The Twists Keep Coming

It’s T minus 1 day ’til show day.

We’ve just received word of a Judge change for my classes.

The new judge is the old trainer I had a seriously bad falling out with….

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu *k!

The show Saturday, the one where everything rides on me scoring well, just got harder.

As someone who already turns into a ball of nerves wrapped in anxiety on show days, this new development adds an extra special sauce of EEEK to the experience.

Will I be able to hold it together well enough to pull out a passable rendition of First Level, WHILE being judged by the old trainer I pissed off?!?

Will I forget my all of my tests and be DQ’d for off course, sending myself into a humiliation spiral for our final show?!?

Will the judge spit on us as we turn at C?!?

Stay tuned for more of “Avandarre Really Knows How to Burn a Bridge”.

….

I’m eagerly awaiting how all this plays out on Saturday! 😂

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The Twists, the Turns!!

Its T-5 days til show day.

That’s right. I entered one last show this year. I had no intention of showing for the rest of the season… BUT…

I found out I’m in the running for Reserve Champion at First Level (Year End Awards)!

Plus I need 3 shows to be eligible for year end awards.

My two main rivals are SA and SC.

Now, SA has busted butt this year to clinch the Champion spot for points. She’s attended every show and earned 47 points! Plus, she’s a mere 1% off the high Percent Champion with a 68%.

SC has only been to a few shows (like me), so her points are lower (26 points), but her high percent is 69%, which puts her in lead for Percentages.

Disclaimer: Both SA ad SC high scores were from a specific judge at the show I was going to go to but decided it was too hot. Now I wish I’d gone.

SA is a hard working, very dedicated young lady who has worked tirelessly for every gain she’s made this year. She’s improved immensely.

In the two shows earlier this year where I competed against her, I was able to beat her.

But SA’s improved a lot over the course of a year. Will I be able to beat her again at the last, and final show of the year??

Or, will SA finally crush me under her heel, proving that she has overcome training and horse issues?? Will she wave the blue ribbon at the last and final show??

SC, the far better rider than both SA or myself, chose to step aside this show.

SA and I will battle it out beteen ourselves this show.

If I beat SC in points, it’ll be a hollow victory. One earned by forfeiture rather than skill and talent. SC could’ve easily beaten me on points this show.

Will I be able to top SC’s incredible high percent at my final show (a score I’ve never gotten close to in all my years of riding? Or will SC hold on to her title of High Percentage Champion for First Level?

Who will win? Who will lose?

Tune in next time for “As the Judge Groans” to learn how it ends!!

** I really like SA and SC. I couldn’t be happier for their success this year.

I also really like how much they challenge me to become a better rider.

Hopefully no one takes this post too seriously. It’s tongue in cheek. I’ll be happy if I stay on and no unplanned ring depatures.

Show #2 Recap

The second show went well.

I won a lot of swag.

Two first places (Test 2 and 3), one second place (Test 1). We won High Point Grand Champion for First Level, and Reserve High Percentage Champion. There were 6 to 8 riders in each test.

My scores sucked. 63% was the highest score (Test 3). Ironically, the scores increased the more wore out Joy became. haha
No scores below 60 though (whew).

I was really tight that day. You ever just have one of those days where you can’t ride as well as you’d like? This show was my day.

You can watch First level Test 1 here (movement w/scores): https://youtu.be/xMYPnT8hjLE

Judge was an ‘S’ judge. The main issues she noted were bracing, short, tight neck, rushing, and balance issues. Pretty much the same as the first show.

However, our stretchy trot and lengthens improved greatly.

I decided after this show that I’m done showing for the year. I wanted to see if Joy could handle a dressage show, and if she was ready to compete at First Level. I think I achieved both of those. I’m not getting the scores I’d like because I have some holes in my training that need to be addressed first. Yet, she’s competent enough at this level to beat out 7 other riders and receive a 63% under an S judge. We have room to improve, but I’m feel like we’re on the right track.

I’m spending the remaining 4 to 5 months on monthly lessons and fixing the holes so we can move up next year. Along with the bracing/tightness, the canter needs a great deal of work. The jump from First to Second, in my experience, is pretty hard to make, and I want to make sure we can do it successfully. I think this pony has a lot of potential for collected work, and I’d love to see her excel at dressage. Maybe eventually go to someone with the money to show her at the upper levels? That would be so awesome.

So, that’s my plan for this summer. A lot of consistent (as consistent as I can make it) work for both Joy and I. I’ve been trying to stick to a running routine to increase my stamina. I’ve added a similar routine for Joy, but at the canter. Both of us are not in the physical shape needed to be true athletes, but we’ll get there.

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! 😚☺😍

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.

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!

Danger Noodles and Mouse Sized Spiders

I was going to tell you about all our adventures in the last blog post, but it seemed too long. So I broke it into two posts.

I’ve been feeling a lot more confident in Joy’s ability to handle new things this year. I’ve been trying to take her out on the trails by herself more often.

We’ve finally conquered walking past the poop bog. That used to send us careening backward at full speed into ditches and trees. Now she simply gives it the stink eye while nervously walking past.

Yesterday we wandered out to the other side of the field to check out a freshly mowed path. Joy walked on a fairly loose rein the entire time. 

We were on our way back when the branch laying in the path ahead of us started slithering away. 

I’m terrible with identifying snakes. My default is avoidance whenever possible.

I halted Joy with the intent that we’d wait until the snake moved off the path.  I don’t think she even saw the snake.  Some leaf way ahead of us was beyond scary though,  and she was certain we needed to flee immediately. 

A couple of tense moments.  Snake was finally off the path.  Joy and I continued down the path and it was as if nothing had happened. 

I got back to the barn and started cleaning stalls.  I was sweeping up some loose hay in the corner when a small critter the size of a mouse scooted away and buried itself under some other hay. I figured Id shoo it out of the stall.   I moved the pile and this massive spider ran out and stopped next to the stall wall  staring at me.  

I go into attack mode! 

“No spider will allowed to live in my pony’s stall!! ”

I stabbed it with the bristols of the broom as hard as I can. 

I lift the broom,  expecting to see a wounded or dead spider,  but the dang thing had grabbed on to the bristols and was valiantly crawling his way up towards me. 

We lock eyes… 

I see I’m out matched,  so I hurl broom with spider out of the stall door and into the pasture. 

Shit. 

I needed the broom still… 
 

Still working on the canter

We had some fun adventures yesterday!

I rode Joy. I’m still working on the canter.

Her canter is horrendous. Just God awful to ride. Feels like she’s in four separate pieces and they’re all going different ways. It’s the weirdest canter I’ve ever ridden.

She canters with her hind legs close together, like a bunny hop type canter, when she gets the least bit unbalanced. The front end is always flying off in front of us. The hind end is always waaaay out behind us. It’s terrible. Hard to ride, and pretty much everything I’ve tried has either made her a hot mess, caused too much tension, or overall simply made the issue worse.

So, my latest idea is try more forward! When in doubt, add forward! Ha!

This was our June canter (I have nothing past that), which was rather decent for Joy. She doesn’t look too relaxed about it though. Tense. Tail swinging around. We’re fighting.

 

And this is today:

Nothing super big, but I was happy she was more adjustable and I could steer with my seat. That was cool.

A big THANK YOU to my super generous, and awesome, hubby for video taping the canter last night.