Tuesday, November 10, 2015

October JCHSS Show

This show series is a lot of fun, and each show has a theme to it. This show ended up falling on Halloween day, so they did a lot of Halloween related activities at the "Fall Fling and Halloween Spooktacular". I don't usually participate in them, but lot of people do and it's always a lot of fun to watch. They had a costume contest (which was amazing), trailer decorating contest, pumpkin carving contest, apple bobbing... lots of fun. The young kids really get into it, but so do the adults.

I hate that this was the last show of the season and I hate that winter is coming. I could definitely tell it was fall when I got out of bed, drove over to the barn, and saw the temperature readout on my truck said 43. Ummm, brrrr! Luckily, it was going to be a sunny day and it did warm up a bit in the afternoon. I still froze most of the day, though, because all my clothes are designed for 93, not 43. I'll have to remember that for next year.

The turnout was pretty good... there was supposed to be one more show in November, but it was cancelled, so this ended up being a double point show. Good turnout is good because competition is good, but it's also bad because that means the classes take forever. The jumping classes are the worst, and I ended up not riding in my first class until after 2:30 in the afternoon. Because of that, I ended up doing western in the dark, and boy was it cold.

My gorgeous girl.
All in all, a fun show, though. I've learned over the years which judges like me (and Lilly) and which ones don't, and today, for the riding classes, I showed under a judge that never places me well. I kept that in mind throughout the day as we showed, and ended up having pretty good luck with the grass ring judge. (They run two rings at once... one for halter, showmanship, trail, and mini horse classes, and the other ring is for jumping and regular riding classes.)

Our first class was stock type at halter, and it was a big class. The judge asked us all how old our horses were, so I was thinking maybe we'd place because she'd take that into account... but no. No place for us.

Lilly passed the time with a nice sunshine nap.

Showmanship Pattern
Lilly did an outstanding job on this pattern. I did have to make our pivot a little bit wonky just to avoid the giant ant hill in our way, but she nailed it. Her set up was picture perfect and her back was super straight. I wasn't surprised to hear our name called for first place. We showed against five other adults, so we get one PAC point!

Perfect inspection!
After we were done with the in hand classes, I knew it was going to be a while before we got to ride. Trail would be set up after minis did their thing, so I could do that in a bit, but Lilly and I went back to the trailer for a nice, long break. She ate lots of hay, and I wandered around looking at the pumpkins and the different decorations on all the trailers. I also tried to stay in the sun and out of the wind!

Once the trail pattern was set up, the jumping was still nowhere close to being done, so I got dressed, tacked up Lilly, and headed out to take care of trail. The pattern was a bit tricky because we had to trot around a very tight corner and go right into the ground poles. I watched several people go before me, all with much larger horses, and they had a very difficult time. I was hoping that because Lilly was much shorter, we would be able to do it without nearly as much of an issue.

Trail Pattern
She did an excellent job. We didn't have as much of an issue with the gate this time, and even though she clunked the ground poles, we made that corner without any issues. I felt really good about our pattern when we were done. The judge must have liked our pattern as much as I did because she placed us first (out of three), so we get another PAC point in trail!

Backing through the L like a boss!
After a very long wait, we finally moved into the main ring for our riding classes. We didn't really place well in any of the english classes, but I felt Lilly did great. She still anticipates when she hears the speaker click on, and doesn't seem to be as settled in english these days, but I was happy with how she did. We got several 6th places in the walk/trot classes and the pleasure class.

Not feeling the english love.
Considering how much time I had to sit around and do nothing, there is no excuse to forget any of the patterns I did today, but that's just what happened in the english equitation class.

English Equitation Pattern
Somehow I ended up on the side of the line that went first, so I ended up being the second to go. I heard the other riders going over the pattern and they said "left turn", but then they muttered something I couldn't hear, which I thought was them correcting themselves and saying, "no, right turn." The girl who went before me did a left turn, but her pattern was a little bit crazy and my gut was saying "NO... RIGHT TURN!" So I executed what I thought was a fabulous pattern with a right turn at the end. Beautiful!

Well, the pattern clearly says LEFT pivot, and I clearly did a RIGHT pivot. I was surprised to hear I my name called for 7th, because I was the only one, out of 13 riders, to do it wrong. I suck.

So after moping around and beating myself up for a while, I changed into western and went over the western horsemanship pattern a THOUSAND times to make sure I didn't forget the pattern. It was a pretty easy one, with no right or left pivots, so I figured I was good to go.

The horsemanship class went fairly well. I thought Lilly was excellent, and jogged nice and slow. I tried to make sure we had a nice round circle and a nice straight back, but we didn't place. At all. I was pretty disappointed.

Western Horsemanship Pattern
But, such is life, so we moved on to the other classes. It was getting dark, the sun had gone down, and it was late. I was ready to be done, so we just did our best for the last two classes and then happily headed back to the trailer to get ready to head home.
We ended up winning grand champion in the adult division, and I got a really pretty Halloween themed ribbon. It was pitch dark by the time I left, so I couldn't get any pictures of Lilly with her ribbon. You'll have to settle for seeing it on my wall at home.

Happy Halloween!

Here's a recap of our placings for the day:
Stock Type at Halter = No Place out of 15
Adult Showmanship = 1st out of 5 (1 PAC Point)
Adult Trail = 1st out of 3 (1 PAC Point)
English Walk/Trot Stock Type = 6th out of 10
English GAYP Adult = 6th out of 10
English Pleasure = 6th out of 8
English Equitation = 7th out of 13
Western Horsemanship = No Place out of 11
Western Walk/Jog Stock Type = 7th out of 13
Western GAYP Adult = 4th out of 6

All in all, a great show and a great show season. The awards banquet is in January and I'm excited to see what we win for year end awards!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Saddle Is A Keeper!

As I mentioned in my last post, my saddle arrived a week ago Tuesday. It shipped MUCH faster than I thought it would, which is both good and bad. Good because I didn't have to wait very long, but bad because I only have a two week trial, and it rained the whole week! The true test was going to be this past Saturday at the show, because she would be wearing it for so long, but I did find a semi-dry day to take it over to the barn because I was dying to try it out. The arena was super wet, so I couldn't do much hard riding with her, but we took it for a short test ride anyway.

Looking showy!

I love how it fits her, and I love how it fits me. It's a 15.5" seat and the one I have now is a 16". It fits me way better and because it's nice and used, it's really broken in, which means it's extra comfy!  Lilly seemed to like it too, and she didn't show any signs of being uncomfortable when I was riding.

I took measurements of my old saddle to compare to the new one, and they're very similar. The problem area I had was in the shoulders, because Lilly is so wide there. She's also not very stoic, so if she's even slightly uncomfortable she lets me know. I was having a really difficult time finding something with full quarter horse bars, so it wouldn't pinch her. This one has a nice, wide tree, so I was hopeful it would be a keeper after Saturday's show. More on the show later, but I've decided to keep the saddle. She didn't show any of the usual signs she gives me when she's uncomfortable, and the saddle was on for several hours.

She's just so cute.

I'm so relieved to have found a saddle that is both presentable and fits my horse. I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to buy something not showy, and dress it up on my own. The wide tree on this older show saddle, seems to be the answer to my saddle prayers!