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Show Recap: Friday May 19th (English) @ Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show

Show Recap: Friday May 19th (English) @ Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show

Friday dawned bright and early, especially for the 5 out of 7 of us that were participating in the morning showmanship classes. I, on the other hand, fed Ezhno his grain and then chilled in my chair with my breakfast (with occasional handfuls for Ezhno, who thinks cinnamon granola is the bomb) while I watched the chaos unfold. As someone that’s never done showmanship, it was very cool to watch the preparations the horses go throughfake tails, shaved socks, Show Sheen, and face oils abound! It’s a whole different ball game.

There was a moment of panic when one of our team almost missed the very first class of the day (I jogged Midas all the way out to the arena so that she could sprint there the moment her makeup was finished), but the timing just barely worked out.

My first class of the day was class number 130, so I had plenty of time to prepare. While the showmanship classes happened, I took my time tacking up Ezhno, changing into my show clothes, and bridling my lazy, hay-eating horse.

We headed out into the warm up arena early so that we could spend some more time getting used to the noises coming from the highway that runs alongside the outdoor arena and the sheer amount of activity in the covered warm up arena. He was very looky and he did a couple of small, scooting spooks, but for the most part he felt very forwarda great thing for a horse that would prefer to live behind my leg rather than in front of it where he belongs!

Our first class was #130, OTAB Walk/Trot English Equitation All Ages/Types (Ezhno’s PtHA paperwork didn’t come back in time for the Pinto classes, which is fine because the open to all breed classes were cheaper anyways 😛 ).

We’d practiced this pattern during our lesson on Monday (albeit in a western saddle with an English bridle) and it didn’t go super well. I’m still terrible at picking out my diagonals (a hole that Trainer M has missed since we’d been focused on jumping and I’m quick to fix them when I miss them). I hadn’t been planning to do the class, but another member of our team was entered in it, so I figured, “Why the hell not?” I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, but oh well, who cares!

Surprisingly, the pattern went well. Our trot transition was prompt and I picked up the wrong diagonal (as always), which was the correct diagonal for the pattern. Unfortunately, as we came towards cone C Ezhno spotted a hose hanging up in the arena and used it as an excuse for a prompt spook left that had us halting very far away from the cone, plus our back was blegh—but we got a 4th, two 5ths, and a 6th from the four judges (Mike Adams, Theresa Sullivan, Curt Summers, Sally Jo Freucl).

See that hose wheel on the pillar? Yep, that was SCARY. Also, this horse was super handsome.  🙂

We had a while until our next class, so I untacked Ezhno and let him chill in his stall while I went and watched a few of the classes (and admired all of the handsome APHAs). There were a few competitors that came to practice for PtHA Worlds, so there were a lot of amazing horse/rider combinations to ogle.

When there were only a handful of classes left before mine (#149, OTAB Walk/Trot English Pleasure All Ages/Types) I brought Ezhno back out and got him warmed up again. Trainer M touched up my lipstick, took a cute photo of us together, and then in we went for our class!

We entered in at a trot and probably made a good three circuits of the arena before they gave us another direction (totally fine, except I was so hot). Ezhno felt super good! His pace was good, his head was down, and he was listening when I clicked to him. He tried to shy a little bit when we came up on the hose the first time, but I just set me inside leg on to pin him to the rail and he got back to work right away. All in all, I was super proud with how he went (though our back was still blegh and we probably lost a placing or two over it), and we came out with a 2nd (!), two 3rds, and a 4thvery good for his first large show!

Ezhno got mucho pets, then I untacked him, stripped off all of my uber hot show clothing, and tossed Ezhno a couple of flakes of hay while I enjoyed my own lunch of champions before I went back out into the heat and spent the rest of the day watching everyone bring home more ribbons for our barn.

Show Recap: February 4th & 5th IHSA Show

Show Recap: February 4th & 5th IHSA Show

Back at the start of fall Trainer A took a position as coach of the University of Washington’s western equestrian team. The team competes in special shows organized by the IHSA where riders are required to compete on mounts they’ve never ridden beforeso riders draw from a pool of horses in the morning, watch the horses get warmed up by their owners, and then have a brief chance to ask questions before they mount up and are sent into their classes.

It’s an awesome (and unconventional) idea, so when Trainer A announced that the last collegiate show of the season was happening in Lynden and she needed warm up riders, I jumped on the opportunity. I would’ve loved to take Ezhno if he was sound, but Belle the Pony loves horse shows and was more than happy to be my partner in crime for the weekend.

So the Show Buddy and I woke up at a ridiculously early hour on Saturday morning and trekked up north to the same place we competed in November! We found the horses chilling in their stalls at the fair grounds, had the horses tacked up, and then grabbed Belle and Boston so that we could ride in the over fences warm up.

The Pony jumping in one of her classes and a good, sweeping view of the course setup.

We accidentally went into the arena when the jumps were set for the open division (2’9″ is SCARY), then ducked out until the jumps were lowered. Boston was entered in intermediate (2’6″) and the Show Buddy has only jumped him a couple of times, so she was nervous to warm him up over them, but they sailed over the red jump with the brick wall without any problems. Unfortunately, Boston made a solid decision throughout the day that the pink jump was the spawn of Satan, so…

The Pony was in novice (2’3″), so we made it through our warm up with only a bit of trouble at the oxer (I lost my guts at the last second, she almost stopped at the base and then jumped anyways LOL).

Boston’s hated pink fence and my nemesis the oxer (totally my problem, not the Pony’s)

From there the classes kicked off! It was a lot of fun to answer questions about the Pony’s quirks and all of the riders that drew the Pony were ridiculously friendly and enamored with her tiny cuteness. Plus I was super proud of the Pony because she did a great job of taking care of all of them, even if they hadn’t jumped in a few months or were super nervous.

Since Boston and Belle were used in the jumping portion of the day, that left Ivy and Coda for the flat classes. I tucked Belle away in her stall and then went back out to the arena to watch the Show Buddy ride Ivy in the warm up, plus check out the other horses. It was really interesting to see the variety of horses that had been donated to the show, and by the end of the first day of the competition the Show Buddy and I had picked out at least two horses each that we wanted to take home with us.

Yes, I’ll take Bob the Giant and Flint the Hunk home with me, please

After an awesome dinner and a night spent talking with the Show Buddy, we were pulling back into the fair grounds for western day! There was a mix up about the warm up time, so the Show Buddy and I got there just in time to rush in and mount up (after a frantic change of tack, since they’d managed to mix up saddles on almost all of our horses). The Pony and I walked/jogged/loped our way around the arena while people cooed over how cute she looked from the bleachers.

The western classes were organized so that the competitors participated in a standard rail class, then lined up at the end to perform a pattern. The patterns for the advanced riders were complex, requiring counter canter circles, halt to canter transitions, and no stirrup work. It didn’t matter, though, because our horses were kicking ass and taking names on Sunday; every time we sent a horse into the arena, their rider came out with a first place ribbon!

Unfortunately, we only had the chance to get through the first five or six classes of the day before the snow outside started piling up. People started to get nervous and soon we were milling about in the warm up arena, waiting for news on whether or not the show was going to be cancelled while the staff rushed to get through all of the classes that affected regional placings.

Waiting for the snow verdict and walking around to keep the Pony warm

Once they officially called it, chaos erupted. Stalls were stripped, ponies were untacked, and equipment was hauled out through the snow to the trailers. I came outside to find my tiny car entrenched in snow and all of the trailer doors frozen shut. Then Trainer A had to fight with her truck’s four wheel drive and we all had a moment of horror when we finally got the trailer opened and realized that snow had gotten into the trailer through the windows.

It was all a bit of a nightmare, but we got the horses out safely and, despite the ups and downs, I had a fun time and wouldn’t hesitate to go to one of these IHSA shows againso long as it’s not in Lynden in the depths of winter!

Show Recap: December 4th Eagle Mountain Schooling Show

Show Recap: December 4th Eagle Mountain Schooling Show

 

First off, a caveat: as awesome as ribbons are, part of competing in the 18+ division at local schooling shows is that the classes are usually small (I rode solo in one class, against one other rider in three classes, and with three others in the last class). Victories can come pretty easily when you’ve only got to beat one other person, so I don’t place much stock in ribbons.

As always, Ez loaded/unloaded/tacked up like pro. When we hit the arena for warm up I gave him a quick walk/trot free flow and then checked out his canter. It was a bit fast (still easily controllable), but I could tell right off the bat that our right lead was very sticky, if not nonexistent. We actually had the judge (whom I recognized from my last Eagle Mountain show and whom I really like because she always gives advice to her riders at the end of each class) come into the arena to give us some pointers, but she was impressed with how good he looked for only three months worth of training.

lolwhatrightlead
i don’t remember how to right lead, mom, SORRY D:

Equitation classes were my first two classes of the day. Class one went well until we botched the right lead and had to do a simple lead change to fix it, then he was super unbalanced and we broke gait (hello, second place). Class two had a bit of sitting trot with no irons in it (MY JAM). Then when she called for the canter (with my irons) he gave me the wrong lead again and then we messed up the change (too disorganized, too rushed!), so I took advantage of being the only one in the class and made him halt, push his haunches in, and then canter off from the walk with the correct lead.

haunchesinfix

Pleasure classes were next. Class three she called for the canter on the right track and I made him haunches in slightly before I asked for the transitionhe nailed it and got lots of praise (plus a blue ribbon). We went back in for our second pleasure class and he gave me the correct lead without any hassle, so that’s what I call a successful school! Plus his transitions were actually looking pretty goodnot perfect, but definitely improved in the head tossing department.

cutetrotandgettingthelead
He gets so much better every time I ride him. He’s such a good boy. ♥

Class 5 was the class I was most looking forward to: discipline rail, where nothing is off limits! Our judge called for a lot of trot to halt and halt to trot transitions (we’ve practiced this, I just have to prep him a lot so he stops with his butt and not his forehand or he tries to yank me out of the saddle), some sitting trot (again, MY JAM), a couple of turns on the forehand (he did surprisingly well, if a bit sloppy), backing (good, head could have been lower), the hand gallop (had a bit of a crow hop, we’ve never done this before), and a hand gallop to walk transition (surprisingly good).

We got called into line and then myself and another one of the riders got pulled out to do battle for second place. We started at the trot, then did a trot to halt transition, then a turn on the forehand, then a halt to trot transition, then a normal reverse, then another trot to halt… the other rider and I were both on our game, so it came down to a halt to canter transition (not Big Horse’s forte)and we slam dunked it. (Well, okay, there was one or two walk steps, but still.)

winninghalttocantertransition

My last class was pairs riding with W. We were the only people to show up for the class, so we had the whole arena to ourselves. We were admittedly unprepared (wait, extended trot?), but we did okay (outside of some massive sass from Boston) and it was lot of fun (I may have made a few witty comments to W during our ride that made us both less than focused, lol). There was one point where we had to do three reverses in a row (one at the posting trot, one at our attempt at an extended trot, and one at the sitting trot) and the judge said, “And if you’re not dizzy yet, I don’t know what to say.” LOL

pairsreverse

It was a great day! W and R both had a good time and won some perfectly respectable ribbons for their first time showing. All of the horses were well behaved and Ezhno performed very well, plus I got ideas for things we should work on at home (right lead x 1,000,000, cleaning up turn on forehand/haunches and backing, walk/halt to canter, and hand gallop to walk/halt, to name a few). Overall, I’m glad I went because having the chance to show him off made me very proud of where Ezhno’s at right now. There’s a lot of things that are sloppy, but most of his buttons are functional, it’s just a matter of refining them.

Charismatic show horse (left) transforms into lazy/hungry/unphotogenic horse at the end of the day (right)
Charismatic show horse (left) transforms into lazy/hungry/unphotogenic horse at the end of the day (right), lol