Monday, July 25, 2016

Esprit Equestrian Center 2-Phase - July 24, 2016

On Sunday, July 24, Snappy and I headed to our second 2-phase event of the year.  It was held at a farm here in Maine that I have surprisingly never been to before.  I was happy to find it was a well run show at a great venue, and I do plan to go back for a few more of their 2-phases this year!

We arrived and I quickly realized the dressage was held in their indoor.  That's not a problem at all, however Miss Snap Dancer has never been inside an indoor, so I was unsure how she might react.  She was again calm and easy to tack up and we had a super nice warm up.  We headed towards the indoor for our test and she stopped dead at the door.  No way, no how was she entering that ring. LOL!  I stayed calm, of course, and just kept my leg on her and encouraged her forward.  The barn manager happened to be in the ring at the time to collect tests from the judge, and took pity on me haha.  She headed over to help lead us into the ring and just before she got to us, Snappy decided to enter on her own.  Yay mare!  She was Not Happy about it though and I immediately walked her to the opposite end to see the scary people sitting there.  She was wide eyed and snorty, but I walked her around the ring both directions.  The judge is a very kind and encouraging type of person, so she gave me time to settle the mare.  I picked up the trot once I could feel her start breathing again haha, and we did a few 20 meter circles in both directions.  OK, we've got this.  The judge rang the bell and we put in a super test, earning a 33.44 and second place after dressage.  We improved our score by nearly 6 points from our first 2-phase, so I was really pleased.  The entire test was 6.5s, 7s and a 7.5 on rider position.  Not only did we put in a solid test, but I was really happy with how Snappy was able to rely on my calmness and trust me enough to settle down so quickly and easily.  That was worth more than any score.

I walked my jump course and then had a bit of wait time until we had to jump.  The course was really nice and flowy, in a gorgeous field with slightly rolling hills.  The jumps were considerably more decorated than at Green Acres, with brush boxes, blue barrels, and even tires, so Snappy was Very Alert for our first two jumps haha.  She got really wiggly over the second jump, where we landed and rode parallel through fences 7 and 8 (which were set as a three stride).  I was looking straight ahead and very clearly was not going to steer her into a fence standard, but she got sticky and darted left and then sharply back to the right and I was like NO I AM NOT FALLING OFF YOU MARE!  I have much more willpower to stay on than I think I do LOL!  I was able to keep her much straighter through fences three and four (though four had the scary barrels!) and then by fence five she was fine.  There was a skinny vertical for fence six, which I thought could have been interesting, but she was fine.  Tiny 18" jumps are no match for a determined rider with a driving seat haha!  

We ended up second overall, losing to a professional rider on a pony at its first show, so that was ok LOL!  ;-)  I was so pleased with Snappy's attitude, which started off as NO WAY WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE and quickly transformed into bravery.  That is what I want to see, a horse who trusts me enough to know I am not going to put her in a bad spot or situation and trusts me enough to stay calm even if she's nervous.  GOOD MARE!

My super duper 12 year old videographer/photographer was off with his father, so you'll have to make due with this pic I snapped myself haha!  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Top photo is from 2013, when Snappy encountered her first cross rail.

Middle photo is from 2014, when she started to understand the idea of jumping and not just awkwardly trotting over it LOL!

She had 2015 mostly off (save a few little toddles around in the late fall) as I had a baby in September.

Bottom is from tonight's jump school.  :-)
Love this mare!

Monday, July 18, 2016

What To Do With All Those Ribbons...!!!

It's no secret that I enjoy showing my horses and have often called myself a "ribbon ho" haha.  Obviously, I do not do bad things in order to win ribbons, and I am definitely the type of person who would MUCH rather have a solid "personal best" type of ride than win a ribbon, but who can deny the fact that winning a ribbon is fun!?  It is a sort of validation to me as a rider, since I do this for fun and not as a professional, so it gives me an idea of where my horse and I stand against others.  Showing is also a way to always try to improve upon our last show or our previous "best" ribbon or score.

So basically, what I am trying to say is that I have a lot of ribbons.  I mean A SHIT TON. Yes, that is a real unit of measure!  LOL!!  What does one do with all these ribbons?

I have several Pinterest pins on my "Equine" board of cute ideas, from wall hangings, shadow boxes, vases full of ribbons, and while they are all neat ideas, none really worked for me.  I don't really want to decorate my house with ribbons.  There is no way I can fit them all into my tack room.  I can barely fit the year end ribbons and awards in the tack room, so trying to figure out what to do with the regular horse show ribbons was daunting.  They have all been in a huge plastic tote since 2012 and I didn't think leaving them there forever was that much fun.  I mean, I worked my TAIL off for those things LOL!  I wanted to at least be able to enjoy them a little bit!  And throwing them out just seemed blasphemous!  Haha! 

Ultimately, I made a choice, after staring at this blank wall since we moved into our new home in April 2015.  We have a daylight basement and while part of it is a garage, the rest is a spot where we do have storage but also we hang our coats and leave our shoes.  I see this wall several times a day.  Hey, wait a minute...I hatched a plan!

I gathered inspiration from both of these blogs, Diary of an Overanxious Horse Owner and Been There Dunne That.  I thought their methods of using gimp braid and upholstery tacks was a good bet.  However, with SO MANY ribbons, I knew I would not be able to create the same look by allowing anything but the round rosette parts to show.  

It took some time.  Approximately five hours to be exact, and about 3o minutes per row LOL!  Tough to find time with a very active nine month old, so it took me several sittings to get it down, but it looks pretty good!  

This is every single ribbon I have won since I started showing in 1988, in the (pretty close) exact order I won them.  It is missing about ten special ribbons (special to me for various reasons and displayed in either Sparky's shadowbox or will be in Dreamy's shadowbox someday).  I did not show much during college and took two summers off when each of my boys were born.  It doesn't have this year's 2016 ribbons yet.  And this doesn't include the over 100 year end ribbons either!  That is a different plan, different post LOL!  I think I can fit about two more rows after I finish the tenth one (you can see it is only halfway across - ends with a third place ribbon).  Clearly, I am going to run out of space in the next year or two and then I have NO IDEA what I will do!!!  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Snap Dancer Has a New Career Move...As a Cover Girl!

Imagine my surprise to see that after three years out of the show ring, my first show back with a new horse lands us on the cover of The Horse's Maine and New Hampshire!  LOL! Professional photographer Elena Raymond snapped this shot of us at the end of our very first dressage test and I just love it.  I've had it as my Facebook profile pic since she shared it with me in May.  I am so pleased she sent it in and they actually used it!  Very cool!

Joy, love, and trust...I just love this!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Green Acres Two Phase - July 3, 2016

Snappy and I competed at Green Acres Stables' event this past weekend.  They do a horse trials and a 2-phase, and since I have not had a chance to school Snappy over a cross country course as of yet, I figured a 2-phase was our safest bet.  We entered the Pre-Elementary division, which was just Intro B and 18" jumps.  Perfect little baby event for her first time!

She was fantastic when we arrived and settled right in.  I warmed her up in a fairly busy dressage ring with lots of younger riders zooming around, oblivious to any ring etiquette or rules.  Snappy was totally unfazed, which was good.  I took her for a quick walk over to the dressage ring before my division began, which is away from the warm-up and against the side of the indoor, which used to throw Dreamy for a loop.  Again, she was totally unconcerned.  We rode fourth in a group of six riders, and I was quite happy with our test.  I do wish I had made the choice to leave the ring when the judge rang the bell though; you cannot ride around the outside of the ring, so the judge lets you warm up inside the ring.  You also do not have to leave and re-enter, as some horses are thrown off by that, but I wish I had.  She rang the bell just as I was entering the corner at K, and I was a total idiot and just rode up centerline.  I should've known better, that not properly preparing Snappy for the turn would result in an overshot centerline, but sometimes I forgot she is not as seasoned as she seems.  She is still quite green, with this being her first event ever and only her third show this year.  

Other than that, I was happy with the test.  I dislike the short diagonal free walk, so our stretch wasn't great, but our trot work was solid 7s and our last centerline was an 8.  There were a few 6s (mostly notably on that first centerline) and then all 7s on our collectives.  We ended up tied for first after dressage with a 39.38.
Ready for dressage!

We had about two hours until we jumped, so I walked the course.  At that time, it was set much higher than I would jump, but still the jumps were tiny and I really wasn't nervous about my course.  It was easy to memorize and I liked the way it flowed.  There were nine jumps total and they ended up putting them all down to teeny little crossrails with one vertical on jump 4. 

I headed over to warm up about twenty minutes before we were to start and we were the only ones there.  Our division was last for the day so it had become pretty quiet at the farm.  I figured I would show her the cross country start box (she didn't even care about it) and wander around a little before doing 4-5 jumps.  I was fourth to jump, so I had a little time to spare.  

I pointed her at the first crossrail in the warm up and we approached at a brisk trot.  She dropped her shoulder right at the base and hesitated enough that I chose to tap her on the shoulder with my whip.  Foolish mare.  She went over it from pretty much a standstill (it was tiny) and I rode it again, but this time with a much more driving seat.  She hopped over it without issue.  The other jump was a larger vertical and she jumped it well, too.  I was slightly worried she might refuse in the ring, since the jumps there were much brighter than the dull colored warm up fences.  I just wanted her to have a good first round at a horse show and I didn't care about placings.  

The judge walked over and said she was ready for the division to start early if I wanted to just go ahead and ride first.  No one else in my division was there yet, and I told her yes.  I took Snappy over the cross rail and vertical once more each and went into the ring.  She was a little looky at the fences, but I had planned a fairly larger opening circle, to allow her to see about five of the fences.  She was great over the course!  No stops, no bobbles, no hesitations at all!  I was super proud of her!  

Ready for stadium!

We ended up tied for first place in our division!  
What a great start to her eventing career!