Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I am a terrible blogger, but I do a mini derby!

Really, I am a terrible blogger.  Apparently that whole thing with work being busy and trying to find time to ride, travel, plan, and show all at the same time prevents me from writing like I’d like to.  The good news?  I’m writing a blog today!

A 2 second catch up: DC is doing great!  We did a baby derby at the end of April which was a great experience.  TJ’s current lease at the end of May, but a new leasee has committed to a full year with him.  Even better is that he will be moving to the barn where DC is located, so for the first time in a year and a half, both of my boys will be together!

The MUCH LONGER version (I’m making up for non blogging in the last 2 weeks):

DC has continued on his spring of goodness ever since the pufferfish leg vanished.  One of Matt’s assistants, Maggie, has been coming to my barn for weekly(ish) lessons, and we’ve both been impressed with how much he seems to have grown up almost overnight.  Given my plans to do Tyler in May, and then Colorado over the summer I thought it might be a good idea to get him out and about before then.  One of the barns in Austin, Rio Vista, holds several one day shows throughout the year.  They hold both centex and TSSA show and really provide a grassroots opportunity for local showing in a friendly atmosphere. 

Centex (http://cthja.com ) is the local Austin circuit of shows that I have competed in my entire life.  Different Austin area barns host these shows that are done both in a single and multi day format.  Though the classes don’t align with USEF rules and regulations, the competition offered is at a good level, and many barns who attend all levels of shows are regular attendees of these as well. 

TSSA (http://www.tssaaustin.com/index.html ) is a smaller Austin circuit specifically designated as schooling shows and a way to inexpensively learn about showing and riding. 

As a part of their TSSA shows, Rio Vista also now holds a mini Hunter Derby (http://www.riovistafarm.net/Prize%20Lists/2014/2014%20Hunter%20Derby.pdf ) to attract more riders and barns.  What’s neat about these Derbies is that they offer both a 2’6 and a 3’ division allowing for many riders to get a taste of what a Derby is like.  Since I want to do the National Derby in Tyler and in Colorado, I decided that taking DC to this mini Derby would be a fun way to feel prepped and see a ton of my Austin riding friends. 

But before we could whisk off to show, we had to prep to show.  I will say this.  I have become one spoiled working rider.  It has been a long time since I’ve had to get a horse show-ready on my own, and double that with the fact that my horse started less as a gleaming gray and more as a dirt brown color, I had my work cut out for me.


Early on Saturday morning, DH and I headed to the barn to load DC and head to the show. 

The planned timing of events was:

5:00 – Wake up

5:30 – Leave for barn

5:45 – Arrive at barn

6:15 – Pull out of barn

7:00 – Arrive at show

7:15– Hack DC

8:00 – Walk course, hand walk DC

9:00 – Ticketed Schooling

1:00 – Derby Classic Round

1:45 – Derby Handy Round

2:30 – Leave horse show

3:15 – Arrive back at barn

4:00 – Shop for birthday party

7:30 – Birthday party!

No one ever said I tried to do too little in my life.

Actual timing of events was:

5:00 – Shit this is early (Keep in mind my Birthday was the day before, and associated birthday fun)

5:45 – Drag ass to barn (crap I’m already 15 min late)

6:00 – Arrive at barn, realize I’ve forgotten to fill hay net

6:10-6:30 – Struggle with godforsaken hay net, I swear they’re like an ancient Chinese unsolvable puzzle.

6:40 – Load DC (Bless his easy loading heart)

6:45 – Pull out of barn.  I am now 30 min late and quickly seeing my hack time disappear.

6:55 – Conversation

DH: “Did you grab the hay net?”

Me: “No, you did.”

DH: “Uh no I didn’t”


At least I had packed extra hay, even though I was without the net in which one keeps the hay. 

7:30 – Arrive at show, actually manage to score a decent area to park.  I leave DC with DH to graze while I run around trying to find a hay net to borrow.  At these one day shows, everyone ties to the trailer with a hay net to keep the ponies happy.  It works pretty well (unless you’re having a day like Lauren ). 

7:45 – Obtain borrowed hay net, tack up his grayness to go hack. 

Soooooo now I’m about 45 minutes late, but I do my best to not let my panic settle in.  DC actually felt incredibly good and was hacking like a champ.  Really his general softness, suppleness, and reaction to my leg meant I got to cut my hack a bit short.  Maggie set up a few pole exercises to get him thinking and we called it good for the morning.

8:30 – Hand walk and walk the course. 

Because my horse was so good, I gained a whole 15 minutes back of my day and was back on track.  There was no schooling allowed in the ring, hand walking only.  DC donned his fancy looking cooler and we proceeded to hand walk for a good 20 minutes in the ring.  The course was set with mostly bending lines and a somewhat tricky 2 to 5 stride bending line out of the corner away from the in gate.  The ticketed schooling round was a different course than the actual first round, plus the handy round was also different.  So there were a few different options to walk. 

9:30 – Ticketed Schooling

PC: Lauren Mauldin

This course was set at 2’6 so that everyone jumped the ticketed schooling at once.  You were only allowed to jump the course that was posted, and none of the other jumps in the ring.  First jump was the high option plank off the left lead, and it started beautifully for me.  Hit the jump just right on.  Second was a right lead bending line.  I came out of the corner and was NOT patient to the oxer coming in to the line and ended up with a bit of a flyer coming in.  This resulted in a close 8 to the high option on the second jump in the line. 

Since we had the flyer I really needed to balance and whoa through the turn to the outside 2 to 5.  What I meant was balance and whoa.  What DC thought I meant was trot because we are done with the course.  Oops.  So we kind of tracantered in to the 2 stride, and did a not so pretty 3, and then added on the out for a 6.  Errrrr, not my most beautiful moment ever.  We recovered nicely for the last long approach to the single, and jumped it beautifully.

Since the entire 2’6 division of the derby had to go before me, I had plenty of time to catch up with many of my Austin riding friends.  Watching the 2’6, I found the scores to be a bit erratic and “interesting,” but it was fun nonetheless. 

1:30 – Derby Classic Round

PC: Lauren Mauldin

I was 12th of 20 to go in the 3’ division, and had plans to do the high 3’3 options.  The first jump off the left lead came up a bit awkward, but in trying to practice patience I made it work out ok.  Next was a right lead bending line.  It walked exactly on a half stride between a 5 and a 6.  Almost all (if not every single one) of the horses that went did the 6, but me with my long strided planned to do the 5.  This would have worked out quite nicely, except we landed and took a scenic route up to the next jump.  That made for a lovely if unintentional 6 stride line.  Coming home was the same oxer to oxer 8.  I came out of the corner with a much more patient canter and as a reward had a lovely jump on the in.  The 8 worked out beautifully, and I had this jump on the out.

PC: Lauren Mauldin

In celebration of his brilliantness he chose to show off in front of the crowd with some celebratory dolphin action.  He does love to have fun.

Next up was the 2 to 5 that I previously rode in a very creative way.  I’m happy to report that I fixed the line, and had three very straight and nice jumps.  The last line was yet another bending coming home off the left lead.  With the last jump being….an astro turf pole/box monster.  Thankfully DC is overcoming his turfphobia (fear of astro turf) and had quite a nice jump there as well.

PC: Lauren Mauldin

The judge scored me a 68 + 4 for the high options.  I felt like this was a fair score given our humpity humpity in the corner.  However.  What I did not feel was as fair were the much higher scores rewarded to horses hitting jumps, missing lead changes, and generally running away with riders.  But, such is the life of the hunter, and I was the first horse out of the cutoff for the handy. 

Video of our round:

1:45 – No handy round.  L

That's ok, we got the really cool pics, and I had a great time!

PC: Lauren Mauldin

2:00 – A friend of mine approached me about riding her horse in the green hunters for her.  She had a commitment with her daughter and had to leave before she was able to show.  Me, being the sucker for riding anything and everything said yes.  I mean why not?  I’d only never ridden the horse before, and had a party to shop and get ready for.  No problem right?

2:30 – Ride PB.  It went ok, he has shown very little, and has a bit of a spook which makes him JUMP GREAT, but also can make for a lot of green moments.

3:30 – Leave horse show.  Crap now I’m an hour behind.

4:15 – Arrive back at barn.

5:00 – Shop for party.  Nothing says totally ready to have people over like shopping in breeches and show clothes 2 hours before they arrive.

6:00 – Total flight of the bumblebee as I ran around like a chicken with my head cutoff to shower, get ready, and cook all at one time.

7:30 – PARTY!

Many margaritas and almost 24 hours since I had gotten up the previous morning, I considered my day a success.