Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Canada Day!!

photo cred from Global National
  It's a holiday here in Canada to celebrate our nations birthday! 

  I will be out at the novice event at Canterdown with Archie, what a perfect way to spend the day off!

Some token Canadian things to do today;

  • Say "eh" a lot.
  • Eat pancakes with real maple syrup.
  • Wear some flannel with a flapper hat.
  • Watch "Strange Brew".
  • Make friends with a beaver ;)
  • Bitch about the Leafs.
  • Pretend to be Red Green and fix things with duct tape.
  Last and not least, stand tall and be proud to be Canadian.

Happy Canada Day everyone!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dreams Really Do Come True

 I have waited a long time for the day I could take Archie eventing.  This weekend was the culmination of a 4 year road of patience, hard work, and perseverance.  There were days, weeks, months even when I didn't think it would be possible.  Thankfully, I have very supportive friends and family who encouraged me to never give up.  I am so thankful for their constant support.

  We left late Sunday morning as my dressage time was not until 1:50 in the afternoon.  Archie trailered really well and pretty relaxed while I tacked him up and gave him the finishing touches.  When we arrived over in the dressage area he began to get very stressed out.  The dressage rings were sectioned off from a different area from the jumping but you could hear the horses, the cross country, and the people clapping and cheering.  This fired him up quite a bit as he wanted to know just what all the commotion was!  

  I tried to be relaxed and get the most of him for the dressage in this state but our test was still tense.  Archie was a very good boy and although it seemed like he wanted to jump out of skin, he stayed very obedient.  I was really happy with him, sort of disappointed in my riding as I got stiff, took my leg off, and didn't help him much.  At least after seeing the video I can see exactly how I was riding and where to improve.  Our score was pretty horrific, and I'm not just saying this but the judging was a bit wonky for everyone (not just me, everyone scores were in the low to high 60's, I scored a 70 I think, I'm not %100 sure because they didn't write it on my test and the judge never signed her name or put any comments in the remarks section.  She marked me down for being behind the vertical, head bent to the inside, and tense on almost every single movement.  Tension is supposed to be marked down in the collective marks, not on the movements.  I don't really see him behind the vertical or his head bent in, and some other people have watched the video and can't understand the marking either.  I mean this happens, it's just a bit disappointing when you are showing the lowest possible level.  Marks are supposed to be for quality of transitions, accuracy, shape circles and straightness....there were no comments on these things.  I thought Archie deserved a better score, he tried so hard.

Over the jump....just the take - off

  We did stadium next and had about a 2 and a half hour break between.  This was a good time to allow Archie to unwind from his anxious dressage test.  The stadium course was very inviting.  The jumps were pretty tiny and there was lots of room in between the fences.  Archie got a bit nervous and tense again in the warm up but after about 15 minutes he all of a sudden chilled right out and stood quietly beside the ring and watched the rounds.  He was very good into the ring.  There was quite a big crowd compared to normal at this event and the cross country runs behind the stadium ring.  He was pretty wide eyed as he went into the ring.  

Making some nice effort :)
All photos of stadium courtesy of Cat Hunter

 I tried to remember every thing I could to get a good canter going, but we had a crap ride to the first fence and had it down.  We sorted ourselves out and jumped a nice rest of the round.  The jumps were so tiny I think they may have been a bit *too* tiny for him lol.  The pictures kind of make me laugh, he's taking off and he's already completely over the fence.  Ya know what though?  It was a totally great confidence boost for him and that is EXACTLY what he needs.  I was ecstatic with the round.  There is always a bit of fear in me that he will revert back to the balking and napping but he didn't and was a superstar.

With super groom mom Lady Z

  I pretty much had just enough time to go back to the trailer, change clothes, and head back to the warm up area and head off to cross country.  We set off and the course rode fabulously!  Archie was in his element, he ate up the course and seemed to take to it naturally.  We had a clear round and a great finish! We ended up in 6th place overall.  Not bad considering 2 months ago I was really wondering if I should give up on this horse, if there would ever be hope.  Sadly, the organizers lost the ribbons for our division so I didn't get to take one home! (Hopefully they'll mail it :))  

 The recap from Touch A Rainbow: 

  I am so proud of Archie.  He has come so far, we have grown into such a team.  I am so thankful to have him teaching me how to become a better rider, and have his utmost willingness to keep trying.  I realize now when something doesn't work with him, it's because I'm doing something wrong.  It's not him.  He is making me the best rider I can be, and the better I become, the better he will become too.

  Our next event is Canada Day, this Friday.  I am soooo excited.  I am finally in a place with my life where I can be eventing, and now I get to do it on the horse I love more than anything.

Celebrating with a Blue Light!  Canadian Style!
A happy horse..happy me.  Horrible fashion mixture lol.
Being tall. 
What a super horse :)

Wordless Wednesday

Schaefer, my old Catahoula who taught me love and patience can heal any animal :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ace Debuts in the Hunter Ring - She's a Natural....

  Saturday brought another Hastings County Horse Club show.  My mom asked me if I wanted to take her mare in the cross rail class last week.  She hasn't done a whole lot of jumping, just a little bit here and there over the last few years whenever we would get the inkling, and nothing more than a cross rail or two.  She is a strictly dressage ridden mare, however, with her recent incessant need to spook at anything and everything, my mom has been very brave and has been trying to take her out and do more with her in a hopes to "desensitize" her.

  I rode her a couple of days last week over some small cross rails and she seemed to be really enjoying it so I went ahead and entered her in the show.  I signed her up for the 2 cross rail classes that were offered.  They are literally the tiniest little cross rails ever, but it's a great show to introduce a green horse to something different.  We packed the trailer Friday night and were up at 5 am Saturday morning to head to the show!

  Luckily, it's only about a 15 minute drive from my parents farm.  I wanted to get there early to have some time to school in the warm up.  The warm up ring was nothing short of insanity!  What a great schooling opportunity though!  Ace was getting horses run up every which way of her....there were horses being unloaded, horses being lunged, horses running away with people, horses everywhere!   It was a lot for her to take in at first but she was a good girl and went straight to work when I asked her.  We had a few scoots when some horses ran up behind her but I worked her through it fine.  This was a good school for her!

 Our course was very simple and tiny.  Ace went in the ring and laid it down like a born natural.  She held a great rhythm, had good distances, and was honest and straight.  The only thing we missed were some leads.  She doesn't have changes yet so I didn't push her for that.  I just wanted a nice, steady, positive round, and she delivered.  We ended up second out of about 15 in both of her classes.  She was such a super pony!  My mom rode her tonight and said she was very good, no spooking, nice and forward and not hanging on the left rein as per usual.  We are going to do a bit more jumping with her as it seems to be helping her develop a bit more in ways she isn't getting from strict dressage work.

Enough of the hunter stuff!! Onto the eventing!

  After the show I headed out to walk the cross country course for Archie's first event.  The organizers didn't have the course maps ready yet so we just had to find our way around.  Luckily, we were only going pre-entry so the course was pretty short and easy to navigate.  I took pictures of the course to help with visualization and just for my own reference :)

The Start Box...whoo hoo! 
Before #2 the lane way.

Jesse clears #2 with ease, good thing he didn't have a rotational fall with those hands in the pockets!

Getting a little bigger 
The biggest fence, double wide.  Still inviting.
Super Mario clear over #4.
The Serpent

Lots of colour!

  Pretty straightforward and tiny.  I wasn't worried about the cross country too much as it has always been my strongest phase and I think Archie matches me in that instance.  We got stuck on the highway for a few hours on the way home due to a severe accident.  I didn't get home in time to have a school before the event the next day, but there was plenty of time for beer and trailer packing!  My dressage time wasn't until 1:50 in the afternoon which I meant I didn't have to get up at some ungodly hour to hit the road...bonus!

  I will share Archie's first event story tomorrow, complete with photos and video :)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


The boys in the bright black sports car

Love Wordless Wednesday because you get to post pictures of your pets? Well it is now 100 times better! Each week BlogPaws is going to create a link up for the community for you to add a link directly to your Wordless Wednesday Post. That way we can all share and enjoy each others pets.

The rules are super simple:

Show us your pets!

Leave a link directly to your Wordless Wednesday Post
Visit other blogs and say hello (don't forget! This is the part that is the most fun!)
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Share the link up with your readers so they can join the community and link up as well.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As Promised

   Some video action from Archies jumper classes this weekend.  Jesse has told me to stop with the reverse action,  I just love it so much though.  I guess I will put it by the way side for a bit.  We did hay last night and my insomnia crept up on me after, so pretty tired tonight.  A side note; my mom is doing the taping, and she is kind of electronically challenged.  She tries her hardest, so excuse the not so steady hand.  She is learning, with a more user friendly camera, the quality will get better! 

Spontaneous Sundays' Jumper Show

  My friend Dana and I were talking over good ol' BBM this week, trying to organize a day to go cross country schooling before the planned event this weekend.  With all the rain we had this spring, no facilities are open for schooling.  I built a few cross country fences so far this year but there are only a handful.  Then I remembered there are some farms in the area doing a short course event series, where you do a dressage test, and a combined stadium and cross country round.  Dana contacted one of the farms and it just so turned out they were having one on Sunday.  They are catered towards people entering the eventing world in our area with friendly divisions of 18, 2'0", and 2'6".  We post entered that day.  What a perfect outing the weekend before both of our first events (ever) on our horses.  Local, and low key, with a bit of each phase.  I thought it would be a good prep and second show for Archie.

  Thursday and Friday night I had a really great school.  Our friend Chris came over and brought her baby that she is currently showing training level dressage.  Chris and I evented together for years and she is thinking about taking her mare to the local low key hunter show series which I did last weekend (cross rails).  She brought her mare to introduce her to some new and different jumps.  We had a great schooling and with the all the sun we had last week we are able to sneak out and jump my new cross country jumps!  Most are under 2'9" but perfect for schooling babies and greenies.  I had such a great ride, Archie was jumping really well and it seems for now the balking and issues have been worked through.

  After having such a great ride Friday and I was psyched for our show on Sunday.  I attended (groom/slave) my moms dressage lesson on Saturday morning, then went home to ride, bathe, braid, and prep for our outing on Sunday.  I messaged Dana to see how things were coming along at her place...then I got the message.  "Call me, I have bad news".   I called her right away and her husband answered.   Dana got bucked off coming back from her hack, and hit the ground pretty hard.  She had a concussion and some major bruising on her back, but overall she is O.K. and will be fine.  She doesn't remember what happened, but is obviously very upset about the incident, and more so that her doctor told her to stay out of the saddle for a few weeks (is she nuts?).

Roo (Mom's Coachs Aussi)

  I really wasn't that upset about scratching from the show, I was more worried about Dana and hoping she wouldn't be feeling discouraged.  Her texts the next day would convince me otherwise, and she is not giving up so easy.   My mom told me she heard there was a hunter/jumper show on Sunday not far from our house, just a schooling show that I could probably enter that day.  I looked up the series online and sure enough there was.  There was a low jumper division with 2'3", 2'6", and 2'9" I could enter.  I decided I would drive over in the morning before my moms lesson and see if I could post enter.  I did just that and they let me in no problem.  Alright, we were going to do some jumper classes!  A good schooling option before our first event.  This would be Archies' second show, and first real course over anything other than cross rails (except at home where we have natural poles and standards lol).  I won't lie, I was kind of nervous.
Ace and mum in her lesson (see bicycle jump behind :))

  I was even more nervous when we arrived at the show grounds Sunday afternoon and saw the course.  This was supposed to be a schooling show but it was probably the scariest 2'3" course I have ever seen.  There were hay bales, coops, gates, walls, blocks, not to mention; bending lines, in and outs, and roll backs.  The fences were maxed out.  I know my horse can jump, but was he confident enough for all THIS?  There was no turning back.  I paid the entry fee, I trailered all the way there, and I squeezed into my white full seat breeches to the point where I couldn't feel my legs.  We are going in the ring, and we are going to get around, and have fun while we are it damn it!

  I can't really explain what happened after that.  My horse went into the ring, I saluted the judge, established a good canter (nice and in front of my leg), and proceeded to be a mere jockey on a horse who seemed to take me over each and every fence, and around every turn, bending line, and combination like he had been doing it his whole life.  I enjoyed every stride.  Every approach, every landing, and especially, every jump.  We had a clear round.  I left the ring and looked at my mom, "who is this horse?!?!!" "Amazing!", she said.  Good boy Archie!  It was a really happy, gratifying moment in my riding career.  This horse is finally, ready to go eventing.  The class was judged on optimum time, (which was not given..why I don't know?  As an eventer I find it easier to reach the optimum time when I know what speed is expected lol) and we placed 4th out of about 10 riders.  Mostly people who show on the circuit regularly. Whoo hoo!! We weren't going for ribbons but man, was I stoked!

  Our second class was the 2'6" Table A with a jump off.  Archie jumped another brilliant clear round and we did our immediate jump off.  Normally, the more jumping we do, the more go-y Archie gets and this is sometimes when he starts to suck back and just stop moving entirely.   I was a bit worried but just told myself to sit quiet, keep my leg supportive, my hands low and steady and he will be great.  We jumped another beautiful clear round, enough to place us third in the class!  What a success!  What a relief at the same time.  I am so proud of my horse.  He really tried his heart out and showed what an honest, brave guy he really is.  He just needed someone to take the time to figure him out, and sort themselves out too.  We are finally working as a team.  It has taken me 4 years of building foundations to get to this point, and I am so happy we have finally made it.  I knew taking the long correct road would be worth it in the end, and now it seems I have a brilliant, rideable horse who is happy and enjoying his job.  

  The countdown has begun, only 6 days until Archies' eventing debut.  4 long years to get here.  I think we are finally ready.

 Videos from the show to come!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop

 I hope everyone is going to have a fabulous weekend with their animals.  The weather here is set to be fantastic!  Thanks for stopping by!

Its another edition of Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop brought to you by Two Little Cavaliers, Life with Dogs, and Confessions of the Plume! Welcome to all of you joining us for the first time we are so excited to have you and welcome back to our regular Hoppers.

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