Thursday, October 21, 2021

Road Trippin': Indiana Welsh Show

Last weekend, I took off early on Thursday for an ADVENTURE! I drove to Indiana to meet up with Jen at the Heartland Welsh Show at the Hoosier Horse Park. It was going to be her baby Disco's first in hand show, and Connor's debut in leadline with Annie, and really how could I turn down a long weekend full of ponies and photos and fun?! Trick question, I could not. I will let Jen tell you all about how her main men stole the show and how they were basically champions of the ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD, because that's her story to tell, but I figured I could tell you what it was like as a spectator and about how much I loved it!

I got in Thursday evening and went straight to the horse park, where Jen was unloading her trailer to settle Connor in, and then I jumped in to help bathe Disco and his dam, who would be showing the next morning. Disco is a COOL DUDE - he was completely chill about being bathed in the dark with cold water, and was mostly interested in how much he could splash around in the hose. The actual cutest, no lie. 
Jen & Disco

Disco selfies!

Me walking him over for his bath. He had a baby attention span (to be expected), but was still such a gentleman!

Thursday was a late night making sure all the ponies were settled, and then we went back to Jen's house for pizza and beverages. Jen's house is AMAZE-BALLS. Holy shit. She and her husband have done such a cool job of restoring it to it's original glory but with a modern twist - it's elegant but functional and literally any time I was in a room I was ogling the cool details of a historic house....whether it was the BOMB chandeliers and matching 100+ year old medallions original to the house, the amazing trim, the GORGEOUS ornate front staircase, or even fun hidden details like elaborate hinges on the doors. I got to stay in an adorable guestroom upstairs, was reunited with my buddy Hank (who I met at #notRolex2019), and even got a chance to try to befriend Meatloaf -- she was not super sure about us being buddies on day one, but by the end of the weekend she consented to play with me a bit and let me scritch her ears, which is a win in my book :) The pizza Jen's husband made was SO INSANELY GOOD - he made the crust himself and then did a bunch of mini pizzas with a variety of toppings.. I STUFFED myself with pizza, some of which he made to specifications with the understanding that I am a complete weirdo and don't like a lot of normal pizza toppings, haha. 


Friday was a long day of halter classes, with Jen's ridden cob class at the end of the day, so we were up and at 'em bright and early. Connor, being the gem that he is, was still clean and tidy when we showed up, so we mostly pitched in with Disco's breeder to help get all her mare/foal pairs ready, and then once the show kicked off it was a blur of back to back to back halter classes -- some with the foals entered, some with the mares entered, and some with allllllll of the horses the breeder brought (Produce of Sire and Get of Dam, where I think they were judging in consistency of type in breeding programs?). It was really fun to watch from the sidelines (although I was dressed and prepared to run horses if they needed an extra handler), but luckily enough people materialized that I just got to take photos all morning long! I can't wait to hear about it from Jen's perspective, but I can assure you I was IN HAPPY TEARS several times as they announced results, and actually got so distracted happy crying for Jen I almost forgot to take photos (THE HORROR). 

Snuggling with Disco Friday morning. 

Jen walking over for her halter class with Connor as the sun rose. 

Jen in Connor's halter class. 

Alright well fucking BLOGGER won't put this where it goes up after the photo of me and Meatloaf, but Jen's laundry room is literally everything. EVERYTHING. I debated kicking Meatloaf out of her cage and just taking up residence in the back corner behind the washer. 

Disco, absolutely SACKED OUT before his classes, haha. There were literally 5 people gathered in and around his stall and he was just sleeeeeeeping. He's gonna be a baller show horse when he's older (I mean he is now obviously but once he's under saddle, he's gonna be such a professional!)

Friday actually wrapped up at a reasonable hour (for a horse show, weird, right?), so we got to swing by Jen's barn and I got to stomp around in the Tru-Tex (since I'm hoping to add it to my outdoor). Her barn is laid out SO WELL -- such a functional little space, and also just gorgeous. The fact that she can have a place like that to keep Connor (and Disco here soon!) less than 10 minutes from her house in a city is #goals. 

I called dibs on her tack locker if she ever wants to get rid of it - we even have last names that start with the same letter #kismet

Rocky is such a cool birdo and he hung out with us Friday night as we reviewed photos!

I brought my favorite cider and Jen's incredibly thoughtful husband picked up some rum, because he knows it's my favorite. 

Saturday morning was Connor and Annie's leadline debut, so we were off to the showgrounds first thing. Spoiler alert. It was the actual cutest. Again, I'll let Jen tell you all about it, because it's her (and Mary's!) story, but it literally made me tear up again that I got a chance to capture it for them <3 after leadline, there was a bunch of driving classes before Jen's english classes in the evening. 

Mary and her husband MADE this jacket for Annie to wear in leadline and I almost expired on the spot from how adorable it was. 

The adrenaline crash after leadline was real though, I was cold and very tired and the sun came out and I just sat down in the chair and passed out -- Connor's BOT sheet in my lap was very helpful lol. I'm glad Jen caught this moment 🤣 

I volunteered to hold this ADORBS driving pony while his handler was helping someone else check their harness, so natch I needed to take a photo of us. 

And in an instance of PERFECT TIMING, Jen happened to be walking back to the stalls and got this inception-style shot of me taking my photo with the pony while the handler tried to get his ears. 

I am dying I cannot even. I would have stuffed this pony in the back of my car and brought him home if I could have!

After the show wrapped up for the evening, there was a pizza party and auction. Also a noodle. I also would have stolen him, but he was as besotted with his dad as Cici is with me <3 <3 <3

Trying some new seltzer flavors. Someone actually asked me if it was ranch flavored and while that would be very on brand for the Midwest, it was not.... LOLOL. 

On the subject of booze, this is HJ's favorite beer, that is not available in Missouri. So I picked up two cases to bring home for him. There's an exceptionally funny (to me) story about how I pretended to have forgotten it and then hid it all over the house for him to find, but you sort of had to be there, lol. Needless to say, he is fine with me heading off to Indiana at any point in the future as long as I bring some home 😄

Sunday was the last day of the show, with all of the hunter classes -- and Mary was showing Connor! It was another early day, but again, so worth it to be able to document the experience. Jen and Mary are the kind of friends everyone should have (or be!) and it was so special to watch Mary's family show up to cheer her on, and watch Connor totally rock around the course with her! 

One of the few photos of me this weekend, again taken by Jen <3 Mary and I met at #notRolex2019 and then more notably at Pony Cup this past summer, where Jen realized we are TROUBLE together and swore never to reunite us again, but relented so we could have this awesome weekend ;) 

Mary and Connor's classes wrapped up early and I hopped back on the road so I could get home at a decent hour (and ride my own horse, yay!), but it was such a special experience. I'm so grateful to know Jen and have the kind of friend who is totally cool if I just invite myself to her house and then creepily follow her around a show taking (actual) thousands of photos. It really is something I enjoy so much, and I'm glad to be able to repay her in some tiny way for the million ways in which she has been a great friend to me over the last few years since I started blogging and "met" her virtually long before we ever met in person. Jen, I'm glad I didn't scare you off the first time we met in person and within 20 minutes I was giving a total stranger tours of your horse trailer, and thanks for putting up with all my weirdness and still being my friend - I appreciate it more than I can say <3 I hope we get to show together in 2022!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

WW: New Boots

That very expensive moment when you try on someone else's custom boots that they want to sell that also fit you like they were custom made for you..... although I guess less expensive than custom ordering a brand new pair with identical specs, lol. Plus they're already broken in! 

I didn't bring them home with me the day of the lesson but I am picking them up next lesson (before the show) 🤩🤩🤩

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Transformation Tuesday: Ruby Edition

As I was dithering last week about whether to send off entries to the local schooling show at 1st Level, I scrolled back through the bagillion Facebook albums I have to find my last show with Ruby. It was the fall of 2016, and we were showing (and scoring respectably) at Training Level. Doing a side by side comparison of these photos with more recent photos was actually one of the things that finally tipped me over the edge and made me think "what's the worst that can happen, it's a schooling show?!?!" and mail off my entries (and then of course it rained every day I was home last week so I couldn't ride, sob). It's so funny looking back, because at the time I was so convinced Ruby was filled out and looked like a grown up horse (HAHAHAHA)..... and now look where she is, I can barely believe it! Like yes, it didn't need to take 5 years, but between some personal riding burnout, bringing her home and losing access to an indoor, changing jobs, building a house, covid, struggling to access/afford consistent instruction, etc. etc. etc.... I'm not mad at all about where we are right now :) these shots aren't taken from identical angles or at the exact same moments, but they're all representative of what good looked like for us then, and what good looks like now.

I have to giggle because most of the shots in the show album from 2016 are her tracking left.... my problems to the right go back a real long time, okay? LOL. I think we're ready to step outside my comfort zone a little!

Also because it's come to my attention that some newer blog readers may not have ever experienced "fugly baby Ruby" in all her glory.....

Ruby, the day after she stepped off the trailer at 13 months. 
At a lesson last month, age 10. We should all be lucky to have a glow up like this lol. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Arts & Crafts, Part 3

It took a little longer than planned (I mean really, what project of mine doesn't, lol), but my DIY arena letters are finally up! One night last week it had MONSOONED midday (for the third straight day), so my arena was still a bit too soggy to ride when I got home that evening, so we decided it was a good time to finish this up - also, I'm dying to run through 1-1/1-2 before the show 😬

When the letters are on the work bench on the far side of the garage and LONGBOI takes up every inch of available space in that stall 🤣

Setting them out. My arena is 12 feet shy of a short court length-wise (although the width is fine), and 80 feet shy of a regulation court, soooo I fudged the locations as best I could, lol. The good news is, by the time I show in a regulation court, it'll feel huge!! 

Mmmmm soggy 🥴

Freehanding with the drill 🤣

Trigger and Ruby were really interested in the plates lol. 

Don't let the clean side fool you, she was PLASTERED with mud on the far side. 


I can't wait to ride this week and start practicing the tests! 😁