Sunday, May 27, 2012


OMG!! I showed BN at the Up and Over CT at Buckeye Horse Park today and Bastian was beyond amazazing. Seriously. Great way to go into my financial abyss. Here is how it went down:


I got myself all packed up and ready to go. I had a lesson at 6 since I hadn't ridden since last Saturday. Had a amazing lesson, as in we had forward, fluffy, pace. I warmed up over only a few little fences before Kristin cranked them to 2'6". We rocked it. It was an awesome lesson and a great way to end before the show.


Got up and headed out the barn to bath and braid Bastian. Yeah, I know it was just a schooling show, but B looks unfriggin' believable with a braided mane and I wanted him to look good :) It was hot and muggy. We got to the show and checked in then I walked stadium with Cindy. None of the fences worried me and even though a few looked a bit big (as in Novice height) they weren't intimidating. I was feeling pretty good. We headed back to the trailer where we had an hour and a a half wait before I could even start thinking about tacking up for dressage. Finally it was time! Kristin did my hair up and I got Bastian tacked up and ready to go.

Dressage He warmed up splendidly, nice transistions, steady in the bridle and moving forward. A little pushy with my half halts, so we did lots of transitions until he was listening more to my seat and body than my hands. In we go for our test (best part was they were using a duck call as the "whistle"!). We got 7's on our first three movements, then 8's on everything else, including the collective remarks. He was unbelievable, we scored a 21.5!! It was such a nice consistent test. The judge was quite friendly and talking to everyone after their test. She motioned me forward and said "There is just one thing I want to say....(I got pretty nervous at this point)and then she started to say how my feet were really shoved home in the stirrups and how it really detracted from the overall picture. At which point I told her about being a grade III para-equestrian and how the eventing and CT world does not recognize my dispensation card. Her reaction was "really!! that is excellent! (as in excellent that I was out there doing it, not that I was a para-equestrian), it was really cool to see such a positive reaction, so we briefly discussed my normal compensating aides and she suggested that I get black stirrups to help minimize my legs drawing attention. :) how nice!


Show time! After a quick tack change assisted by the fabulous Pablo Williams I headed over to the stadium warm up. Our warm up was okay, I needed more pace but we were getting to the fences and getting over them. On to course! We went in and up to this point, my nerves had not kicked in. As soon as we went in that gate boy did they ever! I started to trot in the general direction of the first few fences intending to do a little tour of the arena when I hear the whistle to start. EEP! I ask for my canter and perhaps could have won a western pleasure class...I needed some serious leg and then I had it and then we got to the fence and I said whoa with my hands, he looked at it then popped over it. Which was better than I expected, I honestly expected a refusal. Okay I tried to shake it off, but it didn't work and fences two and three and four were just as spotty. Then around to the 4 stride line, we came into it poorly, I panicked and said whoa and he basically stopped at the oxer then said, "um aren't we supposed to jump this????" and proceeded to get us to the other side and take down the back rail in the process. I totally deserved that rail, my riding was craptastic. Fence six was pretty much the same, almost a dead stop then popped over it. Seven was slightly better and then I cowboyed right up to eight, a max height (or bigger, it looked HUGE) oxer and it was actually pretty decent because I used my leg and stayed out of his face.

The moral of the story is that after today my horse may be eligible for Saint Hood. Watch the video, I think you'll agree. I made the decision to stay in and do a schooling round. Wow what a difference! Again, refer to the video. I didn't have the same nerves because we had successfully made it over everything once so I went for it and it was so. much. better. I only did the fences up through the line and then called it quits, I wanted to make sure I ended on a good note. It could have been fluffier, but it was at least forward! Amazing how debilitating show nerves can be.

But we did it! We made it around a BN stadium course. I am so proud of both my horse and of myself. I conquered a lot of stuff today-new courses and new heights. Things are obviously not going entirely the way I want them to go, but B and I are going to keep fighting to become successful eventers.

Everyone who showed today from my barn was awesome! Cindy and Shae won their divison, Katie and Kailu brought home a second and a third, Wyatt and Angel brought home a third and Chloe and Angel brought home a fourth. Kristin also showed Rosie and they came home with a second. and Colleen and Sexy-Texy just did some schooling jumper rounds, but they were awesome too! A very successful day all around filled with good company and good food. Couldn't ask for anything better (except for riding more forward-I'm on it!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fun while it lasted

Well, I seem to be the Queen of the short show season. Mine is over, indefinitely. Bastian is healthy, looking awesome and fit. I'm fine, could be fitter, could be healthier, but I'm fine. Its my nemesis, money that is rearing its ugly head again.

I'm working. A lot. Full time, part time, Friday nights, Sunday mornings and whenever else I can. I am currently working every day for the current and next two weeks with the exception of my weekends on which I am attending horse shows. That means up at 5, work from 6:30-2:45, run home to let the dogs out, then on to job #2 from 4-9. Then home. Rinse, Lather, Repeat. You get the idea. Everyday.

Which means I'm not getting any riding in before my show, which is usually how my life goes. But pah, I don't have to practice, I mean I'm only moving up to BN at the CT this weekend. No biggie.... I don't have any problems over fences or anything....

But that is beside the point.

So much like last year, my season is over before it even had the chance to get going. At least this year we were successful, and won something and had some fun. Last year I put in a craptastic dressage test and my horse was slightly lame. I guess that's improvement right, I should be happy?

There is a lot involved here. Here is what pisses me off. First off, I work my ass off and I never seem to get ahead financially. Yes I own a horse and yes I didn't always make the best financial decisions. I take full credit for getting myself to where I am, to a point. After that, its just BS. Like months ago I was given a schedule of when I would get my stipends for extra-curricular activities I do at the school, I was told that I would receive my last payment on May 25. Today I get an email saying that that payment is now put off until June 10. Right. I had plans for that $$$$ as in getting caught up on some bills and being able to pay association and entry fees. Now that isn't going to happen :(

I'm stressed. Which involves its own symptoms and unhappyness, no one should have to live like this. I can't cut out anything else. I'm already down to eating lettuce and dressing (with cranberries, I have a huge ass bag of cranberries I bought at Sam's Club a while ago and it has lasted forever!) for lunch and dinner. I have a couple of other random things in my cupboard, but aside from buying more lettuce and dressing from Aldi's grocery shopping is out. I've sold off pretty much anything I have that is of value and that someone would actually buy. I've been eligible for a new phone since November, haven't updated although I am in need of a phone that actually works correctly more than 75% of the time. I've got pretty strict electric/water rules (thankfully I live alone!) and I turned my heat off pretty early in the spring.

I know, I'm whining. But I really don't have a life outside of my horse (I know, again, my fault for not being a social butterfly, but whatever) And my life with my horse revolves around competitions. I LOVE competing. LOVE IT. If I don't have a competition to get ready for, I don't see a point to pushing myself to ride. Yes I love riding for riding's sake, and I can spend hours just brushing and lovin' on my Bastian but I'm a competition junkie. Now I get to spend yet another summer sitting on the sidelines, cheering on everybody else. Which again, I love. I love being a groom and I love seeing my friends compete and kick ass, but the whole time I'm insanely jealous because its not me and Bastian.

I've spent the past two years fighting for myself and Bastian, every step of the way. I've had some great people helping me out along the way, but at the same time, I can't keep this pace up, working all the time and not getting anywhere. I've struggled to balance my horse life with my dismal financial situation. Currently that involves no shows. I'm holding out that maybe I can pull off the NODA show at Grand Haven in July. Its a double show weekend, so I could still get my qualifying scores for Regionals provided nothing goes wrong during my tests, its a one time shot. I want to qualify for Regionals, its at the Horse Park this year.

Not to mention that Bastian and I had a stellar first event. Now I've got to abandon that momentum, maybe I'll get to event next year? I've already signed up for Buckeye, so I'm going to show this weekend, I hope I can make it count before I put away all of my show things and become a fixture doing loops in the arena with no purpose. Unless I magically come up with $500 by Friday. Which is pretty doubtful.

Sorry for the vent, but I needed to get it out. It won't make it better, but its allowed me to process through it more. This was supposed to be our year, the year of the dragon and now it is nothing. Here's to 2013. Maybe we'll actually do something and get to actually show.....

This is me (on the bay) and my friend Agent 009 at a Hunter Pace long long ago when I actually had some day.....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Winona Horse Trials Domination :)


Bastian and I had an AWESOME weekend at the Winona Horse Trials hosted by Stone Gate Farm in Hanoverton, Ohio. We won our division, finishing on our dressage score of 29.5. Yeah, that’s right. We won. Pardon my 5 year old bragging moment, but WE WON!!!! I never expected to do so well, yes, I wanted to win (who doesn’t?), but I was realistically aiming for a top 5 finish and figured that would be difficult enough with 17 people in my division and riding against professionals that have more experience and more guts than me. So I'm thinking this could be the start of something new....Para-Equestrian Eventing.

We had great rides everyday leading up to the show and had a fantastic dressage tune up on Friday morning with Kristin. On Thursday we jumped two new jumps out in the ring and he never looked at them, just said yes ma’am and jumped them.

My dressage time wasn’t until 2:35. Which if you know me, you know that I don’t eat on show day until after I ride, for various reasons, one of which is nerves. Unfortunately, after walking XC in the morning (not enough time to walk in on Friday!) I was exhausted, that’s a lot of walking, and not only that but its on rough terrain. I have enough trouble walking on the sidewalk and now I am walking through fields with uneven footing and tall grass. (Not to mention Stone Gates fabulous hills…lol). I hobbled my butt back to the trailer and ended up taking a nap in the back seat of Elvis (Cindy’s hauling rig).

During my nap, Cindy and Banff put in a solid dressage test to score a 30.9. While she went to walk the stadium course, I had some lunch. Which I was nervous about because goodness only knows how eating was going to turn out….but I needed some energy so I didn’t have much of a choice. Then I started getting Bastian ready for Dressage. I pulled him off the trailer and you would have thought he owned the place. He stood quietly while I tacked him and redid my hair about three times before I finally thought it was passable. Then we mounted up and headed down to the warm up!

He warmed up like a dream. The warm up was in one of the lower XC fields (not being used on the course on Saturday), he handled the uneven terrain and chaos of the warm-up pretty well, I was very much on the defensive so our warm up happened in little spurts-like 5 strides of trot then walk because someone was coming towards us, then canter a few strides, then walk. Let’s just say that we had our transitions nailed.

He put in a very nice test, I wasn’t even bothered by being in the small arena! LOL We scored a majority of 7s with two 8s and just one or two 6s. I was really looking forward to the rest of the day because Bastian felt soooooo good. Our score after dressage was 29.5. 

Then it was time for jumping! Super excited. I got to wear my vest. I got to wear my medical arm-band. I got to wear my new paper-pinney holder. Yes, I am a geek. I was the fourth to go in stadium and in an effort to avoid any warm-up shenanigans I got there early. He took all the fences wonderfully, we jumped the warm up oxer lots, I was having trouble getting him forward enough, but he was taking the oxer just fine in spite of me. Then we headed down to the stadium ring so I could learn my course.

Bastian was amazing in the ring. This was our first time jumping a course that we had not schooled before. He never questioned a thing, never looked at anything and behaved like quite the gentlemanly hunter in the ring. I needed more pace and more forward and I was thinking it, even if it didn’t actually happen. Progress for sure! Next time maybe I’ll actually have him forward. He saved me over fence 5 and fence 8. I just brought him in funky, but he got to the other side and didn’t touch the rails! So clear it was for us. Did I mention that we CANTERED almost all the fences??? Yup, sure did!

I came out of stadium beaming. On to XC! Just 10 fences stood between Bastian and I and finishing on our dressage score. I had a plan for XC that involved lots of cantering…well that didn’t happen, we actually trotted all of our fences except the last one…lol. The XC was straightforward, but challenging, all of the fences were inviting and Stone Gate did a great job!! There wasn't anything I was particularly concerned with, just wondering how he was going to behave overall, but I had nothing to worry about, he was a machine, he trotted up to each one and hopped right over and then cantered quietly on. I only had to pull him up once after the feeder (fence 4) when he blew through my half halt, so I made him stop then we continued on. His least graceful fence was fence 6, the roll-top. He clunked right on top of it and over it. What a crazy guy. Our best fences were the log in the pavilion (#3), the stumps (#7), and fence #10 (can’t remember the name). He went over everything!!!! I had a blast and although I was riding defensively, he remained the wonderful gentleman he is and really took care of me.

The photographer got some great pictures. (Brant Gamma) When the pictures are posted online, check out my pictures over the feeder. The first picture is us over the fence. Bastian looks great, I have a look of terror on my face because I wasn’t sure about the fence. The next shot is the landing and I look slightly less terrified, then the next shot is one stride out and I have a huge smile because we were still alive! It was pretty funny.

So we did it! We ended on our dressage score of 29.5 and won our division, which also included winning the Thoroughbred Incentive Program award for our division. I got two hugely awesome ribbons and a saddle pad. Cindy and Banff won the TIP award for the Novice division. Team BEC rocked this weekend!!!

We had such a great day on Saturday, it really boosted my confidence. And I have to say that I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought I would be, I managed to stay pretty calm and cool and focused all day long. I still need to push B forward more, but we will get it. We can fit in more XC schooling now that the summer is upon us. Next we have two schooling CT, one at Buckeye Horse Park and one at EHSC. I’m doing the BN division at both, as long as Buckeye goes well, I plan on entering the LHPC HT in Erie for the BN division. We also have the Grand Haven dressage show coming up the second weekend in June. Its gonna be a crazy three weeks!