Monday, September 28, 2009

Hunter Pace

Okay so yesterday we went on a hunter pace even though it wasn't the greatest weather. It was pouring when we left, but when we got there it was just a light mist so it wasn't that bad. I rode with my friend K and this woman KB from our barn. D rode with one of the girls E. There were only 3 or 4 teams because of the weather, but we still had fun. It was dry most of the time except for a light shower, but we were in the woods for most of that. The Assunpink was very muddy and gross. We had to stick to walking and trotting most of it because of the slop. We did get some canters in and one hand gallop though. Anyway we were first in our division though there wasn't really any competition Lol. We enjoyed it which is the important part!

On the other hand we also went team penning on Friday. D and I got another 15 second time though this time she rode her daughter K's horse Smokey. Of course once again the day we get one in 15 some one gets it in 13 so we were second. Our second run we did not get our cow and our third run we got it in 40 seconds. I also did a run with DN and we got our cow in 30 seconds. Satin made quite an impressive move running to "get there" as we call it from across the ring after we clean up the "trash" as they call it. My friend C who hasn't penned in 2 years and was very nervous partnered with E and they got their cow in 18 seconds their first round and did well in their other rounds too! So it was a successful night for all.

Also last week I had a lesson with my fabulous trainer R. I can't say enough how great she is and how much I love my lessons with her! Anyway we had a great lesson of course. I usually take my lesson with L, but her mare was off so it was just me. We worked on the weaknesses and mistakes from the last show since I have another western pleasure show this weekend. We worked on canter transitions and other transitions as well since they were very slow at the show and they got much better. We also worked on my focus which is my biggest flaw, but is improving. Her lope and jog were gorgeous even one handed and we worked on slowing and correcting her with the one hand, as well as, ensuring she picks up the correct lead one handed. We went through the horsemanship pattern from the last show which was great at home as I know it could have been at the show. We also worked on sidepassing and spins and Satin did both beautifully. R gave me a little pre-show pep talk so to speak. Sunday is our last WP show this season so we are going to go in there with confidence and show them what we can do. I am determined to make this last show our best one of the season and ride it as well as we do at home. I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Team Penning

On Friday we went team penning, which Satin and I are becoming pretty good at and both enjoy. We did quite a few runs and had a late night, but had a lot of fun. Our first run was with D and her horse Jewel our partners from last time who we kicked butt with. We didn't get our cow unfortunately, but put in a good effort. Our second run we did with our jockey friend DN and this lady's TB who she saved from the killer pen and is trying to sell. The TB had never team penned before, but did pretty well. I got to cut which was fun since I usually play back up and let D do the cutting for the most part. We got our cow this time in a minute and change.

Then we did another run with D this time on her daughter K's horse Smokey, another great cow horse. We got our cow in under a minute. I forget the exact time. Then I did a run on my friend E's horse, Tie who had never team penned before, but behaved well for DN in his run on him so I decided to give him a shot. We went in with K on Patty one of the barn favorites. We got our cow just in the nick of time right at the 2 minute mark. We were keeping it slow and taking it easy since it was Tie's first time and he is a baby. He was very good though and liked the cows. He wanted to play with them while Satin wants to eat them haha.

After that I did another run on Sat with DN and the TB. This time I let him cut and we did pretty good. We got our cow in like a minute and half. We could have gotten him in in about 45 seconds or so, but we lost him at the last minute right when we had him down at the pen (thanks to DN lol). We also almost collided at one point when DN lost his horse as he says meaning he lost his steering and when he turned around the horse kept going sidewise. He pretty much lost his back end and luckily I was able to get out of the way quick enough.

K and I were going to do the jackpot round on Satin and Smokey, but unfortunately they did not run it because not enough people signed up, so we just did a regular run instead and got our cow in 45 seconds. Maybe next time we go we will have a chance to go for the money round. All in all we had another fun night at team penning. Recently I was looking into Satin's pedigree and found that not only are many of her ancestor's big time reiners, but many of them are also champion cutting horses, which explains why she is so good with the cows :) .

In other news, school is going well. The usual thing with classes and what not. I also have some exciting news. I got my first freelance job! I am going to be doing an article for the Paint Horse Journals "Great Rides" section. Also, I am going to be submitting an article to Hoofbeats for consideration, so fingers crossed!

Also, today Kayla and I went on another almost 2 hour trail ride adventure. It was a lot of fun as usual. We went into the development again and rode into it a little more. Some little kids came up and fed the horses apples and carrots. It was very cute. Then we explored some new trails and had our usual fun on the old ones.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Pony is on Fire!

So last night we went barrel racing at our usual place and Satin was awesome! We did the barrels in 19.7 seconds which is our best time so far. When we started doing barrels we were getting 22s so this is a big improvement. We could have gotten it even a bit quicker if we had not gotten a little hung up at the third barrel.

Then we had dash which is our favorite event. We did our fastest dash ever at 8.7 seconds!!! I was so thrilled since some of the horses that usual beat us did it in an 8.9 and our fastest dash at this farm so far had been 9 seconds.

Our last event was poles which we usually do in a 30 but our fastest time there was a 29 and this week we got a 27.8 seconds! Again I was super excited at this great improvement! My friend whose horse is a fantastic poles horse and usually does a 1D or 2D poles time did it in 27.2 so I was very happy.

We were 1st in 2D dash and 2nd in 3D poles. There were some pretty fast horses there last night so I was very happy to place that well and most of all extremely happy with our very improved times.

I think the difference is I stayed out of her way more and let just do her job. I am usually very worried about her overshooting the barrel so I slow her down way too soon before the barrel. This time I tried not to touch her much at all and did not slow her if I could help it. I just turned her right when we were over at the barrel. In the poles I usually end up pulling a bit back as well as side to side because in the direction towards home she tends to blow through. This time I made sure I just went side to side as not to interfere with her speed and she practically stopped around the last pole so if she had not done that our pole run might have even been a bit faster. But again I was beyond thrilled with our performance!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Horse Show Recap

Yesterday I had my western pleasure show I had mentioned in my last post. So I spent most of my week preparing. Wednesday I went on a 2 hour trail ride with my friend K for her birthday and we had so much fun. We up on this grassy circle that goes behind this development. We like to go there and canter around and always wanted to go through into the development just for fun. Well this time we finally did it! We saw people watching us ride through their back door and asked if they would mind us walking through. We walked up and down the sidewalks and along the streets. It was a lot of fun and people were running to the doors to see us. It's not everyday horses walk through their development Haha.

Anyway back to the show. Turns out crazy 2 hour trail rides work wonders for our western pleasure. She was slow and perfect in our lesson the next day. At the show she schooled like a dream. Great jog. Beautiful lope. The only thing was she was a bit slow on picking up her canter. I worked her through our horsemanship pattern and worked on the transitions and she did well.

Then I went into my first class which was horsemanship pattern and rail work. She is always a bit of a doofus in this class. She gets very antsy and rushes the pattern, but I thought she would be better since she has schooled so nicely. Unfortunately I was wrong. We started our jog and she was prancing all over. She was slow in picking up the lope so by the time she did we were at the cone where we had to circle. Our circle was to small and uneven and she was quick. Our rail work was so, so. We had only 3 people when we usually have 6-8 in the class and it was extremely muddy. I ended up pinning 2nd in that class. We had a great judge "Buttons" Fairfax. I really liked him and he gave helpful comments. The horsemanship class wasn't entirely her fault. I didnt really hold up my end all that well either. My eq was sloppy in trying to fix her and my usual show nerves. I get in the class and stop being able to think about everything I am supposed to be doing. Anyway the judge said I needed to sit up straighter and look up (which my trainer R says all the time and I had been getting much better about in lessons).

Then we had the pleasure class which started well. She was jogging nicely and her lope started our well but got strung out and quick in parts. Her upward transitions were also slow. We ended up third due to our inconsistent lope. The judge said she had parts where she was collected and using her butt and she looked gorgeous, but then I would let her get strung out. I was so used to my old trainer saying to check or correct when the judge wasn't looking and he was always looking so I didn't correct as often. Like my friend said though it is better to let the judge see you correct then to let her keep going around looking sloppy. He also said when I do check her to lift up not back or down which is just what my trainer said as well.

The command class which is my favorite was very quick. His second command was lope and me and another girl both picked up the wrong lead so the 3rd girl won. I took second. Usually that is our best class. I can't believe we go the wrong lead. She never gets the wrong lead. Ugh so frustrating.

Our last class was the trail class which is also one of our strong points. Our pattern was alright. We had to back through cones which went well, but had some close calls. Our transition to the jog was slow and we only had a few strides to do it to begin with. We had to pick up a jacket and put it on another pole she was shifting around when I went to place it down which I am sure made it look to the judge like she was afraid of it, which she wasn't. She was just being antsy as usual. Her transition to the lope was very slow again. She only got 2 strides then broke 2 strides before she was supposed to. Her 360 was a bit sloppier than it could have been. We had to jog over a fan of poles and she hit some which is points off. She sidepassed nicely once she started doing it. When I halted her at first she was antsy and swinging around. She walked fine over the bridge and got her right lead canter at the end which I was very happy about. She counter canters beautifully at home, but I always have trouble getting it in trail classes which drives me nuts. We took 2nd in that class and were reserve champion.

All in all we did okay, but could have done better. It just makes me nuts that she schooled so beautifully and did so well in our lesson and then doesn't go half as nicely in the class. Though that is not entirely her fault so I should not make it seem that way. I let my nerves get the best of me and don't even realize it. I get into the class and just forget everything I should be doing to fix or help her and get mad instead, which is no good for either of us. I think she has a bit of show nerves of her own, but mine don't help much. We have our last of this show series on October 4th so we are going to work hard towards redeeming ourselves in that one. Ribbons are not important to me I just want to go out there and do the best we can do.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Team Penning!

Okay so the local farm where we go barrel racing on Tuesdays holds team penning on Fridays. So this past Friday my barn owner D and I went. We had all gone earlier in the summer, but had not been back since. Due to a long story worth of circumstances the other girls didn't go so it was just me and D. It was actually a nice peaceful outing since we only brought the 2 horses, Satin and D's mare Jewel who is Satin's paddock mate and best friend. They are both laid back, very quiet, easy loaders, etc. So it was 2 riders and 2 horses who know what they are doing so nobody to worry about.

As I said I had only gone team penning once before. Luckily my mare is a natural. For those readers out there who don't know team penning is when you are given a number cow between 0 and 9 and you and a partner have to get that cow away from the others and heard down into a small pen at the opposite side of the arena as quickly as you can. We went for our first run and got our cow in 20 seconds which is a great time. Then we go back in for our second round and end up getting our cow in 15.7 seconds which is an awesome time! We were of course very excited and proud of ourselves since sometimes people win it with a 20 and there we were with a 15. Unfortunately a few runs later someone came out of nowhere with a 13! We did one more run, but our last cow was a trickster and we were not able to get him in under 2 minutes. But, that's okay we still had a great time. My trainer R and her husband D who is the barn farrier came to watch us and some other friends that were competing.

Other than team penning we have mostly been schooling for the show coming next weekend. And I have been trying to get myself back into school mode which is feeling almost impossible lol but I will get there. Okay well I am off to visit some friends at their college for the night so more show updates this week!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Helmet Saves My Life Again

So now this is the second time this year I have been extremely thankful that I always wear my helmet. On Monday I decided it would be a brilliant idea to ride my mare who had not been ridden all weekend in a bitless and bareback saddle in the back path behind the paddocks. She was hyper from having days off and wanted to go every time I asked her to canter so I let her go a little and she was fine. Then when I was cantering her again later she started pulling and wanting to go again so I decided to let her get it out of her system. I let her run down the path and through the grass field. She was really booking it and she went to take a sharp turn between paddocks. I tried to slow her down and widen out her turn by pulling her right. Unfortunately it did not work and the bareback saddle is not the most stable thing so me and the saddle went right and she kept going left.

I landed about an inch from the paddock fence and saw her hooves gallop past me. Apparently from the eye witness accounts I got some pretty good air and really flew off. I hit my leg on either the fence of just hard on the ground not sure, but it swelled up and turned pretty colors. The swelling has gone down but it is still colorful. The next day my neck and back were a total mess as was most of the rest of my body parts. I was very sore and definitely got some good whiplash. My helmet definitely prevented me from breaking my neck or cracking my head open with that fall. My mare just ran right into the barn to wait for me and when my friend reached her (since she was moving a little quicker than I was) she trotted herself right out to her field and waited for us there with the bareback saddle on sideways and reins hanging around her neck. I put a real saddle and bridle on her and got on and rode her another ten minutes taking that turn at a hand gallop to make her do it wider and stopping her before turn to prevent that happening in the future.

Afterward I cowgirled up and rode three more horses, which may not have been the best thing for my leg, but I survived. We were on an unlucky streak at the farm with L falling off at the show Sunday, me falling off Monday, then my friend E fell off at barrel racing on Tuesday and my barn owner had a horse rear up and land on her when trying to back him off the trailer.

So that takes me to Tuesday. I finally got to go barrel racing. We did well. We got our usual barrel time of 20 seconds, our dash time was a little slower than normal at a 9.2, but still good and we won some money in 3D. We had one of our fastest poles times at a 29 when we usually do a 30. My trainer R came and rode my barn owner D's horse Jewel. She did great and it was funny to give her riding advice instead of the other way around, but as with all things involving horses she was a natural.

The past 2 days we just schooled in the ring since we have a western pleasure show next weekend. I started school on Tuesday, which is depressing thinking of homework and reading coming and the absence of freedom. I am also trying to rearrange my schedule which is extremely annoying, but hopefully it will work out.

National Standardbred Show

L and Lexie in jumpers

My beautiful boyfriend lol and H

winner of Battle of the Breeds in hand

R with Larry (isnt he gorgeous)

I apologize for being such a slacker, but I have been super busy with going back to school and what not.

Anyway so I spent my weekend at the Horsepark for RACE N.J. weekend. This entails the Re-Run show Saturday, the first ever Battle of the Breeds (Thoroughbreds vs. Standardbreds) Saturday night, and the National Standardbred Show on Sunday.

Last year I showed my friend R's stbd Larry in the western division at the Stbd show. This year due to a very long story that you would have to know R to understand I did not ride Larry so I played the role of horse show assistant, photographer, and show mommy to my many friends who competed their stbds. It was fun and I actually didn't mind not showing because I got to help all of my friends and enjoy the show and I got lots of great pictures some examples seen above. My friend L and her mare Lexie did great in all of their divisions against some tough competition. L took a fall in her jumper class, but she was okay and got right back on for the next one. My friend H and her stbd gelding J.B. who I refer to as boyfriend because I love him lol did awesome. They were grand in driving and equitation, reserve in senior horse and got tons of other ribbons as well in various disciplines.

The SPHO who puts on this show is such a great club full of dedicated members. A friend of ours came with her standardbred all the way from Maine and they did great as usual. Another girl brought her stbd all the way from Kentucky. I had heard about this mare before, but this was my first time seeing her in person and she was awesome. She has the most adorable canter ever you would never know she was an stbd. She beat the thoroughbreds in the battle of the breeds canter classes. She also has an awesome jump and competes western.

Anyway so back up to the Battle of the Breeds, which was won by the thoroughbreds, but was fun to watch and came right down to the wire. The first class was in hand which was won by a gorgeous TB mare. She was chestnut with white blaze and for big white socks, so flashy, I loved her. My friend R came 2nd with Larry, my friend S came 3rd with her stbd, and my friend H came 4th. The next class was walk trot pleasure which an stb won but H came 2nd. Then came walk trot canter won by the stbd from KY. Then it was hunter hack won by the same stbd. So it was 2 to 2. Then came the command class again won by the stbd mare from KY. The 6th class was barrel dash won by a TB so now it was 3 for 3. The final class was ride-a-buck. The crowd was on their feet cheering on their favorite breeds and in the end it was won by a thoroughbred. I hope they will continue this event next year and maybe even invite the QHs. I would love to bring my mare!