Thursday, May 17, 2012

Call me a liar.

Oh curses.

Beside me sits three pieces of paper.

Upon them sits 13 check marks.

Call me a liar.

For I am one.

I have filled my form and am just moments away from signing up for our second show of the season.

And unlike my previous promise, it seems unlikely I will:
A) Have a trailer ready
B) Sign up for only 3 classes

Some of us never learn.

I must admit that when I went for a bareback practice ride on Mr. Moon on Tuesday, after giving him Sunday and Monday off after the show, neither of us was particularly impressive.

I quite suddenly understood all the gadgets and doohickeys of the equestrian world.

As I rode my giraffe around the arena, bouncing like my ping-pong ball self (let's face it, a sack of spuds would be more graceful then I), I found myself with an overwhelming urge to strap the Mr's mouth shut to spare another round of THESE photos:

That wasn't all I felt compelled to do. I wanted to crank his head down, strap it to his chest, toss the biggest double bit in his mouth, tie my arms up so my hands wouldn't constantly be pulling down, and *maybe* beat myself with a wet lead-rope until I stopped posting like I was trying to stand in my freakin' stirrups.

We'll ignore "glue glasses to face", as in many pictures I'm pushing the darn things back up. Yup, anyone know if you're penalized for riding one handed during your test in order to see where you're going?


So there I was, bareback bouncing around the ring, dreaming of how stellar my pony and I could look if I could just "get" him to look like a dressage horse instead of giraffe.

I mean, last show I was lucky. There was no competition. But how, HOW can I progress if I don't look like a dressage team? How can we get training level if he moves like a giraffe, and I, a ping pong ball?

No, I want him to move like a swan, or a deer, or some other creature that instills beauty and flowiness. Not our inverted hollow selves.

Begone you 50%! I want 60%. No, 70%. I want red ribbons and to beat classes of six or eight people while looking smart and dashing on my perfectly pressed, freshly ironed pony.

And how, how can I do it as I am riding now? On the horse I am riding now? With the gear I am riding now (who noticed the brown reins on a black bridle? Hmm? Who? Who noticed that my show coat too often exposes my white behind?)

I noticed. And I want flowy, beautiful shots that make the cover of newsletters, not America's Worst Dressed Dressage Riders.

Surely I can achieve that if I tie my horse's head down, and position it correctly. Throw on the right double bridle, maybe buy a stock tie with six OR even EIGHT ruffles in it, and enough show sheen to force the judges to require retinal surgery.

Maybe a pair or two of those cute little white polo wraps that dressage people are CONVINCED turn your horse from donkeyX to Fuego...

But alas, as I bounced around that ring, dreaming of the magical numbers and awe-striking judges remarks I could achieve if ONLY I had the right gear, headset and diamonds-up-our-hiney, I kept seeing one thing...

(we'll ignore the fact that it's largely because I still stare obsessively at Mr. Moon's face while riding, and have ZERO equitation abilities...)...

Regardless, I keep seeing THIS:

Aw crap.

Look at him.

Why on earth would I ever do anything "quick" to "fix" something that really isn't broke? No, he's not a "dressage horse". No he'll never look like Mr. Shiny or Mr. SuperHorse. He'll always look like this crazy little goofball, mouth agap, neck held high, eyes warm and welcoming.

Dang it all. As much as I want to be competitive, I just LOVE this horse too much to jeopardize it all for some ribbons and placings.

Because tomorrow, when the show has ended, when the stalls have been emptied and the trailers unloaded, that dressage horse ceases to matter.

What matters is where we've come from and where we've gotten to. Where we're going and how we got there.

Mr. Moon, I can not promise you that I will not be unrealistically competitive. Sometimes I will ask or demand things of you that are far from reasonable. My equitation may fail me at times of frustration, and I can assure you, I have many lessons to learn.

But I can promise, from my dusty riding helmet right down to those toes you stepped on four times this past weekend, that I will never put a ribbon or prize ahead of you and what is best for you.


Okay, enough sappy tapping. Back to my lies.


After a very convincing argument for why I should attend the PREP School's Out Fun Show (Go Team Bar W!), I found myself staring at the entry form.


We're definitely doing the Walk-Trot test, as Dressage is the whole point of being there.




Well, there's that Pas a Deux. The conspiring will begin shortly and I'm really, really excited to do it. I keep thinking "AURGH! I'm not good enough! She's training level!"...and then remember that this is a FRIEND we're Pas a Deux'ing with. She already knows we suck ; )

Of course, I should limit my classes. Didn't I say 3 over a weekend or something just yesterday?

I lied.

There's a walk-trot equitation class. Oooo. I've never done equitation (yeah, cause after one show in my entire life, there's plenty I haven't done : P ).

Okay, okay, we'll check that box off. I mean, it's walk-trot.

And we *did* do well and have fun at the Bribe your horse at Liberty Class last  weekend...hmmm...maybe....

Now I'm controlling myself on the costume class. They take SOO long to prep for, and how do you outdo a race car in two weeks? When you should be riding AND practicing another freestyle?

Scratch that one.

We're never again doing Best Groomed. Bahahaha. I found Mr. Shiny online, proudly announcing his 1st place ribbon. I mean, when a horse is even named "Simply the Best", you KNOW that diamonds in his behind come standard. 

Now, we can't do any of the jumpers. I mean, we don't jump.




Well...maybe a little x-rail?


Maybe? With a little practice?



It's an addiction.


Then I embraced my inner cowboy.

And checked off the trail class.


It's 2 weeks away. I think in 2 weeks I can not only become a hunter (haha), but also do western trail. I mean, I can seriously open the gate from horseback at home. I can't close the gate, but still...


I'm officially a nut case.

6 classes over 2 days. I'm *hoping* that they spread them out enough that I'm not back-to-back, but thankfully most of them are get on and ride type, not costume-change type classes. I could probably even trail in my english gear if they'd let me...

BUT I'll have a stall the whole weekend AND hopefully a tack stall too. And a trailer ride out there and back. I mean, it could be worse.





I continue to aim to improve. This show will likely have more participants (the inclusion of the hunter/jumpers tends to fill up arenas here), so getting ribbons isn't really likely. What *is* (hopefully) likely, is improving our test scores and comments from last week.

I won't be out riding tonight, but starting tomorrow it's back to regular training. And a lesson next Wednesday.


And somehow in all of this, I also aim to get my pony trailer up to snuff. Last night we delivered it to the sandblasters...which included a lecture on why we bring PHONE NUMBERS to places we're going to. : O I mean, at least my cell phone was actually charged for once!!! ; )

In the end, we found the place (the sign wasn't visible when heading east!), and left my darling trailer there. I got home and realised I never even put the licence plate on it... : O

The guy is sandblasting it tomorrow morning, then after work I'm picking it up and dropping it off at the paint booth. So it *hopefully* won't get any rain fall before being painted!!

I'm fairly confident I can't get it all back together before the next show. Oh how I wish, but there's an awful lot to do between then and now.


Did I mentioned I haven't even washed my white breeches yet?

Okay folks, how do I get them back to white?!


Okay, last thought. Improving our dressage scores.

Our judges comments from our first W/T last weekend:

- Wandering on Centre Line.
- Above the Bit
- Needs to bend in corner.
- Wide to your letter
- Slightly tense and inattentive (I assume they mean Moon, but this could have been me!), well shaped circle to left
- Obedient transition (trot to walk)
- Late turn, early turn ; )
- Obedient walk-trot transition
- Slightly running in trot
- Resisting right bend and flexion, unbalanced through circle right.
- Against hand at halt.

Gaits - freedom and regularity
Impulsion - Elasticity of steps, suppleness of back
Submission - Acceptance of bridle

"Well planned test although make sure to ride to letters"

4's on:
Circle L 20 m

6's on:
Medium walk
(teehee. Didn't screw his walk up!)

On our $5 Bareback (same pattern, no saddle):

Judges Comments:
- Straight. Slightly to Right of Centre Line (CRAP!! I did this at Wendy's too!)
- Obedient Halt.
- Tense, slightly running in trot.
- Obedient medium walk transition (I'm awesome at medium walk)
- Tight, above bit in our trot
- Good shape to our circle right
- Straight and steady on our change rein across the diagonal at trot
- Straight on center. Obedient halt.

Nothing underlined (though I know she simply didn't feel like repeating herself ; ) ).

Comments: "Much Better!"

No 4's.

6's on...
Enter working trot.
Halt, Salute
Medium Walk
Circle Right 20 m
Change rein across diagonal at trot
Centre line and halt
Rider position/seat/aids

: )

What does all of this mean. It means that to get 6's we need to fix:

Our trot. Supple, Flexion, Not Running.

Ride to our letters!! Good golly, that should have been the easy part!

I think just those TWO things (haha, they're huge endeavors!) could be what we need to up our scores.


Now, in two weeks, someone remind me why I was crazy enough to do this again. AND why I entered so many classes. AND why 2 weeks later I'm doing yet ANOTHER show. : P

I'm insane, but it's too late. I already sent in the cheque...

; )
 The location of the next horse show...picture from the 2010 version of this show...


  1. As cute as Moon is, I don't think he'll always look like "this crazy little goofball, mouth agap, neck held high, eyes warm and welcoming." Okay, he might be a goofball with warm eyes, but the more you work with him, the more he'll accept the bit and start to give Super Horse a run for his money.

    I don't know much about dressage these days (did it many, many years ago in 4-H), but I do know about flexion and being supple... I have to remind Lilly to be that way all the time because she tends to get heavy in my hands when we ride english. She prefers the nice, drapey reins of western these days. I think with some practice, you can make a lot of progress with Moon. He might still chew on the bit or open his mouth, but he'll have his head and neck in a much better place.

    I'm so excited that you're so excited about this next show! Like you said, no costumes this time means a lot less changing. I think 6 classes will be just fine! :)

  2. Don't worry, the dressage stuff comes all in good time! I should show you some truly horrible pictures from my first show with Barley - he's rushing, above the bit, and nearly sideswiped an adorable pony in warmup. Then, there's me - my elbows look like chicken wings (as if I might fly out of the saddle at any moment), my leg is practically on Barley's shoulder, and some strange gravitational force is pulling me to the right.

    In two years though, he's a completely different horse, close to being a solid 1st Level - without those tempting gadgets :) Sounds like you and Moon are on the right track to improving as well.

    As for entering too many classes - I fear I have a similar problem! Luckily, my trainer can usually talk me out of it...sometimes :)

  3. I have a tip for your glasses! Mine used to fall off too until I tool them to the optometrists and got them tightened.... I hadn't even realised how loose they'd gotten.
    Love your blog by the way!

  4. Good for you, Sand! I hope to see you at the PREP show!