Monday, July 18, 2016

HCWE Summer Show

I was pretty tired on Friday night after the clinic, hauling back and forth, washing Ashke, plus picking up stuff at Costco for the show the next day. Dinner was from Costco (chicken alfredo, corn on the cob and bread) and then up to bed. I was asleep before ten, with the alarm set for 5 am. I didn't ride until 10:15 but J, T and T's friend were all volunteering at the show and needed to be there before 7:45. I fell asleep almost immediately, but then woke up at 3 am to pee and never really fell back asleep again. See, it was 3 am and I had finally figured out what I needed to do to make my outfit work. I had purchased a western style vest to wear under my jacket (which I was not planning to wear in the show due to the predicted 97 degree heat). Except it was western style. At three in the morning my brain had finally worked out how to change that to be spanish style. Yay, brain!!! Not so much fun at 3 am.

I finally got up at 4:30 and went downstairs to find my vest:

It's a very nice vest, but it has Western points at the bottom

I pulled out the box of sewing stuff and began to evaluate my options. It was easy to find a clean line to fold the bottom edge of the vest up to the inside and pin it out of the way, but I needed some thing a bit more secure. I was wondering if I could put tucks in to hold the material there without ruining the look of the vest when I found the Stitch Witchery. Best stuff ever made. It is designed to be ironed between two pieces of material and it holds them together. I carefully cut pieces of the Stitch Witchery and layered them, then covered the material with a damp towel and ironed for a couple of minutes. The heat and steam is what activates the SW.

Finished product with a nice straight bottom edge.

I felt much more confident about my outfit afterwards and very pleased with how it turned out. We got the boy up, breakfast fed, all the things loaded in the truck, and headed for the barn. Ashke had spent the night in his BOT mesh sheet and a newly bedded stall and he still managed to get pee stains on his barrel. I didn't have time to rinse him, so we loaded and I figured I would deal when I got to the show. He traveled easily and we arrived in no time at all. I got Ashke set up with feed, hay, and water then went to watch the Intro riders and to introduce T and CJ to Tarrin. I had to go back out a couple of times when trailers were coming in, because OMG they were going to eat him (we had rearing at the trailer), but after the third time, he settled and was great for the rest of the day.

I watched my friend, BH, ride her pretty Morgan mare (filmed it for her) and then went back out to get Ashke ready. BH offered to rebraid him for me, since my braiding pretty much sucked wind (it was my first time ever) and made Ashke very beautiful. We went into the warm up arena and got him loose and warm. He felt a little tense to me, but that was him reflecting how I was feeling. His canter was nice, his turns were great and he was trying so hard to be excellent. Too soon it was time to go into the arena.

All spiffy and ready to show

I rode the test. Ashke was tense but listening well and I thought we had done a much better job than the last time I rode in a show (Horse Expo). I have really excellent video from Barbara, who filmed us. I went through and added the score and comments from the judge's sheet after the completed movement.

After the ride, I unsaddled Ashke and got him settled at the trailer. He was eating and drinking well and I went to do the course walkthrough. It was a tough, technical course with tight lines and weird approaches. I had already made the decision to trot the course, rather than trying to canter because we are still working on getting the canter correct and I didn't want to mess that up. It is my goal to canter the next show between the obstacles and canter the obstacles that I can, but I want to get him to that point the correct way, so trotting it was. After the course walk, I had lunch, then got Ashke ready again.

By that time, I had seen my score in dressage. It was the exact same score I had earned the past two times I showed (Sept 2015 and March 2016, both under this judge). I had felt like Ashke and I had actually done much better this show, but it didn't appear to be so. I felt so defeated. I know a lot of people say it's just a number and they don't care, but I do. I want to be getting better. I know my lessons have improved our riding, but according to the test, it had not. I felt so bad about how we had done that I was ready to throw it all in and just trail ride. Stop competing, stop trying to do WE. Just ride.

I said fuck it to the EOH. I wasn't going to stress or try. I was just going in and riding the obstacles the best we could and not even worry. I figured the way my trend was going, I would score lower than the ride at the EXPO. Ashke warmed up well and seemed eager to go strut his stuff (he was rolling back on me in the warm up pen - he knew speed was coming soon).

I laughed twice: once when he came to an abrupt stop before the gate (there were sparkling silver pom-poms in the planters he wasn't sure about) and when we made the second circle on the drum too big. I also lost where I was on the drums and circled to do the pitcher, realized I was off course and had to circle again to figure out where I needed to go. Next time, walk the course, stupid. At the Switch a cup, I was supposed to pick up the cup, back the corridor and place the cup on the top of the pole. There were two cups but when I got to the obstacle, it had not been reset from the prior rider. I reached across my body to pick up the left cup with my right hand, backed out and was going to put the cup on the left pole, but there was a flag there and I was afraid the cup wouldn't stay (which would mean dismounting, remounting and replacing the cup correctly) so I put it on top of the cup that was already sitting on the right side pole.

Again, I edited the video to put the score and judge's comments after the obstacle.

At the end of the ride, the judge called me over. She congratulated me on how I handled the switch a cup snafu, and gave me extra points for how I handled it. Then she also congratulated me on how I handled getting lost on course and said the fact that I didn't stop moving my horse to look around made it's impact a lot less. I just kept circling the drums to try and figure out where I needed to go.

I got asked by a lot of riders whether I was disqualified because of the cup, since they weren't sure of the rules, and I was able to tell me what the judge had said. I knew we were running the speed right after the EOH, so Ashke and I just stayed and watched the other riders. I was just hanging out when T came running up and whispered 64.44 in my ear. I was shocked. I started to cry because I just couldn't believe it. And all of a sudden I cared again. It shouldn't make such a big difference, but having your work and progress recognized via a score, makes all of the difference in the world.

Finally, it was time for speed. Ashke knew as soon as we walked into the arena that it was time. He LOVES running the speed round and he really tried hard to do it as fast as he could. He cantered half of the double slalom poles (with the turns to the left) and I know it won't be long before we can do the whole thing at a gallop. We completed the course and I almost blew it. I dismounted, took one step, swore and swung up again, turned and faced the judge to salute. I was really, really lucky, because it should have disqualified me, since I hadn't saluted first. However, the judge had been talking with the timers about the time and didn't see me dismounted. Talk about a lucky break. That is a mistake I won't make again.

In the end, only two of us in our division made it through the speed round. I did have a 10 sec penalty due to knocking over the rail at the sidepass. Ashke almost jumped me out of the saddle twice, he's so quick to move toward the next obstacle. When I get out of his way and just let him do his thing, he has a great flying change. I had to struggle to get my stirrups back twice. I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.

I place third in dressage, first in EOH and first in Speed. And won the overall Championship.

Ashke rocks!!

The ribbons are hanging off of a decorative cutting board I won as Champion.


  1. You guys looked HAWT in those videos!!! I'm so very thrilled for you. Huge, HUGE congrats!!!

  2. Well Done Karen and Ashke. Keep up the good work. Your team (you and Ashke) are improving all the time. We need to work on show butterflies :)

  3. Well done!! Holy moley there is a lot of one-handed garrocha-carrying work I am going to need to work on...!!

  4. Congrats!!! You both deserve all the pretty satin for all the hard work you two put in.

    Thank you as well for taking the time to edit the videos with the judges comments and score. For someone who doesn't really know much about the sport it is really interesting and educational to see what the judge was seeing for the movements.

    You two have such great things coming your way!