Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NaBloPoMo 2012

I completed NaBloPoMo 2011 and have wanted to do it again.  (What is NaBloPoMo you ask?)  The only problem is that 1. I have not been able to find a cool list of prompts like I did last year and 2. I am so crazy and stressed with work and life right now that I have no idea when or how I will find time to write.  I currently have three backlogged blog posts to write and no time to write them!  Ahhh!  

So, I think I am going to try to do this photo challenge list.  Ignore the August 2011.  (I find it funny that August has 31 days, not 30, but I digress).  I have no idea where this is from, but thank you to that person.  This gives me the option to just post a pic or to write something a bit more in-depth.   

Sunday, October 21, 2012

3 YO Maine Sire Stakes Finals

We were back at the Downs on October 14, 2012 for the 3 Year Old Maine Sire Stakes Finals.  We had another great day like back in September for the 2YO Finals.  It was a little colder and a little wetter, but still a lovely fall day.  I did not get as many photos of us as I did back in September.  I had bought a CD of Snappy and me racing under saddle the day before and Derek, the track photographer, added in pics from the 2YO Finals for me too!  Ah well.  I think I have PLENTY of photos of Dreamy, don't you think??  LOL!!!

We had a great day of fast horses and good racing!!
Tacking up!  Yes, I am using an AP saddle pad with my dressage saddle.  There are worse things.  LOL!!!!

Headed out!  It was a little chilly but also a bit rainy.  We both had our raincoats UNDERNEATH our maroon jackets.  LOL!  

I love when both Dreamy and McKeever watch the races together.  LOL!

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Monte Racing Saddle (!!!!)

Well, my tack room already has two dressage saddles, an all-purpose, two western saddles, a saddleseat cutback, a tiny child's sized western saddle, a loaned Wintec, and a sidesaddle. Might as well add a monte racing saddle to that!!  LOL!!!

I have been saving since July to buy a monte saddle and I finally bought it at the beginning of the month.  I have ridden Snappy in it twice and it seems to work quite well.   It came with a crupper and I added my own stirrups, leathers, and buxton.  I opted to use non-slip stirrup pads, black Wintec stirrup leathers, and a black beta buxton.  I think the setup looks sharp.  The saddle is super comfortable and while I admit I do miss the "security" of my lovely Stubben Juventus AP saddle, I am sure that as I continue to ride in the monte saddle I will be more comfortable.  It is different to ride in a saddle with no tree!  As I added the photos, I realized I never took a pic of her on the crossties to show our new saddle!  Whoops!!!

Jogging for the first time in our new saddle!  I think Snappy approved!  This was around 9AM on Columbus Day (10.8.12).  I was lucky to have that Monday off from work, so after rocking it around the Pipestave HT with Dreamy the day before, I was able to ride Snappy that next day!
Headed out to jog late afternoon on 10.13.12.  I had just spent the day (seven hours!!) in a graduate course for a writing fellowship.  It was good to be outside and on a horse!

Jogging!  Wheeeee!!!  10.13.12

She is such a good mare.  She will make someone a great riding horse one day!  After we jogged three miles, I walked her around half a mile and then we hacked out the long way back to the barn.  Love her!

Friday, October 12, 2012

It is time to boycott Blue Ribbon Custom Tack

I am a big believer in supporting small local business. There is a wonderful local tack shop here in Maine called Blue Ribbon Consignment and Tack.  This store was owned for many years by one person, who then sold it to a woman named Christine.  I met Christine a few years ago when I started shopping at Blue Ribbon.  Not only did I love browsing the new products and huge number of consignment items, but I developed a friendship with Christine.  She has a generous heart, an infectious laugh, and is one of the kindest people I have met.  Christine is also a single mother of two very polite teenagers.  She works hard and does her very best to raise her kids the right way and run her business professionally.  I admire her strength and tenacity.

Well, that would be a nice story, now wouldn't it?  But wait until you hear what is happening....

There is a company called Blue Ribbon Custom Tack out of Arizona.  They have trademarked the name Blue Ribbon Tack as a website domain and today filed a lawsuit against Christine.  The infuriating part is that her website domain is Blue Ribbon CONSIGNMENT.  It is not even CLOSE to the same.  Google "blue ribbon" and you will find the Blue Ribbon Coalition, Maine's Blue Ribbon Fair (which is the Fryeburg Fair here in Maine), Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Blue Ribbon BBQ, Blue Ribbon Campaign...I could go on and on.  You cannot trademark the name "Blue Ribbon" (look it up on the government trademark site.)  

The horse community in Maine is small.  We stick together and support each other.  Within hours, we have written posts on the Blue Ribbon Custom Tack's Facebook page.  We have liked each other's posts.  We have vowed to boycott this ridiculous company, who apparently is doing so poorly that they feel the need to shut down a small consignment tack shop on the opposite side of the country.  

Please consider doing the same.  Bullying in any form is wrong.  And thankfully social media is a powerful tool.  ;-)

We love you Christine!  No matter what happens, no matter if you have to change your name, your customers are loyal and will stand with you!!  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reva's 2012 Maine Horse Association Awards

The 2012 year end points for the Maine Horse Association were posted the other day and I am very proud of Reva!  She won four championships!!  Hard work pays off!

And congrats to my horse friends Shelly, Katie, and Tania for doing so well!!  Yay!!  :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pipestave HT - Oct. 7, 2012

This past Sunday, Dreamy and I traveled to Pipestave Hill, a wonderful facility owned by the town of West Newbury, MA.  The equestrian events there are run by the West Newbury Riding and Driving Club.  I have heard good things about Pipestave Hill Horse Trials for many years, but I never actually looked at a map to see just how far away it was.  I was pleasantly surprised to see it was only two hours south of me and a straight shot down Interstate 95.  I did not get to their July event, as it was one of the only free weekends in my busy summer!  But I am very glad I rode in the October event, and we ended our 2012 season on a really great note!  We competed at Beginner Novice (BN) and there were nine riders in our Senior division.

I was lucky to have my friend and excellent show mommy, Tania, come along for the day.  She had originally planned to show her horse, but decided to scratch.  It was a good choice for her, as she felt she did not have enough time to prepare due to her recent work schedule.  As a rider new to eventing on a horse who is also new to eventing, she decided that lack of preparation would not give them the best experience.  

Besides the fact that I had to get up at 4AM, getting to Pipestave was super easy.  We had plenty of time to check in and walk cross country before I warmed up for dressage.  My only goal for the day was to not get eliminated and I really REALLY wanted to go clear on cross country.  

WARNING photo spam ahead!  That's what happens when I have my own personal photographer with me!  LOL!  Tania took excellent photos!

Headed to dressage warm up

Warming up...she is so clean!  

Entering at A for our Beginner Novice Test B test

Our first centerline was a 7

First change of rein = 7

Trot circle left = 8

Second change of rein = 7

Free walk = 7 (We had a little almost trot bobble because I overrode her a bit.  Whoops.  Probably would have earned our normal 8 had I just let her do her thing.  LOL!)

The trot before this canter was an 8!  Left lead canter = 7  WHOOO!!!!

Half circle trot = 7
Final halt at G = 7
We did quite well, scoring a 31 and sitting in second place for dressage!  Our scores were mostly all 7s, a 6 on the right lead canter, and a 5 (whoops) on our half circle at B onto the final centerline.  I totally poorly planned this turn and overshot centerline.  I hate doing 10 m half circles in the middle of the ring!  Yes, I use the rail as a crutch!  LOL!

Our collectives were all 7s and I earned an 8 for rider position!  YAY!  That is huge for me.  Back just a few years, when I took a hiatus from lessons for a few years, my equitation fell apart.  I was lucky to squeak out a 6 on rider, so earning so many 8s on it this year is very, very gratifying.  The judge (Judy Lawless, an "r" eventing judge) wrote: "Very well ridden!  Trot work is just lovely!  Canter needs to be more active for a clearer three beat (especially for better balance in downward transition).  Relaxed and accurate test!"

We were given a second place ribbon for dressage!  That was so cool!  I love being given more than one ribbon in an event!  Usually you only get one.  Only one other event has ever done that where I have shown (Applehurst Farm in NH, a long lost horse trial and hunter pace venue).  I felt so good after our dressage test!  But next it was time for...
Aww yeah....this is why we event!  Headed over to jump!!  We had stadium and then cross country just 15 minutes later.
Entering for our stadium round 
Fence #1
Fence #2 - I love this!  She might be a 21 year old Standardbred mare, but she can still jump!!

Jump #3

Jump #4 
Jump #6A
Jump #6B
Jump #7
Jump #8 - I love her happy ears and how she is looking to the next fence!

Final Jump #9 - We chipped in a little bit and ended up pulling the rail.  Bummer!  We moved down to third because of the rail.  Oh well, my fault.
Stadium went very well, besides that one rail on the last fence.  We cantered the entire course and got all our distances (again, except for the slight chip at the last fence).  We had to do a simple change, but that is fine with me.  Dreamy is never going to have automatic changes, but that is fine with me.  I was super happy with how she warmed up and jumped the course.  Overall, she did not look twice at anything and was very bold.  She felt great and we jumped well together!

We walked through a path down to cross country right after we jumped.  There were some big fences out on course and it was the longest course we have ever done together with 17 jumps total.  Many of the fences were set on hills, so they were sideways.  There was a huge stone wall, a series of three fences just a few strides apart, a bunch of galloping lanes, and a very steep drop.  I was nervous but knew we could do it.  I was determined to go clean.  

Headed into the big field after Fence #1 
This series of three fences came up quickly, but we nailed it!  This is the first of the series.  I love her ears and knees!
Our faces match!  LOL!  Second fence of the series... 
And the third in the series...wheee!!
Cantering up to the last fence... 
And we went clear!  YAY!!!!!  This is our fifth time trying BN (once at a two-phase and four times at horse trials) and our FIRST TIME CLEAR ON XC!  Finally!  I feel like we worked so hard for this moment all year!  I wish she was not in the down phase of her jump...her LF is hanging a bit.   
SO HAPPY!!!!  Cantering through the finish flags ahead!  We had a great course!  
Not the most flattering pic of me, but I was SO HAPPY!  LOL!!!
We ended up second in dressage with a 31 and third overall with a 35 out of nine riders!  GOOD MARE!!!  I love how I have helmet hair and she has unbraided hair decorated with her hay.  
What an awesome cross country course!  We rocked around it, Dreamy cantering and jumping like a machine!  She did not look at anything, just jumped and cruised around.  I rode her forward to every fence and never doubted anything.  She listened well, never got strong, never hesitated, galloped through the lanes like a boss, and hopped down the steep drop like she does it every day.  I was so happy with her!  We worked so hard this year, and at times I felt like maybe moving her up to Beginner Novice was a bad idea.  We had stupid run outs at events and I thought maybe I ought to give up.  She is not a young horse and I worried I might be asking too much of her.  But apparently it all came together and we "peaked" at Pipestave!  I am SO GLAD I made the trip down and we ended our 2012 eventing season in style.  I secretly would love to try a sanctioned horse trial at BN next year, but Dreamy will tell me what she can to do.  ;-)  For now, I am just happy and appreciative for all she has given me.