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.