Friday, October 21, 2011

Riding Withdrawal

I have to admit I am in a slump. Maybe a funk even. And I know exactly why. It's riding withdrawal. Going back to university to bump up my grades so that I can go to vet school so that I'll have a good paying (and enjoyable/interesting) job so I can afford to live on an acreage and ride horses seemed like a really great idea. And I still think it is. But this part sucks! School keeps me busy (I'm on campus 5 days a week) and in order to pay for it, I have to work Saturday and Sunday (not that it will keep me out of debt, but it will put me less in debt). Which means I m busy every single day! Now add in midterms, projects and the fact that my horse is 2.5 hours away. I don't get much (any) chance to see Scarface and I miss him so bad! I can't justify paying to board him somewhere when I'm already heading into debt and I can't make it out to visit him after school or work because they days are getting too short and I am usually too busy studying anyway. Well, I can't wait for summer already!

Sorry for the rant, I guess its a symptom of withdrawal!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stacy Westfall - 2011 freestyle reining champion at the American Quarter Horse Congress

I just wanted to share this awesome video with everyone. Hopefully everyone is familiar with reining, it is an event at WEG and people are campaigning to get it in the Olympics as well. Watch her amazing run, which was done bridle-less! Stacy is famous for her bridle-less riding and  I was lucky enough to be able to watch a couple of her clinics at the 2010 Mane Event in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. One of her hour-long clinic focused on stopping. Her biggest take-home point? Most horses stop based on some combination of voice, seat and reins. If you take away any of these, the horse won't stop, or at least not as well. Stacy trains her horses to stop 100% on each of these cues individually. Then if she takes 1 away (like the reins), she still has 200% to guarantee her a stop. I think this would be good for people who trail ride as well, just for the safety aspect, in case you lose your reins or are hanging off the side of the saddle. Anyway, enjoy the video (it's not mine, I borrowed it from YouTube from chavaux84)!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spruce Meadows Pictures

Eric Lamaze and Hickstead!!
I went to Spruce Meadows to watch the CN International competition at the Masters last month. I didn't take many pictures, but there is one of Eric Lamaze. Olympic gold medalist, Rolex Leading Rider and, most importantly, Canadian! Eric and his amazing horse Hickstead even have fangirls! There were 2 girls sitting near us wearing short-shorts with Eric Lamaze and Hickstead written all over their arms and legs. It must have been good luck, but they did amazing and came first and won a boat-load of money!

I also watched the RCMP musical ride for the first time in my life. Very cool. They have excellent timing and their horses are all super comfortable with each other.
The big wheel!

The spinny wheel maneuver (not it's real name)

And I met a small celebrity. Little Chief, who plays Sugarfoot on the TV show Heartland! Do people in other places watch Heartland or is it just on in Canada? Either way, he was very cute. Amber Marshall, the star of the show did appear and sign some autographs, but I had much more important show jumping to watch!
Me and a tiny celebrity!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blog Award!

I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving (if you're in Canada, otherwise too bad you missed the turkey)!

I was lucky enough to receive the One Lovely Blog Award from 2 awesome bloggers! Cjay and Ruffles! Thanks so much!

I am supposed to list 7 things about me:

1. I'm currently working on my second university degree, this time in Animal Health with a major in Companion and Performance Animals.

2. I've planning to go to vet school once I'm done and because a equine vet!

3. I was in 4H for quite a few years and my favourite part (besides riding) was public speaking! I made it to regionals one year. My least favourite part was putting my book together at the end of the year.

4. I recently joining my university's judging team, but all I know how to judge is horses! Lots to learn!

5. I have a microbiology midterm tomorrow and I feel like my head is going to explode!

6. My favourite colour of horse is grey (sorry Scarface, sorrel is pretty awesome too!)

7. I often take equine science books out of my university library for "fun reading." Currently on my desk is "An Illustrated Guide to Equine Diseases."

Next I'm supposed to tag my 15 favourite bloggers. A lot of the people I follow have already gotten this award, so here are 4 more people I think deserve it!

Carol at Dressage Training Journal
Jeni at Supersize My Cob
Paigley at Sincerely Paige

Friday, October 7, 2011

Win a Gorgeous Hand-Painted Saddle Pad

The lovely Kate from The Adventures of Lucy is generously giving away one of her beautiful hand-painted saddle pads. I really love these (as in if I don't win, I might just buy one anyway because they are so pretty!) and the ones you can choose from are all great. My favourite is this fishie one.

Click here to head over and enter your name in to win one of these beauties!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Results and Apologies

Sorry for just disappearing for over a month! I got busy getting ready to go back to school, then going back to school. And now that I'm into midterm season (my first one is tomorrow), blogging seems like a great way to avoid the studying I really should be doing (or at least to take a quick break from that studying).

Here are the result of Scarface and my first dressage show. A pair of 6th place ribbons! I think there were nine and ten horses in each of my classes, which means we did pretty good considering this was our first show in a few years, our first ever dressage show and, to be honest, Scarface has a long way to go with dressage. He is very willing and we can ride relatively precisely, but he was train for years to go slow and would get in trouble if he went more forward. Definitely lots to work on. Our biggest comment (on pretty much every maneuver) was: MORE FORWARD!!! Which is kind of funny because Scarface thought he was working his butt off trotting as fast as he was. He also tends to get a bit downhill in his movement because of his former training. By far our biggest area for improvement is our walk maneuvers. Scarface was trained to walk extremely slow, like all western pleasure horses. So he almost stops between each step sometimes. I know he can walk normally or even fast, since he loves to walk fast in the halter, but it's just a matter of teaching him that it's ok was walk faster under saddle if I ask him.

The other big place we lost point was use of voice (I know, a big no-no in dressage). But to be honest, I think we probably would have had some breaks of gate if I hadn't clucked and kissed. Scarface is lazy AND very voice-trained.

So overall, we got a 52.5% on Training Test 2 and 52.0% on Training Test 3. Not amazing (or even good) scores, but for us they were great for our first time out in a discipline brand new to both of us. And I guess we didn't look too foolish, since we placed in the middle of the pack.

I'd love to go to a few dressage shows next year. Goals?
1. To improve our overall score to above 55%
2. To improve our free walk to consistently receive 5

While we certainly had our issues with our tests, we did get some nice comments from the judge.
1. Gorgeous horse (Thank you!!!)
2. He has better movement than he is showing (True and encouraging that if we can get a bit more "forward thinking" we should be able to improve our scores)

Overall though, I had a great time! Sorry, no photos (my dad forgot the memory card in the computer at home). There is a video, but I haven't figured out yet how to make it small enough to be able to upload it, but I will probably work on it some.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to ride much (at all) lately since I've gone back to school. I live/work/go to school 2 hours from where Scarface lives at my parents'. So between going to school 5 days a week and working every weekend, I haven't had any time to make the trip (the last day off I had was September 11, when I went to Spruce Meadows with the bf and my parents (Great job Eric Lamaze! Can't wait to watch you win another gold metal at the Olympics in 2012. And don't worry Ian Miller, you'll always be my favourite!). But Monday is a holiday (Canadian Thanksgiving) which means both school and work are closed and is my day off. I'll be going to my parents' for some delicious turkey and if the weather is decent, I should be able to ride my horse. Hooray!!!!