Friday, September 30, 2016

Show Prep!

So for my handful of followers, you may recall that I had planned on a schooling show two weeks ago with Ruby, but unfortunately it was rained out. Lucky for me, the rain date wasn't while I was in Vegas. Unluckily for me, it was the Saturday after I got back, limiting my time to prep (since Ruby had the entire week I was in Vegas off, oops). Despite my sleep-deprived fog on Monday, I was able to get out to the barn and ride. Ruby was fairly chill, giving me some nice steady trot work and wonderful walk work, with only a handful of exuberant canter departs (I mean, she's only five, even if I sometimes forget since she never acts like a baby!). Since the show will be outside in a grass ring, I also took her out to the hay field after our arena work and made sure I had adequate brakes at higher speeds on less ideal terrain. She was a little snotty a few times, but I think there was something in the air Monday -- other horses at the barn were acting a little silly as well. And also -- a week off!
More Vegas photos, because I can -- sporting my awesome new belt, and shooting pics with the preciousssssss.....
Me and Kate on Saturday night <3
Tuesday I just tossed her on the lunge line in a halter and let her mostly stretch her legs -- I could say it's because I wanted to ease her back in to work slowly instead of just riding every day and exhausting her, but I'd be lying, because mostly it was because I was exhausted.... haha). We also revisited TotF, and she was super. She's finally figuring out that she needs to wait for the aid (instead of just moving when she thinks I might possibly be getting ready to ask), and she's really learning to keep the front foot planted. 
Newest barn cat, Panda!
I did lots of dachshund snuggling on Tuesday....
By Wednesday I was finally starting to feel slightly more human (after two solid nights of eight hours of sleep -- which is unheard of for this insomniac!). After I got home from work, I made a quick check of my trailer to make sure everything was still packed for the show (it was, although I added a new belt and a different pair of reins). I also took Cinna on a walk through the woods trail (working toward those goals!). Wednesday we had a bit of a temperature drop and it was quite windy, and about 2 minutes into our walk I was kind of regretting it. She was being spooky and generally a bit of an asshole (baby brain). Luckily I was armed with her normal trail walking attire (regular lead and additional chain lead) plus a pocketful of cookies. We worked on walking (preferably not on top of me), as well as patient standing (not at all her forte). We passed many terrifying horse-eating obstacles (including a trash can, cardboard box, and several stumps), and also walked partway down my gravel road. About halfway out on the trail she settled down a little -- well, it's her version of settled. She's never going to be as chill as Ruby, it's just not in her nature, so I am going to have to make a concerted effort to not compare them to each other. Cinna is always going to be "hotter", that's just how she's wired. At any rate, we made it through the ENTIRE trail loop, and even stopped to just stand or graze a few times. I also made her eat cookies off all the scary objects, which had the unintended consequence of her deciding that every tree stump must dispense cookies and dragging me over to check them (even after I ran out of cookies).... At least she wasn't scared anymore? haha.
Goats are untrustworthy AF..... fo' real.
After I put Cinna away and fed the dogs, I headed out to ride Ruby. She was foot perfect -- I didn't want to run through either of the tests, but I did work most of the elements (stretchy trot, canter-trot transition on the diagonal, etc). She gave me some really, really super stretchy trot, and lots of other pleasant work. I'm hoping that even though our prep time wasn't adequate, we'll still acquit ourselves respectably at the show. Because some people can't make the rain date (sob, Kaity), ride times changed a little. My ride times are now both between 1 and 2, which is a little preferable to how they were originally set up (like 1 and then 3 or something like that?). 
Thursday I got home from work and decided to squeeze in a lunging session with Cinna. She was an absolute rock star -- like I hadn't just ignored her for two weeks, haha. I don't deserve these horses! After I lunged her, I decided to work on having her stand still for mounting. I used the cookie method again, and she didn't even think about walking off. She was being really good so I was hacking her around the arena bareback (helmet-less in jeans over my lunging surcingle, no less), and she had a scoot across the arena when the cat raced by.... luckily for all of us, she is a good egg, and didn't dump me in the sand. I do have rather entertaining video footage of it, so maybe one of y'all blogging geniuses can teach me how to make it into a funny little GIF so everyone else can laugh too! 
Then I headed out to work Ruby lightly -- she's been doing well with the work day, lunge day routine since I got back from Vegas, so after I clipped her up pretty for the show, I just let her play on the line for a bit. Then home to bed early (DH had training yesterday and today, so alarm is going off wayyyyy earlier than I want) and tonight will be one last ride and bath before the show tomorrow!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Andalusian World Cup Recap

Honestly I could probably break this down into multiple posts, and have content for like a MONTH, but that's not really how I roll, so ya'll will be getting a super abbreviated version, haha. If you follow me on social media, you probably already have an idea of how I spent my last week. About two months ago, I was offered the chance to run the livestream for the 3rd annual Andalusian World Cup in Las Vegas. After some negotiating with DH about him being stuck at the farm alone for a week, and working out the time off with my boss (it's our insanely busy season at work, so terrible time to be gone, oops!), I packed my bags! I flew into Vegas last Tuesday (the 20th) and flew home on Sunday (the 25th), although my flight technically didn't arrive until after midnight on Monday morning. Aside from getting to put faces to names of a lot of my Facebook friends (probably 1/3 of my friends list are Andalusian enthusiasts who I rarely, if ever, see in person), I also got to work with my BFFL Ericka, making my long days so much more enjoyable!

It was an absolutely insane experience, in a good way! While technically my job was running the live stream, I also jumped in to help photograph on dressage day (mostly because the camera I got to play with is definitely worth more than my car, haha), and a general girl Friday whenever anyone needed anything (whether it was a cup of coffee, a shot of Jameson, or tearing down after the show). I know from my foray into the blogosphere and following a ton of blogs from people involved in different disciplines that many of you volunteer at events, but I don't think I currently follow anyone who competes in or volunteers at breed shows (or at least if I do, I'm too sleep deprived to remember right now). Breed shows are a whole different kettle of fish, ya'll, especially in the Andalusian breed. For those of you not in the know, there are currently several different organizations to register Spanish and partbred Spanish horses through, and the breed as a whole has experienced a lot of turmoil and division. I'm not going to get into all that (because I could probably write a whole series of posts on it, lol), but I am going to say that AWC is hands down the most inclusive breed show out there right now for those of us with Iberian horses. Not only are the Working Equitation and Dressage sections open to ALL breeds (special appearances last week from both a MULE and a completely blind Appaloosa), the AWC classes are open to horses registered with a variety of Iberian registries. Basically as long as you have some sort of legit paperwork showing that your horse has Iberian blood (Spanish OR Portuguese), you can show. 
Endo the Blind (an Appaloosa) showing Working Equitation (Ease of Handling Phase)
Thesebootsaremade4lopin (the most adorable mule ever) showing Working Equitation
Aurora KR, the quintessential Spanish mare, showing dressage (about 99.9% sure I took this photo)
And the prizes were out of this world -- aside from the normal ribbons (1-5 in qualifying/regular classes, top 5 and champ/reserve sashes for championships, and best movement medals for halter classes), there were also bags of Cowboy Magic products for the "best turned out horse" in lots of classes, Dale Chavez belt buckles for championship classes, a custom Dale Chavez decked out western saddle for the Supreme Western Pleasure Championship, a Portuguese saddle as a Working Equitation prize, and prize checks/coolers/etc on top of the regular ribbons and roses for the supreme championship classes. I believe a lot of the youth classes also had gift cards to Riding Warehouse as prizes as well? 

Custom Dale Chavez saddle.
Wednesday kicked off with dressage and DSH classes, running in two rings. It was also supposed to be training day for the live stream programs, but since they also needed a photographer, Ericka manned the video camera while I got to play with a professional camera. (side note: if anyone knows anyone in the market for a kidney, I would gladly give up one to have this set up. the camera lust is real guys. I seriously only picked up my camera like once the entire trip and the whole time I used it I basically wanted to chuck it off a cliff because it felt so inadequate after using the professional one *sigh* someday.......)
The preciousssssss.........
At any rate, Ericka uncovered a secret talent with a video camera, so that basically set the tone for the rest of our work with the live stream -- she handled the camera while I handled changing the class names (or horse/rider combinations for WE) and the commercials. We were able to more or less seamlessly swap off for bathroom breaks and food runs (although if you watched any portion of the livestream where the camera was jerky and the zoom in/out was rough, that would probably have been the handful of times I took over, haha, sorry!). There were a handful of SNAFUs (some definitely our fault, some definitely not), but from what I've seen the general reaction to this year's live streaming was positive. Working together (as opposed to working in shifts) definitely did make for some longer days though! With the exception of Wednesday, the other days started at 7 or 7:30 am (which meant we needed to be there ready to go at least half an hour earlier) and ran to about 8 - 10 p.m. each night (I'm guesstimating, I honestly don't remember for sure, I just know I rarely got to bed before midnight!). Classes were split up into three time blocks for Thurs.-Sat.: Working Equitation started at 7 (or 7:30) and typically ran until around noon. There would be a brief lunch break and afternoon classes started around 12:30 or 1 p.m. Those classes ran anywhere from 3-4 p.m., and then there was another break until the evening classes started around 6 or 6:30 p.m. and ran until... well, until they ended! 

If I'm reading the files correctly, I think all the dressage photos I'm posting here were ones I took.
One perk to being there all day instead of in shifts meant that I got to watch every single horse who competed in WE or in the regular AWC classes (as opposed to the ANCCE classes running in the other arena). I definitely found some stallions that I liked, and I've already started a list for Cinna -- half the fun in owning a mare is the hypothetical breedings you get to plan ;) she definitely won't be bred until she's older, farther along in her training, and has actually DONE something (having a working uterus should not be the only criteria when breeding, but that's a rant for another day), but it's fun to dream. I got to see a lot of FB friends cleaning up in the show ring with their lovely horses, and many of them made their way up to the live stream booth over the course of the week to give me a hug and chit-chat in between classes! I was able to FINALLY meet up in person with the woman who owned Cinna's sire (check out that story here) and she was also vital to my purchase of Ruby, so that was super cool! I could probably devote a whole post to the awesome people I got to meet and/or finally spend more time with, and it was one of the best parts of the trip!
The highlight was definitely the Saturday evening classes -- the Supreme Championship classes were all DEEP classes (for this breed, which means vastly different numbers than QHs or Arabs or something) and competition was FIERCE! I can't count the number of times my jaw dropped or I was rendered speechless -- this show truly had the best of the best! 

Packing up to head home Sunday was bittersweet for sure. My flight was delayed a little so I was able to help with some of the packing up and tearing down of the show, which gave me a whole new appreciation for all the behind the scenes work that goes into making things look so professional! My hat is off to the main crew behind AWC (Amber, Kevin and Kate), because they've taken their vision and turned it into the biggest Iberian show in the country in a short three years, and next year things will be bigger and better than ever -- in addition to the Vegas AWC in the fall, they're also kicking off spring with an East Coast show (venue/date TBD) that will give Iberian owners on the other side of the country a chance to shine as well! Mad props to them for finding a way to bring owners from various different registries together to compete and focus on what's it's really about -- the horses -- not the papers. They also assembled a top-notch show team, and the show ran incredibly well. Obviously as with any event, there were the occasional hiccup, but every single person I spoke to Saturday had nothing but praise for the show and were excited to come back for 2017.
I got to judge the stall front contest, and this was my fave!
If you missed the live stream, you can check out the AWC photo galleries, and I posted a handful of videos on my FB page. I have about 50 more video clips to sort through, and some photos on my camera (that will look so pathetic compared to these *sigh*), so you will probably hear more about AWC in the future, but at least now you know how I spent my last week! I mean, if you're following this blog, you probably care, right?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I Can't....

Still too exhausted to write. I did sit down at my computer, but the second time I nodded off, I dragged my happy @$$ to bed. Soon! The rain date for the last show is this Saturday, so my limited energy stores are being devoted to riding and working Ruby.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Back to the Grind

So I made it back from Vegas in one piece, albeit incredibly sleep deprived -- I think I averaged 4.5 hours of sleep per night for a week, and that is NOT a good look for me....haha. Back to work today and of course the first thing that happens is my work computer implodes..... Yay. Hoping to work up some coherent updates this week with photos and video, so stay tuned!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Dressage Photos!

First is my daily plug for the livestream --

This morning is Working Equitation Ease of Handling phase which is fun to watch!

Also, here are the photos I snapped with Kevin's fancy camera on Wednesday!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Live Stream!

Still no time to write (putting in approximately 16 hour work days at the show haha) but if you're interested in following along, here's a link!

Working the main ring today!

My mad organization skills at work for the VIP baskets ;)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Since ‘Fraidy Cat Eventing is turning this into an imprompu blog hop, I’m down!This fun guided list originated with L Williams over at Viva Carlos. I think it’s a fun way to learn new things about other bloggers!
The latest in a long line of strays that turned up at the house.
I'm happiest when.... I’m hanging out with horses or friends.
... Especially if .... I can do both of those things at the same time!
I've always wanted to.... visit the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
My family and I.... put the fun in dysfunctional... but that’s okay!
I was a terrible.... basketball player. No hand-eye coordination. But I was an above average soccer player, so apparently my foot-eye coordination is fine?
DH, me, and my mom after getting soaked running a 5K.
My first job was.... waiting tables at a Waffle House. I was 16 and probably the only employee with all my teeth and a full head of hair. I made $BANK$ off truckers, haha.
I could probably eat Wendy’s french fries dipped in a chocolate Frosty every day.
I stole.... 3 pieces of candy from my coworkers candy bowl while she was out of the office last week ;)
I was born on the same day as.... Frank Lloyd Wright, Barbara Bush, Joan Rivers, Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web!), and Kanye West. Thanks On This Day haha. 
Even though waiting tables was a pretty shitty job, it's where I met DH! (that is a story worthy of it's own blog post haha)
My all time favorite movie is.... the 2005 Pride & Prejudice with Kiera Knightley and Matthew McFayden. I saw it 12 times in theaters and I can quote probably the entire movie verbatim, haha.
I do a pretty mean.... face.
I'm still mad.... that Jeff Fisher stepped down as the Titans coach only to defect to the Rams.... UGH.
I always knew I wanted a.... horse. Or in my case, multiple horses!
I'm not afraid to.... laugh at myself. Self-deprecating humor is my schtick.
I make the best.... crash hot potatoes! Yum.
I have almost no.... free time. I need a body double.
I always cry when.... I’m sad or angry. The older I get the more ridiculously emotional I am. I never used to cry at movies or TV shows or anything, and now it happens all the time!
I'm (now) a.... mediocre dressage rider. But I think.... I’m going to change that. Or die trying, one of the two... lol. 
I spent 7 years.... living in the trailer we put on our land because we didn’t have time/$ to get our house built when we first bought the property. Hopefully we’ll be able to build before the 10 year mark..... :-/
I wish my folks.... had gotten me in a regular riding program as a kid. I am eons behind most of you!
At 5 I was deeply in love with.... my pets <3
I didn't get Cody until I was 8, but none of my pictures from age 5 are digital.... haha.
I believe if everyone.... was just a titch more tolerant and open-minded, the world would be a much friendlier place.
I can't stand.... narcissistic assholes who think they know everything when they are quite clearly morons.
Whenever the Big Bang Theory is on I’ll watch it. (It's playing right now incidentally haha)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Disappointment (AKA Rain is Ruining All the Fun)

Well, the show Saturday got rained out, so no fun show recap. Boooooo. Kaity and I have been trying to meet up at a show for like the last month and they keep getting rained out!
More time at home = more time snuggling badger dogs.
Friday it rained all day, so we got the show cancellation notice pretty early -- which was nice, at least I didn't waste time scrubbing my horse!
This is what she looked like when I got to the barn Friday....
Saturday I spent most of the day getting things sorted and ready for my trip to Vegas. Every time I go somewhere, I have this ridiculous routine where I sort through pretty much everything I own and wash what I think I might take with me, and then have to do a lengthy "cull" (since I have a tendency to want to overpack haha). I took a brief break to go out and do barn chores, and wash my filthy disgusting horse. She also gave me another nice gift -- a forelock completely matted with burrs.
I also got to spend some quality time in the barn late this weekend -- I really love the ability to head out to the barn in my pajamas to pick stalls and snuggle sleepy ponies.
Ceiling cat...
Sleepy Cinna-monster.

Sunday DH and I accomplished a lot around the farm -- with me being gone for almost a week, we're trying to set things up so it's the least amount of work for him. This means the ponies will be spending some time in their dry lot -- since we only have 3 at home, they haven't been in the dry lot since about April, and it was pretty overgrown with weeds. The weeds weren't so much an issue, but the ridiculous amount of cocklebur plants. After I spent so much time picking them out of Ruby's mane Saturday, I didn't relish the thought of doing the same thing with Cinna. So we spent hourrrrrrs pulling burr plants and piling them up to burn.
Imagine this, but times two!
I should have stood next to it to give it some reference haha.

We also covered our round bales with plastic (trying to keep the worst of the weather off them), took hay to Ruby, ran a bunch of other errands, and then cooked a delicious dinner. I really should have worked the horses, but since I'll be gone for almost a week, I wanted to spend some quality time with DH :)
The dogs had a good night too!