Wednesday, 27 May 2015

CW Trillium Meadowlarke North Horseshow

Saturday was my first trillium show for the season. I can't believe it was the 6th show already for Central West, that's already halfway considering there are 11 total! We have to compete in 6/11 to and be in the top 7 of our division to qualify for the the trillium championships, so we are on a pretty tight schedule now.

I'm gratefully leasing the perfect Logan again, showing in the open 3'3"-3'6" hunter division. We are showing in the open division because amateur-owner division are exclusive in the 'ownership' department.

His bridle charm is a maple leaf stamped with "Canada", which is charming as his show/registered name is Canadian Made. We double charmed up and added a four leaf clover (he is definitely a clover loving horse).

To get ready for the show we had a lesson with our regularly visiting clinician the first day back. Unfortunately something went wacky in my brain and after we jumped a few nice lines, I started circling. I have a long history with circling when I don't see a 'good' distance, which is nonsensical since I know how to support and ride any distance that might come up. I rode the struggle bus mentally and we just focused on making sure I jumped all the jumps. This may have meant we jumped a 2'3" course doing the adds after some convincing (of myself, Logan is always game). I'm not sure what it was, I just was afraid of missing even though I knew nothing would happen.

The next Monday, we had our regular lesson. This would be the decider if we were going to show or not. We put most jumps up to 3'6". And we jumped. We just jumped and jumped until it was all smooth and like it used to be. Logan felt great and I felt great, I just needed to get out a few wacky jumps, and the rest was golden. Confidence regained, I decided to show!



Our division went Saturday. Once actually at the show, we had a brief hack to gauge his energy level, which was spot on. No lunging needed! He seems to have matured a huge amount over the winter and has been very laid back if given the opportunity. Unfortunately it would be almost 8hrs later until we showed at 6pm. The day ran super long and after the 4am wake-up, I hardly had any energy left to be nervous when it was finally our turn in the ring!

All in all, he was a star. We had a warmup round which I used to get my butt in gear. Our first trip was nice, a few slightly long spots we were 2nd. Our second trip we lightly tipped a rail at a tall vertical and I asked for a super man distance to one jump (interesting picture), which he saved my butt and went for, received a 7th. Our third trip smoothed out and we won that one (out of ten). We waited forever to jog and hack, finishing 6th u/s. We missed reserve champion by a few points I think. At this point it was 8:15pm and Logan has never been happier to head back to the trailer. We got home around 9:30, I left the barn at 10pm. What a long day!

Pictures coming soon hopefully!

I'll be taking the next show off as I'm fearful of jumping on grass without studs (Logan is barefoot). Logan is as surefooted as a mountain goat but its a silly mental thing for me that I would rather not do.

After finishing my co-op in the far-away edge of civilization city, I'm happy to be back in Waterloo.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Ocala Horse Properties CCI** pictures

In my previous post I mentioned how we had a chance to explore a bit of the Florida Horse Park and watch the Ocala Horse Properties CCI*/** cross country run. We sat by the water complex for a bit and also from the VIP tent.




The two was a bit long for some after losing impulsion after the down bank.



My favorite down bank picture.


The two was long for this pair but the horse made a brave effort over the out and it worked out. 


Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous(??) 
We checked out the vendors and I drooled over pretty colourful or blingy things that I'm not allowed to have in the hunters. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Visiting Ocala!

I was fortunate enough to take a week off work and visit my family down in FL. We spent some time on a lovely barrier island working on our tans, but the highlight was spending 3 days in Ocala!


I hadn't been to the core of the equestrian scene in Ocala before, but had tried ponies in outlying areas ~7yrs ago. I'll tell you right now, its like christmas morning for horse lovers in the equestrian core. Tack shops everywhere, and all the billboards advertise shaving deliveries, vet clinics, and feed stores!

The farms are so grand with the oak trees and huge rolling pastures! There are endless rows of perfectly maintained farmed with sleek horses soaking up the perfect weather. There are a huge variety of disciplines, everything from Arabian breeding farms to hunter jumpers and everything in between.

We ate at the Horse and Hound and also Dish, both were lovely. We dropped into several tack shops just to oogle the merchandise and suck up the deep seated equestrian flavor in Ocala.

While HITS is over, there are still a few more weeks of 'AA' shows. My sister showed me around as I've never been to the actual show grounds. Its very expansive and very horse oriented with rings and stabling mixed in with little turnouts throughout the property.

Saturday we visited the Florida Horse Park to watch the CSI** cross country. We had VIP bracelets courtesy of an industry friend so we got to sit back in the tent with all the big names. We sure aren't eventing people but I read COTH articles enough to know BNR/BNT eventers when I see them! We cheered on our favorites and got to enjoy a catered lunch and drinks, which my father found relieving since he isn't particularly interested in the horse scene. He was able to sip his cold beer and read a book while my sister, mother, and I watched these incredible atheletes and their horses skip around a big, long course. Pretty sure my sisters jumper mare would be too tired to keep galloping after 1/4th that course!

I'm always impressed by eventer's conditioning. Sometimes with the hunters we keep them a little round and out of shape so they stay mellow but it puts them at risk for injury when they jump and they aren't in tip top shape and/or are carrying extra weight. I took some pictures at one of the water complex's and just have to upload!

All the trails criss crossing through the Florida Horse Park and Ocala the NW corridor made me want to explore the area on horseback. I've always enjoyed trail riding but there aren't many options for me to do so lately.

Additionally I happened to visit WEF earlier this winter for week one so its interesting to compare Palm Beach and Post-Time Farm as the FL hunter jumper metropolises. 

I even got a little bit of a tan with all the beautiful weather:


Big big news coming up!!!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

In Memory

3/23 I was informed my sweet Sid had passed away. Its too soon for me to say goodbye, he was only 20.

"You carried me safely to many victories but that isn't what I remember. I remember your kind heart and endless forgiveness, your gentle nudges and how soft your muzzle was. You filled up my heart with happiness and let my worries fall away when we were together. You were always my hero, my greatest teacher, and friend. "My heart will always wear the hoof prints left by you." You might have crossed the rainbow bridge, but I've kept a piece of you down here in my heart."




He carried me to multiple championships both in the Childrens, and Junior hunters with his lovely, consistent style:




Enjoy your greener pastures Sid Sid:


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Consider-This-aka-Sid/670292973081405

It's April already?

In short, I've still been riding about 4 days a week. Two of those times are lessons where we work on the little pieces so that when show season starts up everything comes together (in theory).

Its been a very up down experience being here in London between riding experiences, my new job, and trying to make friends. Starting in May I return to school for a summer school term that is packed with thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, engineering design, and systems modelling.

When I'm back in school life becomes a bit of juggling act. My plan is to try to ride at least 3 times a week, part-boarding the lovely Logan and showing a few times in the 3'3"-3'6" hunters on the local circuit. We will show just enough to qualify for the year-end championships and won't jump too much at home to take unnecessary strain off his legs. It won't be anything wild or new, but I adore Logan and his consistency. Riding and showing him helps keep my stress down with school and makes me happy. He is extremely reliable and I feel very safe on him. Its not anything wild or new, I had hoped to try the jumpers this summer or take advantage of my last year to do the CET medal. It feels a bit like ageing out of the junior ranks a second time and makes me feel worried I didn't do all I wanted to during my time under the age limit for some classes. With respect to that, the main priority with being in school is getting my iron ring and getting job experience before real life happens. I have to remember I'm more of a 30% rider then the 100% investment I wish I could be.

Logan:




With OUEA season all wrapped up after the gala, students take a break to finish exams and recover from weekly 4:00am wakeups. Our exec for the equestrian team has met already and we have grand plans for next year on both the OUEA and within our club. I happily volunteered to be website coordinator again and will help run our school OUEA show. We have lots of ideas for more events and making our show even better. Check us out on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2211535543/ or our website here: http://uweq.webs.com/

Monday, 23 March 2015

OUEA Finals 2015

One end is just another beginning, right? So many bittersweet feelings this weekend with riding in finals, celebrating all our successes, but also closing out our OUEA season and saying goodbye to our team mates and friends that are graduating.

I had qualified for open over fences in 3rd for the west zone.

I drew a lovely big east zone open horse for over fences. Unfortunately he had a very very rough start to the morning with his first two riders and was a little bit worried about leaving the ground with them. One was eliminated for stops, the other took out the first part of the two stride and came off. I was so worried we were going to have a disaster that I was white as a sheet in the ingate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqAX7oQTGVU&index=2&list=PLUNYVCr4TRuDN7AOLyYiIp_QuYKpljfYs

We jumped all the jumps but it was nothing pretty, and had the rail on jump 2 when I pulled in the air to turn to jump 3. He really requires a supportive ride and slow shoulder. He was extremely comfortable to ride with an easy jump. We got a 69.5 which at the end of the day was good enough for 8th (a lot of people struggled with the windy course and 90 degree turns....). My only desire for this show was to make it to the top 4 o/f so I could participate in the ride off but it just wasn't my day unfortunately. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it to the top four and felt like I had let myself down, but I was able to start enjoying myself once I knew it was over. After I was done, it meant I was done for the entire day!

I changed back into warm clothes and cheered on my team for the rest of the day, it was a chilly one but spirits were high. East and West cheered for their riders and teams that normally compete cheered for one another. Waterloo did super with our riders making it to the ride offs in the majority of classes! It was a long day with all the ride offs and long courses and finished at 6pm. We had an open and inter champion, and entry reserve champion to help us cinch reserve high point team! Captain cried and we all smiled for a lot of pictures.



We had great support from the team with a lot of members coming out who weren't showing, just to cheer us on and help handle horses!

We enjoyed a team dinner together and had fun at the hotel. Early morning to get the the OUEA AGM at 10am, which was an hour away! After a coffee stop we made it to the meeting. I'm excited about where the OUEA is heading in the future and all the discussion gave me a few ideas for our individual team. We enjoyed a brunch and did awards.

Matchy matchy:


I ended up 7th overall, being bumped down from 5th unfortunately at the last second. We had a lot of super placings across all divisions for our team! Waterloo ended up being high point team for the entire West Zone! Last time this happened was about 5 years ago so we were due for a big win! Captain cried for the second time this weekend and we did a lot of posing with the huge trophy.

West Zone Opens:


Team picture:


UWaterloo open riders!:


It was hard to say goodbye and our team lingered until everybody had left. We were reluctant to let our graduates leave, they have made such a huge positive impact on the team. We eventually piled into our cars and split.... until next season guys!

Culmination of 8 months of OUEA shows:


On a side note I'm the website coordinator again on the UWEQ exec and am looking forward to working with our new exec members to put together our Waterloo OUEA show next fall and run a great team and club.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

OUEA Road to Finals Challenge!

So as the most tech savy (haha) person on our Waterloo team I was tasked with making a video for the Road to Finals (R2F) video for UWEQ. I was a little worried about having this responsibility because I wanted it to be nice, represent the team as a whole, and maybe inspire some smiles.

I tried to get at least a little bit of everyone into the video!

You can see the final video HERE.

Vote for our video here to help our team win a prize at the OUEA Gala this Sunday!
https://www.facebook.com/Ontariouea/posts/902478739804135

We hosted a fitness clinic specific to equestrians through EquiStrong and it sounds like people had a lot of fun! Hope to do another one in the fall:


There has been a ton of planning going into the Finals this Saturday, team night after, and the AGM/Gala on Sunday. I'm really excited to go, it will be my first OUEA finals! Last year (2014) was cancelled because of all the EHV-1 outbreaks. So many emails and texts! I still have to shop for a gala dress, I don't really have anything nice that I haven't worn to 3+ equine related events already...

I qualified for the overfences portion of the Open division. This is the format it runs it: "There are five horses per over fences division; four horses to be used for first round trips and a ride off horse. The top scoring rider on each first round horse will return for a ride off. Each ride off rider will compete over a new course on the ride off horse. " I'm super nervous already and really want to be in the top four so I can ride off! By the rules, I just have to have the best ride on the horse I pull to make it.

On of my favorite pictures from the 2014-2015 season. Logan gets donated by his lovely owners (also my Waterloo trainers!) a few times a season and he is always a rockstar and a favorite draw for Open riders.:

Monday, 16 March 2015

Re: Do you filter your blog?

I think the degree to which you filter your writing has a lot to do with what you want to get out of it. I like to write because it helps me reflect, I want to share my riding development, and share knowledge (Not that I have much knowledge to share yet!). This blog read like a riding diary, a place I was keeping experiences, opinions, and memories. But something I failed to consider was that the experiences aren't all mine, they belong to the owners of the horses I ride. Success or struggle, I don't have permission or a moral right to document my (subjective) opinions.

I think writing about my amateur and student rider struggles makes my writing easier to relate to. Yes, I have big messups in the show ring, and yes, I get nervous sometimes when I ride young horses. I wanted to potentially reach out to people in similar situations so we can relate and commiserate in our struggles and celebrate our successes. But I can't share these things because it might put the horse in a public eye that the owner doesn't want. I don't own these horses so I don't have a right to share things about them.

Before moving north I always had my mother and sister to talk to about what was going on in my riding, they were right there in the truck with me on the drive home after every ride. I didn't tip toe around what I told them and they know all my ups and downs, warts and all. Since moving I haven't found a similar outlet and I have been using my writing as an alternative. Here is where lack of forethought bites me in the ass because although I knew the internet is extremely public access, I was relatively sure it wouldn't get very far out into the world. Just in case I changed several details and was a little vague about people or horses. However a little vagueness doesn't do much good when directly involved people end up reading. I can agree I'm guilty of sharing my opinions and experiences on here in too descriptive of a manner but I didn't do so with ill-intention of starting rumors or to speak poorly of any horses. My intent was to reflect on my own riding at home/ in the OUEA/ at shows and connect with other people.

I think without sharing the struggles and only sharing the successes doesn't paint an honest picture. I definitely don't always have a perfect ride and I don't want to paint it that way. I'd rather be seen warts and all, then pretend I'm perfect. I think for now the best way to resolve this is just to not write anything about my riding in particular (good or bad). If I ever end up owning another horse I will be able to write more candidly about our development, but even then there will always be people/ barns/ horses involved that deserve to have their privacy respected.

I'm not entirely sure why I feel driven to share my experiences with riding or write them down, but don't want to stop writing entirely. I may not be as excited to write about things other then my day to day riding but I'm sure I'll find something.

[1]http://www.shemovedtotexas.com/do-you-filter-your-blog/

Moxie has been enjoying a muddy spring so far!:

We still have lots of snow but there are some signs of spring!

Monday, 9 March 2015

OUEA March 8th

There were some super ups, and super downs yesterday. Western was hosting at OOF so I helped pitch in my new friends by doing some gate things, organizing people and warming up horses. It actually was a beautiful day and we are finally above freezing!

Pony napping in the field at OOF on our beautiful warm day!:


I drew Glassgo, a school horse jumper from OOF,  a solid citizen. I was on him first.

Any way, here is the video:

Already jumping ahead on the first jump...:
Kicking out of the two stride and hoping a supreme being is helping me out:

I was kind of loose in the saddle after the first bending because I couldn't get him forward and he got a little surprised by the bounce around the corner and we meandered to a stop. It really wasn't his fault at all. I really needed spurs and just couldn't get him forward but unfortunately let myself be talked out of them right at the ingate. I should have trusted my feeling I needed spurs and a crop but others suggested against it and I gave in. After the stop I couldn't bring myself to let go of his face apparently and pulled to all the jumps, including the 'hand gallop' after the bounce. I was pretty flustered and upset by the stop and I think my brain stopped working for the rest of the course. I had to kick kick out of the two and thank goodness he jumped, it was a long ways away. The horse wasn't bad, I just didn't have the right tools to get him going at first and then got flustered and rode very backwards the remainder of the course. That sweetheart still jumped even after I pulled to the rest of the jumps.

I feel really bad and came out of the ring extremely disappointed. I usually do consistently well to help rack up points for UWaterloo, and also move myself up in the standings. I think my captain knew how I would be feeling once I came out and she told me what I was expecting to hear "It happens to every one in the OUEA." .While I know this to be true and have seen it happen to the best of riders on the circuit, I still felt pretty crummy. 

I meandered off to go sit in my car by myself for a bit to calm down, or go hug my puppy (can't you tell I'm a little dramatic?). Another few riders from my team had come down to give me hugs. They said they knew I'd be beating myself up about the stop and ugly distances but wanted to let me know it happens to everyone and they still love me even when I suck.

Another long talk with my new friend from the Western team let me express my disappointment but also accept we can't always control what happens in the ring with all the OUEA variables. We don't prep the horses, we don't know what questions the course might ask, maybe we aren't even in a position to prep ourselves and the last course or 3ft+ jump we jumped was at the last show (whoopsie). We also talked about how I've been making a lot of changes to my riding with new trainer H and had been having a rough riding week in general (including an fall). I'm grateful for the long talk about our ups and downs in riding an the OUEA and made a conscious decision to take away from my lesson in the ring and move on.

With the power of positive thinking I managed to have the best flat class of my life on an opinionated mare. I felt super secure in the saddle and had my toes in and hands up! We nailed all the tests and I kept her happy for the most part despite the other horses in the ring with us. Unfortunately we got pinned between a standard and a horse and kicked out resulting in a few trot steps so no ribbon. I don't fault her for it, its a tight ring with a lot of horses.

In terms of showing it was a very rough day for me but I feel it can only go up from here at finals! At finals west and east zones meet and the top 8 in each division go head to head. The finals weekend also includes a gala for all the riders and team celebrations.

While showing was done I spent the rest of the day warming up horses for the novice and entry divisions. These horses and ponies tend to be quite kind hearted and I jumped a few around nicely without issue which made me feel a bit better.

UWaterloo had a few riders with tough days like me but also some stellar ones and we tied for high point team! We flipped a coin and got a reserve high point ribbon. Captain is super happy because this means we are 1st overall in team standings for the first time in 5+ years!

Moxie:

Friday, 27 February 2015

Happy Birthday Moxie!

Like most horse people, I always have a dog at my side. Moxie has been my constant companion for the past 3 yrs during my time in Canada. Its really just us most of the time and I don't know what I'd do without her.



Moxie turns 9yrs old tomorrow. She may be considered an old lady in terms of dog age, but she is so young at heart and loves life with an inspiring kind of passion. It sounds silly to be inspired by a dog, but she is the one I get up for in the morning (figuratively and literally).

Best co-pilot:


She loves her people and even holds a special place in her heart for our vizsla Rogue (normally she ignores most other dogs).

When she first met Rogue:

Opening up to the idea of being friends:

All grown up and best friends now:


Nobody ever told her she was bred to be a poofy show dog, she loves swimming in dirty ponds, hangs out at the barn, chases cats, and hikes with us. She thinks she is a true bush dog and would rather hang around outside, paroling the back yard for squirrels then be sleeping inside. She's the kind of dog that can be a little aloof, but also knows when you've had a rough day and will let you cuddle her in bed and give you kisses when you need it most.

Running wild last in the halls just last week:
https://plus.google.com/photos/yourphotos?pid=6119218659664711522&oid=115068318136611861295


Snow moustache:

So darn cold at OUEA shows:

At least the barn link is heated at trainer H's place!:

Where Moxie would rather be:


Always playing fetch with anything available:

Thanksgiving together:

NC visit:

Listening to us go through the car wash after a long day at the barn:
https://plus.google.com/photos/yourphotos?pid=6119218659664711522&oid=115068318136611861295

Thanks Mox for helping me create and home away from home.
At the end of the day, you are always there for me:
What Logan thinks of the weather this month: