Upperville's Network Infrastructure

There's a very small cross-section of people who will be interested in the networking infrastructure powering a larger hunter jumper show, but I am one of those people, and this is my blog!

The Upperville Horse Show in Virginia has some pretty unique networking needs, which are powered by gear from my favorite networking vendor, Ubiquiti.  Here's an excerpt from the blog post about it:

Every year, an empty field in Virginia is transformed into a small city with tents everywhere.  The tents provide stabling for 500 horses, VIP seating and vendors.   Two large office trailers provide the room for servers and desks full of staff taking entries and keeping track of results on laptops.    Two video production trailers provide international live feed of the 5-6 video cameras covering the 4 separate show rings.  Each individual ride video is recorded, edited and packaged so the riders can later purchase them. 
Three giant video screens work as score boards, provide live video, and run sponsorship advertisements. 
Four starting gates (one of each ring) have to be connected to the network so the names of riders can be entered and relayed back to the servers keeping track of everything.   Free Wifi is provided at the VIP tents and the Press Tents. 
All of this is powered by a UniFi.
All of the above generates a ton of traffic - a Terabye of WAN traffic in a week as shown below is ridiculous.

They basically have to create an enterprise-grade network out in the middle of a field, once a year, for a week, which is crazy.  Enterprise grade anything related to computers doesn't just happen overnight like that.

For more behind-the-scenes tech footage of Upperville, click here for the entire blog post.


WW: Hack


Back With the CWD

With my Dressage saddle gone indefinitely, I'm riding in the CWD again.  It feels...amazing.  Like rekindling a love affair with an old flame.  Like rediscovering what made me fall in love in the first place.

First of all, it still fits Connor stupidly well.  Flexible tree points, and this tree shape in general, really agree with this guy.  There's been an average increase in our front end elevation scores with the Equisense since I started riding in it again.

Sitting on the horse is just easy with that saddle.  My body feels like it's part of the saddle and a part of the horse, rather than feeling like I'm sitting on top of both.  I snuggle into place with my legs comfortably and effortlessly draped around him.

I wonder why I don't feel that way in the Dressage saddle - it might be the fact that the balance was all wrong, and we'll see if that was it when I get it back in a few weeks. 

It might also be the fact that the twist on the Dressage is wider.  The CWD has a very narrow twist.

My trainer hates knee rolls, deep seats, and tall cantles, so she's taking the opportunity to tell me (again) that the CWD fits us both better because the seat is flat and open (although I have to point out it's an SE02, so it's not as flat as it gets for CWD).  Jury's still out on this for me - I don't think one or the other is inherently bad as long as they fit. 

It's not THAT high.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to riding in it for the next few weeks!


Saddle Fitting Experience

I really wasn't sure what to expect from my very first hands-on saddle fitting ever.  The lady who remotely fit my Dressage saddle last year came to Indiana last weekend (she comes up about once a year from Florida), and I jumped at the chance to have her take a look at my Dressage saddle in person.

I didn't get any pictures from the fitting because I was pretty involved with it, but this is from when I got it in March of 2017.  He's filled out quite a bit in the shoulders since then.

It was fascinating.  The fitter is from Ireland, and really knew her stuff.  Immediately she noted that my saddle was generally a great fit for both of us (whew), but it was lower in the back than the front.
There's a lot going wrong in this picture from September 2017, but you can clearly see how the saddle being too low in the back pushes my pelvis back and my knee forward into the roll.  I didn't know that was an issue until I felt the properly adjusted saddle on Saturday.

She also noted that the flocking was very compressed on the left side compared to the right, due to me sitting harder on the left side.  This explains a LOT - as I became aware of this positional flaw since about January, I've been trying to fix it, but I've been fighting the saddle while I try to fix it, and with the horse, the saddle and my own body pushing me onto the left, that's a lot to overcome. This was an easy fix, they adjusted the flocking on the left a couple of times and I rode in it and it was AMAZING how straight and level it was.  It also didn't slide off to the left anymore.

When I first realized my left side issue, riding T in January 2018.  

Next, to fix the saddle being lower in the back, we had two options.  The first was to try a ThinLine half pad with rear shims, and this was a stunning improvement.  I noted that my knees weren't as much in the knee rolls anymore, and it was very easy to stay straight in the saddle.  My trainer and the fitter said the knee roll change was very visible.

May 2018

I would have thought that was the best it could get if she hadn't mocked up the second option, which was a tree widening.  For that, she took the ThinLine off and shimmed it just naked under the saddle with some special shims.

She also used a TSF StretchTec neoprene girth to keep the saddle in place, which it hasn't been doing lately (it's been sliding forward).  She explained that she's found that people with the leather TSF original girth like I've got now can't get it tight enough to keep the saddle in place, and she asked my trainer if that sounds familiar with me.  My trainer laughed.  Yes, yes that's a problem.  She tells me almost every ride my girth is way too loose.

My previous original 24" TSF, which I owned before my 18" StretchTec TSF, which I owned before the 22" original TSF I bought with this saddle at the recommendation of this saddle fitter (18 months ago).  My Facebook status with TSF is "It's complicated".

When I got on with those two adjustments, it was absolutely miraculous.  It felt like she'd lowered my stirrups by a hole (she hadn't), and it was almost annoyingly easy to stay centered in the saddle, as my pretzel body tried to fight the symmetry it wasn't used to.  It was suddenly far less work to sit the canter, and I could really get my leg around him in a way I haven't been able to before.

More from last summer, can't wait to see a side profile once I get it back!

She and my trainer watched me ride several laps like that and everyone agreed that was the better option.  At the end, she said it was a testament to what must be really flexible hips that I rode in that saddle the way it was as long as I did.  She said most people wouldn't have been able to ride with as straight of a leg as it kept me in when it was too low in the back.

So, now my saddle goes to Florida so it will be waiting for her and her assistant when they get back from their marathon cross-country saddle fitting trip.  Can't wait to get it back!

In the meantime, I'm reunited with this gorgeous thing. <3


A Quick Reminder of Why We Don't Event Anymore

Set up in the arena yesterday, there was a crossrail and a teeny tiny not even 18" vertical with tiny lattice boxes underneath it.  Since the game plan for lately has been "what we're doing in Dressage is really hard for him so goof off sometimes but make it clear that we're not asking for Dressage work when you do," I decided to put his jump tack on and pop a couple after some simple flatwork.

We did the crossrail SEVERAL times and that went great, jumping normally out of stride like it was no big deal.  Then after one particularly good crossrail I kept my leg on and came around to the lattice.  This is how it went:

Connor: "We're jumping, we're jumping, we're ju- OH MY GOD I HAVE SIXTEEN LEGS ALL OF A SUDDEN ARE WE JUMPING THIS WHAT IS THIS THING, OK WE'RE JUMPING!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I swear to God he actually tap danced at the base of the fence and put each foot down at least four distinct times before taking off.  It felt like I was jumping a centipede.

This is probably what it looked like.
Jump Start HT, 2014 (PC: Xpress Photo, with permission)

Of course the second time he came around to the lattice he was great, but the first time he jumps anything remotely interesting, it's always like that.

So will someone local please start a poles-only eventing series, because we're totally in if so!

Miss this!


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