October 21, 2021

Heartland Regional: Disco

I am slammed with work, but I can't wait any longer to get at least THIS post out. I can't stop thinking about Disco after last weekend.

(Also, I'm not the only one experiencing issues with photos not showing up in RSS feeds, so if you want to see a pile of cute Disco pictures, you'll need to click through to the post. Sorry for the inconvenience!)

Almost all photos in this post courtesy of Leah

He was absolutely amazing.

Ponies screaming on every side of him, and this is his reaction

 

It was my first time really getting to spend a lot of time with him, and my first chance to get extended 1:1 time with him, and I could not have been more impressed. His attitude toward new things is "Sure!" I mean look how chill he was in the first moments he was ever in a show ring:

"They're looking at me? Neat."

I only saw him spook once the whole weekend despite this being his first time off the property. Really, it's not even fair to call it a spook, he just startled at a trailer driving by as we gave him a bath in the dark.

Leah holding Disco for his bath. In the dark. At a new place. With a thunderstorm on the horizon.
 

When you're showing babies at breed shows, it's always a crapshoot what will happen. Sometimes they don't trot in-hand. Sometimes they go up on their hind legs. Sometimes they get "over it" quickly and won't stand still the rest of the day. Sometimes they get loose.

Disco? Disco was just perfect. Honestly all three babies we brought this year were almost perfect.

Waiting at the in-gate with his momma

He led all around the complex and trotted in-hand like a pro. The only bobble we had was when we he mis-read my intentions on going around the judge's table and as Leah put it, he zigged when he should've zagged.


He ended up being in the ring for probably a total of 5 or 6 classes over a couple of hours between him, his mom, and the Get of Sire and Produce of Dam classes. The first class he got judged in was a stout 2 and under Section C/D colts class, with three of Lisa's ponies plus a couple other nice ponies in it. 

Like, I know this colt is really nice, but up until this show I wasn't sure if I was being a homer about it or not. But under both judges he won his 2 and under class. And then he won the Section C/D championship (all ages/all sexes but just Section C/D Welsh) under both judges as well.

As we were walking out of that class, one of the judges said, "I breed Section D's, that is a VERY nice colt."

That made him eligible for the Supreme Championship, which takes the top two winners from the Section A, B, C/D Championships and crowns the best quality breedingstock pony (geldings aren't eligible) of the entire show.

And.

My total childlike delight after he won the C/D Championship. I just could not believe he kept winning like that, especially with a total amateur handler like me.

 

He won. OMG. I was just in literal shock when they called my number.

Judge: "Will he be okay with this neck ribbon?" Felt good to confidently reply "Oh yeah he'll be fine"

He tried to eat it, that's about it.

Supreme was double judged as well, and the way they ran it, one judge walked through all the ponies and made her decision, and then the other judge did. 

 

The second judge had noticed Disco, who was closest to the judge's table, was getting fussy. She looked me in the eye and said, "I can see we're wearing his patience thin, I'm going to start judging at the other end." Subtext, as I understood it: "I like this colt, and I'm going to give you every opportunity to show him well that I can, so see if you can get him settled before I get to you."

Me trying to distract him in a different class

I'll never know if she thought the other pony was actually better or if it just showed better than my fussy baby, but she ended up pinning him Reserve, for Disco's only "loss" of the day. Hardly a loss though, since we got a second neck ribbon out of it!

"For me?!"

I asked Leah to take a picture with him and the judges, and while we were standing there they chatted with me. One said that is an incredibly nice colt, and said "We don't often pin weanlings for supreme," and the other asked his registered name, saying "I want to keep an eye on this guy."


If I wasn't thrilled enough about how he showed and placed, all the other little things meant so much. Seeing him stand in weird places while his mom got measured, get groomed, and hop on the trailer like he's been doing it his whole life just cemented the fact that this is the kind of brain I want.


Standing in the picnic area while mom gets measured like nbd


When he loaded up to go home on Friday night, I definitely felt a little bit sad. I enjoyed spending time with him so much, and really can't wait to have him at home. Sounds like he'll be coming home the first weekend of November!

October 18, 2021

Welsh North Central Regional: Highlights

I've been blogging for well over a decade now, and for the first time, I don't know where to start after last weekend's Welsh North Central Regional. Any one of these things is an entire post by itself!

I fell SO in love with Disco. And so did the judges.

I still cannot believe how big Disco won, omg.
 

Connor was a fun fire-breathing dragon for me in Ridden Cob.

OMG WTF WHY ARE THERE PEOPLE THERE CANNOT BRAIN

And then took such good care of Annie in her first ever horse show.

Connor and I won the pants off the English division.

English Pleasure, you say? I can look pleasurable.

And then he carried Mary safely around her first hunter course in over a decade - even if he would have preferred a jumper round to a hunter round.

SUDDENLY REMEMBERED I'M AN EVENTERRRRRRRRRR

And I have the ability to document this show at all because LEAH drove 11.5 HOURS to spend a long, cold, mostly sleepless horse show weekend with me, and took every picture in this post, and I am just so incredibly grateful I can hardly put it into words. She captured the most special memories.


A full run-down is coming, but perhaps not for a day or two as I have to ferry Connor to Flying Lead Change School today!

October 15, 2021

Saddle Update

I know I said I wouldn't have a post today, but I now have a resolution to my saddle problems so I wanted to share! 

Beautiful but wrong

The saddle fitter and I were finally able to connect yesterday, which had proved challenging between her kid's major health issues and my new job.

I had gone into that call intending to tell her I could live without serge panels, but she wouldn't hear of it. She completely owned the mistake as her own, explaining that she hadn't followed her usual process when doing my surprise last minute one-off saddle fitting in June, which led to her making a mistake in not writing absolutely everything down.

She said her reputation matters too much to her, and these saddles are too expensive, for it not to be exactly perfect. And she said the serge would matter to Connor, and long-term, it matters to her too, since she's the one that has to flock it and it's much easier to flock serge panels than leather.

This but make it fuzzy

So that requires a complete rebuild! They can't modify this one, they have to make a ground-up new saddle. Mind, blown. And they aren't charging me a thing, beyond, you know, the still-can't-say-it-out-loud original purchase price, lol.

She said she can sell my current saddle no problem (her dime, her effort) if I send it back to her now, so she can sell it in as new of a state as possible, and she asked if I was okay keeping the black loaner (which I still have) while they re-make mine. I laughed and said that Connor is going to CGP's for full training through the end of the year on Monday, and the black one would fit CGP much better anyway, so I think we'll all be happier with that loaner for now.

That made HER laugh, since she's good friends with CGP. "It's all about her, isn't it!" she laughed.

Because it has to get completely remade, I'm taking the opportunity to make a few modifications. I've asked for it to come back with a teeny tiny thigh block - she's actually probably going to use a jump block. I also asked to cut the number of rhinestones down to one, and make it purple. Three feels like a lot with how much I have going on on the cantle, now that I've seen it in person:

No croc though. This bad boy has enough visual interest as it is.

 

She's of course doing the serge and moving the billet, and then I'm also having her shorten the flap. 14" was doable and it's in the ballpark of what I like, but if I'm having it re-made anyway, we're going shorter. I'm not sure why this surprised me, but CGP is 110% on board with that, and said the 14" is as long as she'd go, but she'd have preferred shorter for me. I asked for them to shorten it another inch to an inch and a half, although I could probably go 2" and still be fine.

Long story short, human mistakes were made, and I'm glad I didn't get out the pitchforks, because my gut feeling that they'd make it right was absolutely correct. Being nice and understanding and taking a deep breath before freaking out definitely was the right move here.

And now, we wait! Again!

October 14, 2021

Connor Vacation

Connor is just wrapping up a 10 day vacation in which I did absolutely nothing with him. I had been thinking I wanted to give him this time off for a while, but it ended up being the right decision for all kinds of reasons.

Except last night's lesson, which I kept because why not, and did not intend to ride him that hard, but he just could not even at the canter, so...not my fault he got sweaty, lol. Luckily, and remarkably, it's still warm enough to hose him off after rides right now!

Such as:

  • Starting a new job (at the same company) that's very different from my old one
  • Feeling like without mirrors and experienced eyes on the ground I couldn't possibly make more progress in the clearly very important biomechanics discoveries we figured out at my last lesson
  • Feeling like wtf am I going to improve on this horse by myself that she won't do over the next 10 weeks?
  • Getting ready for the Welsh show and bringing Disco home

Heaven? No, just sunrise at my barn

So it's been pretty quiet on the horse news front, but tomorrow is going to be very exciting, as Leah is coming to stay the weekend with me, and I get to show Disco in-hand for the first time Friday morning! I won't have a post tomorrow, but look for some exciting baby pony content next week.


I love you already <3

October 11, 2021

Baby Pony Spa Day

On Saturday I went over to Lisa's to see Disco and help bathe some ponies before the Welsh Central Regional this weekend.

Athanasia (right) and Anna Rose (left) getting a spa day

If I wasn't already in love with cute little baby Disco, cute adolescent Disco totally sealed the deal. In all, I was there for three baby baths, so I got a good feel for how they're all doing with haltering in the field, leading out of the field, standing still for extended periods of time while on a lead, getting a bath, and getting their manes tamed.

Look at that neck, man!

With Disco, I was able to walk straight up to him in the herd, halter him, and lead him out almost as easily as if he was an adult horse. Lisa's helper Hayley joked (paraphrased) "Oh yeah he was so easy, I think he was born halter broken." Every once in a while I had to put a little pressure on the line and wait for him to take a step to release it, but not often.

Baby Anna Rose looking like a supermodel with her hair and makeup crew, lol

Then for bath time, I thought I was prepared from the videos for how much this horse loves water, but seeing it in person is a whole other thing. I should've named him Castleberrys Seahorse. As soon as the hose came out, he was like "Pick me, pick me!"

"Yessssssssssss" - Disco, probably

He stood like a rock as long as he was getting bathed, unless he was moving around to put his face in the stream, lol. Hayley even "pressure washed" his hind socks with the stream nozzle and he didn't care.

Gimme gimme gimme

Once his bath was over and he was standing around waiting on mom's bath to get finished, he was a little less inclined to stand still, but he wasn't rude about it. We were just approaching the limit of his baby horse patience.

After his bath, he got his mane banded so it will hopefully all lay to one side at the show. And I gotta be honest, he already has quite the neck on him for being not quite six months old. He at least has a shot at pinning very well at the show this weekend - not much baby horse awkward going on here yet.

Just chilling on a loose lead. Hopefully he's this good for braiding!

With the bands in, you can start to get a glimmer of what it'll look like braided in a few years.

The first weanings start to happen this week, so it really could be any time that he comes home, and I am definitely feeling a lot better about bringing him home to the co-op knowing he's already this much of a solid citizen.

Gimme that water!