Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Schooling Show 1/3/2016

I went by myself (with Husband) to the same schooling show series that I've been going to all winter. We left a good bit earlier than we had to because I wanted to make sure Penn didn't end up sitting in his stall while the other horses went out. It was actually a good plan because it let us take our time and try a new route to get to the show that doesn't involve over $25 in tolls. Doing that was a good thing because we found out part of the alternate route would not be a good route in the snow and we were able to avoid it later (when it was snowing).

Husband got the trailer cameras working for a short time.

My trailer cams haven't been working the last couple times I took the trailer out, but husband got them working and said it was a simple input fix ("Duh wifey! You had it set wrong!").

GPS and Trailer Cam!

But it was not to be. Shortly after I took those pictures, something in it crapped out and the picture went out. Over the years, I've gotten used to being able to watch Mikey and I find it unnerving when the camera isn't on. It was super nice to have it to watch Penn when we brought him home since he wasn't secure in my trailer. I'm going to bring the trailer back to our house (much to our neighbor's dismay I think) next weekend and he's going to isolate the problem- whether it's in the trailer, cable, or screen. We're both pretty sure it's in the cable because we're using a temporary Ethernet cable and it's been pinched in the door a couple times (Husband hasn't gotten to running it properly from the bumper, under the truck, and into the cab).

He's also going to charge the trailer batteries (they power a circuit of regular house bulbs in the trailer), trailer tongue battery, check out all the tires and spare for soundness and air, add 6 lights to the trailer to make backing up in the dark easier, 1 light that will make hooking up and unhooking in the dark easier, and possibly add a mirror to the front that reflects the hitch to the driver so it's even easier to hook up. I'm super spoiled to have a husband like him- he has made my old steel trailer bright inside with regular house lights and made it more horse friendly (removing rust, painting the inside gray/white since it was black, changing the head divider from a sheet of metal to bars, replacing the floor, replacing the old worn stall padding, and more). I am very grateful to have him!

Crossing a huge reservoir on the way out. Dreary weather all day long.

One thing we talked about on the ride over is the horse show season, and more specifically, Championships. It's over 8 hours away and I'm concerned I won't be able to make the drive as the only driver, especially tired on the way home after the show finishes up. He's going to use some of his very limited vacation time to go with me! He even said, "It can be like our vacation!" What a good husband :-)

Settling in like a champ!

This was Penn's first time traveling a distance by himself where he was expected to perform at the end of it. He settled into his stall like he's been doing this his whole life and happily munched his hay. He didn't scream, he didn't stall walk like he does at home, and he was in general a very good boy!

Sleezy + blanket hoods = Smushed (yet not frizzy) braids

We got to the show in plenty of time to relax and get warmed up. They were running a little behind, and our wait continued as I ended our warm up early. I warmed him up and kept in mind some of our bend and connection problems that Trainer pointed out in my lesson the previous day. Penn felt great- connected evenly, quiet, relaxed, and attentive. He had a couple lead issues for some reason. I don't think I was properly prepping him for the canter and with the bend and connection issues, he was picking leads up willy nilly. I made sure we got each lead, and then went to the show ring to walk laps in the warm up area. As soon as I got there, I lost some of my relaxed horse. I'm glad I took him in sooner rather than later, he had plenty of time to get his eyefuls and relax again.

So Husband forgot the tripod for the camera and had to hold it up for the length of the tests, hence the wobble this time around with the video.

67.609% for 2nd place out of 15.

For some reason, once we hit the show ring, he was jumping off the aids/bridle and being over-reactive to my leg and seat. In some of the unclear-behind-trot-work the judge mentioned, I was fighting to keep Penn forward and on the aids and prevent him from cantering, all while not shortening his neck. I was happy with this first test attempt- he was less spooky than he was in our first tests in the last two shows. I was able to find spots to release and soften my hands, so I was pleased about that too. The early transition to walk was my bad- I panicked and couldn't remember if the transition was supposed to be between M&C or at C, so instead of doing the logical thing and doing the transition at C, I hurried and did it early.

64.808% for 4th place out of 12. 1st was 73.1%!

He had a bit of a coughing fit in the first canter and into the stretchy trot. I've had this exact scenario happen at home and it is a complete disaster. He coughs, rushes, flies onto his forehand and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it except break to walk, sort him out, and pick it back up. This is obviously not an option at a show. I never got the stretch lifted back up and in the whole debacle I got my hands and reins and whip and bight all screwy so I went into salvage mode and tried to get to walk as fast as possible. At one point I managed to hold my reins properly, but too long, and ended up reaching my index and middle fingers forward, wrapping the rein up into my hands in a driving hold too. WTF was I doing?! So many issues with that one movement. I let him be overly quiet in this test and in trying to follow Trainer's instructions to let him stretch his neck, I forgot to continue encouraging him to keep his poll as the highest point.

The judge commented after this test that he got a bit low in the poll and tired looking.

65.000% for 2nd place out of 12.

I had more of the mistakes I had last time out in the canter work (continuing the left lead canter after the circle and past the judge and then onto the diagonal). I work hard to keep him cantering, then on the rail past the judge and not gawking, and then I almost lose him getting onto the diagonal, then I'm not properly prepping for the transition at X and it's just bad. We touched on that movement in lesson, and I'm going to continue working it on my own on both sides (like how it's presented in 1-1). The same thing happens to the right as we pass the judge- I'm working so hard to make sure the transition isn't early that I blow past C and then fall or hurry into the trot.

Things to work on:
I need to work on my corners with Penn. We're not balanced in them and I pay the price for it in the tests in lack of prep for what comes next. Trainer also pointed this out in lesson. I need to work on taking up my reins from the stretchy trot. No more fumble hands! I think I let Penn be a bit too quiet at this show- he felt so wonderful and relaxed that I just went with it and just didn't ride. He's also getting a little bridle lame at the canter- as soon as he's stronger in a month, I need to push him up and forward to make it go away.

Overall, I am still very pleased with Penn. I can tell he's steadier with his lower leg than he was at the last show (he'll always wing, but he's less of a wet noodle as Trainer pointed out). His trot has improved- it's a bit longer of a step and as soon as he's strong enough, it will find it's float. The judge (r judge) nailed me for everything Trainer told me to work on in lesson the day before. A very fair day I think. Trainer knows this judge very well- she owns a farm that runs recognized and unrecognized events all summer.

Large amounts of satin.

I picked up our two missing first place ribbons from the 11/29 show and did the "look at me!" thing and hung them with my ribbons from this show on my stall front, haha!

I found out that this show series will have a champion and reserve champion for each test, which will be declared at the 4/3 show. Champion and Reserve are determined by adding up each of your percents and the highest total wins (so the more shows you go to, the better your chances of winning). So umm, yea, we're going to the rest of these shows and repeating T1, T2, and T3. Maybe in the last show I'll ride 1-1, depending on how the standings are (if one of the awards will be mine, no matter how anyone else does, I'll probably dump that class and ride 1-1). I know this is just a schooling series, but keep in mind that the whole series is split by test only- the amateurs and juniors ride against the professionals in one big class every time. These aren't just "champion of the amateurs" for me, these are champion of everybody ribbons. Plus, MOAR SATIN!!!!

Being the stalker that I am, here's a list of the current standings.
In the lead, in all three classes. SUCK ON THAT!
Nah, I'm not competitive or anything... I just like winning. #bigfishsmallpond

Please note, I am NOT this competitive-spirited at recognized shows. That is a whole 'nother ballgame. I didn't bother showing any horse/rider combo with only one ride in a test. They are pretty much out of the running- the rest of us would have to stop showing up for them to have a shot. I think it's neat I'm leading by 10.5% in test 1 (I wouldn't be leading this one if Horse/Rider 2 had ridden it a 3rd time, just based on averages). I'm the only one who has ridden test 2 three times, so naturally I'm leading. However, I'd still be leading if you added the other rider's averages to their scores. I have a solid lead of 7.5% in test 3.

Driving the trailer home. A large portion of the end of our trip was spent at 25-45 mph as the road allowed because of sleet/snow on freezing roads (temps were 31-33 degrees so we weren't taking chances with black ice).

It was a long drive home. Kind of draining after a day in the cold, but whatever. Husband did a great job taking care of us. I know that's a minimal amount of snow, but the conditions were great for black ice, and I treasure my Husband, Penn, the truck, the trailer, and myself too much to hurry home just because it's late.

A back road from the barn to the main road. This road was mostly clear when we came through a half hour before with the trailer. The snow really started to come down and lay on the road while Penn and the trailer got put away.

The truck was nearly empty when we got back, so we hit up the gas station on the way to the house so the truck wouldn't sit in sub freezing temps on near-empty.

I worked out the gas fill ups well enough that when we got back home, I was able to use my fuel perks to fill up almost the whole tank (26 gal) for hella-cheap at $0.159/gallon! I wish I had some 5 gallon gas cans with us at the time so I could get my full 30 gallon limit!

I ended up paying no tolls (save $25+) and with my fuel perks, the gas for the show only cost ~$35 total (I filled up at $1.999 on the way to the show). Gas and show fees for only $110 or so. Score!

Penn's dressage ribbons. Lots of top placings already.
Penn has only been out of the dressage ribbons once- a 9th at the same show we got the brown 8th place ribbon. This is temporary ribbon hanging situation in the laundry room. Penn will get a section of wall for his ribbons!


  1. Your hubby is super handy and pretty awesome. I'm glad you and Penn had a positive outing with satin. That drive doesn't look like fun.

    1. He is so handy! We bought the trailer out of state and for a steal. I wouldn't have bought it if he wasn't around though. It's an older straight load steel trailer with a nice sized tack room. It was rough around the edges and he spent a winter fixing the electric (we had a mechanic fix the brakes since they were non-functional), taking rust off, replacing the tack room floor and horse floor, and in general making it nice to work in and around. Plus, the camera system is a custom system he designed at a fraction of the price to buy a ready to use system. It's lovely now and while it's heavy, I wouldn't dream of trading it.

      We had a very good outing (satin aside), and the drive home was not fun at all!

  2. Super show, congrads! I hate corners too, so you're not alone. And driving home in THAT looks terrifying. :(

    1. Corners and I have never really gotten along. They were more useful in 2nd/3rd level cause I could really use them to actively do the next movement. However, at training level, I can't go that deep into the corner because Penn can't take it- I bury him in them... and then I'm all wonky. When our dressage area is up in the summer I get a lot better at my corners... and even though we have an indoor, some stuff is stored in the corners so riding them properly doesn't happen as much. Cue the poles to make my own!

    2. All that was replaying through my head when the snow finally started sticking was Austen's accident last winter! It was nerve wracking.

  3. You two look super awesome, despite a few upsets. He is coming along so well!

    1. Thank you! I'm super excited to see where he's at for the Jan 31 show since that will be at the end of Trainer's mandated steady-muscle-building month!

  4. wooo check out all that satin!!!! very exciting about the championships too - that definitely sounds like something worth gunning for :D

  5. Husband is totally awesome. His camera skills (both holding and trailer) and everything else. A high five for him. And Penn just keeps looking better and better. I see such an improvement in his canter and in his straightness overall. And you have some long legs woman!

  6. Where are championships? Not that I'll be showing at them (hahahaha!) but it could be fun to go if they're reasonable.

    Penn looks SO AWESOME. After having a hothead TB, I'll probably always err on the side of "too calm". So I totally see where you're coming from there. Plus, it's only Training. You're out for experience and comments, not really to turn your baby horse in to a GP champion teetering on the edge of sanity. ;) All that said, I was looking back through my score sheets and realizing I need a little more "teetering on the edge of sanity" in my shows at 3rd to get my scores. **gulp**

    Finally. Those photos of hauling in the snow are scary, and I think need a trigger warning. I'm gonna just nope right out of those!

    1. Region 1 is at Senator Martin Center, Williamston, NC. A long haul for both of us I think, but my drive is around 8 hours. I bet yours is a more reasonable 5?

      Thank you! I like erring on the side of "too calm" as well- Penn has some natural impulsion that Mikey didn't (he varied between a red headed dragon one minute and a lazy bum the next, but more often the lazy bum), so I know if I ask for "more" it'll be there in an instant. Though, Mikey did develop his own impulsion in summer 2015 as his 3rd level work got better. But baby horses need calm, not insanity! And nah, no GP this year, maybe 2017? Haha! So you get to teetering on the edge, qualify for championships, and we'll come pick you up because I'm sure we'll be driving past your house at some point on the way down!

      As soon as the snow started to stick I thought about you! A normally 2.5-3 hour drive home took about 4-4.5 hrs because we were taking it easy. I'm a bit nervous to do it again at the end of January, but I'll see what the weather ends up doing. The show is cheap- I can scratch if need be!

    2. Ah yeah! I made a pact with myself to never again haul if it might be snowy/icy. Nope. That would not be fair to myself, you know?

      Omg. NC? Wtf. That's far... why did they shove it down in the southern most state? And not even at Tryon. That's just not fair.

    3. Last year Championships was at Virginia Horse Park in Lexington, VA. I was all pumped to go there this year, and stay with the lady who sold Penn to me (she has an Air BnB rental about 5 min from the horse park.) I guess they rotate, but come on. Region 1 goes from PA and NJ to NC. Maryland and Virginia are right in the middle, good for everyone! But nooooo, NC it is.

    4. Region 8 is in NY, I wonder if that's closer to you?

    5. I'd have to qualify in Region 8 to go to their Championships, so all the shows all year long will be super far away in NY. I considered competed in Region 2 (Ohio) because I'm very close to the border, however their Championships are 11 hours away in IL this year (in the past they've been at KHP or Grass Flats Michigan). Basically, I think it's a bad year to live where I do! Haha, maybe in 2017 Region 1 will be back at VA Horse Park.