Friday, May 12, 2023

Happy Birthday and Happy Gotcha Day!


May 11: Gwyn turned 17. I'm so thankful every day that she's part of my life. 

I hit up Michaels after work and grabbed some fun decorations.

Secretly I think she enjoys the weird things I do with her.

But getting good photos can be hard.
The best ear shot we got used keys in a food container, which perked her right up.
Up until that point it was variations on the "humans are so weird" face she's perfected.

Today, May 12, is 12 years since she got off the truck from Florida.  We've had so many adventures together!

Monday, May 1, 2023

The World's Worst Dressage Show: Show Day!

I slept somewhat poorly. I shared a bed with Kaylee in the camper and this bed is the convertable bed where the table usually is. The bed length is exactly my height if I'm standing flat footed, so you can imagine I was having to contort myself to get to sleep. Plus Trudy had the camper at an absurdly warm temperature so I was sweating! I did sleep though and thankfully we didn't have an early morning. 

There were not many participants in this show and it got started with a judge's announcement at 10:30am and even that was delayed. But what started as delayed, quickly became ahead of schedule due to no-show participants and I was suddenly without much time to prep and then warm up and get nerves settled. I'm a little upset with myself for this but I think having an extended walk warmup will be a good thing to try and do at the next show we attend. 

Gwyn was great while we were tacking her up and decorating her in glitter. She stood patiently while Kaylee scrubbed her hooves clean for the hoof glitter polish. She kept her head low while we applied horse safe glitter gel on her face. She didn't move an inch while I braided her mane, Cortney wove ribbon through it, and Kaylee wrapped my stirrups and saddle in ribbons. 

As soon as we started walking away from the stables (and her buddies) she was a frantic mess and would not stand still. I tried to use some concrete blocks to get on and she instead tried to climb up on the concrete with me. Cortney brought Reign and Saffron out and Gwyn calmed down enough that I could get on. 

We walked around warm up and she was behaving well enough and with a good forward walk that I thought we could head on in for our test since we were only going to be walking anyway.

Dear reader. 

We did not 'only walk'. We trotted like a giraffe. We cantered despite my growls and best efforts at trying to stop. We crashed. And we looked fucking fabulous while doing it. 

Me: Okay, yeah, we've got this!

Me: Oh shit, she's just spinning while I try to halt salute, well, at least I can pretend like it's on purpose since we get extra credit for 'flair' during the salute

Me: Gwyn... we're supposed to walk, and across the diagonal.

Me looking back at that photo goes, oh hey, you're cantering on the correct lead, on your bad lead... you're actually stepping under yourself! Nice!
Me: Oh shit oh shit we're going to crash into the panels if we don't course correct. Gwyn, get out of the ring.




Gwyn: Oh fuck.
All that being said, the crash wasn't that bad. I'm still bruised over a week later in equally spaced areas corresponding to the metal bars. I popped up, furious that it went atrociously and stuck my thumbs in the air, because there was an audience (of course there was) and immediately took a much more subdued mare to the mounting block to get back on. 
The show organizer had specifically posted that they wanted WWDS to be something where there wasn't pressure, where you weren't penalized for things going wrong, but celebrated. 

So I rode back to the ring and started from the beginning.  This time Gwyn was much more mellow. It's like me coming off knocked some wires back into contact and her brain was fully functional again. We had some LOVELY moments in the walk where she wasn't a full giraffe and even did a bit of trot. 

Pro photos, purchased and used with permission.

I took my final salute and just HUGGED her. While our initial display was a disaster, we recovered and went on to have a much better test. 

After my test, the mounted archers had a demo, which I'm sorry to say I missed because I was helping Cortney get Reign and Saffron ready for their test!

Saffron was decorated as a fairy, Reign as a unicorn and Cortney as a princess.
Kaylee coopted much of my holo gear and decorated herself as designated support team.

They were adorable and Saffron stole the show, refusing to move and planting herself stubbornly, while Cortney and Reign pirouetted around them.

After Cortney's ride we had time to sit and relax. Kaylee and I grabbed food from the food truck and we started packing and cleaning up. We were planning to head out right after awards since it would be several hours of driving to get home. 

At the awards, I was crowned Dressage Queen for most matchy-matchy!  I WON! It was the title I was aiming for, above all else and I GOT IT.

The crown is amazing, we were also given bouquets and ribbons. Gwyn did not want to cooperate for ribbon photos.

As a bonus, here's my test. Points for falling off, points for Gwyn pooping. It was amazing.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

The World's Worst Dressage Show: Arrival!

I did it. I made it! We got out for the first time since New Years Day. 

In true ADHD fashion, I spent the evening before leaving, finishing sewing my  outfit for the show. I made a batwing shirt (pattern from Patterns for Pirates) and fashioned my giant sequined shrug into more of a cape because it really didn't fit my shoulder width in a way that would make it riding comfortable. 

On Friday, Kaylee and I packed up and hitched my trailer at home while I was in the middle of a work call and we picked up Gwyn and the rest of my tack. From there we drove to Cortney's house where Gwyn hopped off a  bit confused and had to dragon snort at Cortney's goats. I tossed her in a stall, much to Reign's HORROR (she kept pinning her ears at Gwyn from the cross ties). Gwyn was just happy to find that the hay bag in the stall contained alfalfa. 

We transferred all our gear into Trudy's (Cortney's mom) trailer and camper, followed by Gwyn, Reign and Saffron. Reign and Gwyn were polite for each other in the trailer and each had their own hay. 
We all piled into the truck and headed south! 

Good ponies get nose pets from their kids
We stopped once for a bathroom break and then it was straight on to the Clark County Fairgrounds. 

The stalls at the fairgrounds were safe, if dark. They were excellent for biosafety, at least, with no nose touching. My one regret was not having any double ended snaps because Gwyn knocked her water over CONSTANTLY.   Each stall had 2 bags of shavings in it and no instructions for us to clean at the end, which definitely saved us time!  We were going to be there for about 24 hours, so the stalls didn't get incredibly messy in that time. 

It was a little bit of a struggle because Reign couldn't see Saffron, only Gwyn (who blended in behind the wire grating and looked like a disembodied head most of the time) while Gwyn could only see Reign because Saffron decided that she was being pampered by the shavings and her own private stall and promptly laid down. 
We took the girls out to walk in the indoor arena and get oriented to the space. Gwyn was chill about it all and just kept trying to go touch noses with Reign and Saffron.

Both Reign and Saffron decided the dirt was amazing and needed to be rolled in immediately. Saffron practically bulldozed her nose through the dirt before finally dropping. 

Nice face... then NOT NICE FACE.  Gwyn doesn't react to these faces from Reign, which we're pretty sure just infuriates her more. 

Gwyn: "Hi best buddy, I miss you and you smell like boy goats"

We decided to tack up and ride, which kind of became a wild situation. The high school drill team that was going to be putting on a demo the next day was practicing their routine. Gwyn was SPINNING. For a horse that I struggle to find a heartbeat on when conditioning, I could FEEL it pounding in her armpit with my hand.  This is probably the most scared I've seen her. Between the flags, the loud whistles to indicate  a movement change and shouting, she was frantic. 
I kept a hold of her though and eventually she started to realize it wasn't coming after her and her pause periods got longer and longer. In those moments I scratched her withers and just kept talking to her and praising her. Then we'd work on moving her feet so she knew she had to listen to me and that I was still there in control.
While the drill team was cooling their horses out, I hopped on and started walking Gwyn, who was now breathing heavily too. I just focused on my goals for my ride the next day. Keeping Gwyn's head straight, making sure she was bending from the base of her neck, that my inside hand wasn't creeping across her neck and that I was really sinking into my inside pelvis in asking for turns. She finally got some nice relaxing snorts out and I felt comfortable enough to let Kaylee hop on for a ride around the arena too. 
Then it was dinner and bedtime for ponies and bedtime for humans before the show the next day!