Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Costume Class ideas.......keep sending them!

OK so Now That's a Trot sent me a photo to give me inspiration for a costume....

My goodness, if ANYONE has any idea how I can create that.....I am all for it. HOW FUNNY would THAT be in a costume class at a DRESSAGE show? And I am an adult of 29 years of age....not a child with a pony! ROFLMAO! Can you just see the dressage queens' faces??????? I love it!

The only ideas I could come up with on my own so far have been......

  • Dress up as a witch, dress Dreamy up as a "black cat" and C up as a pumpkin. C rides Dreamy in his adorable tiny western saddle and I lead her.
  • Dress Dreamy as a farmer and me as a cow......now I have no idea where to find HUGE overalls and then get them to stay on her front legs/chest....and where would I get a cow costume???? But that would be funny as all get out.
  • Dress as Zorro and Dreamy is....my gorgeous black steed. Does Zorro's horse have a name?

I need help. :D

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Costume Class Anyone?

So we only have three events left this year......and a lesson scheduled for a SATURDAY so I will not be stressed trying to get to a lesson during the week with my job and all.

Sept. 28 - The STB Nationals...in New Jersey!!!!!!!
October 4- Lesson with Judy - LONG overdue!
October 12 - Marshaling at Scarborough Downs for the Stakes Finals
October 19 - Last SMDA show....it is a ride-re-ride with Keith Angstadt.

I am beside myself with excitement over going to Jersey for the National Show! :)

And the Ride-Re-Ride should be fun. I entered Training 1 and 2, just for the heck of it. I wanted to be safe and do Intro B......but I KNOW we can do that. I rather have more opportunity to try the canter....and doing it this year will lessen the anxiety over doing it next spring. Judy keeps saying....First Level.....but THAT really stresses me out. LOL!

So, the Ride-Re-Ride also has a Halloween Costume Class. I have not done a costume class since I was 12 years old. I simply couldn't resist. ROFLMAO! I will probably be the only adult, but hey I am a kid at heart, right?

So now I am signed up for the class and I have no idea what the heck I am going to dress me and the Dream Girl up in! LOL! I need help oh loyal readers! Think Halloween! Think outstanding! :) I wanna WIN man!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dressage Clinic 9/20/08

WOW, we had the BEST EVER ride today at our dressage clinic at my instructor Judy's farm. I was super excited to get to ride with Susanne Hamilton and she did not let me down. While the money I have spent on lessons this year with Judy has been money VERY well spent, I am SO glad I coughed up the big bucks to ride with Susanne today. The changes in my horse were un-frickin-believable. Yes, I know that is not good grammar, but holy cow, you have no idea.

Dreamy was AWESOME. First thing Susanne says is "OH I remember this mare from the show.....whoever trained her has done a fabulous job!" So I grinned and said, "Well thank you." ROFL! ;-) So anyway, when she asked what I wanted to work on I told her the connection to the bit and her canter. Often the connection to the bit is not 100% steady and then Dreamy does a hoppy skippy thing at the trot...almost like she wants to canter.

We warmed up fine and then she asked for the canter. Of course, Dreamy throws her head in the air and hollows out when asked to canter.....plus we were going to the right which is her weaker side. Susanne was asking me to hold my hands VERY low, almost on my thighs, and it was so difficult for me to do. I just want to throw away the reins and concentrate on maintaining the canter...never mind anything else! LOL!

So long story short, I was having difficulties doing what Susanne asked, so she asked me if she could get on Dreamy. I was like "UMMM, YEAH, OF COURSE!" I told her she was the only other person besides me to have ridden her. :) Well C has ridden her on little short leadline rides around the yard, but that does not count.

Well, let's just say Dreamy and Susanne had a bit of a discussion for a few moments, and Susanne realized that what she was asking me to do was indeed harder than she thought watching me from the ground. That made me feel a little better! :) She told Judy (who was watching) that SHE needed to ride Dreamy in order to really help me too. (I am contemplating actually sending Dreamy to Judy for a month next spring.....we shall see if I can AFFORD it first of all....and it depends on Sparky too).

Anyway, Susanne said that I made it look easy....and that while Dreamy is very round and on the bit, there are times when she is totally not "in the bridle" accepting the bit (and making that steady connection) BUT I am good at faking it. LOL! She pegged me pretty quick. Every time I asked for steady contact, and Dreamy actually made contact with the bit FOR REAL, she would fuss with her head and/or she would do the hoppy skippy thing. AH HA!!!!!!!!!!! Light bulb for me. Therefore to compensate, I am relinquishing that contact just a tiny bit to keep Dreamy happy (even though it is not correct) but I am able to "fool" a judge or onlooker into thinking that she IS really coming through and making contact. That might not make sense.....but anyway.....what I am doing is allowing my horse to avoid true contact.....which makes it impossible for me to achieve a real connection to the bit.

SO.......all of a sudden, you could see the light bulb go off. Dreamy went "OH, you want me to do THIS?" And she came through over her back, took the bit in a TRUE steady connection, and transformed into this amazing dressage horse. It was as though I needed someone who knows more than me to make that breakthrough with Dreamy. I mean, Susanne was MUCH tougher and demanding than I usually am. Not that she was rough or harsh, but she was tougher than I am. I am like...."Oh you don't want to accept the bit? Well that's OK Dreamy, I can make it LOOK like you are.....and then you will be happy." Dreamy has me trained. But ultimately by doing that I was not able to move her training up to the next level. And while Judy's lessons have been absolutely and completely INVALUABLE to me, without Judy knowing exactly what Dreamy was doing.....we were not going to overcome this hurdle. AND even if Judy has been telling me exactly what Susanne did today, I needed to SEE it (I am a visual learner after all)and Dreamy needed a rider who knows what the heck she is doing to ask her properly.

I could have cried watching my mare work like that. For a horse that should NOT be able to do dressage and a horse that nobody wanted anymore, it was just so amazing to see her today. Plus I have never seen anyone ride her, so it was cool to see her move under saddle. Then Susanne cantered her and HOLY CRAP that mare has a NICE canter when she uses herself properly! The elusive steady contact canter......where she is NOT hollowing her back. I was dying to get back on.

I remounted a different horse. Suddenly I had a HORSE in front of my leg and she was THERE in my hands. Her trot was transformed into this smooth-as-glass trot. I could actually sit the trot without bouncing around......I have always said her trot was jarring. NOPE it absolutely is not....when you RIDE her CORRECTLY! Imagine that! :)

So in the end, it was the best $120 I have ever spent in my life. And the best 60 minutes I have ever had on a horse (well minus the 10 that Susanne rode). I did not take a lesson with Judy all month to be able to afford this! LOL! There is no way we would have made this breakthrough without this clinic lesson today. Well OK we would have made it eventually, but let's face it, Dreamy is NOT getting any younger.

And the best part? Susanne was very positive about Dreamy and her ability. You gotta love a Grand Prix rider that is positive about a Standardbred doing dressage. She admitted that the right lead canter needs A LOT of work. (I never realized that Dreamy canters in front but slips into the pace behind every few strides while cantering to the right). She said that this MIGHT just be the best canter we ever get, meaning this is the limit of her potential....and then in the next breath she says, "But I don't think so." She said she felt very strongly that Dreamy will be able to canter beautifully, but I have to be willing to be patient and keep working her. She also recommended that she or Judy ride her too in order to help solidify the connection and the canter. Basically the connection to the bit will improve the canter....and I do think that it took someone who knows more than me to move us up in our training. This past May I felt like I had hit a plateau and Judy's instruction in my lessons broke that. Then I have been feeling in the past month that we have hit another plateau and Susanne helped break that. :) :) :)

God, I love this horse.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hilltop Horse Trials results 9/14/08 aka My Fabulous Standardbred Event Horse

Dreamy is simply a rockstar.



There is truly no other way to put it. We had a blast on Sept. 14, 2009 at the Hilltop Horse Trials in Somersworth, NH. Granted it poured during dressage and cross country and we all sat in the trailer the entire time.....Dreamy in the back box stall munching hay and S, C, and I in the front box stall. But despite the rain we had a good time.

After winning our event in July at Green Acres going Pre-Elementary, I knew it was time to move up. Some events call the next step up Elementary and some call it Modified Beginner Novice. Basically it is exactly the same as Beginner Novice, except the jumps are a few inches shorter.

So we moved up a level and WON our division. :) Granted there were only 3 riders in our division of Senior Modified Beginner Novice, but still we won and that makes it so exciting! We scored a 44.2 on our dressage test and went clean both XC and stadium.

Dressage was good....again all 5s, 6s, and 7s. We did Beginner Novice Test A. But we had a bobble in our first canter to the left. First she started cross cantering and did a small buck. I don't mind this since usually in the past we have had to come back to the trot to fix a counter canter. The buck tells me she has more strength in her hind end! YAY! But a buck is a buck regardless. Then a stride after the buck she stumbled. Whoops! So we ended up with a 5 for that canter. It was not exactly smooth. But our right lead canter was a 6! YAY! PROGRESS!

Cross Country had me worried because of the rain and potentially slippery footing. When I walked the course of 14 jumps I was very concerned about a few spots. There were not timing XC because of the footing, so that made me relax. I took a few longer routes because the footing was better. I knew that there was no way I could canter her where I wanted to because of the footing. This course has a great area for cantering, but it was muddy. So instead we opted to do our big racehorse extended trot and actually at one spot we walked for a few strides. It was just not worth slipping and falling. Dreamy did not look at anything funny at all. There was one huge log that was painted white that she did look at and then popped it, but otherwise she was bold and forward.

It actually stopped raining just as I was mounting for stadium jumping. As soon as I was over the first fence, one of the farm dogs came into the ring. I should have stopped and asked to start over. But I yelled "THERE IS A DOG ON COURSE" and figured someone could get him out of the ring before I got to that spot (fence 4). Well someone did call to him and he ended up walking right into my path!!!!!!!! So there was a tight bending line from fence 5 to 6 and I was so rattled over the dog that I almost missed fence 6. It was the biggest fence of course and an oxer to boot! :( I ended up realizing it about a stride and a half out, so I said SHIT! (really loudly of course!) and did my best to get over it. I literally stuck Dreamy at an angle to the fence and I'll be damned it the mare didn't even blink twice but just did it. It was probably 2.5 feet, but she just came under herself and pushed and did not even question jumping it at an angle. That was complete rider error and I am very lucky to have a forgiving horse. She totally bailed me out of that one! I was so proud of her! The rest of the course went fine. I apologized to the judge for swearing, but I think she was younger than me and it did not even faze her.

So anyway, it certainly was a good show. It helps to have a good racehorse who is a mudder to boot! LOL! She tore around those jump courses like nothing. I am so proud of her and love how many compliments we got! Each person was amazed she was a STB. Of course it is also neat that Maryanne who owns/runs the farm is involved with racing and actually has 2 STBs in the riding program. She congratulated me and thought Dreamy looked good.

Here is one other pic of us at the end. Because of the pouring rain I did not get any other pics or video. Too bad, but oh well. Next time! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SMDA results 9/7/08

Dreamy was a rockstar at SMDA.....albeit a bit tired from her marshaling duties the day before. I won't do two events back to back again. I always forget that Dreamy really is getting "older" at age 17 this year. My other mare is 26, so I inadvertently call Dreamy my "young" horse.

Anyway, despite being tired, Dreamy was great. I limited our warm up to not over stress her. I do think she was a bit stiff behind. I was bummed about that (because I had allowed it to happen....and as I said won't happen again) but she was fine. She had both Monday and Tuesday off to recuperate.

We placed second in Intro B with a 66.500% (out of 4 riders). Then we placed 3rd in Training 1 with a 59.100% (out of 5 riders). YAY! I was so pleased with our progress at Training 1 this year. We have gone from a 53.something% up through to the 59.1%. Almost a 60%!!!! All 7s and 6s, with just two 5s. Nothing less than the two 5s! :)

Waiting for pics from the photographer....she told me that she was impressed with Dreamy's progress, especially at the canter. The last time she saw her was in May 2008.

We have six events left this year.....
  • Sept. 14 - Horse trial at Modified Beginner Novice (with a WTC dressage test.....Beginner Novice A)
  • Sept. 20 - A clinic with Susanne Hamilton at my instructor's farm
  • Sept. 28 - The STB Nationals...in New Jersey!!!!!!!
  • October 5 - Another horse trial at Modified Beginner Novice (maybe)
  • October 12 - Marshaling at Scarborough Downs
  • October 19 - Last SMDA fun show....it is a ride-re-ride with Keith Angstadt.

Cornish Horsemen's Day 9/6/08

So......it has been awhile since I have posted. I have been waaay too busy with school.

We marshaled the race card last weekend here in Cornish (my hometown) for the 10th annual Horseman's Day at the Trotting Park. It was a fun day as usual and was the third time I have marshaled races in Cornish. It rained from 7:30-9:00 AM, but then cleared out. I bathed Dreamy at 10AM and we were headed out by 11AM. Only 3 miles to the track. :)

We marshaled the 8 races and did an informal meet and greet along the fence at the end. I did some nice canter work in the infield and Dreamy was fantastic. We even marshaled one of the races at the canter! YAY! Usually we trot out in front of the post parade, but after our nice canters I decided to canter out. Seeing as I marshaled FIVE of the races on my own, I was able to make decisions like that without worrying about upsetting someone else.

Not sure that I will do this again though.....it is always the Saturday before the last SMDA show. Now, if I am not competing in SMDA next year then I will do it. But honestly I rather show. And unless more folks decide to volunteer next year, doing marshaling alone for the majority of the day is not as fun/social for me.

Ed the photographer did not get ANY pics of me. WHAT?????? I teased him and said the next time I am at Scarborough Downs (which will be early October) he BETTER get pics of us! LOL! ;-)