Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Horse of a Different Color - part 5 - The end

It had been a really long first day but it was only 2 o'clock and Ace still seemed good to go in spite of having gone in almost every class with two riders all day.  Equestrian Girl decided she would take him in Western Riding, a class she has done only once before herself, and then Reining, a class she has never done.  Ace had never done either one of them!

Western Riding Class is almost all loping with lots and lots of lead changes as you serpentine back down the arena and then back and forth across it.  Ace did really well starting out and then all those lead changes just blew his mind and he started switching them at random - it was pretty funny to watch him get so confused but still trying soooo hard!

Reining class is also a lot of loping but fewer lead changes and they get to canter fairly fast.  Watching the really good reiners is a lot of fun as they fly around the arena but watching Equestrian Girl and Ace was fun too and they did GREAT until they made one spin near the end in the wrong direction.  Still a great effort for a first time class!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Horse of a Different Color - part 4

Equestrian Girl has the ultimate Trail Class horse in Stanley.  He can do all the obstacles blind folded and with no rider instruction other than which way to turn and which gait to use when.  Ace is good too, but not as good as Stanley which makes sense given he's only 3 and has only done this Trail class about 4 times!  On the first day they placed 2nd and on the second day they placed 5th after having some trouble backing through some poles and loping past the point where they were supposed to start trotting...

The video is from the first day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Horse of a Different Color - part 3

Western is what Ace was trained to do and Equestrian Girl loves riding him that way - plus she loves her new red and white outfit and the red chaps we just got to go with it.  The outfit looked great against Ace's black coat and she really stood out in the crowd of kids with black chaps and then riding a non-stock breed horse.

Over the two days they placed 3rd and 4th in Western Pleasure and 1st and 2nd in equitation/horsmanship.  And had a blast!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Horse of a Different Color - part 2

Hunter under Saddle and English Equitation were the next classes of the day and both were blow out successes considering this was only the SECOND time ever that Ace had been shown hunt seat.

The first day Equestrian Girl placed 1st with him in both classes.

The second day the competition ramped up their game a little and EG placed 2nd and 3rd in the two classes which was still very respectable out of 12 riders!

Here's a little video of the Hunter Under Saddle class (otherwise known as English Pleasure).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Horse of a Different Color - part 1

Last weekend we spent 2 days at a horse show but didn't take Stanley!  No doubt he is enjoying is 4 weeks off but Equestrian Girl had other plans.  Our friends Shannon and Don had asked her to show their Gypsy Vanner, Ace, in an open show in the 13 and under classes.  Eventually he'll be for sale and it will be good to advertise that he's been shown by a youth and did well.

Equestrian Girl was all up for this.  The last time she rode him, a quick Horsemanship class at his first show, she got 1st place!  So we loaded up all the show clothes, a cooler full of ice water, and off we went to Alma, Michigan to the Gratiot County Middle of the Mitten Open Horse Show.

Ace is 3.  This was only his 4th show ever but he handles them like an old pro.  Equestrian Girl was ready to drag him into every class possible and boy oh boy did she.  She started both days with the Halter Class for Geldings.

Her red showmanship outfit really set off his pretty black coloring the first day.

The next day however, Equestrian Girl decided to try showing him in hunt clothes since it would allow her to carry a crop.  It seems Ace wasn't real big on having to trot on a lead line and the crop might offer some "encouragement".  In the end, it didn't work in helping him to trot.

It was a great experience for both of them - Equestrian Girl has a pretty good amount of experience in showing at halter and appeared to be the only kid that really did know how it was done at breed level shows and better yet, Ace has his first halter points with a 3rd on day 1 and a 4th on the last day!

Next up was Showmanship.  This is one of Equestrian Girl's favorite classes and she's good at it.  She was really excited to give it a go with Ace even though he had NEVER done it before.  Going in she was a bit concerned about the trotting thing given that he hadn't cooperated in that department so well in the halter class.  Other than the trotting parts, Ace totally did great!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A really incredible kid...

I have this little boy, well he's almost a young man as he turns 13 in August I guess, that is just so incredible.  He has always been totally unselfconscious and fiercely independent way beyond his chronological age.

And he's always been sooo cute!

He also used to be a great escape artist.  One time when he was about 3 we lost him in a hotel where we were staying for an adoption reunion.  Lots of people in the building knew him and sure enough, when he found his way down the pool, another family stopped him.  He wasn't lost.  He was on his way to the pool.

Another time at about 5 1/2 years old we lost him on the Disney cruise ship.  One minute he was with us, the next minute he wasn't.  The Disney folks are totally set up to find lost kids - every staff  member on the ship carries a digital pager and words gets out fast that a kid is lost.  Problem is, mine didn't think he was lost.  When he realized he had gotten separated from us, he walked back to our stateroom.  When he didn't find us there, he decided to go wait us out in the game room 8 floors away.  We were panic-stricken.  He wasn't worried in the least.

Now picture this.  A church is having an outdoor evening service in the parking lot overlooking the lake.  It's not a church we've ever been to before even though it's only about 200 yards from our house.  We don't know anyone that's going to be there.  They have a stage set up with a band that starts warming up about 30 minutes before the service is supposed to start.  My almost 13 year old son hears it and asks if he can go.  Alone.  And after he washes his face and puts on a shirt, he heads over all by himself to check out the service and band, not knowing a soul.

He got home a few minutes ago.  He met a boy named J who is also homeschooled and lives in the next town over, born the same month as him.  He said the music was good, they gave him dinner, they played soccer, did some singing, and he had fun.

When you were almost 13 would you have walked into a group of strangers to hang out and make new friends?  My kid does.  And enjoys it.  What wonderful confidence he has...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mom's big win!

At our first open show this year I rode in 3 classes.  Western Pleasure walk/trot, Western Horsemanship walk/trot and trail walk/trot.  All 3 were adult classes and I only had 3 others in my class.  I got one 1st, and two seconds.  At the open show last weekend, the day following our Allegan show, I hadn't been on Stanley since the last show!

So Sunday morning I was pretty tired.  Not only had I been show-mom to two the day before and driven home for 2 hours, we'd had a horrible night of storms so I hadn't slept all that great.  After showmanship I got Stanley tacked up in English tack and Equestrian Girl took him out to warm up.  He was a little "up" so this seemed like a good idea.  While she was doing so, our friend Mark rode up on his daughter's horse asking me if I was going to show in the walk/trot classes with him.  Ooops!  I had forgot those classes came first before the hunt seat classes for Equestrian Girl.  I made the decision to scratch from those classes and just do the Hobby Horse class.

The Hobby Horse class  is for rookies - people who have won less than 3 blue ribbons in their show career.  Well that would be me.  It's an equitation class where you first do rail work and then a pattern.  The pattern is the same for this class at every show everywhere!  At first I didn't think I was going to have more than 2 others in the class with me but as they got closer to calling us in, the class grew and grew until there were 10 of us.  I was by far the oldest but that was okay - none of the kids were REAL young so I didn't feel totally out of place.

I went second for doing the pattern.  I knew it wasn't perfect but it was more or less correct.  My circle to the right was a bit too small and the one to the left was a bit too big but they were circles!  Then the others all did their pattern.  All were more or less correct.  But nobody was doing it with an equitation arm like I did.  And some had trouble getting their horses to actually go where they wanted and when they wanted.  Huh.  They dismissed the class.

This club announces the placings from the bottom up.  I wasn't 6th, 5th, 4th, or 3rd.  Did I even place?  I wasn't 2nd.  No, I was FIRST!!!!  What a rush!!  I was first against 9 other people who were all just as green as me.  Wow.

Of course, I hadn't thought to give anyone the camera to take pictures but luckily my friend Tammi came through and got a quick shot of me waiting in the lineup for the patterns to get done.

I didn't have much time to savor my victory - Equestrian Girl still had her western classes but then when she was done...I said I wanted to do the trail class.  I wouldn't be in for high point for the day but I might as well get the point for doing it and we were done so early...  Off we went.  Since it had rained so much and was so muddy, the judge had said show clothes were optional.  While I wore a show shirt and hat for the Hobby Horse class - I went into trail in a t-shirt.  The pattern wasn't bad.

I figured I could handle this and I KNEW Stanley could certainly do it.  He's a trail king - could do that gate blind folded!  We went over the bridge, trotting through the cones down and across the box, through the box and into the chute, back out and through the gate.  Piece of cake!  And a piece of cake it was - we got 1st place!

Yeah, and Equestrian Girl did pretty good too.  But I know darn well she wasn't as excited about any of her wins as I was!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Allegan Show - May 5, 2010

I swear we had barely gotten the trailer unpacked on Tuesday when it was time to load it back up on Thursday!  We didn't actually finish until Friday morning but by 10:30 we were pulling out.  After a quick stop at the gas station for ice, we got to the barn to pick up Stanley.  The barn owners were putting in a new driveway so big semi-trucks were pulling in to dump loads of crushed asphalt.  We had to do some maneuvering but they found us a spot out of the way to load up.  Of course, Stanley was still tired like me and had little interest in getting in the trailer knowing exactly what it would mean.  We had to ask Cowboy Tim to bring his horse over to the side door.  Well his horse knows about shows too and wanted nothing to do with getting close to our trailer either!  He figured if Stanley was smart enough not to get in, he was too!  Fortunately, their stomachs always win out over their brains and Stanley started drooling over the hay bag and walked on in.

Then it was supposed to be a short trip over to Sheri's to pick up Chilly but construction held us up a bit - like why was there THAT much traffic at noon on a Friday???  We hauled all Sheri's stuff out of her truck and packed it into the trailer and then loaded up Chilly who was quite happy to see Stanley in there, and off we went to Allegan - a little over 2 hours due west.

The ride went well even though I-94 was filled with construction as usual.  I swear that road will never be 100% done.  We pulled in with fingers cross that the forecasted rain would hold off at least until we got the horses bathed and it did!  The girls helped me unload and get camp set up and then headed off to ride their horses while I finished getting settled and got dinner started in the crock pot.  When they were done riding we gave the horses baths and ready for bed with wrapped legs and sleazy's for pajamas.  Poor horses look so ridiculous.  I bet they can hardly sleep for laughing at each other.

By 10 we were tucked into the trailer ourselves with Sheri on the couch trying to decide if we were hot or cold or needed the AC or not and whether or not we should close the windows in case of rain or not.  We opted for low air with open windows.  We're weird.

The morning started early - as usual so the horses could eat before starting their big day.

There wasn't a huge turnout for the show (though more than we expected as a lot of people didn't show up until morning) it moved along MUCH faster than usual.  Halter for geldings started the show (no stallions there) and then moved right into showmanship.

Sheri's class with Chilly was first - she got to wear her new showmanship outfit!

Equestrian Girl's class was next.  Her outfit is now 3 shows deep so not so new but we still LOVE it!

Stanley's head is way too low in this picture but it shows off his newly roached mane!!!  Yes, Equestrian Girl roached his mane last week saving us about an hour in banding and it looks 1000% better.  I don't think hardly anyone even noticed.

Stanley loves HUS class.  He loves to pretend he's a big hunter-type horse.  I love it because the horses get to move more naturally and all the people have to dress basically the same.  I like that.

This is one of my favorite arenas to take pictures. You have such nice backgrounds with the big green hill and the deep woods with the white fencing...

The riders and their ponies...Stanley taught Chilly how to take advantage of every resting minute to grab a quick nap but he still looks tired I think.  Or maybe he was napping!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Birds and the Bees in 2010

The Birds

Could you see their little heads and beaks poking out of the nest?  Every year birds try building a nest in this spot.  Scott usually "discourages" them before they lay eggs but we must have been snoozing this year and some cowbirds snuck it up there.

The Bees

I don't know what kind of bee this is but it was HUGE!  That board it is sitting on is a real 1"x 6" board and that bee took up ever centimeter of it.  We've had wood bees burrow into some of this overhang wood before but I never saw any this big.  Maybe this is the queen?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend show continued part 3

The last day of the show, Monday, came bright and early again with a 2 judge show.  Unfortunately, along with it came some storms that passed through.  We were lucky enough never to have classes during the worst of it but the winds were coming straight across the dusty practice arena and right into the barn where we were stalled.  My white t-shirt looked like I had rolled in the dirt after a bit.

The day was long but good with lots of 1st and 2nd placings with the best class being horsemanship.  We finished up about 9:30 with the last trail class but I was too tired to think about hauling that big ol' trailer home.  Instead we packed everything up but Stanley and his water/hay and hit the sack.  They told us so long as we were out by 6:00 a.m. we wouldn't be charged for the day so up and at 'em we were - even though we hadn't made it to bed until midnight....

The end.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend show continued

We slept in until EIGHT a.m. on Sunday and it was glorious considering it had been almost 1 when we finally crawled in bed.  Stanley didn't seem too perturbed that he was the last one getting fed that morning but he was also the last one to bed and had hay after midnight when most of the others were dozing soundly.

After a fairly relaxing morning they got the games going.  Equestrian Girl had hooked up with her friend EH and they hung out watching an auction and walking around waiting for the fun to start.  They had a blast!

First up was the water class where you have to carry around a glass of water (sometimes in your mouth!) while doing maneuvers on your horse.  EG got 2nd or 3rd place I think.

Next up was the egg and spoon class!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Catching Up - Memorial Day Weekend Events

Considering Memorial Day weekend lasted 5 days for us and I only had 2 days to recover before we were heading off for another full weekend, it's little surprise that I'm behind!

Since I have no pictures from Motocross - I'll start with that.

Motocross:  Motocross Boy had a GREAT weekend!  He came in 7th out of 15, 13th out of 20 and 16th out of 23 - very middle of the pack with no falls and ran strong.  He even was 2nd in a couple of the hole shots which helped - getting out in front of the pack keeps you in front longer as others have to fight to get past you in all the twists and turns on the track.  We were all very happy with his rides and he's now in the top 20 for GLMX - Great Lakes Motocross Club.

Horses:  The APHA Memorial Day Weekend Show is a big one.  Saturday classes had 4 judges and from what I was told, it was one of the biggest Memorial Day weekend show in a very long time.  This all adds up to mean the show goes very, very slow.  Equestrian Girl's first class was Youth Halter Geldings.  Little chance of placing in a class this big with a horse that really isn't a halter horse!

Next up was Showmanship.  I tried to get video but it cut off on me!  Booo!!!  Especially since they got three 1st places and one 3rd out of the 4 judges!

Hunt seat classes started by mid-afternoon (there were halter mares classes after showmanship).  The team didn't do so good in these classes - we aren't sure why.  Apparently these judges like the bigger hunter type horses.

Western classes got going around dinner time - or maybe it was later but by then I was starting to lose track of time.  They had some decent middle of the pack placings in these classes and a couple of 1st in horsemanship!

It was getting REALLY late when they finally set up the trail course.  The only thing keeping me going was knowing we could sleep in on Sunday since it was just fun stuff and no real classes.  Last year we didn't even do trail because it didn't start until well after midnight.  This year it was still before midnight - by a hair.

I would have been a disaster in this class and I had to give ol' Stanley credit for hauling his butt around that course so late at night.  They got two 4th's and two 5ths out of 9 in the class.  Not bad considering how tired we were.

After taking out the fake tail, giving Stanley more hay and water, and picking his stall, we hit the sack and slept HARD!

The next be continued.