Knocking (Virtual) Tevis Off the “Bucket List”: Week 1

The Tevis Cup has got to be on a lot of people’s bucket lists.  It’s one of the ultimate dream rides that just about everyone I’ve ever talked to has spoken about someday wanting to compete in it.  Heck, I wanna ride Tevis someday.   I don’t know if I ever will because my knee can be a real bastard sometimes; and I definitely won’t ever ride it on my golden boy because there’s no freaking way Mitch would want anything to do with a 100 mile endurance ride and the way things are going right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the right horse for it.

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On The Bit Dressage Schooling Show – 8/5/18

We did it!  Mitch and I finally (finally?) attended our first horse show at Modoc Riding Ring.  It’s only been 10+ years, right?

It all started when I was asked by my former riding instructor and one of her current students if I could trailer the student’s mare to the Modoc Arena for a dressage schooling show.  Half on a lark, I decided that if I was going to trailer one horse, then Mitch could ride along for ‘companionship’ and I’d go ahead and enter him in Intro A and B (but not C mainly because Mitch gets fussy about canter departures in the arena) because hey, low key schooling shows are a great way to get first time experience. We have to start somewhere after all (even if that somewhere is years after I bought him)  and because I wanted to have some fun.

So I mailed in my entry, the fees were really reasonable, and we’ve been practicing for a while now.  Bathed him yesterday, and then was up at the crack of dawn to go to the barn and feed Jet and Zaffiro, and then load up Mitch.  I tossed an armful of hay into his soft trailer hanging manager, and let him snack while we worked at loading the mare that belonged to my barn mate. She was a bit hesitant, but I put together a butt rope, and we got her in once she learned she couldn’t back up.

Made good time getting to the arena, and unloaded.  I got Mitch set up with some hay, and water, and he was just totally chill since we had over an hour before our ride times.   I ended up calling the tests for my barnmate, and then headed up to groom and tack Mitch up.  He dunked his nose in his water while I was grooming him, and seemed pretty laid back.  And then we headed over to the warmup arena where he pretty much proceeded to lose his mind and go into a “I’ve-never-been-in-a-show” mood.

I held it together though, and worked him through his attempts to buck or bolt into a canter, and I even drove him on at the canter, at which point, he stopped and decided he didn’t want to canter.  Modoc wasn’t a new place for him, he’s been there lots of times, but he’s never been there when there was a show going on, and that was new to him.

 

So we started Intro A.  And that’s when Mitch got creative.  He decided that trotting at M was so yesterday and felt that canter departures were more fun. Soooo … we circled where we weren’t supposed to.  And then he tried it again, and this time tried to bolt across the area.  20 seconds of disobedience meant he was outta there!  Congratulations Mitch, eliminated in your very first class.  But the judge was really nice, and talked to me about ways we could improve for Intro B.  In retrospect, given how eager he was to canter, I probably could have entered Intro C after all. 🙄

As soon as we were out of the dressage arena, a bunch of people descended, and said I did a really good job at holding things together, and then I booked it over to the round pen to give Mitch a good free lunge during the first 15 minute break.  I ran him till he was pretty sweaty, and then took him into the warmup ring to trot him out.  He did really well considering there were other horses in there with him.

We were the first riders after the break, and the judge had said I should bring Mitch into the dressage court and let him trot around a few times and he settled down.  It wasn’t the most glamorous of Intro B tests, but it was something, and we managed to get a credible third.

Ultimately, I am really proud of Mitch.  It was a new experience for him, and he came through in the end.  Maybe not elegantly, or amazingly, but that can come in time.  My main goal was to go and have fun at the show, and finally get to see what kind of a score we would get on a dressage test.  I got all that, and came away satisfied.

Mitch-PostTestB

And I want to do more!

Have Trailer, Will Travel

Revving the engine for today’s adventure

I rode today for the first time since New Year’s Eve.  The weather has been awful, even for Southern California standards.  We’ve had a few days of sunshine, but most of it has been rain, and gloom and doom. But I suppose, with a drought, we really do need the rain, so I just gotta grin and bear it.

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Trail Riding 2016: The FINAL Chapter

Despite my thinking that the ride at Ellwood was going to be our last trail adventure for this year, we managed to squeeze out an extra ride today, even though the weather looked super gloomy, overcast and the forecast was waffling back and forth about rain – would it? wouldn’t it? So when Lori asked me last night if I wanted to haul over to the new barn she moved to and we’d ride some of the trails there (which are more extensive than the trails at the ranch) I said we’d play it by ear. Continue reading

Get the Hell Out 2016, We’re Done Here!

2016 has been a year.  And I do mean a year.  It busted in like a gangster, took out a ridiculous number of celebrities and famous people, kicked us all while we were down with politics, the environment, and a bunch of other junk before acting like a jerk and taking off with George Michael on Christmas Day AND then to add insult to injury to this super-serious Star Wars fan, it took Carrie Fisher Princess Leia too! 😭 DAMN 2016, go home, you’re being an asshole—a DRUNK asshole.

On the other hand, 2016 gave us some good things as well, as if it were tossing a bone for all the beloved people it was going to fatally abscond with, and for giving us Mango Mussolini.  The Cubs won the World Series (not that I’m a baseball fan, but it made lots of people happy.) I got back in the saddle, back in school with straight As in spring, summer and fall semesters, and the year gave us the awesomeness that was Rogue One (and maybe Assassin’s Creed, but I won’t see that until after the new year since I’m going to see it with a friend who will be visiting at the time.) Plus, remember what I said about accomplishing some of the goals I set for myself in 2014? Totally happened this year. 2 years later is better than never!

So without further ado …

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Driving Mr. Mitchell

No, not that kind of driving, although we’ve done it before.  Hooking him up to the cart is kind of well … on a very long hiatus at the moment. I’m still thinking about my options there, and to be honest, a lot of why I took up driving with Mitch was because we weren’t going out on trail rides and needed something to do that wasn’t the loathed ring work. Now that we have a trailer …

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The Chinese Takeaway Box

Great, that name’s gonna stick.  But I guess it’s better than The Porta Potty or something.

I’ve been more or less wigging out — in a good way — the entire week going “OMG, I OWN A TRAILER!!!” It’s a dream come true, really. Something I’ve strived for for a long long time, and finding my happy place out on the trails is much easier now in the future, since I have that independence and freedom of going where I wanna go.

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