Saturday, August 30, 2008

Glorious Fog.

When I stepped outside this morning, I was greeted by the smell of California-at least for me. It was the smell of fog on dry grass and damp oak trees. MMMmmm! A beautiful blanket of the grey clouds had settled over the foothills, creeping up the Straits, cooling the whole area. Natures own air filter and conditioner. I knew it wasn't going to be sweltering today! Whew! Still I got to the barn at 8 AM, went to take the Big Red One out of his stall- and noticed No Water! Cripes! So I search for the owner- find her father. He had been up since 5 and he had found the Roan Stud had ripped his watering trough off the stall- resulting in a flood. He was hard at work fixing it. Ok so one disaster averted. Water the horses with buckets and exercised BRO. Thats when we noticed a mare and filly had gotten seperated in the pasture. Filly was now in no man's land with the neighbors draftys. YIKES. Help owner fetch her-only to find she had cut her knee. Of course Filly isn't halter broke yet-and she's much more interested in playing with the other youngsters in the pasture than following her mother into the barn. With a few well placed piles of grain the other babys and mares forgot about Filly allowing us to herd her into a nearby stall to tend to the cut. Second crisis averted. All before 9 AM!
The rest of the day was spent at my daughters BBQ celebrating her 30th birthday. At least there was no crisis there! At least for me! She seemed to be handling the age bump with aplomb, I might add. Only twenty more years before she can ride in the Select Classes!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What about me?

Well, I was so blown away by Karen's great show series that I totally forgot to tell you my story! What there is of it anyway!. My goal at the beginning of the year was to place in the top 5 in my division. I like to set small goals for myself, keeping a bigger goal in front of me- some times I make the bigger goal, but at least achieving the smaller ones gives me encouragement along the way. I always figure that if I go into the arena with the horses ears in front of me- I'm way ahead of the game if I come out of the arena with those ears still in front! For the final show I had really practiced hard, putting my horse up into a bit-using the tradional methods of the Vaquero- and I must say Desi is coming long very well. But I didn't trust him, so I put him back into the snaffle for the classes. I can't say he was really bad- but he wasn't very good the first day either. He wrung is tail, shook his head and basically told me to fuck off in horsey talk. My girl friends sat on the sidelines and just watched in horror as we left the class. They could all tell how bad he'd been. So I schooled a bit, and went in for my second class. We did a little better- at least he didn't wring his tail, or rear- but we had too many faults and didn't place. The second day was hot- sweltering and windy- like being inside a blast furnace. Just the weather I like for making good ponies! Des was great; supple,listening and willing. Beautiful. The pattern was a difficult, but I studied it, and drew it in the dirt and talked it out- yaya... all the normal stuff you should do to remember. Er... that is if your not menopausal! Sheesh! I got through the first three obstacles perfectly- with plus'es I'm sure! And then right in the middle of the fourth obstacle- I turned left and not right! I forgot the pattern- had a total blank in my minds eye! Heesuscrist! Then I just lost all focus and ticked another pole-but it didn't matter, I DQ'ed that class anyway.
So the trainers all say- put a bad ride behind you. Move on! I beat myself up for about ten minutes, and went into the next class- We were great! No ticks or touches, until the last obstacle. He was suppose to stop between the poles, do a 180 and step over the pole to exit. He actually put his foot over the stop pole and then pulled it back! ERK! Three point! Enough to put us out of the placings in a class of thirty horses.
So the last day we caught a break- the heat had abated to a mild 80 degrees. The horse was still willing and listening. We entered the arena and did a great job- touched one trot over pole and bumped the gate slightly. Eh, is that enough to put us out of the placings? I don't know! And the worse part is I won't know for at least a month! The gal that puts the scores on the website is at the Select Show! So as of Sat night I was in sixth place overall- that is the total for all 8 shows ( not including Sunday)in a class of twenty to thirty horses .
If I placed high enough I may still place 5th- and acheive my goal for this year. If not- well I came pretty damn close- and that's okay too. I've learned a lot- had a hell of a good time and met some super people along the way!
And you know what? There is always next year!


Ok- though it has been a mild summer- now that August is nearly over- the heat has reappeared. Yesterday it was nearly 100 and likely to be so again today! It's 8 Am- and I am off to ride- and it's already 80 degrees. At least it's a 'dry heat'. At least it's not humid. Kack! Hot is hot! At least I can bathe my pony when I'm done riding.
I don't hate the heat- eau contraire- I like it. At least I like it better than the cold and the wet. I hate riding in the cold sleeety rain we get around here. And I know it's coming. It makes me wonder if the winter is going to be mild ( like last year) or wet ( like the year before) . In any case- I'll don my uniform (jeans and tank for summer, jeans and turtleneck for winter.) and head to the place I like best- the Barn.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Inspiration and Perspiration

There is probably some quote about inspiration and perspiration, but I can't remember how it goes- however I do know that you can have one without the other, but ususally you need both to succeed.
This weekend at the horse show was an excellent example of that.
As we now know Michael Phelps has won eight gold medals in Swimming- the most of any athlete ever. My friend Karen is a dedicated "Phelpshead"- she's been following his career for years! Well we are at our horse show, and it is blazing hot- 103 in the shade. So hot that your eyeballs are wanting to melt out of your head kind of hot. And we are scurrying around trying to set up for the show. We are sweating buckets, and we are drinking gallons of water, and we are reviewing the classes,and walking the arena, and discussing endlessly the patterns we are to run. We get to bed at midnight- right after we watch Phelps 7th win. Karen starts the show sitting in fourth place in the overall standing. There are three shows to go, 30 horses in the class- and she comes in fourth. The next day- thirty horses, she comes in third! Now she is in FIRST place in the overall standings. The last day- she's alone, memorizing the pattern- she has the look of eagles in her eyes. She enters the arena and nails the pattern. She rides her horse exactly as she planned! Her go was the best one she's ever done!
Now we don't know yet if she kept first place- we won't know that until next week sometime, but she did go from forth to first overall in two days! A woman that just began riding and showing two years ago- with no regular trainer! I asked her later what she was thinking and she saidshe was thinking about Phelps- about how he went from seventh place to first by .01 of a second, and how he must have focused on the win. She tried to do that too.
So you tell me- is it perspiration- all the hard work and hours of riding, or is it inspiration- the image of a great win- that makes us great? I like to think that it is both.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Galloping off again!

It's time for the last three horse shows in the series I've been going to. My trailer is packed and ready to go, horse is bathed and polished, clothes cleaned and in the truck. How ready can one girl be? I know that after I've trailered the two hours to get there, un packed all my gear, made Desi comfy and checked in at the show office I'll be more than excited. And on Friday- the first day - my nerves will be at their height! Why so nervous? I guess I am anticipating the fun ( like I used to tell my girls) and hoping that all my hard work will have been worth it.
Now by worth it, I don't mean that I have to be Numero Uno in every class- no, I set smaller goals for myself, so at least I have a chance of making a few. I mean that I will remember to breathe, to lower my hands, to sit back, to watch were I'm going and especially - to learn something new and to have fun! That is what I mean by worth it.
Of course Desi will be good. Of course I won't fall off ( I might get thrown, but that happens sometimes),of course my outfits will be brilliant ( Thanks Tish!) And if I'm lucky and everything goes well, I may even place in my class! In any event, I won't give up- I'll keep setting goals, keep training and keep having fun!