Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tarrin Warren Clinic

HCWE's final show was Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. We did a clinic with Tarrin Warren the Friday before. Overall, I thought Ashke tried really hard for me and the exercises we rode were very good. I can't wait to use them on my own during arena rides or maybe even in my lessons.

Mostly white horse standing at the trailer in the morning sun.

Circle Star Arena in the rising sun.

Impatient boy

Sweet boy. Great eye. 

We started with an exercise where we would side pass over a pole, past the ends of the ground poles until we were even with the poles set perpendicular to the side pass poles, then you were to send your horse forward between them. The exercise was to show how straight your horse was when pushing from behind. We started at the walk. Ashke likes to throw his hips to one side or the other depending on which way we move.

Then we worked on it at the trot. I have some work to do to keep him a little straighter so we get good crossing of both front and back legs, while keeping the bend for the half pass position. And moving sideways then pushing forward into the trot is great for his haunches. 

And then we did it at the canter. This is very similar to one of the exercises Amanda and I have done during our lessons without the ground poles.  He did better as he understood the exercise, which is always the case with Ashke. 

This exercise was such a challenge. I want to work with Amanda on something similar to help reinforce riding off my seat. I knew he would struggle to hold himself together riding such a small circle. Although, I really think this was one of the best exercises we did.

In this exercise, we walked into the corridor, then backed three steps, then went forward into the leg yield until we were in a straight line with the second corridor. Once we were in a straight line with the corridor, we were to trot forward through the second set of poles. This was a very difficult exercise and I think it will be one we will work on during our arena rides until Ashke gets it. Understands what the question is. 

Then we did it at the canter. I didn't feel like either of us was ever really comfortable with the earlier exercise and that became obvious as we moved to the more advanced attempt. I think I would put a little more space between the first set of poles and the second set and start the leg yield at a walk first.  
 And then at the cante. I thought he handled it really well, considering. And it will be an exercise we come back to. 

Our final exercise was trying to collect and extend the trot along a set of poles. I think it would have worked better within the trot, but that is something Amanda has had us working on for awhile. It was a good exercise to be finished on.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Catching Up

Wow. It's been a couple of weeks since my last post. . . . I know you all have missed me, right?

 Surprise tickets from work for the Dallas Game!!

 South Stands on the West side, rather than the East

 Packing for Vegas. Stazi wanted to go, up until she realized I would be zipping her in.

It started with a trip to Las Vegas, at the Southpoint Hotel, for the Andalusian World Cup. I was there on Tuesday for a seminar to get licensed with the Confederation for Working Equitation as a Technical Delegate. It's been fifteen years since the last time I was in Vegas and the biggest difference I saw was 1) food prices had gone through the roof, and 2) they don't use coins any more. That was the strangest thing: I missed hearing the coins clatter out of the machines. Not to mention, I think you can gamble a lot more money if you aren't feeding coins into the slots.

Wednesday I spent in the classroom, reviewing the US Rules for Working Equitation and talking about different situations. Being a TD means being an expert on the rules. The two people who were hosting the seminar, Tarrin Warren and Carmen Franco, have so much experience. It was good to hang out and go over all of the things.

Shadow judging at C

Starting on Thursday, the seminar attendees got to help with the A-Rated show. We helped with scribing, running, shadow judging, scoring and following up on all of the issues a TD might have to deal with. It was a lot of work, but also very educational. The WE part of the Cup had to be done by noon, which meant we spent the afternoon in the classroom, talking about the things that happened during the show, answering questions the attendees might have and reviewing film. Then, after dinner and the evening part of the show, we got to help set the course for the EOH on Friday, and the Speed round on Saturday.

There was a jury of judges: Tarrin Warren from the US, Isabelle Dorronsoro from Columbia and Rui Rosado from Portugal. It was really amazing to be able to talk with someone outside of the US and Isabelle was a font of knowledge from the International level. It really was an amazing experience. I will be back next year, but as a competitor.

There are always things that need to be adapted and changed.
The bridge was adapted to "varied footing" for the Speed round.

 The Gate for Speed.
There wasn't a gate in the EOH, since it has to be a fixed gate and the one that was designed and ordered didn't arrive until the week after the show.

 Carmen (left) and Tarrin (right)

 The arena after being set up for Speed.
Colorado had three competitors from HCWE, and one from Utah.
They did fantastic and I think they had a lot of fun.

The first sun we had seen in five days.
Not that it wasn't sunny, because it was, but because we weren't outside of the casino in all of that time.

Southpoint has the arena, the barn and stalls, plus a couple of smaller arenas and a warm up area all in the bottom of the hotel. It also has eleven restaurants, a swimming pool, a spa, a barber shop, a bowling alley and a movie theater. It was it's own little world. Between the seminar and the shows, my day started at 5 am and ended between 11 and midnight. We were all pretty wiped by the time the show ended. Tarrin and Carmen worked even longer hours to pull off the show. The casino didn't have a boot barn, though, so Carmen, Isabelle and I braved the world in search of Lucchese boots (which are slick as snot, actually). A couple of hours giggling over the outrageous boots offered at Boot Barn and one very happy boot totting Colombian judge was the perfect topper to the weekend.

I came back from Vegas and got two rides in before leaving for Grand Junction with J for her bike race. One of my two rides was a lesson, which was interrupted by poor shoe choice, but which Ashke stepped up to the plate for. Then we loaded up the camper and headed to Grand Junction for the Tour of the Moon bike race.

 Rocky Mountains.

 Fall colors

More color

 It was a pretty drive

 Definitely fall in the high country.
Course, by Saturday night, it was more like Winter.

We stopped at the Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs and enjoyed the heat, then headed into the KOA in Grand Junction. A and J slept in the camper and I slept in the hammock. Sleeping in the hammock is something I've been wanting to try,

 The rain cover was awesome, but I need to work on the hammock set up.  It really needs to be tighter, with less dip in the middle, in order to be comfortable to sleep in. I kept ending up in a ball in the middle of the hammock. I would say 5/10, but it can be improved upon. I do think I need a hammock mat to help hold it both flatter and more open, plus it does add insulation.

J and A did the 43 mile ride, with 5300 feet of elevation gain and loss, through a National Monument. The ride was brutal. It took them more than seven hours to do in the midst of pouring rain, hail, lightning and temps in the low 40's. They were both shaking with cold when they got to the truck. Part of the reason it had taken so long was the incredibly steep downhill after the brutal climb. It was too steep to ride, so they had to walk the bikes down. It was good they were cautious, since a woman on the ride just behind them lost control on that downhill and hit a rock wall, which killed her. They got into dry clothes, ate some lunch and then we went back to the hot pool in Glenwood Springs. Once we had a good soak, we grabbed a quick bite and headed home.

Sunday, I got up and went to Barr Lake with some of the riders from my barn and the friend I rode with on our last ride. We did a walking ride around the lake and it was wonderful to be out in the sun.

 At the entrance to Barr Lake

What we woke up to on Monday morning in the ceiling of T's bedroom.
Currently, there are roofers fixing the roof of the condo so there will be no more leaking in the bedroom.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dog Days

One of my deepest wishes is to take both the horse and the dogs to Vedauwoo and ride for the day. The dogs love going and are getting much better about listening to voice commands, that I think it might be a possibility next year. In the meantime, it is an either/or sort of situation. This past Saturday, we took the dogs.

 They love being in the front seat in J's lap for the drive.
Usually, it is a rotating lap dog dance. This pic was taken during Lily's one turn.
Skittle is a jealous little beast.

Our first offroad adventure with Antiope.
Unfortunately, it would end with a long scratch on the driver side of the car.
Wounded before our first oil change.

 We parked at the base of these rocks.
This was the area where we were caught in the massive snow storm years ago (like 15).

 The view from our vantage point.

Climbing up on the rocks.
The dogs ran circles around us, but stayed within view for the majority of the day.
Came back immediately when called.

 My heart place.

The dogs handed the rock climbing like pros.
They treated the slanted rock like it was flat.

 They also got pretty good at listening to hand directions.
I was able to point them in the direction we were heading and they would range out in front of us.

 Tia came with us.

Silhouettes against the sky

 There were a lot of trees down. The forest here is going through it's dying and rebirth process.

It really does feel like you are on top of the world sometimes.

 More rocks

 So much rock

 Some of it was too difficult to climb.
And impossible to take the dogs through/over/up/down

So much fun to clamber across

 I could ride forever out there.

 Bushwhacking through the trees.
There's two dogs in there somewhere. And people.

Lily playing chase games with sister

The two of them together

 Alerting on Tia and J coming through the trees.

There be giants in these rocks. If you look carefully, you can see his squished head, held down by another giant's foot.
Best rock formation of the day.

 Hiking back through Aspen to where we left the car

 The only good way to spend the rest of the afternoon.

 I could have fallen asleep, except that would have been rude.
Sitting in the hammock sideways in order to still be able to see what is happening.

 It got pretty cold. A fleece blanket would not have been remiss.
The temps were in the mid-50's, but the wind gusts were 40 mph and the wind chill made it feel more like mid-40's.

 J sitting in her hammock

 Tia in hers.

Dogs tied up

I have to tell you, we had a first. We were in what was obviously our "camp" with two Malinois dogs off leash. A couple of city slickers pulled up and parked their car ten feet from ours (in the middle of National forest - it wasn't a freaking parking lot), pulled out their little snack dog and proceeded to walk past us to climb the rocks. It goes against every camping/hiking protocol and courtesy I've ever experienced. They are lucky we saw them coming and tied up the dogs.

The dogs were awesome and didn't even bark. Lily stood guard (she takes her job seriously) but did not jump or try to go after them. She listened and eventually came to lay down.

 They didn't ever relax though.

 Being good dogs

Eventually, we headed home due to the chill. My hands were icey and it just wasn't so much fun to lay in the hammock. We loaded up and headed out.

This would be where I got to close to a mean bush to my left and scratched the hell out of my new car.
Good thing I love camping.

 Skittle laying in Tia's lap for the drive home.

Lily sacked out on the dog bed next to them.

It was a very good day.