Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CTDS dressage mini-show

Yesterday I posted about how not to prep for a show. But despite being perhaps the least prepared I've ever been, we still managed to pull ourselves together and put in two respectable tests.

We arrived to the show right on schedule, checked in, unloaded, and then got tacked and dressed (thanks to my awesome pit crew for all the help!). We headed over to the arena with exactly 25 minutes to warm up, only to be told they were running WAY ahead of schedule and I was up next. Uh... okay? Fortunately, the gentleman riding right after me agreed to change places, so I had about 7 minutes to warm up. But for some strange, unknown reason, Paddy was... normal? Not quick or bargey? Paying attention? I wasn't sure where this oddly obedient Haffie had come from, but I certainly wasn't going to complain. I did some laterals to get his hind end activated, and a couple of walk-canter transitions to get him up in front, and we went into the arena with that.

Check out the crossover on that left hind!

Warmup on short notice? No problem!

I actually felt like it was a DAMN good test, considering he had the summer off due to injury. Sure, the canters were bargey and on the forehand, but that continues to be an ongoing problem for us and probably will be for ever and ever. But I felt like our trot work was really consistent, he was bent, in front of my leg, and generally really obedient. I ended the test with a smart salute and a big smile and pat for Paddy, then went out to stand around for 20 minutes until our next test.

Our canter still looks like this. Sigh.

Unfortunately, the heat took its toll and when I asked him to start working again, I had no horse left. This is really quite odd since we often work at home for 45+ minutes, and he's always got gas in the tank. My best guess is that we usually work on fairly hard ground, and the footing at the show was deeper than he's used to so it sapped his energy much faster than usual. I got after him a bit in warmup, but he just wanted me to hold up his 9328237 pound head while he ran around on his forehand. I tried a couple of trot-halt-back-trot transitions, and while he did them, they were slow and lacked much effort on his part, despite rather unsubtle aids on my part. I resigned myself to a somewhat lackluster test and didn't ride as smartly as I should have, so our canter departs weren't terribly clean and our 20 meter stretchy circle was more like a 20 meter Western Jog circle. I also should have  kept my whip for the test - lesson learned there. We did more careening at the canter, tidily cutting off the corners at the end of the arena (oops) and generally being a freight train, but he was tired and just didn't have anything left to give. I was pretty happy we made it through all the canter movements without breaking gait, and managed to make the last centerline straight and tidy. I felt like it was okay, but not nearly as nice as our first test. Which was really unfortunate, since I was trying for a qualifying score for the year-end championships, and I didn't feel like that ride would give me the 62% I needed...

The judge and I disagreed on which test was better, however. :)

Training Level Test 2 - 62.5%

Training Level Test 3 - 65.4%

I am still not sure how our second test managed to score a 65.4%, but since that score means that we get to attend the local championships in November, I'll take it! I guess it didn't look as bad as it felt? I get the videos tomorrow, so it will be interesting to watch them and compare the judge's scores.

I'll admit, though, I'm kind of thrilled. This is the first time I've ever qualified for any sort of year-end anything. Granted it's only a schooling show, and it's quite likely we won't have scores that will be competitive enough to place well, but I'm OK with that. WE QUALIFIED AND WE'RE GOING!!! 

As always, thanks to the all the amazing Wyvern Oaks family for their help and support. Fuzzypony (aka "The Reader"), MC (aka "She Who Makes Things Tidy"), Paddy "The Poser" Haffington, and Hubby (aka "Mr. Moral Support").

Monday, September 29, 2014

How not to prep for a show

Saturday, I ended up going to a schooling dressage show. It was sort of a last-minute thing - we'd planned on going to watch the AECs up near Dallas, but husband had a work crisis and couldn't go, and I didn't want to make the drive by myself. I got accepted into the dressage schooling show at the absolute last minute, but decided it was worth going since it would be Paddy's first time out since his injury. So all those show prep things that you usually do in the week going up to the show? Yeah, I did all that Saturday morning before my rides.  Definitely not recommend for best results!

So here's what I definitely won't be doing again for show prep:

Clipping your horse the morning of the show. Because nothing looks better than a pissed-off Haffie with a really craptastic clip job.

It looks like he's been nibbled on by rabid weasels. Please, someone teach me how to clip a horse so he doesn't have to be embarrassed that his momma clips him.

Neglecting to memorize your dressage tests. Because as I've already proven, I am past the age where I can possibly be expected to remember a dressage test. Fortunately, this show allows readers, so I just reviewed my tests right before going in the arena and relied on a reader to tell me what to do. Yes, it's like having a cheat sheet for a college final. I have a damn Ph.D., so I don't feel the least bit guilty about the cheat sheet. So there.

Not keeping your horse's mane tidy. I pretty much always wear a jacket for shows (even schooling shows), which means braiding if you're showing dressage. Paddy's mane is in that awkward stage between being not long enough to French braid but being waaay too long to do button braids. I decided I was too lazy to pull it, and Paddy's cute even with All The Hair, so we went with it. Luckily the judge still thought he was "adorable," so it was all good.

 Paddy's fan club also thought he was adorable. Photo courtesy of MC.

I DID manage to run a quick rag over clean my tack , wear white breeches, and use a clean white pad.  So we weren't completely ghetto. And we didn't do half-bad either...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Try this on for size

I was actually going to title this post "Does size matter?" but then I decided that would show up on some scary Google searches. Anyway.

Brego is LARGE. It's not just that he's 16.3 (which really isn't all that tall), but he probably weighs in at 1700 pounds. Granted, he's a bit overweight, but even when he's fit, he's just a massive guy.

Large and in charge

He wears a 7 inch bit, and I don't even want to think about what size shoe he might be (luckily, he's barefoot and has fantastic feet).

My foot vs. Brego foot. Clearly I need to avoid any accidental foot-stompings.

And a Paddy foot for comparison (note that I wear a 7.5 shoe)

Guess which fly mask is his? (HINT: It's the one that's twice as large as any of the others)

A regular A/P pad looks like a postage stamp on his back. And Paddington looks like a midget next to him.

Great, I now look like I own a pony. Paddy's 15.1, I swear!

Paddy and his (oversized) shadow.

And just in case you were wondering, Brego sports a size 87 blanket. I didn't even know they MADE blankets that big!

BFFs don't know that they're mismatched size-wise! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Legless right-angle dog

Weird dog is weird.

But also very cute!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Brego's first experience with armor

Brego's resume is pretty much second to none - an accomplished hunt horse, extensive eventing career including placing very well in a number of Novice level USEA events, toter of dads and small children... he is literally everything we would ever want in a horse. Top that off with his handsome good looks and willing attitude, and the only question left was whether he might make a good jousting horse. So when we were up in New Hampshire getting to know him, we brought along some of hubby's jousting armor to see what he thought of it.

The pics and videos pretty much say it all...


Human, you look weird.

But maybe you have foodz?

Oooh, clinky!

...but not as interesting as the lady with the hay cart over there.

Note that usually the clinking noise is what worries horses the most about armor, which is why you hear so much of it in the vids.

This one is my favorite. Brego's all "Oh hi, what exactly are you doing and can I eat it?"

So yes, we're pretty sure Brego will be able to add "kick-ass jousting horse" to his resume in fairly short order!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Welcome to Wyvern Oaks, Brego!!!

I know I've been quiet for a while - we've just been super incredibly busy with The Great Fencing Project, and we've been anxiously awaiting the arrival hubby's new horse...


Yes, that Brego. The one he rode fox hunting up in New Hampshire about a month ago? That wasn't quite the innocent ride I made it out to be... we were actually trying him out to see if he and hubby were a match. Turns out, they got along FABULOUSLY well, and Brego's mum was happy with the idea of him having a job again. I'll have to post more pics/videos of the tryout ('cause Brego seeing armor for the first time was ADORABLE), but for now, here are his arrival pics!

The Brook Ledge van turning onto our street. These guys are awesome - if you need a horse shipped, I highly recommend them!


Hubby leads Brego to his new home.

Brego came off the trailer looking like he'd just stepped on - totally fine, hydrated, and 100% ready to go. I'm not sure what Brook Ledge does to keep horses in such good condition on such long trips, but whatever it is, it works!

 Brego settled right in. First, a good roll in the dirt. Don't you just want to rub his belly???

Next, sniff the poop. 

Meet the neighbors... Cash, Red, and Taran in the far back. There were several kerfluffles between Taran and Brego over the gate, but you know what they say about fences making good neighbors. 

 It's also important to stand in the water trough. Apparently this is a thing Brego likes to do when he's hot, lol! We may need a bigger water trough...

And then settling in to a full hay net. Hubby for size comparison.

Paddy stayed up in the stall during the day to keep Brego company. They met a few times over the fence, and there were no dramatics. After Brego had had several hours to relax, drink half the water trough, and otherwise settle in, we decided to let them out together. And here's what happened:

BFFs already!

We are so, so grateful to Brego's mum Daun for suggesting the match in the first place, not to mention   setting up the fox hunt and tryout weekend, and then graciously handling all the logistics it takes to ship a horse halfway across the country. Thank you SO MUCH, and please know that he will have the best home with us! Also, many thinks to MC for keeping a watch out for the horse van's arrival, watching over Brego's introductions to the herd while hubby and I tried to figure out why the electric fence wasn't working well, and of course, ALL THE PICTURES! And of course thanks to FuzzyPony for well... everything. ;)