Monday, 29 June 2015

All in the family

Kidlets and ponies and shows, oh my!

Showmanship Halter Class

My son has been in a few shows before this one, but it would be my daughter's first show.

We entered PeeWee showmanship halter class and lead line riding for 8 and under.

I entered a couple of English flat classes and loved the experience of not giving a darn how they went. I was basically using them as a warm-up for Miss Tea so I would be assured she would be good for hubby and my son in the lead line class.

My son placed first in halter class and my daughter placed third.

I then had my English pleasure class which went well, followed by English equitation (which was a pattern) and then Hunter Hack.

This actually really happened!

I was a bit surprised Hunter Hack was also a pattern and had two jumps it - a cross rail and then a massive-looking vertical. Strangely enough, I did not get nervous and Miss Tea did it perfectly.

Then our final class was the lead line. I led my daughter on our rogue pony and hubby had our son on Miss Tea. (It was also hubby's first class ever!! sqee!)

Pony dashed a bit and my daughter fell off, but I scooped her up, plopped her back on and carried on! She sounded excited when she said "That was my first time falling off!" and did fine for the rest of the class. 

All the little riders in the class tied for first of course, and received a fun bag of treats and toys along with their ribbon.

It all went so well, we might to it again at a different show next weekend!


Friday, 26 June 2015

Savvy goes to school

I am on cloud nine! Savvy girl had her very first official riding lesson in an indoor arena.

This is the arena we were headed to - so lovely and bright!

So many what ifs were in my head. Would she be okay in the indoor arena? Would I even be able to get on her for our lesson? Would I live? (haha..ha...of course I new I'd be fine. Emergency dismount is my specialty after all.)

When I arrived coach was so lovely and helpful. She made sure all gates were open and didn't rush me. I saddled up at my trailer and headed into the arena to hand walk Savvy around and let her take it all in.

Coach had another rider scheduled to ride with us to help Savvy feel a bit more secure. While I waited for her to saddle up, I had plenty of time to just chill and walk snorty girl around.

always cute

Finally it was time to get on and when I sat in the saddle I was happy to find a quiet pony under me. She is still learning about standing still for mounting and did a great job of it!

Off we went and she felt fabulous. I concentrated on holding the reins with loose contact and just focused on quiet forward movement. When ever I lost her attention I would quietly ask her head back to forward and then back to loose rein.

Before I knew it, we were doing trot exercises. She took it all in stride, but ended up getting tired and I actually had to use my crop now and then to encourage her on, but in her defence it was soooo hot and I don't think I ever trotted her that long all at once before.

practicing trot circles the day before our outing

It all went so well and visions of dressage piaffes and passage are dancing in my head! I have trained horses before, but every time when I reach that moment where I can see it - that moment of "Yes! This horse is becoming a riding horse!" I am always humbled and amazed by a horse's willingness to listen, learn and try for us.

I can't wait for next week's lesson!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Trying all the things

This past weekend I signed up for a Distance Riders clinic and intro ride. I am so delusional.

What the pros look like.
Me.   Stop laughing.

In the morning clinic we were without horses and we learned about the sport and went over what is involved in the vet checks when starting and coming in from a loop. It was very interesting to learn about all my horse's vitals and how to take them.

About half way in my brain started to realize that the afternoon ride was not going to be a relaxing trail ride in the park...just will be great...

Miss Tea is a bit of a princess. She grew up in a rectangle pasture with level ground and no trees.

And she is not exactly...agile...princess can trip like no other over a pebble.

But we did it! Baby girl went through that bush like a bull in a china shop! She stumbled her way over fallen twigs, wavered and wiggled her way in and out of deep horse trails, spooked at fallen trees and boulders. I'm so proud of her for staying up on all fours! lol... Special baby.

Needless to say, this sport is challenging and stuff like conditioning is necessary. And an agile horse might be a good start too.

Hey, I had fun and my horse seemed pretty into it, so I call it a win!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Friday night out on the town

I have been keeping a promise I made to myself a few months back.

Sweet little Savvy is a superstar waiting for her chance to shine and I made it a goal to get this pony trained and out to events this summer.

I have been riding her at home and she has been such a treat to work with.

I heard about a CWHA (Canadian Western Horsemanship Association) show in town close by that was on this weekend and realized this would be a great first step in getting out and seeing how she handles it.
Where have you taken me human?!

My plan was to take her to the show grounds the evening before the show and do a warm-up in the more relaxed atmosphere with the few horses/competitors who had come early as well.

She does not trailer well--after an 8-minute ride there she was soaked with sweat (literally running down her legs, sweat!). She was a bit nervous coming off, but I walked her around and let her eat grass and she was manageable.

Taking it all in and being generally awesome
Once she was dry, I saddled her up and headed for the arena. There were only about 3 other riders in there and it was a perfect warm summer evening. Very relaxing atmosphere for sure!

After ground work and showing her all the things, I hopped on and had no troubles walking and trotting in a relaxed loose rein.

Relaxed enough I could take this pic!

She surprised me for sure! I love this pony and
can't wait to see how far we get together this summer.

I decided not to go back for the real show (just a very busy weekend with real life going on), but I definitely felt like she would have been fine for it!

There is a dressage clinic/fun show in July. I have signed up to go with Miss Tea, but now I am thinking about changing to Savvy for this...

Monday, 8 June 2015

Rockstar 2' Jumper = My Miss Tea!!

If you have been following my journey as I timidly have been sticking my toes in the water of the weird and wonderful world of "Hunter Jumper Land", you may be aware of just how scary/exciting/difficult/impossible I have been finding this sport.

Canter has been a long-term challenge for me and my horse, but hey, I seem to enjoy challenges.

Well deserved grass after an incredible ride.
We have had two schooling shows so far this year and this past weekend was our first "real" show.
I went in a halter class first thing in the morning, but my first riding class was not to be until after lunch and I spent the entire morning hiding from poring rain. I had no riding warm up time because I was not interested in getting soaked, but literally when I put on the saddle the rain stopped! Hallelujah.

There were tons of puddles in the arena and even though Miss Princess Hooves doesn't like water, I managed to get her trotting through them.

The first class was cross rails which I trotted around successfully like the badass rider I am! So much fun, but not really pushing myself here.

The next was 2' and I convinced myself I was going to canter the whole course.

About a quarter of the way in I realized I was doing it, and not only that, but pushing hard and cantering through puddles and deep sand and attacking each fence feeling %#$@&^* AWSOME!! Not very hunter-like, but holly hell fun!!

I wish there had been video. The smile on my face was so big coming out! That right there was what I have been dreaming about for the past 8 years with this horse. I love what she gave me in that class and I love what I pushed myself to do. 

Our next scheduled event is something completely different--a distance riding clinic at the park.  We have been going hard since April with arena work. I think a trail ride might do us both some good!