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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pre Dressage Show Jitters

I have a secret.

A dark, deep secret.

You promise you won't hate me?

I like to win. A lot.

This is not a cool thing to admit in endurance. In endurance, "to finish is to win". Specifically, to finish with a sound, happy horse, ride after ride, is to win. I agree. But I still crave blue ribbons. But I'm not going to get them in endurance. I care too much about my horse and having her to sound and healthy year after year. It's hard enough to keep a horse sound in this extreme sport without pushing for a top 10 - so I ride erring on the side of caution. I might end up in the top ten some days if we are having an exceptional ride, but for the most part, look for me in the middle.

My goals in endurance are long term - I'd like for Farley and I to qualify as a "decade team", I'd like to get her to a 1000 miles, and then a 1000 miles after that and a 1000 miles after that and so forth. By confining my competitive desires to dressage, it will keep me content to stay mid-pack in endurance and I have a good chance of achieving these goals.

But it isn't the same as a blue ribbon.

In dressage it's perfectly acceptable to want to win. It's expected. In endurance the trail is reward unto itself. Who in their right mind would ride a dressage test as a reward "unto itself"?????? No, the goal is to win (and self improvement, yada yada yada).

Here are my concerns going into the show on November 1st:
  1. Farley will behave like a complete maniac, showing the dressage world, that yes, arabs are crazy.
  2. I will look dingy and dirty because my tack is older and used, my clothes are old and used, and my horse is hairy.
This is how I'm trying to compensate
  1. This is a real possibility - the only functions I take her to where there are lots of other horses is endurance rides..... For the last month I've been trying to separate our endurance from our dressage. I changed her bit I use on the trail. I kept the french-link baucher for the ring and chose a copper inlay, myler type (but not myler) swivel mouth piece, on a D-ring for the trail. Actually, I think the company was TRYING to make a gag out of it, but failed miserably so I get a decent D ring out of it, even if the D's are ridiculously huge. The trail bit is still dressage legal, but the mouth piece is different (but she still likes it) so hopefully, mentally she could start distinguishing what her job would be for the event. There's other differences too - renegades are only used on the trail, cavesson is only used in the arena, breast collar is only used on the trail.
  2. My horse may be hairy, but she will be very well groomed. I say a braiding demo at the clinic last weekend so I'll do a running braid in the mane and a french braid in the tale. Her forelock will be a cute button. She will have a bridle path, and the hair has been chopped from on top of her wither. I have baby oil for the hooves, and hair gel to stick down runaway hairs. She WILL look show ring ready and I will NOT have to compromise my horse for our winter endurance rides. My boots will be polished and my clothes will be clean. The saddle pad will be washed in a WASHER and not just sprayed with a hose. I will buy a hairnet, bun with a bow, and a black rain cover for my helmet.
My goal for the show? Do not go off course. I've decided not to use a reader.

My secret, lofty goal? Win blue ribbons. We have a good shot as long as we perform like we did
in this weeks lesson.

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pictures - Day 7

Well that was interesting. Nine pictures a day is a LOT of pictures. Especially when I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary. After a couple of days I was forced to seek out new locations to shoot (I only have so much patience for interesting pony and kitty pictures). I have a lot of shots that I wouldn't otherwise have because of this challenge.

I thought that this challenge might be a fun way to give me a break from writing. But, I found myself still writing posts, scheduling them for after the pictures would be done. I don't think I actually wrote less posts than I usually do. Well, at least if I had needed the break, I could have, in theory, NOT written anything.

So here it is: Last day of the picture challenge!

"Good Morning"

"Minx's plant is still going strong"

"Halloween treats"


"The difference between the 2 pictures is..."

"Office wall"

"Memories of Tevis"

"Freecycle shoes"

"Athletic ability hiding in the corner"

Pictures - Day 6

I think it's interesting that I'm getting as much discussion and comments on my picture posts as I get on my regular posts! I thought by now everyone would have gotten very bored and wandered away until next week.

Here's the pictures for yesterday. They are not nearly as interesting as the ones from the previous day. There's 10 instead of 9 because I couldn't decide what to cut.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pictures - Day 5

I now have posts written through next week!  Just sitting there in blogger with the word "scheduled" next to them.  Very disturbing since, in my mind they are done but you won't see them for another week....I wonder if by the time they post, whether I will even care about the content in them anymore?

Update:  My lesson went very well yesterday.  I'm practicing my intro A/B tests.  I'll do both this weekend, as well as a walk/trot dressage suitability group class.  I can't put into words how much I'm enjoying dressage.  It's the perfect compliment to endurance riding.  My trainer said officially that she considers me part of her show team which is very very cool.  For someone that has made her own decisions about horses and riding for her entire life, I'm excited to actually have someone I trust to help me make show/level decisions. 

Now for the pictures. 

It's been awhile since I've taken feet - I mean hoof - pictures of Farley.  So without further ado:

"Left front" (this foot is a little clubbed - I have problem with heel.  This foot appears more "normal" when looking at the bottom than the RF)

"Left Hind"

"right hind"  (do you see the scar?)

"Right front" (I have problem with toe on this foot - this one is more "normal" than her left front when viewed on the ground, but less ideal when you look at the bottom)

I know these aren't the best pictures.  Here is what I notice.  On the fronts, the white line at the quarters is weak/not tight.  It's getting better, but it's a work in progress.  She has a lot of dead sole right now, it's not coming off right now, so I'm leaving it, but usually the fronts are more "cupped" than they are now.  I have problem with toe on the RF and heel on the LF (LF has club-like tendencies).  These pictures were taken 3 weeks post farrier trim and 1.5 week post my touch up.   My strategy is to take as much toe as I can on the RF and as much heel on the LF and rasp every 1-2 weeks to keep the angles close.  There's some flare on the RF on the outside that I need to address (on the quarter).  I try not to do too much at one time. 

My hind pictures are pretty bad (sorry!).  In general I'm pretty happy - a tight white line all the way around, nice cupped sole (hard to see in these pictures). 

Her frogs are in good shape - rubbery and resilient.  She's not tender footed.  I detected a whiff of thrush last week, gave all for a good dawn dish soap scrub and haven't smelled/seen anything since. 

Any other comments are welcome.  My farrier still sees her every 6 weeks because I'm new at trimming.  Minx was easy to see the angles on, I have more trouble with Farley's feet.

"Another view of the scar"


"Fronts" (I know!  horrible pics because of the grass - but I needed my nine pictures!)

"Trailer GVWR" (I recommended checking your truck GVWR on day one, have you checked your trailer GVWR?)

"Fix-it Ticket"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pictures - Day 4

Day 4 is when I refuse to photograph my pets yet again and try to find something interesting to photograph.

BTW - this is off topic, but if you want to see a picture of the little bunny rabbit I knitted my mom for her birthday, see her blog here.  (no I'm not counting this as one of my pictures...)

I tried to photograph wind yesterday.


"Red Thingys"

"Leaves and dust"

"Pony Tails"

"Willow Tree"


"Hay blown into the walkway"

"Bent grass"

"Behind Farley's Paddock"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pictures - Day 3

I never seem to get my camera out until the end of the day, but once I do I get absorbed into different shots, different settings, and playing with F-stops. 

Here are Monday's Pictures

"The end of evening light"

"Too early to go to bed"


"A 4-H Fair project"

"My head"

"Her head right side"

"Her head left side"

"20 meter circle" (can you see the path?)

"View from the top"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pictures - Day 2

To read the challenge, click here.

Day: Sunday

Location: Home (because even though I did many interesting things, I was too busy living to take out the camera - so these pictures are a last ditch effort to stay in the challenge....)

"Do you know your truck and trailer GVWR?"

"Food on the counter is easier to see than food in the cupboard" or, "The options when you don't go grocery shopping"

"Hi, I'm Jonah and I'm a pest"

"Algae = more natural habitat"

"Mr. Fish hides when I walk into the room because he's big enough for dinner"

"Experimenting with the manual camera settings"

"Jonah getting ready to 'play' with Mickie"

"Mickie doesn't want to play"