Tuesday, July 1, 2008

St Margarets Starter Trials - after 5 year hiatus.

OK so Hektor had been schooling nicely this spring. I decided to enter something. St. Margarets Pony Club Starter Trials was coming up and close to home. As soon as I signed up, Hektor gets an abscess in his hoof.

Dang it! That really put a hurting on our prep time. So once Hektor's abscess had healed, I had about 9 days left to prep. My work schedule cut that down to 6. Hektor's best friend, August had an accident, which was really awful and took the whole weekend, which I certainly did not mind at all, but it cut us down to 4 time slots. Of those 4 evenings, one was taken by a Swell Season concert (which was incredible, thank you) and of the 3 left, EVERY one rained. Not just a little either, but pouring rains. SO, I rode only 1 day before the event (in the rain.) It was the worst ride EVER. He wouldn't listen to me at all. I cried. A lotta guys would just scratch, but I figured I'd just go and scratch if things got ugly. It was only Beginner Novice, we can always trot (famous last words.)

Got to the barn early Sunday morning and had to quick-like-a-bunny give poor Hektor a bath.

Where's Hektor?? That's not him.

There's sleepyhead!! Ready for a bath?

After a quick bath (and I found 3 ticks!) we head out to Olney Farm. We got there, and it was actually very nice out… for about 20 minutes. I got set up, walked the cross country course, tacked up, and started riding right away. Hektor has not been to a horse trials in 5 years, and neither have I for that matter. The only outing he has been on was Camp Denny, a year and a half ago. Plus I barely rode him leading up, so I wasn't expecting a whole lot. I made sure I spent a nice long time walking and warming up. He was tense like a bouncy superball. This was a test of my patience and chill factor. I never got upset (in the back of my mind was the scratch option.) I worked on those simple suppling exercises I learned in that Jane Savoie demo I did at the MD Horse Expo fifty years ago. (Boy did I get my money's worth out of that lesson (except I didn't actually pay.) He was super tense, super crooked, and looking for reasons to spook. I just rode through it, and tried to stay relaxed. As I rode, I thought of lesson number 1. Test your undies before you ride in them. Those “no-panty-line” boy shorts may have well just been a thong. So after working up a sweat, I had time to go back and get my jacket, stock tie, and pinny. When I came back to the schooling ring, I had my good boy back. He was just super. Very quiet and obedient. Sometimes all he needs is a break so he can start fresh.

I go up to the dressage ring. The check girl says: "OH, you're down there in the INDOOR." Well, CRAP, Hektor has been in an indoor probably 2 times, and it's been a long time. When you do your dressage test in an indoor, they do let you rummage around in there before you start. So I let him check out all the mirrors (which he loved looking at) and the judge's booth. She rang the bell and off we went. I boom-boom-boom, do the test and as I am going I'm thinking, this is feeling pretty good. And, this is feeling great! And when we are done, I swear I want to cry. He was awesome. The judge talked to me and she really liked him and gave me some tips for canter departs (he resisted and lifted his head up.) She called him a “steady eddy” and "lovely" and I was so happy. We got a 31, which placed us 3rd.

I head back to the trailer feeling quite annoyed by my wedgie, but really, REALLY pleased by our ride. I'm back at the trailer milling about, take off my jacket, tie up Hektor, and geeeeee I'm feeling quite the breeze. I reach down and WTF!!! My fancy pants completely SHREDDED.


Here is my pair of full seat Trainer's Choice (which where not cheap.) They dry rotted or something. MY BARE ASS was hanging out. (Because my underwear were so ridden up.) FOK. It's like one of those crazy nightmare dreams where everything goes wrong. So I'm thinking ... well, I could wear my khakis ... maybe a pin? (I don't think so.) Lucky for me, Maryland Saddlery was there, and while the didn't have longs, they did have some cheap stretchy breeches that did me just fine.

Allrighty, that ate up my time to look at the stadium course. Soooo, I change my britches and head up to the ring. Beginner Novice stadium courses tend to be very easy. Hektor warmed up nicely and we went in. This ring… I actually fell off once in this ring a few years back in a jumping clinic. It is right next to some very dangerous woods. I think there are actually squirrels in those woods, which are very, very dangerous. So Hektor is “looky”, but fine and the first four fences are butter. The 5th, I knew would be a little trouble because it was right next to the woods. I lost his nice canter and it was a little sticky, but no biggie. But then, I totally lost my mind/butt/leg coordination for the rest of the course and was flailing about all over the place. Hektor on the other hand, was GOLD, and totally put up with my weird riding. I still don't know what happened, I just lost it and wouldn’t let go of his face. We were a couple seconds slow, but didn't knock anything down (miraculously.)

So, for these little starter trials, they often go right to cross country after stadium. I go up and now it is raining and pretty steady too. XC was running late, so we went back to the trailer to relax for a while. In the rain.

Um, excuse me, but it's raining.

The things a horse has to put up with at a horse trials.

OK, now it's just pouring.

Soooooo, we finally head up to XC. I go into the warm up area and walk a lot. He's very calm, but he knows XC is next and he's a little excited. I do a couple Xs and he gets all flamboyant. He flips his head about like a dragon and gallops around. He's all cocky like he's saying "I'm going to eat that baby novice course up!!"

We head off to the start box. OK, maybe not. We have to cross a tree line to get to the start box. Tree lines are serious business. They sometimes contain squirrels, or maybe even worse. Hektor tries 3 times to duck and spin, and run back to the trailer. He doesn't get anywhere, but I bet the starter are people thinking "oh dear, he's not going to get far." FINALLY, we get past the dangerous tree line get to the start box, and off we go. Hektor is petrified!! It is almost comical. We trotted. He had no problem with the jumps, it was the in-between that was giving him grief.

So we tootled along at a trot, had several water crossings which he was fine with. At one point I got him to canter some, but oh no, he was scared, so we trotted. I started laughing thinking about our warm up. The girl behind us came very close to overtaking us. He was great, he went over each jump no problem. We just had massive time penalties, which is fine by me. This was just practice.

End of story, I'm glad I went after all!
Hektor was too. He got a pink ribbon. 5th out of five, that ain't poverty!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

23 Things - Finale!

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

I'm a mad Flickr fan now. I have found friends with hardly even trying by searching tags. I also got lost in Library Thing.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

I have always had a positive feeling towards technology, but this exersize opened up a lot of possibilities. I will never learn it all, but finding out new things every day is pretty darn good. I love the idea of helping other people use these tools.

Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

I was surprised at the idea of a library based community wiki. What a great idea. I can see that being extremely rich with information sharing.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

I think it was very well put together. I like working alone, but some people may prefer working on this project as a team, or maybe a cyber team. That could be interesting.

And last but not least…
If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?

Absolutely! I want to stay on top of new trends as much as possible.

How would you describe your learning experience in a few words or a few sentences, so we can share our successes and promote this program?

A fun way to explore new trends and expand your horizons!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

the possiblities are endless ....

Browsing the Web 2.0 awards list, I found my new fun explore place, Zillow! I have a weird hobby of browsing real estate. This site has so much more information than other real esate sites I've explored.

All the 2.0 award winners look interesting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Published with Zoho

This is Man-Slaying Hektor, my fine and noble steed. Isn't he cute?

I enjoyed reading 'To a temporary place in time' by Wendy Shultz. It's all about connections and sharing information. I'm very excited that BCPL is working on staying abreast of the latest ways to do this. 23 Things has been a great exersize for me!!