Wednesday, September 29, 2010

beach details and what's coming up

Don't have pictures of the beach, yet - Kate took them and she's a super-busy architecture student, so I understand the delay. I just can't wait to share! We had such a great day at the coast!
I'd been really nervous to take Keenan, because, unlike many of the other horses, no one seemed remember a time when Keenan had gone to the beach. And after my falling experience this summer after his several weeks off, I'm more aware of what Keenan is capable of when he's not 100% on board with something. I had visions of him bucking me off and taking off down the beach, never to be seen again. But Sarah assured me that everything would be okay, and the younger girls finally talked me into it. So I put a stronger bit on his bridle and prayed for the best! And it worked! Granted, he was definitely frisky, and not entirely convinced that going in the water was a good idea, but he seemed to really enjoy himself. We trotted, we cantered, we even made it into the ocean up to our knees! We chased sea gulls and stepped over driftwood - all the fun stuff that comes along with a trip to the coast, haha. And when it was time to leave, Keenan just stared wistfully out at the dunes - like he was saying "Why don't we just live here?" Can't wait for next year's trip!
But in the meantime, it's back to work...
We have a lot coming up this fall - schooling shows in early October and late November, a vet clinic with Lisa, Halloween Fun Day, the list goes on and on. Sarah is going to have me jump 3' at the November schooling show so that when Spring Hunter/Jumper rolls around next year, the height is not so scary. So needless to say, I have a lot to work on in the off-season!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

beach day!

Went to the beach.
Took Keenan.
He rocked.
Details (and hopefully pics) to come soon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

life is getting back to normal

Shows are great, but it feels good to be home. Back to evening lessons, watching kids learn how to tack up ponies and hearing Rapper nicker for me as I'm crossing the arena. One of the post-show things I love most is discovering how much the experience bonds Keenan and I. He always seems a little more attentive and snugglier after a show.
Tonight was a good solid night at TREC. Kristine and I were the only ones in our lesson, which was kind of nice. I love riding with Kristine - she's a good rider and watching her always helps me, even if we're working on different things. She works super hard and is really dedicated to what she does. Not to mention, she's working up to 3'6" right now, so if I'm good and work hard, too, I might get to jump her warm-up jumps, haha. Seriously, though, Sarah is planning on Keenan and I moving up to 3' next year. Not that that's anything new to Keenan (he's a pro), but I am really excited about it. We jumped 2'9" today in our lesson and it felt really good. I've actually jumped 3' a handful of times, but not consistently, like in a course or anything. The thing I was most pleased about was hearing Sarah say that my position is right where it needs to be, given what I am working on right now. I feel like I'm starting to develop more of an independent seat, release better over fences and not carry my hands too low. I still resort to kind of a schlumpy, hands-down position when I'm tired or we're working on something hard, but I feel like I'm getting better.
In other news, I think I discovered part of Rapper's recent problem. I know I didn't write about it or anything, but Rapper has been in this stage lately where he prefers that I not have any contact with his mouth while I'm riding. Anytime I'd try to connect with him or put him in a frame, he'd toss his head straight up in the air. Today, I put Keenan's double-jointed D-ring bit with the plastic mouthpiece and it was like night and day. He's still resisting, but not in a painful way. I'm really looking forward to working him harder now that I don't feel like his bit is hurting him.
*sigh* Glad to be home and back in a routine!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Spectacular results

Fancy and Kate: Reserve Champion - Modified Child/Adult Hunter
Henry and Julie: Champion - Adult Equitation, Champion - OHJA Adult Medal
Lucky and Holly: Reserve Champion - Long Stirrup Hunter, Reserve Champion - Long Stirrup Equitation
Jackson and Sophie: Reserve Champion - Pre Child Hunter Pony
Patches and Anna: Reserve Champion - Pre Child Hunter Horse
Keenan and Missy: Champion - Pre Adult Hunter, Reserve Champion - Pre Adult Equitation, 5th - OHJA Mini Medal
Q and Kristine: 7th - OHJA Children's Medal
Keenan and Jessie: 3rd - OHJA Children's Medal
Bella and Lauren: 6th - OHJA Adult Medal

And major congrats to Tamara and Jakob who got 4th (out of 14) and 5th (out of 20) in two of their jumper classes; and to Allison and Bijou who competed in their first 'AA' rated show and did a phenomenal job!

Spectacular photos

Tamara and Jakob

Clayton and Keenan became fast friends

Keenan with his Champion sheet and Grand Champion ribbon

look how handsome my boy looks - fancy or no

I'm finally not jumping ahead!

2010 Medal Finals girls!

we're both a little tired, can you tell?

Jessie and Keenan, taking 3rd in the OHJA Children's Medal

Julie and Henry with their Circuit Reserve Grand Champion ribbon in Adult Equitation

Lauren and Bella

Anna and Patches

Kristine and Q

Sophie and Jackson

what an end to the season!

Two weeks of horse shows...wonderful, yet exhausting! Northwest Spectacular was absolutely fabulous. It was the perfect way to end a wonderful show season. I am so proud of Keenan and very pleased with the progress we've made this year.
We started off the show by winning the OHJA Mini Medal on Thursday afternoon, thus qualifying us for Medal Finals. I knew going into the class that we had to get a fourth place or better in order to have accumulated ten points - but Tamara was having none of that kind of talk, haha. As I was mounting up, she laughed and said "Don't come back without the blue ribbon!" I smiled back and promised her I wouldn't. And it turns out...we didn't! I felt so great after that, like the Mini Medal curse had finally been lifted! I think part of why I did so well was because I wasn't heaping pressure upon myself. Sarah asked me before I went in the ring if, for some reason, I didn't qualify for Finals, could Jessie ride Keenan in the Children's Medal? See, she had qualified earlier in the season, but with Cody a little foot-sore, she didn't have a horse. I told Sarah of course, and so felt like if I didn't qualify, something good would still come of it. As it happened, she rode him in the Children's Medal anyway - but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Classes were a little turned around at this show for me, so Friday was equitation day. We won our first class and got a fifth in the next (ugh, I hate it when I do that...inconsistency is my number one enemy!). We pulled off a third in the flat class, which got us Reserve Champion for the division! Turns out, we had enough points to be Circuit Reserve Grand Champion - I didn't even know that was a thing until Jessie came bounding up to the barn with a giant red, white and yellow ribbon.
Friday evening was Medal Finals for everyone (well, it was supposed to be - they ended up having to push the Children's Medal to 7:30 the next morning because our daylight was waning). Jordan had designed what I thought was a heck of a course - tough, but not impossible, just as it should be. I was super nervous, but for once, I was able to breathe deeply enough to ride through it. After we finished our round, the announcer called out our score to the spectators - a 78. That was the highest score so far, and stayed so for awhile. At the end of phase one, when those points had been combined with our written test scores, I was in second place with a total of 87.
Saturday morning started with Jessie and Keenan blowing everyone else out of the water and getting a score of 84 in phase one of the Children's Medal. Keenan and I kept up the good work by getting a first and a second in our two Pre Adult Hunter rounds. Then, before I knew it, it was time for the second phase of Medal Finals. For us in the Mini Medal, that meant a flat class for the competitors with the top ten scores from phase one/written test. Well, after an ETERNITY of trotting and cantering (and an awesome part where the judge called for a halt and a reverse - I know that you're always supposed to reverse and continue at the same gait, so while a lot of the riders did a tiny circle and started walking, I turned Keenan on the haunches and continued to halt - Sarah smiled and winked at me from the rail) we lined up in the middle of the arena. Keenan and I wound up fifth out of the original 28 competitors! Not half bad for our first-ever Medal Finals! Jessie and Keenan got a third in the Children's Medal - that was such a proud moment for me, cheering on my boy. He worked so hard for Jessie and I over the weekend.
Just like the week before, Sunday was the quiet day. Keenan was so tired that instead of going for a gallop, Nathan and I took him for a walk around to stretch his legs. That seemed to agree with him - in fact, he really liked strutting around the show grounds, all braided up and spiffy. We finished up our hunter division by getting another first and second over fences, just like the day before. Our Under Saddle class that day was one of the best flat rides I've ever had on Keenan. We ended up in fifth, but with every step, I could tell that Keenan was trying his heart out for me. He was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to go back to the barn, but he stuck with me and was almost flawless. He couldn't help that other horses were more well-rested or "fancier" than him, he just gave me everything he had. Our points were enough for Pre Adult Hunter Champion and, as it turned out, Circuit Grand Champion as well! I honestly can't think of a better end to the year than that.