EHSC Photo Overload

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guess what came in the mail yesterday.  The amazing pics Brant Gamma took of Buggers and I at EHSC!  Woot!  Here are some of my favorites.


July/August Goals Review

Monday, September 12, 2011

July/August Goals

  • Ride Twinkie
    •  Success!  I've gotten a couple of rides on Twinks lately and she is progressing so well.  Our last ride was fantastic, she was bending and moving off my legs.
  • Work on improving my own ability to ride Bugsy in Dressage
    • Success!  33.8 in dressage at EHSC HT says I'm improving.
  • Work on my own fitness
    • Not so much a success.  In fact, I didn't really do much on this on.  Fail.
  • Continue to work with Naughtie
    • Another fail.  Actually I don't think I've even been on Naughtie in the last two months.
  • Become more comfortable riding lots of horses
    • Success!  I've been riding Bugsy, Twinkie, Airy and actually I feel like I would be fine getting on any horse in the barn.  Even Cuddles. And I think Bonnie wants me to start riding Mystic a bit.  Of course not sure when I'll have time for that...

 September/October Goals

  • Continue to work with Twinkie
  • Begin schooling First Level dressage with Bugsy
  • Work on my own fitness
  • Start the "babies" under saddle


Erie Hunt and Saddle Club HT

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ok, finally getting around to blogging about my time at Erie Hunt and Saddle Club.  I had Friday before the event off.  So time to get Bugsy all squeaky clean and that last ride in.  Bonnie actually got on Bugsy and rode him first, so that was a nice treat.  I always enjoy riding after she's been on to tune things up.  Bugs got a thorough scrubbing as did my tack and he was tucked in for a good night's sleep.

Saturday morning I was at the barn e.a.r.l.y.  My ride time was at 9:12 but we had to feed and load up with enough time for me to get dressed and tacked up and plenty of warm up time at the show grounds.  Plus Bonnie wanted to work Bugs a bit before we left.  He goes better the second ride usually.  Made it to the barn in time to watch Bonnie ride, always educational.  The kids all slowly started arriving and we managed to get on the road only slightly behind schedule.  Pulled into the show grounds with about an hour till my ride time.  Perfect.  I got myself dressed while my superb grooming team took care of Bugsy for me.

Soon enough I was in the saddle and heading down to the dressage ring. Bugs warmed up great.  He was in the bridle just where we wanted him.  He was tracking up nicely.  All in all he looked exactly like a beginner  novice horse should.  We did our walk, trot and canter warm up, then just walked some small circles until it was our ride time.  As soon as Bugsy hit the dressage ring he suddenly remembered that he was a big bad intermediate horse.  And he went like an intermediate horse.  Oh well, he was a little more up in the bridle than we would have liked for beginner novice, but he was listening to me, and we rode a pretty good test.  So I figured we would either end up about mid pack or at the bottom of the division, depending on what the judge liked.  I practically had a heart attack when scores were posted and Bugsy and I were tied for 3rd!  I was shocked, I never expected to do that well.

I actually look like I know what I'm doing!

We had a couple of hours till it was time to jump, so Bugs was untacked and got to chill on the trailer with a hay bag, and we headed out to walk the cross country course.  It was a nice, straight forward course, actually the exact same course I jumped with Kaye 2 years prior.  Bonnie and I worked out how to ride the course, especially the water, and then we headed over to stadium.  Once again the stadium course was straight forward, no confusing turns or anything like that.

Before too much longer, the kids were tacking Bugs up again (in my snazzy new Ecogold pad) and we headed over to stadium warm up.  Bugsy warmed up great for me, although he was a little insulted by the small jumps.  We watched a couple of rounds and then it was our turn.  He was perfect in stadium, until the last fence.

As we were jumping the last fence we had a slight, uh, equipment malfunction.  My right stirrup slide off of the stirrup bar, and that threw me off balance just enough that I lost my other stirrup.  Well, then the banging stirrup spooked Bugs and he took off around the ring.  We did about 5 laps or so of the ring at a gallop before he jumped an oxer backwards and that's when I went off.   I just couldn't stick on anymore.  Luckily I was ok.  A lot sore, and a little shaken up, but ok.  Bugs stopped as soon as I went off and so the kids were able to grab him and take him back to the trailer.  Honestly at that point I wasn't sure I was up to finishing the show.  Luckily we had crossed the finish flags (several times) and so we were not penalized for the fall.  The kids took care of Bugs for me, hosed him off and then tacked him back up for cross country.  I got a drink, calmed down a bit, and manned up to get back on.

Warm up was a little rough.  Bugsy was being good, but I was still very nervous.  But the good news is even though I felt like I was going to be sick, I was staying with Bugs perfectly, even when he started leaving out strides before the fences.  Tammy coated my saddle in Saddle-Tite.  And then my support crew headed out to find a spot on course and I just had a few minutes left.  The starter called for my time, and we were off.

I was super nervous the first few fences.  And I kept Bugsy fairly slow.  And then after fence 3, my stupid pinny got caught around the whip I had under my saddle, so that slowed things up a bit.  We trotted the up bank at 4 and then down into the woods.  Then coming back up out of the woods Bugs picked up and easy canter, and suddenly I remembered how fun this was.  I rode my entire course in two-point, which actually Bugsy liked a lot better, sitting the canter/gallop on him is just asking for a little too much at this level.  He was such a good boy for me!  Even did the water like a champ!  The water was just an unflagged pass through for beginner novice, about 5 strides or so after a log.  Originally the plan was to go around the water rather than risk a stop, as we all know water is not Bugsy's favorite thing.  But after seeing the course Bonnie told me to take him through it, since it wasn't flagged, even if he did stop we wouldn't be penalized.  About 3 strides out from the log he saw the water and sucked back a little, but I growled at him and he said ok!  Jumped the log and then he did drop back to a trot before the water, but he trotted through with no hesitation and then picked up the canter again afterwards.  We finished the course with big smiles and 9 seconds under optimum time.

My support crew took Bugs for a well deserved shower, after he got lots of treats of course.  And I got a well deserved gatorade and a seat.  It wasn't too much longer till we heard the announcement that scores had been posted for my division.  If I was shocked to be tied for 3rd after dressage, just imagine my shock when I saw that I had won!  The first and second place horses had some problems in stadium and so I was tied for 1st after that.  Everyone else already knew it, and actually I'm glad Bonnie didn't tell me.  Would have made me a lot more nervous for cross country.  Both the other girl and I ran clean on cross country but I was closest to optimum time and so I won.  1st place out of 19 in the division, including some professionals, feels pretty darn good!


Goodbye Waldenbooks

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Feeling extremely nostalgic as the closing of my bookstore looms near on Monday.  Yes my bookstore.  I know, I know, it's been almost 4 years since I last worked there.  But the Beaver Valley Mall Waldenbooks will always be my bookstore.  Even now, I still find myself referring to it as Waldenbooks, and I think we did the conversion in 2005. 

I grew up in Waldenbooks.  I found an old kids club card that I had from like 1988 I think.  My parents always stressed reading to me, I grew up reading books, every book I could get my hands on.  When I got my first job in the mall, at Sears, I would spend my lunch breaks in the bookstore.  You'd find me sitting on the floor in the romance section finding at least 2 or 3 books to buy.  And two days later I would be right back there because I had already finished them.  I met some of my best friends in that bookstore:  Anne Shirley, Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, the Pevensie siblings, Nancy Drew, 4 Hobbits, the list could go on and on.  So much of my life was spent in that bookstore.

When I left my job at Sears and was looking for another one, I was thrilled when Cindy offered me a position at Waldenbooks.  It was my dream job.  Of course at times I think I gave my entire paycheck right back to the company, even after my discount!  I got to see all the books as they came in, I had a huge bookshelf to organize and stock.  I could order in the books that I wanted to sell.  In short, it was heaven for me.  Throughout college I worked at the store, coming home on weekends for some shifts and over the summer holidays.  I loved it.  And then after graduation, I was promoted to keyholder and then assistant manager.  Not only could I keep the job I loved but I was getting the management experience that I needed for my career.

Even after leaving my job at the store, I still spent a LOT of time there.  Working at the store for 6 years, I formed close relationships with all my coworkers.  It wasn't easy to not see them everyday.  So I would still stop in to say hi, usually on the weekends.  And I would usually end up staying for a while, even helping customers.  Not only was it my coworkers who I missed but also the customers.  As the only bookstore in Beaver County we had a lot of regulars.  There was the little old lady who came in every month to buy the christian serial romance novels, I think she was the only reason we kept getting those in stock.  There was the somewhat strange manga couple with the super adorable little baby.  I even missed Jerry, who was my very first experience with a persistent creeper.  That store was home for me. 

Monday night it will be closing it's doors for good.  I've known for a while that Borders was in trouble.  Discontinuing the Preferred Reader card and moving to the free Borders Rewards program, that was a bad move.  You're offering a discount without getting any kind of compensation in return.  Barnes and Noble charges $25 a year for their card and they are still going strong.  That wasn't the only problem.  The company went through several management changes and not one of them did much good.  And that was all felt at the store level.  It was sad to go into my store and see the shelves half empty because the individual store were not allowed to order the stock they knew would sell.  But even knowing how much trouble the company was in, I still held out hope that Borders would somehow ride above it and survive.  Then in July the final blow came.  It was official.  Borders was closing for good.  The stores were scheduled for liquidation, and then a piece of my history will be gone.  I won't lie, I cried when I first heard the news. 

Goodbye Waldenbooks, I know I for one will miss your presence in Beaver County.  At least I have some great memories.