Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween (and saddle arriving day!)

Yeah, I'm a strange clown. We're cool.

I was told that I am not good with money.
This clown is just fine with money.
Pshh fool. I am pretty sure that getting this lovely cwd saddle for $2100 versus its original price tag is pretty good with money.

Whatevs. Bacon and I hope you have a great Halloween!
Hey look! It's my pig nephew, Walter!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Goddamn Saddles...

So. I now own this.
Say hello to this 17" medium tree beauty.

And I am the brokest of broke in mare-land.
Originally I was searching for saddles in the $1,000 price range. And then somehow got looking at some priced a little higher. And then got looking at CWD's somehow. And then I saw this one. And then two tack fairy's known as a SprinklerBandit and a Redheadlins told me so many magical things about the ol' cwd.

I was hesitant, because, you know, money. And still being sick (and not knowing if I was going to ever get better) and doing the damn thing justice. But the boy assured me that if I died, at least it would be fairly easy to resell and could bring its money back. Thank you Blaker.

I told myself I would not spend more than $2200 on it. And the Ebay gods lit up my phone. SOLD! $2125.00. Thank you Paypal Credit.

And the first words out of my mouth...OH CRAP.

We shall see if I am worthy...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cross Country Time. Weeeee!

Wearing the color of winners?
Once I was all finished with that dressage stuff, I tied my horse up and we wandered over for our prime horse show food and to walk the cross country course. I was a little worried because the last time I tried to leave the Bacon tied to a trailer, she panicked and reared and pulled back and slammed into the trailer. But, to give her some credit, that was our first ever show and Papa had left and we all left her and she was losing her mind. Sorry horse.
I've never been bad. I don't know what you are talking about.
I told Linds that she was going to have to learn one time or another, so we left the beast with a hay bag. We both kept checking to see if anyone was running over to the trailer, or to see a tall bay giraffe escaping the premises. But, nothing. We walked out into the big field and took a peek at Bacon. She stood there, leg cocked, eating her hay. No weaving. Apparently she is a pro at this eventing thing now.
Bacon had some new admirers at the show!
I looked around the field and surveyed the jumps. I thought some of them looked kind of big and really cool. Turns out they were MINE. Oh boy. Bowels, please stay put. The first two jumps were easy peezy regular old jump standards and poles and crap. The next two were logs. They were a bit narrow, but still, they were logs. We can do logs!
Yeah. We didn't give a crap about logs at Rafter K.
And then, since we forgot to bring the course map, wandered around looking for number five. And number five was some weird old wooden bed frame thing with straw thrown over the top of it. It was odd looking, and pretty narrow, and just damn sketchy. Linds gave it the ole side eye looked and me and said "Just try to keep your leg on and forward over it". Got it.

Next was a more inviting table, with a somewhat tight turn to it. With more straw on it. Then back the other direction over a chord of wood. And then there was another regular jump in there I believe, followed by a wagon with a bunch of wood on it.
Warm up oxer.
And something about up a bank, over a cabin, left to a chevron jump looking thing, and then the twisty jump of doom/show jump option. Now, I don't know crap about cross country really, and even though this was a beginner novice course, it was my first one and some of that looked pretty damn intimidating. Especially since I have been sick and hardly riding and hadn't jumped anything close to this since mid July. So, this course was going to be a true test of my skills, as well as my pony's. Lastly, we had to jump a ditch, and go through some dark ass shaded water across another ditch and gallop to our finish.
Warm up over little xc jump.
I was worried that Bacon would forget that water was ok and that when I point her to a weird object, to just jump it. I was afraid that I would get too tired trying to go through this course, or lose my way. But, before all of that had happened, I had promised myself that I would make my grandpa proud that day. I have been missing him terribly, as he was one of my best friends and his death still hits me like a ton of bricks to the chest when I think about it. But he was the toughest person I think I will ever come across, and I will fight with all I have to try and show that some of that strength is in me somewhere.
My wonderful harley ridin' grandpa Bob.
We got my horse tacked up, and she was as cool as a cucumber once she realized we were jumping. We warmed up over a few fences, and Lindsey kept telling me that I had jumped bigger than all of those fences out there. Bacon was game, and I felt ok, so it was about time to get in the start box.

I watched the others go before me and they made it look so fun. We toodled around the start box while they raised jumps, and then it was time. I had inhaler and water at the ready. 3.2.1. GO!
Shiny pony, tired rider.

Silly jump, we don't care about you. We are honey badgers.
Fence one and two were easy, but I felt like I needed more pace. We came up to the logs, she twitched her ear back, I told her it was ok, and over we went. We came up somewhat slowly to the bed, she asked me again, and I told her go. And she did. And then the table. And then everything else.
Or narrow logs. Please.

The most awkward jump over an awkward jump.

Go forth, fiery beast!

Damn pole, taking all of the attention...
It was amazing to feel how adjustable she was underneath me. She didn't really pull, bowed up like a race pony, and let me determine everything. We could go faster, or slower, or jump this or that. I was getting a bit tired, but not dangerous. Up the bank we went, over the cabin and chevron, and then we aimed at the twisty table. I was not afraid and the show jump option would have been an embarassment. Over (awkwardly) we went! Then the ditch (which she almost missed as we were cruising in a bit fast) and even though she questioned me hard about that water, she still went in. I was so happy. And I had so much fun. I have no idea what our time was, but who cares.
I'm sorry. Apparently I failed at releases that day.

But look how pretty!
My favorite jump.

Up zee bank we goooo


Even more weeee!

Extra weeeee over the twisty table of death! No touching!

About to head down a bank into water.
And a gallop to the finish

I did it. We did it. And I hope my grandpa would have been proud.

All done! Thank you Bacon!

A blue ribbon for surviving!

Friday, October 17, 2014

And Then, There Was Dressage.

Hey hands. Please get out of lap!
First, thank you everyone for your kind comments! You guys are so uplifting, it makes living as a couch potato not so bad all of the time!
Surveying our battlefield.
I think most of the equine world has figured out that most eventers don't event for their great love of dressage. If that was the case, I think most of them would just dressage it up, all of the time. I know there is a few of you weirdos out there that are the opposite (what is wrong with you?!) and live for the dressage part of eventing. That must be pretty awesome and I look up to you.
Cool and calm in warm up. And beautiful.
But. Well. Dangit. Dressage, y must u be in my way of all the jumps?

I know I know, it is good. For everything. And I need to get better at it to do well in this whole eventing business. If I could take the relaxation I have when I am about to do a cross country course and use those vibes for dressage, that would be great.
Food is always a good distraction.
We pulled into the new-to-me event grounds on Sunday morning, and I was less numb than I had been at my previous event derbies. Well, that's always good! And they had free apple cider and people I really like there. Extra bonus. I unloaded the weaving beast and she posed dramatically for about 5 minutes as she took in her surroundings.
Haaaaaaaaaands! Ugh!

What a cute little event stable. We took our time to get me tacked up and out for warm up as I was last to go, and the only one in the Beginner Novice division. I told myself that I wanted to get a better score than I had got on the same test back in July. I believe I had received a 47.5 on my last score, and thought that it was fairly deserving. We were tight and shuffly and did one maybe ok canter circle and one teeny tiny one, and she was bracing hard and didn't do her transitions well. And I didn't help.
Fancy girl!
We had a better warm up this time though, as I learned from last time's experience that Bacon does not need a terribly long strung out warm up. Linds had me really working on trying to keep her stretching lower into the bit and hopefully listening and relaxing off of my leg. We wanted low-key, calm transitions and to keep her light and happy. She kept staring at some damn cows out in the field, but that was about as exciting as she got. And then BAM. It was time to...shine?
And here we go!

We had some music blasting, which was fun, but it was not of the relaxing kind. Eh. And as we trotted around the outside of the ring, the wind began to pick up and rattle the corn stalks, and all of the other horses had left the area. Oh boy. I tried to keep Bacon longer and lower than her normal high and tight look. The bell rang, and we entered at A.
Dressage queen bonnet bling!

I tried to keep looking up and forward and keep my horse responding to me and my leg. I don't remember much of the test because my nerves ate my memories, but I do think that we had some nice areas in the test, as well as some "oh-noes". Our circles were better, especially our canter circles, she was a little rounder and softer in appearance and we had a little more forward in this test. One big giant fat fault of mine was I forgot my test for a split second. I almost crapped my pants, but didn't, and then saved my ass instead. But that little move made us look a bit crooked and out of control. Our free walk was our best yet, but still crappy, and it hurt us the most. Our transitions were better, even though she was bracing pretty hard at some parts. We had some issues with bend again and I need to get my damn hands out of my lap. But overall, it was pretty good. We even had a square halt!

As low as she would go.
I felt disappointed afterwards, but it was fairly short-lived. I need to remember that I haven't done this for very long, and Bacon and I are still learning  A LOT.  And I am on one nervous girl, and I am a ball of nerves, and yet we can survive and do better each time. I got to look at my test soon after, and I had scored a 44. We had a 4 on our free walk, but had mostly 6s and 7s, and even an 8. The comments were very nice and everything felt promising again. And I had already passed my first goal!
Halt and salute!

Good job Bacon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Small Adventure Means So Much

Yes. She is the thoroughbred queen.

After a draining week at work last week, I couldn't have been more excited to have a small field trip with Bacon. I had signed us up for one of the last event derbies in the area in hopes that I would be able to feel good enough to hang on and finish it up. Lindsey was kind enough to volunteer her truck/trailer/coaching/babysitting skills for the weekend. And our adventure began Saturday after work.
We are also the queens of purple.

Note: Fractious/aggressive bulldogs are about one of the most difficult things to hold on to. It's like holding onto a damn bowling ball with teeth and fun smells and lots of gas. Yeesh.
Circle of death!
Satuday I rushed home, changed, grabbed my tack and a Bacon, and we toodled off to Courage and Prisoner's home for a quick school before our show. I got the fancy lady tacked up, threw on her new perfect FUN bonnet, and off we went. I was pretty tired from wrestling that bulldog, but the girls were ready with water, my inhaler, and lots of breaks if I needed.
Keep looking up and be ready for the next jump!
Oh my. I felt sloppy, weak, and inefficient as we rode through a course after playing the circle of death. The circle went better than I thought it would, and it forced me to constantly be ready and looking for the next jump and just riding through. That was nice, so we raised the jumps and moved onto the course.
Woo, fall colors!

Annnnnd lift off.
My first time through was not pretty. Well, neither was my second time, but I felt like it was quite a bit better. I was getting weird distances, and was a bit under powered (hence the weird distances) and my legs were jello. I got jumped out of the tack once because I was a sad little potato in the saddle, and it was the 3ft jump down the hill. But we did have some nice jumps. Nice for a weak weirdo who has hardly ridden the past couple of months.
A little bit more prepared this second time around...

Now if I could just do a good release....

Bacon was game for all of it though, and did her best to get us over the jumps. Yay for having my good girl!
Oh Bacon. I am not worthy.