Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wuffles the Wonder Pony

Time for another video from the archives! Woot!!

This is the only video I have of my not so illustrious show career with the one and only Goldie. Goldie was my first horse, she was the 2nd horse that we (being my parents and I) looked at. I was 12 at the time and thought I knew what I was doing, I mean I had read a lot of books, so I must have known what was I was doing, right? And my poor parents, they had no clue what they were getting themselves into.

Here is what they were thinking: "We let the girl buy a horse, by the end of the summer, if not sooner, she'll be sick of taking care of it and lose interest and we can sell the thing and move on with our lives."

Sorry mom, sorry dad, it didn't quite work out that way! Its been 18 years now since I entered into horse ownership and I haven't looked back since....lol

So, Goldie was the second horse I looked at, the first was I think a QH who had done his time in the ring and was very beginner friendly. They were asking $1000 so he was much to far out of my price range. I had been given permission to use my college savings fund to buy my horse, so I had $600 to work with. I had never ridden before except for pony rides and lessons were not going to be part of the financial equation. So you can already tell that we were setting ourselves up for success....or not.

Goldie is an purebred arabian mare, chestnut with a lovely flaxen mane and tail, a blaze, three socks, an inside heel on her left hind and a coon tail. She stands 14.1 3/4 inches tall. She had belonged to a local vet along with seven other Arabians and they had all been rescued from a situation where they had been neglected and starved and abused. The way the story goes, he was so angry that is horses were confiscated that he took all of their registration papers and burned them. I've done as much research as I am able to do and have pinpointed a few horses that could be mine, but the Arabian association is a bit snooty and was not very helpful. They had me in tears once after I had called (remember that the internet really didn't exist in 1992 when I bought her and we certainly were not able to afford it even if we could have gotten it at our house). So I've never known her breeding or "who" she was.

I think that she was either a dressage horse or a hunter, she never moved like a saddle seat horse and her gaits were never slow enough for western. But she knew everything, moved off your leg, flying changes, etc. etc. Now, had I know what I was doing, we would have been unstoppable, but I was a kid with no guidance, lots of guts, and no clue what it really meant to get a horse soft and round and moving forward. She tolerated me, but we had our issues and problems.

Some of our highlights:
Highest jump ever cleared: 4'
Lowest Dressage Score: 46.3% Training 1 (I thought dressage was like a hunter equitation pattern class....)
Highest Dressage Score: 64% First 4 (when we were 25)
Best Horse Show Placings: 1st at the Chataqua County Trail Riders Judged Trail Ride and the first horse in their history to score a 100% perfect score (when we were 28), 4-H District IX Horse Show 1996 5th place Hunter Hack Pony (our first year showing english!), 4-H District IX Horse Show 1997 5th place English Grooming and Showmanship, 1998 District IX Horse Show, 8th place Pony Trail, and 2008 EHSC Open Hunter Pleasure Horse, 6th place out of a class of 20, this one is awesome because we were competing against HORSES and she is a PONY. They wouldn't let me show her in the Pony classes because I was an adult. (Yes I get it, I would be competing aginst younger kids, but you can't compare a ponies gaits to a horses and expect a judge to be fair)

In our lifetime together, we have competed in Western Pleasure/Eq, Hunters on the flat, Hunters over Fences, Evented Baby Novice, Dressage through first level, and Games Classes. Goldie loved jumping and she LOVED games. She knew her business in the game ring and if you don't believe me (which I don't know why you wouldn't) check out the video on my facebook page, I can't put it on youtube because it has a fun song with it and I don't want my audio to be removed, of her just a month ago. First off, she is 30 years old, looks pretty damn good huh? Second, just watch her, she knows the games and she knows what to do, you can just see her trying to tell the kid "just hang on, I've got this!"

She is currently stabled with my previous instructor and is still teaching little kids how to ride.

This is the only video I have of her and me, it is from a schooling hunter show at Wilson College, I believe in 2000 (maybe 2001?)Anyway, I was very happy to be riding her, it was a looooooooong horse show, the judge was spending about 30 minutes on each flat class, which was ridiculous. Which worked in my favour because I was perhaps the only one that did not break gait during the class, we cantered the gazillion laps without stopping, which was a major issue for everybody else. I mean we did two full laps at sitting trot, what judge at a local tiny show does that?

Anyway, again, be wowwed by my horrible equitation and yes it was an equitation class and I won with that awesome performance. Note the classic attire. I was going through a bit of a "hunter phase" where I wore jeans and full chaps and if I was at Wilson paddock boots and a helmet, but if I was at the barn where I was boarding my other horse, it was a ball cap with my ponytail through it and sneakers. Yup, I was cool. Also, I am pretty sure I was working at the barn that day so I was in barn work clothes too so that when I was done with my class I could go back to slaving away for Wilson College and yes, it was basically slave labor.

I was overweight throughout my college career so I guess I don't really need to keep harping on that, but it just makes me look that much more ridiculous on her, she is tiny, I'm huge!

My shoulders are hunched, my leg isn't back enough, my elbows are out and I needed more fluency and control in my post just to name a few obvious things. Jumping I was actually doing pretty good until that fourth fence, I got ahead and she said "have fun, you wanna jump ahead, go for it, without me." I remember I hurt my wrist pretty badly, but i got back on and made it over the fence. She was just so compact and short through her neck, that if you even a titch ahead of her she stopped, she is a smart little bugger. So I came off of her a lot, which had led to some of the hang-ups I have with jumping. I've eventually learned to keep my shoulders back and not ahead, but the mental damage is done. I had some other jumping nightmares that really did me in, but this laid the groundwork for me to be the way I am.

So this is my sweet little mare. I ended up being fairly lucky with her when I stop to think about all the crazy stunts I pulled and all the things we did together. But I guess that's just life, I think 99% of horse people can look back on their younger days and say "Did I really do that kind of stupid stuff?" And thankfully we all had stellar ponies to do that crazy stuff with.

Final thought: Why Wuffles the Wonder Pony you ask? My friend had a trailer that she had bought used, it had the horse's names painted on each side and one of the horse's was "Wuffles." I know, we've touched on the whole name thing before, but Wuffles?? Really?? Seriously?? So Goldie became Wuffles the Wonder Pony just because it sounded ridiculous.
Wuffles, where does one even come up with a name like that??

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