Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tack for Sale

I have a few tack items for sale. Contact me regarding shipping. 

Beautiful, full sized, Bobby's English Tack bridle. Rich brown color, quality leather and in good condition. Comes with a lovely set of rubber reins. This bridle has been lightly used.

Saddle Pads:

1) Purple SmartPak dressage pad $15
2) Blue with navy binding, Waldhausen dressage pad. $15
3) Lavender saddle pad by Dover. This is a large dressage pad and is a little too big on my 14.1hh large pony. Used once. $15


1) Slight u shaped browband. Clear and teal crystals. 16 inches long. $25.00
2) Dark Jewel Design Browbands: one black, one brown, both are the cob size but fit more like a full size at 15 3/4 inches. Planning to sell them separately (Brown with three bead strands, Black with three bead strands). $50 each

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Professional Show Photos

I got the official photos back from the last show we did. Emi's beginning to look like a professional. I just love that pony!

Not the best ever photo of me but I love that Cindy's hand is in it, waiting to give me a high five when we came out of our training level test. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Show Season by the Numbers

With show season 2017 completed I thought it would be fun to look back at all of our tests for the year.

First up, the wonderful world of Intro A. I rode this test 4 times.

High Score: 72.5% (April 1st)
Low Score: 66.56% (March 19th)
Average: 68.75%

Highest movement score: 9 for her free walk.
Lowest movement score: Three 6's (free walk, medium walk, trot circle).

72.5% ride - we can all agree that was a very generous score. 

I rode Intro B 6 times.

High Score: 66.56% (October 28th)
Low Score: 53.438% (April 2nd)
Average: 62.031%

Highest movement score: 8 for a trot circle
Lowest movement scores: 2.5 for a medium walk and a free walk. Ouch!

Looking at the tests all together, I'm surprised the average for Intro A was so much higher than the average for Intro B. Even removing the low of 53% left Intro B with an average of 63.75. We did pretty consistently have one high score and one low score at each show. At the start of the season Emi was lacking enthusiasm for going back into the ring after her first test (clearly she already did her work). At the same time I was trying to figure out her warm up needs, do I stay on or get off if I have 45 minutes between tests etc. There's such a learning curve when starting out with a new horse.

What makes me the happiest is that this last show we finally put in two consistent tests, scoring 66% in both Intro B and Training 1. Although scores don't necessarily reflect it, Emi has improved so much since the start of the season...night and day difference. It's amazing how slow progress seems day in and day out but looking back over the season the development has been incredible.

My best girl

Monday, November 6, 2017

Let's Talk Braids

I've only shown at local level shows and have always braided my own horses. I generally consider myself fine at braiding, but I suck at Emi's mane. Really really badly.
I think this is 2 year old Emi, with very very big braids.
The last time I braided her was in the spring and I was not happy with how they turned out. Then I decided maybe I should just grow her mane out and then I could do a running braid. That lasted for a few months before I took the scissors to it and hacked it off. 

Growing out...

Not anymore
It has been quite the affair. It's super thick and she's not fond of the idea of it being pulled. I don't blame her, I'm not fond of it either. I've tried some of the rakes and combs that basically thin it by cutting but then I have all of these short hairs that make braiding difficult. Ultimately when I chopped it off I figured it would look a little rough on a daily basis but it would be more braidable if it were one length and fairly short. My theory held true! This last set of braids was by far the best job I've ever done on her. I really focused on doing thinner sections and I think I could even make them smaller. I'm so happy to finally feel like I'm on the right track with this and I look forward to getting better at braiding her mane.

Not perfect but heading in the right direction
Since her forelock is so thick and long I leave it down. I feel like it's becoming more popular to leave forelocks unbraided (not that that's why I don't braid hers) although I have always braided them.

The one and only time I braided her was bad!
Do any of you hire someone to braid for you? Do you enjoy braiding? What's kind of mane issues do you find the hardest to deal with when you braid? What do you think about leaving their forelock unbraided? 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TAAH Blog Hop: My First Horse

To answer Cathryn's question regarding my first horse, I'll start with a little back story. My mom always wanted a horse when she was growing up, but my grandpa was in the Air Force and they moved a lot. When I started asking for a pony my mom really wanted me to have one. My dad grew up on a farm and did "ride and ties" with a friend when he was in high school and we lived on 30 acres at the time so we had plenty of space to keep a horse. 

We searched for months and saw a lot of not nice ponies. During that time my parents decided I better start taking riding lessons so we found a barn nearby for me to take lessons at. One day my dad decided to call the next door neighbors to inquire about the pony that was out in their field. She was a 20 year old POA mare named January that their kids had used for 4-H. Their kids were were grown and gone by that point and so they agreed to sell her to us for $600. They actually allowed use to try her for 3 months. We paid $100 per month to lease her, with that money going towards her purchase price if we kept her. Pretty sweet deal! My parents asked all of us kids on a scale of one to ten how interested we were in the horse. I (of course) was a 10, and my brothers were less than that (maybe 8 and 6). I paid $100 towards the pony and the boys paid $80 and $60.

When we got her I wasn't able to saddle her with out help, so I spent lots of time riding her bareback around our 30 acre farm. Our other neighbors (not the ones we bought her from) had 60 acres next door and they also allowed me to ride on their trails. I would ride over to their house and let them know I was going to be riding on their trails.  She was a wonderful pony. I ended up "outgrowing her" and we sold her. We should have kept her until she died but at the time that was even on our radar. She was really the perfect pony. 

This photo was taken of me sitting outside our neighbors house when I stopped to tell them I was riding on their trails
This is one of my favorite photos
To this day my younger brother tells me that all of my horses are POA's. He says it stands for Prisoner of Alanna.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

TRC Spooktacular Show Recap

Saturday's weather was perfect, making it a wonderful day for the last show of the season.  We rode at 11:15am and 1 pm, which were very civilized times for riding intro B and training 1. I got up fairly early to finish getting things ready and Emi and I hit the road a few minutes after 9. We arrived at the show venue around 10:15, so we had about an hour before our first class. I checked in, unloaded Emi, and got her tacked up.

Side note: She's hauling super well again. Actually, probably the best she's ever hauled. I think the combination of no Roz screaming for her as I load her, plus a few long trips to see JW have helped her settle back in to the hauling routine. She's loading reliable, being really quiet in the trailer, and is not sweating. Woohoo!

She warmed up fine, not remarkable but not bad either. While we were riding, a friend asked if Emi would mind if she cantered behind us....nope. Then a lady came into warm up asking if I minded if she lunged...nope. Her horse was being a little crazy but Emi didn't care. She got the usual comments regarding her tail and questions on her breeding. Before I knew it we were heading into the show ring. We got less than a lap around before they rang the bell. The test was alright. I've found that Emi is often really backed off in a new arena. She's not spooky per se but she likes to have a chance to look and take things in. That's all fine and dandy when you are out and about but not so great when you have a test to do. The overall theme of the test was backed off. Hesitant might be a good way to describe it. There were no huge issues but it wasn't what we are capable of either. 

Warming up
We came out of that test and all I was thinking was that training 1 was going to be a disaster if I didn't get her engine going. Since we had some time I put her in her stall for a while, before going to pick up my score sheet. We received a 66.56% and second place. We got 7's with one 5 (for inconsistent stretch in her free walk) and a 7.5 for a trot circle. The collective marks hurt us a bit with 6's for impulsion (desire to move forward) and submission (steady contact). Gaits and my position were 7 and effectiveness and geometry were both 6.5. Final remarks were "Very attractive and capable pair. Try to ride your horse more from back to front as it appears as if your horse is not always in front of your legs." Story of a lazy pony's life. Haha. 

Last intro test of Emi's career
A lunch break was part of the time in between my rides. They had two freestyle demos and a costume class but I was hoping sneak some time in the show arena before my next test. After the freestyles finished there were about 10 minutes before the costume class. I took Emi in and let her walk around on a loose rein for a couple laps, taking it all in. Once I picked up the reins she needed to go to work. I tried to ride her like Jessica. I got after her a few times but quickly felt like I had a revved up pony. We schooled both canter transitions and I felt much better about the potential of our test. As I was riding her around, someone gave me a heads up that some of the dressed up horses were coming in. Emi could not have cared less about the group of horses that were dressed up. She didn't even notice them.
Pretty pony
Once we got kicked out of the show ring, I walked Emi around the warm up on a loose rein until it was our turn. We again got less than a lap around the ring before they rang the bell. Thankfully she picked up right where we left off and our test rode well. It wasn't with out some trouble spots but I felt like I had more horse and I rode her better. I left the arena really happy with the test. It was an accurate representation of where we are at in her training and what is reasonable to expect in the show ring. Regardless of her score I felt successful. 

Photo booth fun
When I picked up my score sheet we received a 66.09% and first place. Our first canter transition was a little bit rough so we earned a 5 there, but otherwise had mostly 6.5's and 7's. Most notable were the coefficients with a 7 on her free walk and a 7.5 on one trot circle (the other trot circle was a 6.5). Collective marks had a 7 for gaits, 6.5 for impulsion (desire to move forward, again), 6 for submission, 7 for rider position and a 6.5 for effectiveness. Finals remarks: "A fairly steady test. Connection not always steady but improves in second half of test. Try to develop a bit more forward."

She's a winner
It was a great note to end the season on and I'm glad we tried out training level as she's definitely ready. Now it's time to keep working and hopefully come out with a solid training level horse in the spring. 

Such a good pony

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Training Level Debut

Emi and I had a fabulous ride tonight. Since our last lesson with JW, the focus on keeping her off my right aids is paying off and I can feel how it's helping many aspects of our work. It's made a huge difference in our left canter, to no longer have her falling out the right side. The canter transitions themselves were prompt tonight. They are not yet connected (most of the time) but I have a feeling we are close to that point too. We had several really nice down transitions from canter to trot and I also focused on trot to the medium walk and then free walk.  There's nothing like an upcoming show to get my on top of all the little details!

The best view on a beautiful fall day
Along with our training level debut we are going to have our last hurrah at intro B. It's my goal to lay down a really solid intro B and then score 60% or above at Training 1. The first goal is super doable and the second one is too. The canter may be hit or miss in the show setting but we are so close to having a firm grasp on it. The progress over the past 4 months or so has been really tremendous.
The weather is supposed to be nice so now I just need to get well as I appear to be coming down with another cold (right on top of the last one). Ugh!