Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Standardbred Show 2012

This past Sunday was my favorite show of the year, the National Standardbred Show! You may find it odd that a Standardbred show would be my favorite show since I own a Quarter Horse. If you are a follower of this blog, you know that while Quarter Horses are my all time favorite, I am a HUGE fan and supporter of the Standardbred. They are an extremely talented, versatile, and underestimated breed. Anyone who attended Sunday's show saw just that. The show is a lot of fun, has something for everyone, and the SPHO-NJ does a phenomenal job planning and running it. The other thing I love about this show is the people. Everyone there is very nice and friendly and extremely supportive. There is none of the catty attitude typical at most horse shows. Everyone cheers each other and on and congratulates and compliments each other regardless of the outcome. Every one who attends the show is there to support and further the success, versatility, and progress of the breed as a show horse. As you all know, I have been working with my friend Helene's Standardbred JB (aka MR. Versatility) on western pleasure for the past year and half. Last year we were unable to show in the western division at the National show because it conflicted with Helene's driving division. This year, however, the schedule changed and we were able to compete. Unfortunately, the Western division was immediately following the Model division (in which we took 5th in Showmanship and 5th in Model Geldings) so we only had a few minutes to warm up before entering the show ring. Our first class was Western Pleasure (walk/jog). JB had a nice jog, but he did not have his usual low head set. This was a combination of distraction from riders coming into the park from a judged trail ride, lack of warm up, and a bit of rider error (which is usually always the case when we can't get our horse to do what we want at least in part). We received 2nd in the class and the judge commented that we had a nice jog, but inconsistent head set, which I knew right away. Our second class was a walk/jog Horsemanship class with a pattern. We executed what I thought was a nice pattern followed by some good rail work. The head was still an issue in this class, but horsemanship is judged on the rider so it did not matter. We won this class! Our third class was a walk/jog/lope class and this was our first time attempting the lope. We had only practiced the lope riding one handed twice at home in the week before the show, since we decided last minute to enter these classes. He was awesome! He picked up the lope right away (it was more of a collected canter, but very good with our limited practice). His head set was a bit higher than I would like, but it had been at the lope at home too, so I just gave him his head and let him go along. We won this class too and judge commented that we had the a nice and very consistent lope. Our final class was a walk/jog/lope Horsemanship class. We won this class too executing a pattern that tested your transitions and included some tight circles for loping, quite nicely. We ended up being champion for the division! Helene and JB also picked up many blue and red ribbons and championships of their own in Equitation, Jumping, and Driving classes. As always, a big thank you to Helene for lending me her rockstar horse and supporting and helping us every step of the way.
JB and I with our ribbons from the western division! (We later received a champion sash that unfortunately we did not have in time for this photo)

Not Enough Hours in the Day

I apologize for my lack of blogging, but this summer just totally got away from me. I was so insanely busy with work, riding and showing multiple horses, photography, school, and attempting a social life. Anyway, so here is a quick catch up. I will start with the most important topic aka Satin. We have been continuing to show in the Baby Green Hunters throughout the summer and my mare impresses me time and time again. She goes out there and tries her heart out for me every time and has just gotten better and better with each lesson and each outing. We are still trail riding and riding western as well, but unfortunately have not had the opportunity to get out to any barrel shows or team penning this summer. I hope to do so soon because we are both missing it. The one hitch in our summer was a swollen hind leg in the end of August, which took over a week to get right again. I am not entirely sure what the cause was, but it seems to be under control. She is 23 and about twice a year she has this issue where we see some swelling in a leg. It is usually stocking up and goes away after 2-3 days of treatment. She was not lame on it, but as I mentioned it did take me over a week of working her lightly and several types of wrapping to get it down to normal. (Knock on wood) it stays that way. I have still been riding the wonderful JB and he just gets better and better each time. His jog is awesome! It is slow and consistent with a great head set and the neck reining is getting much better. He is going so much like a QH I even forget he is a Standardbred myself! (More on this in my next post) I am back in class and just started my final semester (yay!). I am also interning this semester at Freehold Raceway, doing some public relations work, as well as, learning what it takes to be a Race Secretary. It is a pretty interesting behind the scenes look and I am liking it so far.