Sharing Is Daring

Some of you may have seen that I wrote yesterday about how hard it is to escape old patterns and negative self image. I decided to challenge myself to accept myself just as I am, because hey, I’m trying new things, learning new skills, and staying active for someone who’s 64 (especially where I live, since people my age have had much harder lives and it often shows).

As for me, I can’t even stand up straight, I guess.

Coincidentally, I had to take the videos of my most recent virtual Working Horse Central shows and upload them to YouTube so they can be judged. Look, I’m asking to be judged! That proves I’m doing better already! So, fine, y’all can judge me, too! I know may readers have studied horsemanship a lot longer than I have (I had three workshops before starting my lessons last year around this time). So, bear in mind that both I and the horse are not very experienced. On the other hand, we’re having FUN. That’s what counts.

I define fun as eating, but I do like the obstacles.

So, you don’t have to watch this, just mentally pat me on the back for being brave enough to share what I have done, mistakes, successes, good tries, and all. This is a test for me, not a thing you have to take part in! Thanks!

This is the Trail phase, with the obstacles and the drama of me dropping the lead rope. (4:44)
This is the Functionality phase, where we go in circles, back up, and try to turn neatly. (2:56)

Let’s see if I can actually bring myself to be brave enough to post this.

Pride and Practicality

I have to say my horses make me proud. Today was another lesson day for both of them, and you could really see progress, even since last week. Drew. Damn. He just loves to learn new things, so it’s easy to sneak new knowledge.

The goal today was to work on turning right without crowding. He thought it was working on stopping and starting, then going in and out of cones without me following. I walked in a straight line and he had to weave. He didn’t get it at first with Tarrin but got great at it with me. Proud!

He’s a winner.

He also is now jumping higher jumps, which is really going to help his muscles. And today he did it calmly, so he didn’t have to re-do anything. He was cool as a cucumber. In fact he drifted off a couple of times when we were talking. Maybe he will learn to turn more straight and I’ll learn to turn correctly, too. We’re getting instructions!

Q2 Virtual Show ribbons

I’m also proud of these ribbons from the virtual show we did in May. It’s the first time he ever had competition. And I was very proud of both Drew and Sully. They were very close in their scores. This was a great show for Sully’s first one! Sara has done such a great job training her. I’m proud of her, too!

Dog play break

As for Apache, he was moody at first, but he got really excited and seemed genuinely happy when he managed to jump over the high jump twice, in each direction. I think he surprised himself!

And that boy worked his butt off today. His goal was getting under his haunches and stopping properly. He has really been reluctant to stop when he’s anxious. Well he practiced stopping a LOT. He did many of the things Drew was doing, but including lots of stopping. To his credit, he got the idea!

By the time we were doing the “approach the scary trailer” ordeal, he was paying attention and stopping on a dime. Screech! That’s real progress. The whole trailer approach is improving. It’s not there yet, but Tarrin says he’s starting to trust that I’ll keep him safe.

I’m also doing better with my ability to be calm and deal with his stuff. I’m proud of our progress, but feel bad for how wound up he gets. I did give him a nice bath, and I can assure you he had a nice roll later.

Practicality

I thought you might get a chuckle out of how I decided to organize all those Color Street nail polishes I have. I found that one of my shoe boxes fit them perfectly.

Ta da

I felt like decorating it, so I found my 2020 calendar of donkeys and used it to cover the shoe box. It’s certainly cheerful.

Howdy

The donkeys make me smile, and now it’s wY easier to see what polish sets I have. I also sealed the used ones in hopes that I can use them later by warming them up.

Ok. Fun.

And there ya go. Something random and not depressing! And because I want to reward those of you who read to the end, let’s enjoy the dogs on a pleasant evening.

Drew and Sully Do a Show

Today Sara and I took Drew and Sully, the mare she is training while waiting for her to get pregnant, over to Tarrin’s to film the obstacles test for the Q2 Working Horse Central show. We were ready for fun!

In our horse show outfits.

It went pretty well, other than Sara’s first video failing. Luckily Sully did just as well the second time. She’s learned so quickly! And it’s beautiful to watch her trot.

They are friends now that they’ve trailered together. Before, Sully wanted to eat Drew.

Drew did okay. He started out refusing to do the figure 8, which confused me, because he hardly ever refuses to walk with me. Then he got better until he fell down heading into the slalom! I did the right thing by checking on him.

Oops. Dramatic film footage.

It got better after that and he did fine on the other parts. Tarrin said his jump was beautiful. That made up for the other parts.

That’s my boy.

It was a good experience except I got all upset with myself for not leading Drew well enough and that he fell. Normally I’d be fine but you know, it’s been a hard week.

I’m proud of what we can do, since we’re both rank beginners.

Also, since I get overheated so easily, I gave up trying to do a second take. It’s just like an in-person show, you lead the horse that showed up and accept the performance. Tomorrow we do the Functionality test. Maybe this time we will do better on that! If not, we will learn things and know what else to work on.

Here is the raw footage. Six minutes of our lives.

Back at home we are all happy and eating dinner. Life’s good if you are one of our horses!

Dinner time.

Lots got done here, too. Both the Hen House and the Suna Shack got latches to hold the doors open, and lots got done of the living space for Lee’s brother (no photos yet).

I’m an Equestrian?

Yesterday was a big day for me and Drew. We have been in our first horse show and survived. I guess it was our first half horse show, since we still have another event to do, but this one was challenging to say the least. I had a lot of support from Sara and Tarrin in my endeavor, but hey, Drew and I did it! We even looked pretty good for a stooped old woman and a young gelding.

Competing hard! All images are from the video taken on Sara’s camera, because who had time to take pictures while everything was going on?

It was a most excellent day, I must say, for both me and Sara, and there was just one little glitch on her cool camera that can follow a horse around, which impressed the heck out of me!

Yes, it is true. I ran the whole thing. Whoever said horse stuff wasn’t exercise was being silly.

Sara did two events, Trail and Agility (Agility is Trail only fast). I did Trail. Since I was doing “in hand” my Trail wasn’t as hard as hers was. Tarrin ran around and set up the course for each of us and tried to keep things from falling down, especially the object we were supposed to knock off a pole and the “slicker,” which is a jacket you have to put on and take off without spooking your horse.

We were all impressed with both horses. Aragorn was a real trooper, because he had to do one thing twice. But, what a guy! He was especially pretty on his double slalom, in my opinion. I think Sara was pleased overall.

That is a happy face!

I went through my course once, just to be sure I knew where to enter and exit, then we did it for real. I was so happy with how Drew did! He only had trouble with the side pass maneuver, and even then he got it on the second try. I was thrilled at how well he did going over the brush. It probably helped that he was familiar with the hill. He bumped into me a couple of times, and slowed from the trot once or twice, but all in all, he did super for his first time.

I’ve got this brush thing down!

And I did super for my first time (according to my audience). That was a lot of jogging. I looked rather overly serious, and my posture sucked. But, it’s something to work on! I look forward to the judging results to see what areas we have for improvement. That’s the best thing about Working Horse Central shows: they are educational and focus on ways the human and horse can improve their performance based on soundness and kindness. If you are looking to become a better partner to your horse and develop skills you will use every day, check them out!

This is so cute. He “rang the bell” himself, then backed out fine. Apache is over there supervising.

Now I have a baseline to improve on, and I know all the things I do with Drew this year from the ground will make starting out in the saddle with shows a lot easier. Yay for us all. Sara and I still have to do our Functionality tests, which we will do once Tarrin takes down the obstacles and restores the dressage arena area. I think we should do well on that one if I remember the order of the steps. I may have Sara call them, or not. It’s not too hard. Here are a few more pictures of our progress.

Anyone who really cares can watch this YouTube video. Thanks to Sara for filming.

I am very proud of this little boy, his trainer, and even me.

My First Horse Show

That’s right. I’d never been to a horse show until yesterday, when Sara and I returned to the beautiful McClennan Community College Highlander Ranch for a working equitation competition. Fun was had by us, and we sure learned a lot!

Amazingly beautiful grounds with immense oaks.

It was hard not to drool at all the gorgeous gaited horses, Gypsy vanners, and giant warmbloods. but, thanks to the very welcoming people at Heart of Texas Working Equitation, we did learn what was going on, what the goals of the dressage and obstacle competitions were aiming at. What fun.

Here are Pam and Jed in the dressage part of the competition. They won!

We lucked out in that two really experienced women were sitting near us, and they were nice about explaining what made a good horse, what made a good rider, and the history of some of the competitors. That made it lots of fun.

Our favorite of the many great stories we heard during the day was about Pam and her gray paint/something fancy Jed. It turned out he had a year like Apache did last year, only worse. His feet were so bad that they recommended he be put down, but they managed to nurse him back to health. This was their first time in the arena since 2019 (well, they didn’t compete last year anyway, but he wouldn’t have been there).

This is BEFORE she got the overall best rosette! We were all so happy for her.

He is such a great horse that I see why she didn’t want to lose him. He basically slept between his events, breathing so heavily on Pam that her shirt was wet. Then, when she put his bridle on, he perked up, went out, and won the obstacle course, too!

I just cut the nice lady’s head off, because all I cared about was her horse. It’s the family pet, raised by them, and with an incredibly laid-back disposition. He also aced every move and won the more advanced class.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was very happy to get to see my first Gypsy vanner horses in person. These are small but robust horses that were used to pull wagons, but also had to be very tame, because they were always around children. They are a perfect “Suna size” horse. And of course, there is the hair. The glorious hair. Brush, brush, wash wash, braid braid. Sounds like a good retirement hobby to me.

This one is their stallion, doing the gate opening activity. The judge is behind them. Can you see how long the braid is that’s keeping his mane out of the way?

Naturally, these are really expensive horses, so I will admire them from afar. But, they are living My Little Ponies!

It was also fascinating to watch all the gaited horses, which have a different, smoother “trot” than quarter horses and most other horses. The horse looks quite busy when gaiting, but the rider is smooth as if they are sitting on a couch. I am really tempted to get one of those, since Apache has a really rough trot (one of the horses in the show did, too, and its rider was bouncing around at both trot and canter). I’m afraid I was too enthralled with the warmbloods and hair horses, so I didn’t get any photos.

I did enjoy one little quarter horse, mainly because she was such a great size. This is the one where Sara asked if she was a former brood mare, and her owner said no, she was a nightmare. But, she did pretty well considering her history of not doing much until she was older, and was a very friendly girl

They are in Western dressage attire.

It was exciting to watch the experience riders, who were on Lusitano and Andalusian horses. Those are the big ones. They are able to do all sorts of collection moves, fancy walks, snazzy trots, and things I will never do in my entire life, but are fun to watch.

The final part of the day was where they ran the course as fast as they could. That was a lot of fun. Two of the most fun were when Doreen, the woman who did yesterday’s clinic, didn’t go fast, but did the whole course as smoothly and with as few extra steps as possible. She wasn’t getting scored, because her gaucho pants had knocked over something and disqualified her in the obstacle course. She was a great example of taking one’s mistakes with grace, and showed that even the experts have mishaps.

They are backing up.

But the most fun one to watch was a woman who raises Australian stock horses. She and her horse ran that thing like a race, and it was a hoot to watch. And in this part you are allowed to cheer. It was a great way to end the day!

Zoom!

I look forward to doing some of these obstacle things with Apache, if I can ever ride again, and to taking some lessons to become a better rider, even if I’d never get past the first level of this stuff!

Thanks for bearing with my horse love. I am moving on to another topic soon, I promise!

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