Sunday, October 18, 2009

2009 Goals

Showing at the State Fair was the last goal on my list of things to do for 2009 with Lilly. We did it! We accomplished all of our goals!

And not only did we accomplish them, we blew them out of the water. :) I wanted to get Lilly ready to show in a canter class by the end of the year, and we've been doing canter classes for a few months now. Doing equitation patterns wasn't even on the list, but we've been doing those too, and winning! (Minus the State Fair, of course... lol) I'm so proud of her and how far we've come this year, and I'm really glad we were able to accomplish our goals. She has just been wonderful this year.

One show left for this year... and I'm 1 point from getting a PAC Certificate of Recognition in showmanship. It would be really awesome to end the year with that certificate, but I'm trying not to get too excited, just in case.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NC State Fair

Today's weather was awful. It was about 50 degrees and rainy. It was raining when I first got to the fairgrounds, and then it stopped for a short time, only to sprinkle for the rest of the day we were there, and then pour on the way home. Cold and wet... yuck. Luckily, I was done with all my classes by 1pm, so we didn't have to hang out in the rain too much. I did have to put Lilly in the trailer for a while, though, to keep her from getting soaked. I was really hoping for better weather. The rain really ruined the day.

Lilly was the only horse there with a fuzzy fall coat. And she was as clean as she gets with all that fuzz, a bath the night before, and a night in a dusty outside stall.

The classes were all pretty small and they went by very quickly.



I didn't sign up for any halter classes, so my first class was novice amateur showmanship. My amateur showmanship class was directly after the novice class, so I went out of the ring and then right back in. I thought both classes would have the same pattern, but they didn't. So I had to memorize two patterns in my brain. Luckily, they were similar.

Here is the novice amateur pattern:

Start at cone A, walk to cone B, at B pick up a trot and trot a circle as noted, then trot to cone C. At cone C, stop and perform a 360 degree turn, then set up for inspection. When dismissed, perform a 90 degree pivot and walk to lineup.

I thought Lilly did a really good job. I tried to be very smiley and chipper with lots of snap and pop. There were 7 horses in the class and we got 3rd under one judge and 4th under the other.

Here was the amateur pattern:

Start at cone A, walk to cone B, at B pick up a trot and trot a circle as noted, then trot to cone C. At cone C, stop and perform a 180 degree turn and set up for inspection. When dismissed, perform a 270 degree pivot and walk to lineup.

This one was a little tricky because I had to set her up with the judge at her rear end and then move around her accordingly. In this class she started trotting before the cone and before I asked her to. But out of 10 horses, both judges placed us 4th.

So not too bad for showmanship.

Next I had my four riding classes. They came up very quickly and I had to rush a little bit getting ready. Plus it was raining, so tacking up was a challenge.

My dad was so helpful when we were trying to get ready!

Lilly was like a little firecracker. When I got on and took her to the makeup arena to work, she was ready to go! I didn't have much time to get her warmed up, but she started working better by the time our first class was called.

My first two riding classes were huntseat pleasure classes. One was novice amateur and the other was amateur. There were 6 horses in the novice class, and 8 horses in the amateur class.

In the novice class, she was spooking at the people in the stands, and was having a difficult time concentrating on me. We got going ok, though, and they made us canter for a really long time and I think that helped get rid of some of that energy. When we were asked for our first canter, she picked up the wrong lead. I thought she might have trouble with those today because if she isn't paying attention she just does whatever. One judge saw us and one didn't. The one who did not see us goof placed us 3rd, and the one who did placed us 6th.

The next pleasure class was just bad... she got both leads but was TRUCKING around the arena like a racehorse. I couldn't get her collected at the canter at all and we were definitely going way too fast. She just had a lot of energy. I blame it on the weather. We got honorable mention from both judges, which ended up being 7th out of the 8 horses.

The huntseat equitation classes were my last two classes. The pattern was the same for both the novice and amateur classes:

Walk to cone A, at A pick up a sitting trot to B. At B, pick up the canter, right lead, around the cone to cone C. At cone C, rising trot on the left diagonal, around cone B to cone D. At cone D, perform a 180 degree turn on the forehand, back 5 steps, then canter on the right lead to lineup.

Two words for this pattern... oh boy.

Here we are waiting for our turn to shine!

I actually think we could have done an ok job if she wasn't super hyper, but she was, and our patterns weren't pretty. The good thing was, we had two chances to get it right! Too bad it didn't happen in either class! In the novice class, we did ok until we had to canter on the right lead. It took her forever to pick it up and we went way around the cone. And when it was time to stop and perform our 180 degree turn on the forehand, she wouldn't stop. She was chomping on the bit constantly. Out of 5 horses, we got a 4th and a 5th.

The amateur class didn't go much better. She picked up her canter faster at cone B, but didn't want to stop and it took us 3 tries to get the canter depart after the back. It just wasn't good. Out of 5 horses, we got two 4th places.

So, considering everything, we could have done worse, but we certainly could have done better. Honestly, it wasn't at all what I hoped it would be.

It was fun having my parents there, though. I was hoping Lilly would do better to show them all of our hard work, but it didn't work out that way. My mom took some video but it will take me a little while to get it going. It's on a tape, so I have to get it on the computer using my old school VCR and digital converter box.



If my calculations are correct, we should get back about $80 in premiums. I paid $154 for all my classes and registration fees, so that's not too bad.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crazy

Life has been crazy for me the past couple weeks, and not crazy in a good way. I just haven't been motivated to ride, and with the way Lilly is, it isn't fair to ride her if I'm not totally committed. I have been over to visit her a couple of times, but haven't done any riding.

Luckily, my parents will be in town on Tuesday, so that should definitely cheer me up, at least for a little while. The Paints and Palominos day at the State Fair is Wednesday and Lilly and I will be there to do our best. My mom promised to take some video, so I'm hoping to be able to upload it here. Lots of pictures to come too. It's looking like rain and 60 degrees for Wednesday, but with any luck that will change.

The State Fair will complete my goals list for 2009 and I'm so proud of Lilly! No matter how we place (or don't place) on Wednesday, we are light years ahead of where I thought we would be. She really has turned out to be a great little show horse.

She'll be getting her teeth floated on Monday and the vet promised Lilly wouldn't have a sore mouth on Wednesday, so I hope she's right.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

JCHSS Show #7

Today was a gorgeous day for a show... still nice and warm, with bright sunshine, but not too hot or humid. I was afraid it might be too cold to give Lilly a bath this morning, but it was plenty warm. And a good thing too. She was dirty!

I got there too late to do halter, or so I thought, so I didn't sign up for it. But as I was standing in the make-up arena waiting for showmanship, my would be halter class was going in. Oh well...

Here was the showmanship pattern:

Walk from cone A to cone B. At cone B trot to the judge. Set up for inspection and when dismissed, pivot a 270 degree turn and walk off into line.

I actually hate this type of pattern. The pattern says to walk from A to B, but also says to trot from B to judge. I'm never sure when I should start trotting. After I turn the corner? Or right when I get to B and trot the corner? I watched everyone else and I've watched at other shows too, and usually everyone waits until they round the corner. It certainly is easier that way, but I recently did some research on this and since it says "trot from B to judge" I should start the trot once I get to B. So as soon as Lilly's nose hits B, I should start trotting. If the cones were in a straight line, you wouldn't wait until you passed cone B before you started trotting. You'd start as soon as you got to that cone. So today I practiced in the make-up ring and Lilly and I trotted the corner from B to the judge. She did pretty good. It's a tight turn, and the line to the judge can potentially be at a diagonal, but I hoped as long as it was straight, that's what would matter.

Our pattern for english showmanship was decent. She trotted off right at the cone and we made a nice corner. It took her FOREVER to set up, though. I'm not sure what she was doing. I even broke my own 3 second rule, but I wasn't going to let her stand there all wonky. Her pivot was good and off we went to lineup. After the last horse did their pattern, the judge came over and did the "weave". Most judges don't do the weave anymore, but I love it when they do! What's the weave, you ask? Where the judge walks all over the place in and out of horses in the line-up, of course! In and out, up and down, around and around... I think it's a hoot. :) Then the placings were announced, and we got 1st place! One more PAC point for showmanship!

I tried to ride in my number pad today, but Lilly was having none of it. So I rushed back to the trailer and put on the plain pocket pad. It's just as thick as the number pad and I have no idea what it is about the number pad that bugs her sometimes. I used it for two shows in a row without issue, then today she decides it isn't working. I just don't understand...

Our first riding class was Huntseat walk trot open. This is always a huge class and today was no different. 25 horses! So it was split into 2 heats and Lilly and I opted for the first heat. We made the cut and came back for the finals but didn't place. I thought she did good and thought I might hear our number, but no such luck. She felt a little "full of it", and I thought "uh oh, this is what I get for not riding her for over a week", but she seemed to work into things by the end of the final heat.

English pleasure was next, and I only had one goal for this class... get our leads! So we did the walk and trot thing, then when canter was called, I did exactly what I do at home, no rush, not caring if everyone else was cantering or not, and when she started to canter, she was on the correct lead. Yay! She did great at the canter too. I got her collected and she even put her head down some of the time. After the reverse, the canter was called from a trot, so I sat the trot, gave her the cue taking my time to set her up, and we got the lead again! I was SO happy! Mission accomplished! I don't know if it's the way I'm asking her now, or the time we spent practicing, or just the fact that I'm not rushing her, but I was really excited. :) We ended up getting 7th out of 12 horses. Not bad!

It looks like this picture was taken right after we cantered. Lilly kept wanting to sidepass to the center of the arena for some reason after the canter, so I had to push her back to the rail. (Thanks for the picture, Michele! I boosted it from the Webshots album!) :)

The next class was huntseat walk trot stock type. There were 18 of us in there and Lilly was a gem. I noticed that she is getting really good about leaving her head down. I'm not giving her the little reminder bump nearly as often. In this class, once we started the trot and I asked for her head, she left it there the WHOLE time we trotted. We just trotted around and around, she was on a semi-loose rein, and I could concentrate on sitting up and keeping some bend in my elbows while she did her thing. And she looked happy! She was merrily trotting around, head down, ears up, just a pleasure to be on. I was so proud of her! We ended up with 3rd! That's 4 PAC walk trot points!

English GAYP adult was next and there were 6 of us in there. Again, she did REALLY good about leaving her head where I put it. I could not have asked for her to do better. She was perfect! She never tried to trot when I didn't ask (in any class, actually), and never got rushy in her walk. We even got called for 1st place! 2 more PAC walk trot point!

Here was the english equitation walk trot pattern:

Walk from cone A to cone B. At cone B pick up a rising trot on the right diagonal. At cone C, pick up left diagonal and trot a circle as noted. Continue trotting on left diagonal to cone D, stop, and back 5 steps.

As I prepared for this class, I thought, "I really need to practice getting my diagonals by feel one of these days..." When I check my diagonal, though, I just drop my eyes for a split second and I don't think it's too noticeable. I see some riders drop their whole head. Who knows, I'm probably just as noticeable! As it turns out, I picked up the right diagonal just as the pattern said! I had a 50/50 chance, right? Lilly did a beautiful circle, and great stop, and she backs like a princess. No reefing on her mouth, no head up in the air, no open mouth... head down, and she backs with no pressure at all. Who says she can't do patterns anyway? Oh wait, that was ME! Ooops! Out of the 4 riders, we got 1st! I couldn't believe it! One more PAC walk trot point!

Our final riding class was english pleasure open. We got our leads in the last canter class, could we do it again? WE DID! She nailed them both times, and thank goodness too, because the judge was looking right at us on our second canter depart. It was perfectly smooth and I was really happy with it. Trotting was good, cantering was good... she did really well! Out of 10 horses we placed 2nd! That's 2 more english pleasure points!

After the last english class, I ran back to my trailer to make my 10 minute miracle change from english to western. As usual, I had to wash crap off my horse's hocks and then try to clean off her saddle spot as best as I could. I brushed her tail, slapped some face shine on her nose and we were off, with time to spare. I got all my stuff ready ahead of time, so all I had to do was take one outfit off and put the other one on. I wore my teal ensamble today. :)

Western showmanship had the same pattern as english and there were 6 horses in the class. Lilly was a little lazy going around the cone, but set up very quickly. Her pivot was great, and we were off to line-up. This time, when the judge came by to do the weave, Lilly moved her foot! Right as the judge was walking next to us. I managed to fix it on the fly, while moving from side to side, because I certainly didn't want to miss the dance! We ended up with 1st place! 2 PAC showmanship points for this class!

Here's a quick recap of the classes and placings:

English Showmanship: 1st out of 4
Huntseat Walk/Trot Open: NP out of 25
Huntseat Pleasure: 7th out of 12
Huntseat Walk/Trot Stock Type: 3rd out of 18
English GAYP Adult: 1st out of 6
English Equitation Walk/Trot: 1st out of 4
English Pleasure Open: 2nd out of 10
Western Showmanship: 1st out of 6

So in total today, we raked in 12 PAC points! I could not be more proud of her! I was considering not showing today because of some personal issues that really have me depressed, but I'm glad I went. Having not ridden her in the past week due to those same reasons, I thought it wouldn't be fair to expect a lot from her today, and with me feeling down I was cautious about how that would affect her mood, but she really delivered. I think this was our best show to date. Being with her today lifted my spirits, and not just because we got so many ribbons and points, but because she's a joy to be around. She can always make me feel better, no matter how terrible I feel.

**And, I got a call on Sunday from the show manager telling me that Lilly and I were division champions in the Adult Division AND the English Division! So I'll be picking up my two trophies at the next show in November. It made my weekend for sure!! Go Lilly!!