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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  


National Standardbred Show 2010

This past weekend, August 22, 2010, was the National Standardbred Show at the Horse Park of New Jersey.  It was the third time Dreamy and I made the trip down all the way from Maine to compete.  I love this show, I love being a member of the group who puts it on (SPHO-NJ), and I love spending time with my NJ friends.  :)  Overall it was a very fun weekend.


Dreamy and I rolled out of here on Saturday morning.  I was proud to make the trip from Maine to New Jersey on my own.  My mare and I are two peas in a pod....she is a great traveler and I love our road trips!  The traffic was not that bad until we hit the George Washington bridge...and the whole trip through New Jersey was heavy traffic.  The normal seven hour drive took just over eight hours.  I was tired from driving, but it was all forgotten when Dreamy and I arrived.  Setting up the stall, reconnecting with my friends, hanging out at the stalls, having dinner at the 'Burg that night........SO WORTH IT!  LOL!  :D  I stayed at the lovely "Gregory Inn" again...LOL!  My friend Helene is my "long lost big sister", and it is always fun to stay with her.  ;-D  Even when I drag her out for Chinese food and to check on my pony late in the evening, talking her ears off....she loves me! 


There is nothing like the excitement of showing to me.  And I don't just mean being in the ring.  Dreamy and I have done numerous dressage shows this year, from here in Maine, to New Hampshire, down to Massachusetts, and even out in Vermont (which I somehow forgot to write about...duh).  And dressage shows are fun, don't get me wrong.  But we are always alone at dressage shows.  Yes, I have dressage acquaintances who I see and chat with once I am there, but it is not the same.  Showing in the three hunter shows here in Maine with the MHA and then going down to Nationals, it is more of a big fun party with friends.  And overnight shows are so much more fun to me anyway...we eat together, get ready together, support and encourage each other.....I have a great group in Maine and another in New Jersey to do this with at the hunter shows.  Dressage shows are more of "me time", I guess.  


Anyway, Dreamy was all prettied up on Saturday night.  A professional braider did her mane and tail, which was a silly splurge but I wanted her to look nice.  I can braid, I do everything myself from mucking, grooming, feeding, etc. but it was my birthday present to myself to hire a braider!  LOL!  And it was so much less stress for me!

The show day was overcast and gray, with some showers and lots of Clouds of Doom.  LOL!  It kept looking like it was going to pour, maybe even thunderstorm, with the winds picking up and all that.  But it never really did much besides sprinkle.  

I am super happy with how my mare did.  She was quiet and well mannered for most of our classes.  We started the day with Mares In Hand, which I hate.  I have never done in hand at the National, but for some reason I let myself get talked into it this year.  We did not place out of the 15 mares and I was not surprised.  Judges either love her or hate her......love her for her non-STB looking confirmation or hate her because of it.  Perfect evidence is the double judged DEC Show this year where we pinned 1st and 5th in STB In Hand.  LOL!  We can win in a class of 22 (this year's UMaine Spring Fling) but then not place in a class of five (last year's DEC).  So me thinks our days of in hand are done.  LOL!


Next we had to tack up for western.  Yup, you read that right!  I decided on a whim that I wanted to try Dreamy western this year.  I have wanted to do it for a while in the back of my mind, since I really would LOVE LOVE LOVE to try team penning one day.  So I rode her a few times this year, maybe 10-12 western "training rides" total, and found she liked the lack of contact (not surprised!) and had an OK western jog.  It is more of a slow dressage sitting trot, but a friend of mine who shows western assured me that was OK.  Dressage and western share a lot of similarities.  I know that if I keep practicing I could slow that slow trot down to a real jog, but for now, it was not that bad.  Her lope was not existent, but oh well.  This was for FUN!


We placed well in our western classes.  In the mid Atlantic states you are allowed to cross enter 2 gait and 3 gait, which is not always the case here in New England.  So we did both 2 and 3 gait western pleasure and horsemanship, so we could do the entire division.  She ended up one point shy of the Reserve Champion of the WP division!  LOL!  Pretty good for a whim.....a friend remarked that a good horse is a good horse and Dreamy proved that I suppose!  We went in what they call a "dog bone" bit, which is essentially a western french link.  Dreamy goes in a loose ring french link snaffle (it is a KK Ultra) and does OK with the western bit.  Anyway, she was having NONE of the slow trot idea in warm up, so I made the last second decision to ride her with two hands.  I knew the judge could excuse me, and I was fine with that (she did not).   A friend of mine did the same thing.  I was more concerned with having a productive training ride than a show ride....and did not want to allow her to buzz around at a regular trot with her western tack on.  But the judge did not seem to care about how I held the reins and still placed us!  LOL!  Not my fault she did so!  No one said anything to the steward, though I know some people were all mad about it, so the judge's placings were final!

We did Trail after the western pleasure division.  I wanted to do it for fun, and it was cool.  We had to knock a pole off two barrels, then trot over it to a mailbox.  No problem.  Then the mailbox door was stuck shut, so as I pulled it, it started to lean over towards Dreamy (it was on a jump standard thing).  She moved away, of course, so I had to move her back over.  That was our only flaw.  Then on to a box made of poles......stop and do a 270 turn.  No problem, we did a turn on the haunches.  Then we had to open a "gate" which was two jump standards with a rope between as the gate.  We have NEVER EVER practiced this, so I had no idea what to expect.  No problem.  LOL!!!!!!!  Then we had to move a coat from one jump standard to another.....no problem.  Then we trotted over four grounds poles, halted between two, backed out, and trotted away.  No problems with those maneuvers and we earned a 5th out of 10 riders.  :D

Next came the dressage tack.  She was a complete poop in the dressage but that is OK.  LOL!  We warmed up pretty well but then she completely had a meltdown just before we were to enter at "A".  All I can attribute it to was the wind picking up with the onset of the Clouds of Doom, my friend Helene's horse leaving so she was totally alone up there, and seeing bits and peices of horses and people through the trees down into the lower show rings.  The dressage ring is set up on a hill, so it is away from everything.  Maybe it was none of those reasons...I have no idea.  For whatever reason, Dreamy tried to bolt numerous times (the photographer got some pics of me hanging on for dear life.....really nice....NOT) and leaped into the air as well.  WOW!  So our Training 1 test was um.......REALLY BAD.  LOL!  Nothing like getting a 2 or 4 on a movement when there was more leaping than dressaging going on.  Training 1 was a 53.9%....such a low score!  But we still ended up 3rd out of five riders, maybe six.  So at least our VERY BAD was still better than some. 


I worked her pants off after that, thinking I could work her out of her snit.  Another horse came up to the ring and she seemed to relax.  I was able to get her to keep her feet on the ground but she was revved up.  The more I worked her, the more revved she got.  Oh well.  You have to ride the horse you have underneath you!  They were calling my first hunter class of the day as well so I HAD TO RIDE ASAP!  LOL!  While Training 2 had lots of leaping and bolting, Training 2 just had severe tenseness.  Like terrible awful tenseness.  I was mortified at my horse, but the judge was sympathetic.  She told me she saw brilliance (her word, not mine) in our work, but that the nervous energy got in the way.  She could tell I was upset.....she asked how she normally was at dressage shows.  I told her relaxed and happy!  LOL!  And it is true!  But I explained that when Dreamy got something in her mind, she could not always be ridden out of it.  She asked me what level I normally show at (USDF Training 1, 2, 4 this year) and she asked when I planned to move up to First Level.  LOL!  I told her when it felt right....how I planned to try a First 1 test next year at some point.  She was just a really nice judge, with great feedback.  She told me the scores reflected Dreamy's nerves and tenseness, that she really felt we were capable of better scores (I know....we earned this them year already!  LOL)  So our Training 2 was a 59.3%, which I thought was incredible considering how bad she was.  And being only about 6 minutes ater the first test, I was pleased.  And somehow, again, our VERY BAD was better than most....we got a first place ribbon in Training 2 and ended up being Reserve Champion Training level dressage of the day!  LOL!  That just completely cracks me up. 


We literally trotted out of the dressage ring, straight to the stall, while my friend Christie (Bless her heart, I love this girl!) got Dreamy untacked and retacked in her hunter duds).  I meanwhile, quickly changed my clothing.  I grabbed my jumping bat and off we went to do Hunter Over Crossrails!  LOL!  I had a moment to memorize the course, watch two riders go, and then we jumped.  I was worried she would be a poop, try to buck, like she was doing in dressage but she was fine.  It was a big class......not exactly sure how many but we were the last to go.  We ended up third! 


We went right into our hunter under saddle classes and did the entire division of 2 and 3 gait.  Next was pleasure and I just did the 3-gait because we never place well in pleasure so I did not want to ride her into the ground by doing the entire senior division (senior horse division, which is not for the horses age but because she has won over 12 blue ribbons).  And last was the adult equitation, which I had planned to do the entire division but chose not to (more on why below).  It was a weird day....the classes were I thought we did well in I either placed low or not at all.  The classes where I thought I bombed we did well against more horses!  SO WEIRD!  I am usually pretty good at knowing how our ride went, but this was an odd day.  Not bad, just odd.  I am happy with our placings, of course.  She was a good girl, I had a blast, and it was good to see my friends Helene and Laura place very well.  Those are the things that matter!


In the first of my three adult equitation classes, I began to get light headed.  Suddenly I realized in the line up that I had not eaten LUNCH!  Holy cow.  I had been so busy running around changing tack and outfits that I had not eaten.  I was supposed to have two more classes in a row, then a young rider ("JS", the same girl who did Nervous Novice with Dreamy in 2009) was to ride her in two junior  equitation classes right afterwards.  

I made a quick decision to scratch my last two eq classes, which gave me time to get something to eat and allow JS to ride Dreamy.  Who cares about finishing the division!  LOL!  JS is a good little rider, I think she is 12 this year, and literally rode Dreamy for 15 minutes last year and pulled a 2nd place out of four riders in her first ever show!  :D  It was cool!  So I wanted her to have at least a few minutes to ride Dreamy again.  She has only ever ridden her that one time at the National show last year....she lives in NJ and I was asked in 2009 if she could ride Dreamy because the president of SPHO-NJ was looking for a sane horse for her to ride.  


It worked out perfectly.  It was a bummer to scratch, but the right thing to do for JS AND for me.  I wolfed down a banana and some crackers.  JS and Dreamy had a nice warm up and while she did not pin in her first eq class, she earned a 3rd place in the second one!  She got her diagonals correct in both classes, did a nice pattern in the second class including sitting trot which she had never really done before we warmed up, and Dreamy was a perfect packer pony.  I was so pleased and proud.....especially since it was essentially a "catch ride" for JS and all the other kids in the ring OWNED their horses and rode all the time!  :D


So here is the rundown!

Reserve Champion - Training Level dressage division
1st Training test 2
2nd Western Pleasure 3-Gait
3rd Training test 1
3rd Western Horsemanship 2-gait with pattern
3rd Hunter over Crossrails
4th Hunter under saddle 2-gait
5th Western Pleasure 2-Gait
5th Senior Horse Pleasure 3-Gait
5th Trail Class


Somehow I never got my Trail ribbon!  :(  After I did my Trail pattern, I asked to be excused so I could go do dressage.  I heard them announce the placings, but never had a chance to get the ribbon.  Oh well.  I have too many of them as it is!


Sadly at the end of the show, a woman from New England felt the need to be very unsportsmanlike towards me.  No need for details.....I have too much CLASS to write about things like that on my blog!!!!!!!  ;-D  But I will says it was a shame, since it reflected badly not just on her as a person, but the club of which she is president up here.  But not everyone knows how to have class or lose gracefully or even have self control!  

Instead, I will share my opinions about general unsportsmanlike behavior at shows.  :D  Horse shows are breeding grounds for small minded people to conduct themselves in small minded ways.  It is sickening.  I cannot understand why some people feel the need to be so inappropriate at shows (we have ALL seen/heard them!) and then later on forums and blogs.  Do I complain at times?  Of course!  We all do!  And I do so with my best friend, on the phone or on the ride home from the show.  NOT IN PUBLIC!  LOL!  And if I truly had an issue, I would go to the steward or the show committee, which I have in the past.  Instead of being the agent of change, people just want to yell and throw tantrums, and be rude!  :O 

OH the drama!  LOL!  ;-p  Afterward, all I could do was shake my head and laugh.  It always cracks me up when someone old enough to be my grandmother acts younger than my six year old child.  I see it at horse shows, at work, everywhere!  You have to take the bad with the good, and people like this might think what they do is right, but I can assure you, dear readers, that being that rude and unsportsmanlike in public is never a good idea.  Whoo boy!  LOL!  When the competition is tough, and someone cannot measure up, they feel the need to lash out.  The best we can do it rise above it all.  Let the haters have their hate crushes.  Let them write lies on their blogs.  :)  I know I am a good person, and I have poise, sportsmanship and class.  I was not sure I would share this little story (and there is A LOT MORE I could share, but there is no reason to be so vulgar), but I do feel it is important for anyone reading this to know that there are always going to be "those crazy people" at horse shows.  And all you can do is rise above.....move on and be thankful you are sane and happy.  :D


So I would say the 2010 National Standardbred show is one for the books.  It was a fun weekend and I am glad I went down.  I got everything packed up that afternoon, and Dreamy and I left for home early on Monday morning.  It was a long drive home, with lots of traffic so the drive was nine hours!  WOW I was sore!  LOL!  Dreamy traveled very well and was happy to be home.  Thank you SPHO-NJ for being a great group of friends and putting on a great show.  :) :) :)

Comments

Ruffles said…
Sounds like you had a really great time :)
Congrats!
Anonymous said…
Sounds like fun (except for the meltdown lady at the end) - I like it that you really enjoy showing but are perfectly willing to scratch when it makes sense.
Live2Ride said…
Agreed with everything you said Liz! Great show and you just have to ignore those people lacking sportsmanship and be the bigger person!
kippen64 said…
Sounds like a busy and happy weekend.
LiveToFly said…
Sounds like you had a great show! My goal is to get there eventually if I still have Johnny next year! I'm sorry to hear about the unsportsmanlike behavior from the unnamed woman...I hate people like that, they take the fun right out of horse shows!

Great job though!!