouragement to beat Tom. However, Tom had a great ride and won the class. Really put the pressure on me for my Ladies class. I get the number from him and hop up on Dalal. Since there was only one class before we went in, we just hung out near the in gate. And then it was time for our class. We headed into the ring at a really nice jog if I do say so myself. And it was a good class, 10 in the ring (biggest western class of the show I believe) and several nice horse and rider pairs. But Dalal and I had just had a great ride. And it paid off when they called our name as the winners! When I came out the ring after the class Tom made a big production out of taking off his chaps to show that I could go back for the Open. We just chilled in the warm-up until it was time to go back in, trying to keep Dalal's attention on showing and not thinking that he was done for the night. Unfortunately he was tired by that time. Not getting any real conditioning for show season and the mucky ring had definitely taken it's toll on him. But he jogged right in the ring when I asked him to. We were having a good ride until they asked for the lope in the first direction. And we proceeded to pick up the wrong lead three times before we finally got it right. And the judge missed the whole thing! I think he must have liked us and wanted to place us so he ignored it and purposely kept his back to us. I don't know how he couldn't have looked I had like 6 people on the rail calling "No, No! Still Wrong!" If I heard that I would be looking around to see what the problem was. I figured that we had blown the class, but I just kept riding. I was completely shocked when we were called as the winners! I couldn't believe it!

Sadly, Tom had to leave Canfield by noon so that he had time to get home and get ready for his flight back to Las Vegas that afternoon. And since the western pleasure championships were in the afternoon we didn't get to show in them. Which was kinda disappointing. I got to watch the Arabian Western Pleasure Championship while I was waiting for Bonnie to come pick me and X up. And it was kinda sad. Three horses in the class. Chuck and his bay stud were first, then Nikki and Armani were reserve and then Kelly and Lark in 3rd. We could have done very well in the class. But oh well.


South Farm CT

Monday, May 10, 2010

So home from Rolex and it's time for the Combined Test at South Farm. Wednesday night I headed out to the barn to clean tack. And then Friday after work I got a short jumping lesson on Kaye. Of course then Bonnie and I had to drive over to Tammy's to pick up the trailer, so by the time we did that and fed the horses, it was late when I finally got home. Saturday morning I picked Astrid up at 5:30 and we got to the barn to start feeding and get the ponies ready. Airy and Kaye both needed quick baths. Neither of them was terribly dirty but they both we're a bit dusty, and Kaye's tail was gross! So got them bathed and the trailer packed and we were on the road shortly after 8. Not too bad!

When we got to South Farm, Bonnie was the first to ride. So while she and Astrid got Airy ready I headed inside to pick up our packets. And then back over to the trailer to help Bonnie get on. Of course though Kaye wouldn't stand quietly on the trailer without Airy there so we had to take her over to the dressage ring with us. Airy was a complete snot in dressage, totally distracted by everything, including the Amish buggies. Of course when she actually settled down for the second canter the judge gave them lower scores than the first, bad canter, go figure! After Bonnie finished dressage we all headed back to the trailer. Airy to get a bit change and Astrid to start getting Kaye ready to ride.

Astrid headed into the dressage ring first for her Very Green test which was Intro B. She was having a pretty decent ride until she got to the free walk. And that's when she had a complete blond moment and forgot what she was doing. Unfortunately she was eliminated for it. Then it was time for Bonnie to do her stadium round. Airy was still way to fascinated by the Amish buggies so it was interesting to say the least.

Airy did have a double clear round even if she did make things difficult for Bonnie. And that was enough to keep them in 3rd place in the Training division.

Then it was time for Astrid to head back into the dressage ring for her Baby Beginner Novice test. Luckily she did much better that time and remembered her whole test. She had a pretty decent test overall, Bonnie and I were both really pleased with her. We quickly changed tack as she wanted to jump in Bonnie's saddle rather than mine. A quick warm up and they were ready to head into the stadium ring. A double clear round later and they finished 5th out of 7. Not too bad for Astrid's first show!

By the time Astrid finished her stadium course I only had about 10 minutes to switch tack and warm up before I was due in the dressage ring for my first ride. Luckily Kaye was already warmed up, it was just a matter of getting her listening to me and on the bit. Finally it was time to my Novice A test, and for pretty much the first time ever I rode into that dressage ring confident! It was actually pretty cool. I didn't think about the judge I just went in there and rode my test. Seriously it was the best test I have ever ridden in competition. And I got to bring home a pretty blue ribbon to show for my efforts.

A few minutes later I went back into the dressage ring to ride the Beginner Novice B test. Again we had a pretty decent ride. Not quite as good as the Novice A test, but still better than most other dressage tests I've ridden. Unfortunately the judge favored horses that were behind the vertical rather than one that was in a beginner novice appropriate frame and we didn't get a really great score. Oh well, I don't really care about the ribbon, I know I had a good ride.

Time now to put on Kaye's boots and running martingale and head over to stadium warm up. Had a good warm up. As usual my first fence was pretty ugly, but it quickly improved. Jumped maybe half a dozen warm up fences and we were ready. Unfortunately they weren't ready for us in the ring. So we waited, and waited and waited. Finally it was our turn to go into the ring. And Kaye was a ROCKSTAR! God I love that mare. She was just on. Jumped every fence exactly the same, we got our leads, she was listening to me. It was just awesome. And of course, we had a double clear round. Which ended up being enough to move us up to 8th out of 14. I'll take it.

Just cracks me up that we both had our eyes closed