Springing into Possibilities

The great white north. Where 45 degrees is t-shirt weather.

The ponies are shedding hair faster than lazy people run from work.

The ticks have made their descent on critters and humans alike. They had gathered their armies and attacked before the last snow had even melted.

And me? I am tubby and out of shape, still suffering from cabin fever and a horrendous cold/flu.

But over there.. just past the horizon, is the possibility of Show Season. That glorious time where horse and human become one athletic team, stunning audiences with their grace and skill, wowing judges with their grasp of core dressage concepts, signing autographs for their adoring fans…

Oh wait, that’s other people…

I’ll be the chubby one on the plain brown pony who is desperately trying to ride a 20m something that should resemble a circle instead of an egg.

I hate to even suggest we might go to a show, or lesson, or whatever this year. It seems like every time I plan something, the horses end up lame. So finger’s crossed this year works out for us! I have high hopes, but I’m also a horrendous pessimist.

Actually, I’m beginning to get a bit superstitious about even mentioning I’m planning something. The moment I commit is the moment the horse goes horribly lame.

So, for now, I’ll leave you with the idea that if all goes well, then we’ve got fun times ahead of us!

Future Tense

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use the remaining active years of my life to my best advantage.

I figure I have about 5 more years before I land in a deep depression due to the incongruous juxtaposition of my real age and the age my mind actually thinks I am.

Before that happens, I really want to try eventing.

A few facts stand in my way currently:

  • Fact one: I know Joy isn’t the right pony for me to do that on.
  • Fact two: I do not want to purchase another horse until I’ve sold Joy.
  • Fact three: No one wants a sassy, red-headed pony with a club foot and no show record for what I want to sell her for.

My conclusion:

I must actively campaign Joy on the schooling show circuit (and do well) in order to demonstrate her stunning movement and awesome training!!

**Rated shows are so far above my ability to afford that I am going to pretend they don’t exist.**

    • Issue 1:
      • I suck as a rider.
      • I haven’t had a dressage lesson in years
      • I am old and out of shape.
    • Issue 2:
      • Due to ice accumulations, I haven’t been able to ride or work the pony since the beginning of January.
      • Truck is old, rusted, and “iffy”.
      • I haven’t taken Joy off property since 2017.
    • Issue 3:
      • My last dressage show was 2014 and I no longer fit in any of my show clothes.
      • I lack funds to replace show clothes with larger clothes
      • really like to eat.

 

My Conundrum:

  • I need to use the money to take the lessons in order to do well at the shows.
  • If I use the money for the lessons, then I don’t have the money to do the shows.
  • I need the shows to sell the pony.

 

Five years from now, my extension cord collection will reach crisis point. I must act NOW!!

hopesAndDreams

Results from Show

Post about the November Show I entered: Second attempt at online show shines light on crappy rider

Final Score: 63.33%Nov2018ShowResult

Score Sheet:

nov2018_scoresheet1.jpg

Nov2018_ScoreSheet

Judges comments in Further Remarks are:

Nicely matched pair. Nicely energetic throughout test, but needs to be more supple and relaxed in the back so can take bigger steps (especially in lengthenings).

So.. first… HOLY SHIT!  Joy got a 7 on gaits?!?!?! Dang!

Plus, we got four 7’s during the test! Pretty awesome!

The stretchy circle and lengthens really hurt my score. I definitely need professional help with those.

And, the rest was pretty much rider error. Which I’m not sure whether to be thrilled with (easily fixed), or horribly ashamed of. HA hahahaha

A 63 is decent! I’m pretty happy with it!

Bakersfield Dressage earns the gold star for the winning guess on the last post!

My mom guessed 100%. I have the best mom! 😚☺😍

Second attempt at online show shines light on crappy rider

Today was the last day to enter the last online show of the year for Better Dressage Scores.

Video of the test submission:

 

For fun, comment your guess on the final score below.
You won’t hurt my feelings if it’s extremely low. I have thick skin. 

This whole thing has really shown me that I suck. I mean, seriously! Why am I leaning?!? And what is going on with my shoulders? I look like a sack of potatoes up there. No, wait.. at this point, I’m pretty sure a sack of potatoes could sit up there straighter than I did.

*sigh*

And!! And!!! Normally the free walk on a loose rein is Joy’s strong suit. This time.. ugh. She only wanted to rip the reins out of my hands and barge forward. There was no lengthening over the top line. It was just rip and go. Bleck!! Same with the stretchy trot. It SUCKED!

I was happy with the canter departs. The right lead strike off at C is on a downward slope. That depart is difficult for Joy to do successfully.  Any other spot in the arena would be a thousand times easier than right at C, going downhill. I hate that spot.

(Extremely) brief moments in the trot work were nice. I felt she showed more bend in this video submission than she did the last time I submitted a video for this show series (I still lost her shoulders a lot, but moments of better bend in there).

My guess for final score is 60%.

What’s your guess?

 

The Somewhat Disturbing Audience

I hopped on Joy to play with a few of the exercises I had found. She was extremely distracted from the get go, looking for things to spook at, tense, tight, and amped up.

I went through the normal warm-up routine and was getting frustrated that I couldn’t get her attention on me.

As we’re trotting across a short diagonal, I look up and see a doe staring us down from less than 20 meters away.

She was standing in the clearing between the arena and the woods, next to the small drive we use to access the back yard. Just standing there… watching us… seemingly at ease with the situation, with no intention of moving.

I tried to ignore her. I tried to get Joy to focus on me again.

Nope.

Let me tell ya, it’s not easy to ignore a strange animal staring at you. It leaves you a little unsettled.

And Joy wasn’t having any better luck ignoring the doe than I was.

I stopped Joy at the edge of the arena closest to the deer.

Me to the deer: *sigh* “Do you want to learn dressage too?”

Doe: No answer

Me: “I’m looking for a new eventing partner. Do you like to jump?”

Doe: sidles closer to the woods.

Me: “Come on, I bet you’d be a fantastic eventing mount. We could go far!”

Doe: slinks into the woods and hides behind a tree.

Apparently she isn’t keen on eventing.

I really thought that was the end of it. And then I realize the doe is watching us from the treeline. She hung out there the rest of my ride.

I swear to you, it really seemed as if that doe was enjoying watching us.

I’m expecting to go one day and find that doe in my arena practicing dressage moves.

20181109_1623217178213378246875305.jpg

 

 

Riding in the Wild Outdoors

I hopped on Joy last night for some work, but I was a bit nervous about how it would go. It was windy (which I hate), and I could hear someone cutting down trees across the street. I thought I’d try and ride anyway, and see how it went.

Joy was fine with it. During one of our trot/halt transitions I look up and there’s a guy in one of those buckets in the air, not more than 100 feet away from, us cutting down trees over the road. I’m pretty sure that should scare a horse, but Joy didn’t seem to care so I ignored it.

We were working on left bend at the trot when the neighbor’s Bobcat came down their path which butts up to my barn. I look over and see Polar (my 7 month old puppy) absolutely hysterical with fright. I had hooked him up to a post on a cable while I rode so that he wouldn’t get trampled on, and I saw him run and hit the end of the line in an effort to escape the evil machine that was rumbling nearby. He couldn’t see the Bobcat through the trees, but it was very close and very loud, and he was very scared.

So I hopped off Joy and dragged her over to the puppy to try to calm him down. It took a while because the evil machine wouldn’t leave and kept making hideous noises directly behind the treeline.

Joy was just standing there, bored.

I finally got the puppy settled down after the machine left, and went to hop back on Joy…

So far nothing had bothered her.

I was just about to swing a leg over, when Joy tensed and stared hard at the dirt path to the road. There, standing in the path, was a deer.

Deer she sees every single day.

I walked her over to the path to get closer to the deer and chase them off. Two of the deer went running, but the third just stood there staring at us. I made loud noises to try to scare it off, but it wouldn’t move.

It was unnerving me!!

I turned Joy around and headed back to the arena… except, when I looked back i swear the deer was closer than it had been!

And THAT’S what caused me to finally throw in the towel and put Joy up for the night.

A stupid deer scared ME! hahaha

Seriously, it was freaky. 😰😧

Change in Direction

I’ve decided to sell Joy.

Joy is perfect for dressage, but her club foot isn’t suitable for jumping competitively. Plus, I’m just a smidge too heavy for her. I don’t want to ruin a perfectly lovely pony just because I want to try eventing.Joy Trot

I also don’t want to take care of three horses again. I really like just two. Two is perfect for me.

So, my goal now is to find Joy a good home. Preferably with someone who will continue dressage with her. And then I would take that money and invest it in another green-bean, project pony… one with a bit more substance to him or her so that my fat ass doesn’t completely destroy her joints and feet by having her land with tubby me all wobbly up on top of her. Maybe something closer to 14.2ish with bigger cannon bones.

 

Except, a part of me doesn’t want to sell Joy. She’s a ton of fun to ride. She’s got power and agility.  She’s easy to sit, easy to handle (for me), she likes people, and has no problems letting me fuss over her with a brush  for an hour (it’s my therapy, don’t judge. :p)

So… the idiotic part…

I was dinking around on Equine Now, trying to figure out how the darn site worked, and I accidentally posted Joy for sale.  I could delete the ad, but then I thought “Why? I’ll just slap an outrageous price on her and see if anything bites!!”

$8,500 outrageous. HA!

I dropped it to $6,500 after that, because $8,500 is too ludicrous even as a joke.
$6,500 is only slightly insane. 😉

I even created a web page for her: https://johnsonprojects.000webhostapp.com/DressagePony/

You have to check it out. 🙂 Super fun to create. Seriously, the most fun I’ve had building a website in ages! I was so proud of the banner video on that site.

As a side note: that’s my sandbox website. Go up a directory and it’s where I’ve been sticking my learning projects for Angular 5 and 6. All two of them. haha

I really did’t have any intention of actually posting an ad for Joy yet. I still need to get her back into working shape, need to fine tune the aids again (I’ve been lax), need to get some scores under her belt to prove she’s at least half of what I think she could be.

I’d be embarrassed if someone actually came to look at her right now.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts, for now…  I’d like to get around mid-four figures for her, but if she doesn’t sell, she doesn’t sell. It’s no biggie. I’ll just go back to focusing on dressage if that’s the case.

Online Dressage Show

I wrote about an online dressage show series a few weeks ago. You can read it at Online Showing.

I tried it. I wanted to share with you the details of how it worked, feedback I received, and other things I learned about this service.

I don’t want to show you the video because it’s embarrassing. The pony was lame in it, but I hadn’t realized she was favoring the leg until AFTER we started videoing the ride.  She was a powder keg the moment I got on. I hopped on and spent 5 minutes of riding out bolts and bucks, then decided “screw it” and video’d the test ride. As soon as I turned left at C she started bopping on the turns. That’s the leg with the club foot, and she is always short-strided and choppy on it when really tense. However, i later found a small cut on her pastern on that leg, so she may have whacked herself during her shenanigans. I don’t know.

She’s fine now. No lasting damage.

Anyway… excuses aside, if you can get past the shitty riding, lame pony, etc. and you want to know about the online show series, then below is how the online show went and the results I got.

Entering the Show:

Entering the show was really easy. Click on the Enter a Show link, choose your type (“I am a US dressage rider” or whichever one you are), and it takes you to the page where you can select your test.  Add a test to your cart, and when ready to check out, click “view cart” and then enter your billing info.

The only catch I ran into here is that you have to pay $5.95 to receive a ribbon and a hard copy of your test scores in the mail. This is optional. If you don’t care about the ribbon, and an email of your test sheet/scores is fine, then you don’t pay any extra. However, I had assumed a ribbon was included in the $19 charge, not an additional fee. No biggy though.

You can also choose, on this screen, to have personalized feedback from the judge. That’s $9.00 extra. Again, optional.

I chose the personalized feedback from the judge to see what that got you for $9.00.

You can either attach a video of your ride on this screen, or upload to youtube and add the link to the Notes section, or email the video to them. I chose to upload to youtube because my file was too large, then I added the youtube link to the notes.

You pay for this through Paypal.

Observations:

I received a receipt from Better Dressage Scores after I paid, but it said my entry was on-hold until payment received. I never did hear anything back that it was off hold, or that payment had been received. The communication during this process was a little lacking.

Results of the Show:

The closing date for the show was the 23rd. The actual show date was the 30th. On the 30th, I received an email with a link to the show results. At 12:30PM I received an email with my test sheet and scores, plus an audio file of the judges personalized feedback.

 

Observations:

I thought it’d be days past the show date before I received my scores and feedback. I was incredibly happy to get it so quickly!

The test score sheet is returned as a word document.  Easy to read.

The personalized feedback is returned as an m4a audio file. Windows media player will play it.  I thought the feedback was really good, spot on, and helpful. The judge was super nice about addressing the lameness issue.

** I overlaid the audio file onto the video of the test to make it easier for you. See link below.

Overall Thoughts:

I would absolutely do this online show series again.

  • I felt the judge was spot on, and she had positive and supportive comments.
  • I thought the scoring was an accurate reflection of the movements.
  • The cost was incredibly affordable.
  • I didn’t have to wear show clothes or braid the horse.
  • The setup for the arena was easy (I just shoved white blocks on the RSVP letter spots).
  • The results were quick, easily accessible (email), and score sheet is easily readable (typed instead of written).
  • The optional personalized comments were helpful and informative, and I felt they were well worth the $9.00 I paid for them.

Video and Documents:

Video of Test with personalized comments from judge applied: https://youtu.be/57GYXZ3sXZU

PDF of Score Sheet: https://avandarre.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/usef-first-level-test-1-729.pdf

Other Notes:

It’s my understanding that they do this every month, even through the winter. This would be an inexpensive and quality way to get feedback throughout the dead winter months (without having to brave icy roads with a trailer).

You can even do a “barn show” if you contact Better Dressage Scores to set it up.

And as a reminder, they offer western dressage classes also.

Joy’s First Real Counter-Canter

Now that I can get the haunches in at the canter, i thought I’d try a real Counter-Canter with her. Last time I tried (last year), I couldn’t control the shoulders and haunches well enough to keep her on the lead.

I was only going to try doing a bendy line from B to the far corner , but she was so easy to steer from my seat that I thought I’d go for a half circle in counter-canter.

Check out how it went (you may want to mute the sound):

She got unbalanced on the last part of the half-circle, but not bad overall for a beginning.

The left lead counter-canter wasn’t going as well. A little too weak and unbalanced to hold it around a full circle, so I’ll have to work on that. However, really thrilled that I was able to pick up which ever lead I wanted regardless of which direction I was going (she picked up the left without too many issues even though we were going to the right).

I really liked her leg-yield here:

I was just really thrilled that the canter is getting more balanced! Only took me three years!! LOL!

However, I can NOT for the life of me, put this all together into a good lower-level test ride. I tried to ride a First Level Test 1 last week, and it was shit. Couldn’t get the canter at the letter, our circles were football shaped (what do you mean that’s rider error?!?!), no lengthens to speak of, I couldn’t get a stretchy trot to save my life, etc. etc. It was terrible.

I think I’ve been too lax by not riding more precisely.

To help with that, I now have… ** drum roll **

ARENA LETTERS!!!

WOO HOO!

My wonderful husband made them for me.  They’re kind of hard to see in the pictures, but they look really nice in person.

The dressage arena is really starting to come together!! Yay!

That thing I couldn’t get

I’ve owned Joy, the pony, since 2015.   If you want to read about when I got her, go to I bought a…

Anyway… I FINALLY got her to do haunches in at a canter!!! Woo Hoo!! And it was pretty darn decent too!

Seriously, I have been working on this for YEARS. Granted, we’ve had a lot of time off over the years, but I wouldn’t have thought it’d be that hard to get this. I never had half the issues getting haunches in at a canter with any other horse.

This one.. whew.  Struggle bus.

Anyway, I was so thrilled.

Now I can start working on counter canter! Yay! lol!