Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tulsa State Fair 2011

The weather is about as perfect as weather in Oklahoma can be in September.  The girls completed mighty show preparations without much help Friday afternoon getting the trailer cleaned out, gathering tack/cloths/etc. and washing the horses (I was busy at a social gathering for a friend turning 40).
So off we went Saturday morning bright and early (really O-dark:30) to the Mustang Arena at the Tulsa Expo for the Tulsa State Fair 4-H/FFA horse show.  The girls showed well and both horses were good.  Ivy and Pico were really good - 2nd in hunter under saddle (could have been first), 2nd hunt seat equitation (was the best), 2nd western horsemanship (was 2nd even against all those western horses) and 9th in western pleasure.  Pico was relaxed and consistent with smooth as silk transitions all day long. Alaina and Sunny were not as sharp (her allergies were BAD). But still, the pair did well for the most part - 4th in showmanship (could have been 2 or 3rd), 4th hunter under saddle, 4th hunt seat equitation, 6th western pleasure, and 9th (last) in stakes. Alaina studied the 9 to 11 pattern and then rode some mix of patterns for western horsemanship - she couldn't get it together once she realized her mistake but Sunny gamely did what she asked.

I got my equine therapy on Sunday when the girls and I loaded Pico, Splash and Diez and headed to Cheval Lake to play with Mallory, Roxy, and Maddie.  Ivy worked Sister with Mallory's help using Clinton Anderson methods.  Roxy and Trooper, Maddie and Misty, Alaina and Diez, and Splash and I got started in the big arena.  When Ivy was finished with Sister, Alaina switched over and ran Sister through her walk/trot paces.  Mallory worked on one-reign stops, and took R, M, and I on a mini trail ride while I worked on stop/back/walk transitions with Splash. 

Ahhh, a horsey fun weekend followed by short evening rides with the girls in the Wild Orban Ranch arena both Monday and Tuesday - the weather is just to perfect to skip any opportunity.  I will miss out once again when the YaYa's ride at Rita's tomorrow.  But, NEXT WEEK! Count me IN!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rogers County Fair Update - 2011

The Rogers County Free Fair is History! 

Next Weekend?  The Tulsa State Fair 4-H/FFA show at the Mustang Arena at the Tulsa Fairgrounds on Saturday.  Come on by and keep me company!
Splash and I won Adult Hunter Under Saddle and Hunt Seat Equitation, and came 3rd in Adult Showmanship.  Splash was also Champion Appaloosa Gelding for Ivy but stomped her big toe in exchange for that beautiful plaque.
Alaina's Placings on Sunny:  2nd Halter Palomino, 3rd Hunter Under Saddle, 1st Hunt Seat Eq, 2nd Trail, 5th Western Horsemanship.  Ivy and Pico placed:  2nd Hunter Under Saddle, 2nd Hunt Seat Eq., 1st Hunter Hack, 6th Western Pleasure, and 4th Western Horsemanship.  Very Nice Riding at this last point show of the 4-H season.  We had the Youth Fun Show on Sunday and had a great time.  Roxy joined in so I got to hang with Mallory (when I wasn't on annoucer duty).  Ivy/Pico and Alaina/Sunny both won their heats of theTennis Ball Ballance race and Alaina won the final as well as the Jr/Sr championship.  Then, Alaina and Sunny showed everyone how to canter balancing an egg on a spoon held in her teeth - very impressive but I missed the picture.
Splash was still miffed about his mane treatment last weekend so I just gave him a light banding job; he wasn't thrilled when the clippers quit working on his first ear and I had to finish the job with nail scissors (not pretty unless you like that "chewed by a beaver" look).  Our showmanship was decent in parts but Splash showed his pushy side when we had to trot around the cone to the judge and stop (very tight pattern) - then stood mostly square for inspection followed by a non-pivot (clearly the weakest link, so I have to work on that - any ideas for training pivot?).  After donning my new-blue riding shirt with the palm-tree ratcatcher, we had a pretty good ride in hunter under saddle - Splash had good impulsion (mostly), was steady in the bridle (mostly), was moving out nicely (mostly), and took correct leads at canter - only dropped to trot from left lead canter for a stride or two BEHIND the judge.  Woo-HOO!  Hunt Seat Equitation wasn't quite so good, but the pattern was accurate if a bit resistant in transitions.  Even so, lots of fun to WIN although I would have been fine without the announcer calling my name followed by "the old lady" before announcing our placings.  And my YaYa friend Joan (AKA the Duchess Bovina) dropped by in time to watch our classes.  The rest of the show was more relaxing for me (I was DONE) and more YaYa sisters dropped by to say hi - Thanks Kathy and Judy - Next year, we will ALL ride.  Judy (Princess Rides while Navajo Steers) can just point at the trail pattern and Navi will Just Do It while Kathy (AKA Countess Loves a Paint Mare) and Call will be ready to dominate in the hunter classes.

Meanwhile, the weather is cooled down beautifully and my YaYa's are riding Wed. evening when I will be out of town - again..... My time to ride is coming..... Soon.....A girl (AKA YaYa Sister) can dream.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Splash Has a Bad Hair Day

But, it was for a good cause....  Splash and I were lucky enough to be a demo rider/horse pair for the B-session of the LProgram clinic held Saturday and Sunday at Bridle Creek in Sperry.  The requirements included "Braiding."
I have banded and done French and net braids but never those Button Braids traditional for dressage horses.  So, Marilyn B gave me a latch hook, black yarn, and guidance (watch YouTube videos and purchase Activator Gel) AND came over Friday evening to help me do the braiding deed.  Splash wasn't pleased but did look good.

And, he got a free perm out of the deal when the braids came out on Sunday afternoon.

I planned to really work Splash to get ready for the demo ride and we were off to a good start with the Rocking C show Sept. 3.  Alas, I had a McPherson/Wichita work trip last week and then the farrier came Friday..... So, Splash was not tuned up.  Ginny H and I were to trailer-pool Splash and Acca to Bridle Creek for the Sat. afternoon session, but first - we joined Maryal Barnett and the L-Judge candidates for the first half of the lecture Saturday morning.  The lecture with video examples focused on Training and First Level movements.  Ginny and I left the lecture early so that we could come back to Claremore to get the horses and head out to Bridle Creek in time for my ride time at 1:00 to demonstrate Training Level movements; Richal on Genna and Elizabeth with Theo were my partner demos.  Ginny and Acca were on at 3:15 to demonstrate First Level movements.  Marilyn and Jurgan, Jessie and Denali, Ruthie and Dreamweaver, and Marta and Chasqui also demo-ed.

Sunday's program focused on Second Level and was fascinating to a woman forever in Training Level - on a good day.  It was really fun to see my horsey friends and teachers ride as demos - Patty and Dante, Marilyn and Willie, Cynthia and Shadow, Sandy and Fancy, Heather and Studly, AND Kay on Odakai - Wow. 
I am really sorry I missed the A-session but I will definitely go to the next session in October.  The B-session covered:  1) criteria/purposed for Training, First, and Second level; 2) criteria for gait and paces; and 3) criteria for movements.  In dressage, the quality of gaits are dependent on rhythm, freedom, elasticity, suppleness, suspension, scope/amplitude, and reach/range of motion.  In the classroom, we reviewed the Pyramid of Training and listened in on the review of homework from the A-session - very interesting discussion between the judging candidates and Maryal.  Also, we reviewed the principles of increased engagement and elevation - the horse will develop both as training progresses.
Definitions - these are helpful for a rider of any level to consider when riding.
Purpose of the Test/Level - to evaluate the expected stage of training objectives as stated on the top of each score sheet.
Criteria - standard by which a movement is judged as stated in the USEF Rule Book
Test Movement - the section of a dressage test that must be assigned a single score - note that half points will be introduced next year.
Essence (of the movement) - The most important part of the sequence in the score sheet box; e.g., the "halt" or "canter depart".
Modifier - other elements in the box that might add or deduct from the score
Directive Ideas - explanations on the score sheet in the column after each test movement

Biomechanics of the Movements - Did the horse do "it" and How did the horse do "it."  Evaluate posture, bend, carriage, stride, energy, balance, and more - straightness, collection, frame, and engagement.
Training Level Purpose - to confirm that the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm accepting contact with the bit.
First Level Purpose - To confirm that the horse, in addition to the requirements of Training Level, has developed the thrust to achieve improved balance and throughness and to maintain a more consistent contact with the bit.

Second Level Purpose - To confirm that the horse, having achieved the thrust required in First Level, now accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection), shows the uphill tendencey, especially in the medium gaits, andis reliably on the bit.  A greater degree of straightness,bending, suppleness, throughness, balance and self-carraiage is required than at first level.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Taste of Fall

It's warmed up since the cooldown after the Rocking C Dressage show judged by Robin Hessal the first Saturday of September.  Marsha and Latte won High Point Am Intro Level and Mallory with Trooper won High Point Am Training level (just edging out Call and Kathy).  Go Girls!
We all had a great show.  Ivy showed Pico in Prix Caprilli Wk/Trot, T-3, and F-3 with scores of 64.5 (2nd place to Roxy and Trooper), 63.2, and 56.452 respectively.  Alaina and Sister are improving with Christian's help scoring 52.5 in Intro-B and 57.0 in Into-C - canter departs and all.  And... Spash was a good boy.  We recieved 64.5 in Intro-C and 60.800 in T-3.
It was a lovely Labor Day weekend, hot Fri/Sat with cool weather Sun/Mon.  The girls were out of school on Friday so we joined Mallory at Cheval Lake for some horsey fun in the morning.  Ivy did Clinton Anderson work with Sister before Alaina worked her under saddle with Christian's help.  Meanwhile, Splash and I did a little show preparation work.  We finished the weekend with Monday morning horse fun back at Cheval Lake - same drill except Roxy was out of school too, so we all rode - Ivy and Roxy working on their hand gallops and Alaina making good progress with Sister. 

The cool weather makes me dream of evening trail rides in the near future....