Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Busy Saturday

After spending some time working quietly in the basement this morning while everyone was sleeping, I got to work finishing the seat on this old chair I had painted.  $0.50 for a quilters square of teal fabric covered by $3.00 worth of plastic lace tablecloth fabric and I have a chair ready to be used in the bathroom!

Then it was off to the barn to check on Madison's horses since she's vacationing in SC with the boyfriend's family.  I woke Mata Hari up from her nap.  She wasn't amused but was willing to eat the peppermint I brought for her.

 Chancellor was much more excited to see me and was asking to go home with me!

From there it was up to Mason to visit old friends at the APHA show.

And take care of my other show daughter, Sheri, with her faithful steed, Chilly.  Unfortunately, I kept running into SO many friends that she kept losing me and threatened to put a GPS tracker on me!

But the highlight of the day was getting to see my Stanley.  He was there with his new family and being the rock star that he's always been!

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 14 & 15 2016 - Winona Horse Trials

We loaded up Mata Hari on Friday the 13th to head to Winona, OH - which is west of Canton and south of Youngstown and in the middle of nowhere.  The 4.25 hour drive took 5.5 hours...we arrived tired but happy to see that the barn they had us stabled in about 3 miles from the show grounds was clean and quiet. Mata Hari got settled in with about 7 other horses (the two next to her from Michigan!) and we went off to our no-tell motel (an option I voted on after hearing the weather forecast of "very cold, very wet" all weekend.  No camping for me!

In the morning, we went back to the barn where Madison gave Mata Hari a massage with liniment and then got her braids going before taking a break.  Their ride times for dressage and stadium jumping weren't until the afternoon so we had plenty of time.  This was when we appreciated being off the show grounds in a nice cozy barn instead of in the shed row barns which were starting to flood.

When we got out to Stone Gate farm, it was a muddy mess.  The warm up area for dressage was a mess and very treacherous.  This is what Madison and Mata Hari looked like before they even went into the arena for their test!

You can sort of see all the standing water in the arena and all the splashing going on when they canter.  It was terrible but they did pretty well and placed 3rd in the Beginner Novice division.

Stadium jumping was next and that arena wasn't much better.  This was NOT a pretty ride but they didn't get any penalties so they remained in 3rd place.

You really know it's a muddy mess when you lose your horse's whole hoof in the grass just walking..

As the rain continued, the drive out of the trailer parking area was getting worse and worse.  More and more people were having to be towed out by the big farm tractor.  I kept watching those that were successful and developed a strategy.

After the people next to me pulled out, I was able to get turned around and pointed out where it was still mostly grass. I had Madison wait with Mata Hari until I pulled out to the road so I didn't have any extra weight - and made it easy peasy!

That night after we dropped off Mata Hari and got her settled in for the night at the stable, the clouds were starting to break up but the winds were picking up.

The next morning it was a crisp 36 degrees, windy but with some breaks of sun. Mata Hari felt good and frisky - just what she needed for Cross Country!  Madison had walked the course the evening before and again in the morning.  It was dramatically improved in the morning with the wind having dried up some of the wetter area.  Since she was one of the first riders in the Beginner Novice division, we had high hopes that the footing would be okay but we had no illusions that if it wasn't, she would "put the horse before the course" and withdraw. NO RISKS was our moto of the morning.

This video clip was actually taken just before we left but it did this off and on all morning...

The course at Stonegate Farm covers a LOT of ground over some very rolling acreage. Since I had already walked over 6 miles the day before and did a number on my hip, I had to let M&M head to the starting gate on their own and take up position closer to the finish gate where I could see the last several jumps.  Many of them were decorated like this one with the bunny rabbits on the sides and carrots covering the "table" of the jump.

Here's the video of the section that I could see.  They looked awesome and I loved the announcer saying "They are home safe" at the end!  Big sigh of relief for me!!

The parking situation on Sunday started out okay but as the snow and rain mix continued off an on, it got worse. More rigs were getting towed out by a very unhappy farmer who had taken down some of his fencing order to improve the parking situation.  This time I was parked slightly down hill and had more of that muddy drive to navigate...I watched a few that managed to make it out and planned my exit carefully.  I moved M&M out of the way along with a neighboring horse, backed up a little to have more grass under my tires, popped in 4WD and nailed the gas.  With tires spinning and spraying mud everywhere - I made it out to the road again!  With only a little mud reaching the roof of the trailer, we loaded up our rock star mare, and headed home.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day

My day started early with the regular stuff and doing some grocery shopping with Madison but then we shucked the routine and headed out to do some riding on her ponies.  That's ME riding Chancellor.

 We haven't had Chancellor very long but it's a nice boy and seems to be very quiet. Since Mata Hari had to compete yesterday, Madison just popped on her bare back for our stroll around the pastures and through the hay field.

When we first started out, Chancellor wanted nothing to do with being in the lead. Once we were out in the field we let him walk next to Mata Hari (he prefers her on his left) but after a while, he let us go out front with pokey Mata Hari bringing up the tail.

No pictures but near the end of our ride, Chancellor spooked at something in the grass and did a fast side step and half spin that set me off balance.  I thought I was going to stay on through the first half but still kicked my stirrups clear - and came off.  Luckily I was able to get a foot under myself and landed on one foot then just plopped back on my butt.  Chancellor isn't a very tall horse so I was relatively close to the ground!

Next we went to play with the babies!  This little filly was the first one born this spring and is losing her baby coat and turning very dark bay/black.

Piper is a cuddle bug.  Stevie, the filly behind Madison in the pic below is much more shy.

This is Rose, otherwise known as "Pip Squeak".  She was born with a twin who passed about 3 days after birth.  She's now just a tad bigger than a new born even though she's almost 4 weeks old.

This little filly is one of the more recent babies and is also quite shy.

It took some coaxing but we finally other to "talk" to us.

This little guy is the only boy (colt) born so fat this spring.  He's also a little love bug and enjoys the attention.

Nothing like spending Mother's Day with some fur babies!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Really Really Big Win

I started this blog a long time ago to help me catalog memories of my kids's motocross and horse shows while we homeschooled.  Along the way, we've had lots of wins in both and some heart breaking losses too.

For the past 2 and a half years, I've been posting some awesome pictures of Madison and her horse, Mata Hari and a few have been from a couple of dressage shows but this horse came to Madison from our friend Clarissa to be her eventing horse.  After years of showing APHA, Madison was hellbent on becoming an eventer.  Riding 3 different types of classes - dressage, cross country jumping and stadium jumping - eventing is very challenging for both horse and rider.

After a very slow start (slowed even more by last spring's suspensory injury), Madison and Mata Hari had their very first eventing show today.  They competed at Beginner Novice which isn't the lowest level but was appropriate for their first outing.

They started in dressage.  Up the center line...

Nailed their canter departure at C.

They had a beautiful dressage test with just a few tiny hiccups - and placed first!!

Then it was on to Cross Country Jumping.  I got them off at the starting gate which limited me to just being able to see the first two jumps.

This show was at Honey Run.  An equestrian easement that runs along side and in front of several homes.

This was the 2nd jump and they soon were out of my sight as they went around a bend to the left and then through the woods to jump 3.

I ran towards the end of the course and caught them coming up from the water jump to the last several on the course before they reached the finish line.

And the results for Cross Country - a clean round and within the time limit leaving them in first place!

Last was show jumping. The horse and rider just need to get over every jump without knocking down any poles and not go faster or slower than a specified time.

And they did it!!!  My kid and her little back mare went out and totally ROCKED their very first eventing show with a HUGE Blue Ribbon WIN!!!  And not only did they win, they had the 3rd lowest score (which is good - lower is better) out of EVERYONE there at any level!

Needless to say, I'm proud as hell.  Madison has done almost all the work with this horse with just some lessons from very capable people.  She has had incredible dedication and perseverance in getting the job done.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jumping Lesson

After a very long break, Madison and Mata Hari are back to jumping on a regular basis.  Mata Hari thinks these little jumps are totally boring and stupid. But it's what they have to do for now.