Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Gang (Part III)

I rode Saturday and yesterday. Scarface was pretty good. He was good and brave over the cross-rails. In fact, he actually tried to pull and good kind of back habit, if that makes sense. We had been going over the little jump and he was being really good about it. Then after I decided we were done jumping, I decided to canter a bit more on the flat, just to remind him that we don't always do jumping (especially considering I have my first dressage school show EVER on Saturday). As we came around and up toward the jump we had be going over and I was guiding him to go around the jump, he actually tried to basically say, "nope, I'm going over the jump again." Which is bad because he was anticipating what to do and wasn't really listening. But in another way, it was good for him. Scarface was trained as a western pleasure horse and since he was taught to go slower than horses naturally do, it's always a lot of work to make him go more forward (he'll listen to spurs, but he hasn't figured out what a crop means yet. He thinks it means do a little buck or maybe do a flying lead change). So for him to actually want to go over the jump, even when it wasn't what I was telling him, I still feel like it was a step in the right direction.

Anyway, here is part III of Meet the Gang.
CD Ben - My parents' cow horse stallion. He has won quite a few futurities and derby, but is currently recovering from a bout of colic a few months ago (you will meet his first 2 babies next time)!

Sorry I couldn't get a good body shot, he was being very friendly and curious of the camera. He is really great and most of the time you don't even know he's a stud!
Lily (the bay) and Tommy Lee (the roan). Lily is my 2-year-old prospect and she is going out to get started next month. She is going to be fairly tall, so I'm excited for her to be my next jumping/dressage horse. She already jumped the 5 foot fence once because she didn't like being by herself! Also, Tommy Lee is Teto's one and only son!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meet the Gang (Part II)

Hootie (CS Surefire Success)
Pepper (I can't recall his registered name)
Can you believe he's 17 already?
Part II of showing off all the horses on my parents' farm. Today I'll introduce you to Hootie and Pepper. They are in their own separate pen because they have limited access to grass since they've both had laminitis. Hootie got a touch of it once, but is better now. Plus he gets way too fat if he's on grass full time. Pepper has chronic laminitis (he has good days and bad days) so we don't use him for riding anymore since he is pretty sore, even if we give him bute. So he is our lawn ornament. Here are the boys enjoying there limited pasture time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spruce View Horse Show

WARNING: This post turned out to be really, REALLY long. Here's the show summary:
 Showmanship - 2nd
 English Pleasure - 2nd
English Equitation - 2nd
Western Pleasure - 1st
Western Equitation - 1st
Command Class - 4th
Water Race - 4th
Egg and Spoon Race - 1st

Feel free to stop reading now!


Saturday my family and I went to the Spruce View Horse Show. Scarface hasn't been to a show in over 3 years, so it was a bit of a warm-up show for the dressage schooling shows I'm planning on going too before school gets busy in the fall. The caliber of horses wasn't too high at this little open show, mostly young horses or ranch horses or gymkana horses or both/all three, so our placing are pretty high, even when our performances were less than stellar.
My nieces who are 6, 7 and 8 were out from Manitoba for a few weeks, so they rode all week to prepare to ride in the show. My oldest niece Cassie rode my old, mostly-retired horse Hootie. He was an absolute angel for her (except for in showmanship - he's always a brat in-hand). She ended up winning the high-point award for the 8 and under age group, which is pretty impressive for her first show! Having a well training horse really helped, but her equitation pattern was bang on and was actually better than mine (more on that later). My youngest niece, Kylee, also rode Hootie in the lead-line classes.

I let my middle niece, Clara, ride Scarface in some of the PeeWee walk-trot classes. He was so good for her! I never thought of Scarface as a kid's horse because he can be pretty spooky and silly. But luckily Clara's classes (except showmanship, which was a bit messy) were in the afternoon, after Scarface was less nervous. Scarface loves being a walk-trot horse! For one thing, my niece weighs about a 1/3 of what I do, plus she never really asks him to do anything but walk and jog on the rail. He ignored her floppy hands and legs and just jogged and walked along the rail. I'm not sure how things would go if she would have had to ride a pattern, since he is so leg-trained and her legs are so much shorter than mine. Anyway, she had a blast and in her 5 classes managed to win one ribbon of every colour, which she thought was awesome!

On to Scarface and I. The night before the show, Scarface was acting really nervous and upset. I guess he knew something was up when he had to have a bath and sleep in the barn instead of out in the field with his buddy Teto. When we arrived at the show ground Saturday morning, Scarface was a bit nervous, but really not too bad. We got all ready for showmanship (in-hand) and heading to the arena. That's when the trouble started. Scarface was terrified of the indoor arena because it was dark and kind of loud and brand new. He danced all around in showmanship whenever I asked him to stand. Amazingly, we ended up getting 2nd out of 6 horses, mostly because all the other horses were nervous too and all the parts of our pattern that didn't involve standing still were pretty good (including a trot circle where I was on the outside and had to almost sprint to keep him from breaking). Even when he stepped out during inspection, I kept smiling. I guess it's still drilled into me from my days of bigger shows.

In our english classes, there was one girl there on a big Hanoverian jumping horse, riding in the show as a warm-up for her jumping show on Sunday (I guess my dad talked to her). Her horse was happy and calm, while Scarface was worried, so we were right behind her in both the english pleasure and equitation. Our pleasure was not so great because my niece showed Scarface in showmanship immediately before my englsih pleasure class. I assumed there would be a break between the in-hand classes and the riding classes, but there wasn't. So we had to hold up the gate to do a quick tack change at the gate and then go right into the class with no warm-up what-so-ever. The combination of no warm-up and an already super nervous horse was not good and Scarface got super humpy on all our transitions into the canter. The judge missed most of the humpiness in the pleasure, but it was painfully obvious in our equitation pattern (only when I picked up the left lead, our right was actually pretty decent). But I made a point to smile through the left circle, even though my horse was all humpy and things weren't going great.

We ended up scratching from the trail class, mostly because Scarface was so nervous in the morning. Plus the day before my niece tried to do a rope gate with Scarface and things got all out of position and she didn't know to just let go of the gate and Scarface got really worried and upset. I wasn't there, so I'm not exactly sure what happened, but Scarface was still a bit worried about the gate when I rode him through it afterwards and would get worried about it if I didn't keep good contact with his mouth (usually I let him just stand around a lot when doing trail maneuvers so he doesn't start rushing through them). So this fear, combined with a super narrow metal gate with huge metal rails sticking out the bottom (a super easy place to get in trouble and have a wreck) and the fact that it was less of a traditional trail pattern and more of a collection of scary things (like a slicker and a mailbox and the aforementioned gate) made me decide just to scratch the class. It probably lost me the high point and it probably would have been ok, but I decided better safe than sorry.

Luckily, there was a break after the english classes (so the judge could eat lunch) and they left the arena open for riding. I was really on the ball and was there right after they cleared away the jumps (Scarface wasn't ready to jump in the show, but more on that another time), so I even got to ride in the arena by myself for a while. I worked Scarface a bit and did a few walk-canter transitions, but mostly I just walk him along the rail and left him start to feel more confident and comfortable in the arena. It helped a lot! He was better in my western classes (it still wasn't pretty). In the western pleasure, he was a bit humpy one way, but the judge's back was to us, so we managed to get first (once again, it was mostly against young and/or green horses)
. In our western equitation, we had to do a circle to the left and Scarface decided rather than just lope along in the circle, he was going to do this weird lope on the spot thing he does sometimes when he wants to be lazy. Our circle was a bit small for me to push him forward and I was more focused on making our circle round. But when I watched the video my dad took, it sure looked funny! My dad burst out laughing and actually rewound the video so we could watch it again. I might try to get it off my parents' video camera to post up, but it's pretty strange-looking. But all our lines were pretty straight and our circle was pretty round and we were sharp on the cones, so we managed to win the class. One 3 year=.-old had a huge blow-up at the pylons and refused to go near the second or third one (the first one wasn't too scary). I think it was it's first class (why you would do a pattern on a young horse but not rail work is kind of confusing, but whatever) so it also might have been scared of the far end of the ring.

After that we moved onto the game classes, which I went it just for fun and to let Scarface spend more time in the new arena. We had a command class, which I'm usually pretty good at, but by this time Scarface was pretty tired from me showing him, as well as his extra classes with my niece, so when we were asked to transition from the lope to the extending lope and I put my legs on him, he got pissed off and pinned his ears and broke to a trot. I pushed him back into a canter before stopping and heading to the middle. We ended up 4th out of about 7. Next was the water race (everyone gets a cup of water and at the end of the class, whoever has the most water left wins). I thought we would do well since Scarface is so smooth, but apparently I have shaky hands or something, because we only ended up 4th out of 6. Our last class was the egg and spoon race. It started off not very good. Everyone got their egg and spoon and we were all stopped and about to start when I adjusted my hand and my egg fell. Luckily, since we hadn't started moving yet, they let me pick up my egg and keep (start) going. And in the end, I won the class! I was pretty close to losing it a couple times, especially in our downwards transitions, since Scarface was tired and was more than happy to shut down from a lope to a stop in one stride. All-in-all a great end to a great day!

Sorry for the hugely long post, but it was a long day (with way too many tack changes)!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Busy Schedule

I'm pretty happy because today I was looking at the calendar and I noticed that 3 of the next 5 weekends will involve horse shows!

August 13, 2011 - Spruce View Open Horse Show

This one I'll be going to with my parents and my 3 nieces. My dad won't be showing, but hopefully my mom will be ready to show this weekend! It'll be the first time we're in the same classes. Also, my 3 nieces will be showing as well. I think we will have one in the PeeWee (8 and under), one in the walk-trot and one in the leadline, but there's a chance the oldest one will show walk-trot as well. My one niece is even planning to show Scarface in PeeWee showmanship and walk-trot. This show is mostly for my mom and nieces, but it will be nice for Scarface to have a chance to get back in to "show mode." He will be one tired pony by the end!

August 27, 2011 - Burnt Lake Stables Dressage Schooling Show

My first ever dressage show. I'll be riding 2 training level tests. Hopefully everything goes well!

September 11, 2011 - Double W Dressage Schooling Show

Planning to attend a second dressage schooling show in September!

Unfortunately, that will be all the shows I can go to this year, since after the 11th, I will be going to school full time (5 days a week) and working part time (the other 2 days a week). With homework, midterms and all the rest, I won't be able to make it out to see Scarface very often once school starts. I guess the fact that I'm taking a course call "Introduction to Equine Studies" next term will help make up for it though!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Meet the Gang (part 1)

Scarface isn't a lone horse. He has lots of company at my parent's farm.

We'll start with Scarface and his pen-mate, Teto (FOURZ EYED B PEPPY). Teto is my mom's gelding and is definitely the bossier of the two!

The boys love chilling by the water trough!
Scarface is interested!
Scarface looking handsome
Poor Teto, his nose got sunburnt pretty bad. Now he has to stay inside during the day and wear sunscreen when he goes out at night!

Scarface making faces.

Scarface got a bad sunburn too, so he has to stay inside during the day as well.
If you look closely, you can see how Scarface got his name.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Long Weekend Fun!

This past weekend was a long one thanks to Heritage Day today. I spent the weekend at my parents' house and rode all three days, which was awesome. It was nice to go out and visit Scarface and my parents both rode with me as well, which is nicer than riding alone.

I'm planning to take Scarface to a dressage schooling show in the early September. Neither of us have ever done dressage before, but we've done a lot of equitation and horsemanship patterns and low level dressage is basically just a really long equitation pattern. The hardest part so far has been trying to learn the patterns! I think I've got Training test 1 straight in my head. Now I have to learn the rest of them!

I think the biggest things we need to work on are our free walk (which usually involves Scarface gawking all over, or plodding along like he's been galloping all day) and our stretched forward and down trot circle.

My mom wanted some pictures taken of us riding, so here are a couple shots my dad took of us working on our pattern (while dodging the trail obstacles). I got heat stroke yesterday because I didn't wear sunscreen or a hat, so I was all decked out today!

In my next post, I'll introduce you all to my two-year-old filly, Lily! I hope everyone had a great weekend!