Monday, September 2, 2013

Celebration Top 10 Memories for 2013

Krysta & I are wearing our
Jordan & Jessica pins!
Well, I didn't do a very good job with blogging this trip. Between working and showing I really didn't have much time left to do it. And when I did have a few moments, it was during dinner or late at night, and honestly I spent that time with Krysta and Rachel in conversation or food preparation and watching the Castle marathon. LOL.   

Here's my wrap-up - my blog for the week... This time, I'm sharing my week in a single my top 10 memories of the 2013 Celebration. 

10.  Staying with the Allen sisters. First of all, we got along great. But most of all it was fun to share stories, enjoy their excitement when they bought a new yearling, and give and get moral support as we showed all week.  The two of them are completely different, despite looking like twins.  So i have to say it was pure entertainment from arrival to departure a week and a half later  Thanks for inviting me to stay with was a blast!  And our place was awesome!  Let's do it again!

Hannah Pulvers VIP on the Celebration
grounds.  HP Central all week!
Rachel seated on the fur
bench in the HP suite.
9.  The Hannah Pulvers VIP suite.  Hannah created the most wonderful client space on the show grounds. It was right across from the entry to the warmup area. So we could watch all the comings and goings every night.And , more importantly sit and chat with all the other customers in a space that was appointed with a big couch, white fur covered bench, chairs and tables.   It was like hanging out in an awesome living room complete with rug, lamps, framed pictures, plants and vases of flowers  It was a great environment to catch up with those I've met before, and get to know others better. It's a wonderful and interesting group from all over the country, and I have made friends with so many new people. Plus, there was always something to eat or drink. Especially on cookout night when Bub cooked chicken and ribs for all of us!  It was the big party night. 

Me by the B banner!
The whole row of client banners!
So cool!
8.  The client banners!  OMG!  Hannah had posters made of each of the competitors from her barn. They were full color 4x6' banners. each headlined the horse and rider and were hung along the entire stall length of the Hannah  Pulvers Stables barn on the show grounds  It was so cool to see them all, and they provided shade for the stalls and horses each morning on barn #14. We all had fun taking our pictures in front of our own poster. You felt like a movie star.  LOL. Hannah is spectacular at helping to promote you and your horse. From these banners, to helping place/design ads, to Facebook posts. She goes well beyond the training to help your horse become memorable, by name, as well as by talent.  Thanks Hannah for all that you do for us, we appreciate it...and YOU. 

Emily - the Grecian goddess.
Ready for ribbon giving!
7.  Preparing Emily to give out a ribbon. On Thursday night miss Emily was going out into center ring to give the prize ribbon. This is a huge deal and anyone who gets this honor at theCelebration gets all dressed up, and I mean ALL dressed up. Emily met me on the show grounds in her long pink dress and I put on her makeup and worked a tiara into her hair (yes one of mine - they come in handy pretty often!)  She was absolutely beautiful. The dress was a floral spectacular and her hair was in ringlets around her face. She looked like a Grecian goddess as she walked out under the lights to award the winning blue ribbon and prize that night. I watched it all unfold from ringside. So proud of her!

Me & Darden - enjoying
the show.
6.  Enjoying the show. From the morning pleasure classes inside the Calsonic, to the out door celebration oval each evening....this is an amazing experience to see the best Tenneessee walking horses in the world. And better still is meeting up with friends in the box seats each night to socialize. I sat many evenings with Darden Gladney, sat on the rail a few evenings with Carlan, Kathy, Ronnie, Sam and Carlan's girls (Which are seats an arms length from the action, literally), and one night sat with Kathy Anderson on the opposite
Carlan is trying to turn me
into a Kentucky blue!
side of the ring for a different perspective  I count myself lucky for great seats and great conversation every night.  Plus I visited with Carol and Mary each night to check in.  And you always see someone you know who stops you or you stop by to see. It's all so much fun!  And the sweet tea, Curley fries, and deep fried Oreos hit the spot. 

Gale & Mick from Wisc.
Way to represent!
5.  Wisconsin represents!  Yes one great memory is seeing folks from Wisconsin at the Celebration.  Carol and Mary are fixtures every year. But also Mick and Gale drove down and we caught up for a few nights. And it was great to see Jacob and Laura Schultz, Lori Greenwood and Theresa Dietz and her husband John (who are from Illinois but I know them from Wisconsin show circuit).  It was nice to get some hometown cheers and support so far from home. You wouldn't think that in a huge ring you could hear cheers and your name called out, but you can.  Thanks guys!  I heard you and it meant a lot. 

Whaa What?  Com'on
when will we be home?
4.  Bringing B home. While showing has been a blast, and we've had such an outstanding show season...3 blues, multiple reserves....and always in the ribbons in every class and making every judges card (just WOW!) is super exciting to bring Bourbon home afterwards.  It was emotional to arrive at Hannah Pulvers Stables at 530am to pull B from his stall, wrap his legs in a quiet cross tie space, and walk down the aisle and out the door to the goodbye nickers of all Bs horsey friends. But B jumped right into the trailer and poked his head out the front window as I hooked him up. He gave a few hoof paws for good measure as we drove down the gravel drive and pulled out onto the road.  We passed the Hannah Pulvers Stables sign, which was now lit by the early dawn light. Good bye again for awhile, Main Gait Farms.  Arrival home 11 hours later....and B was out to pasture with D and F.  It was as if they had never been apart.  And everything was instantly back to normal. ;). And my barn was not devoured yet...but it has only been one day. 

Bourbon riding in our Novice
English class to a 6th place!
3.  Showing. Yep there is nothing quite like showing at the Celebration!  The nerves, the excitement, the sounds, the smells, the spectators....and every detail in between.  Being able to put on your riding duds...and hop up into that saddle and enter these historic rings, where so many great horses have entered before, is quite awe-striking.  You kinda want to pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming.  While I personally hate the warmup ring...once Hannah grabs your headstall and guides you up the ramp and into the ring, it is so exciting. You ride hard, try to show off your steed the best you can for the judges...and pull into the lineup afterwards hoping you had done well and the judges noticed AND liked you.  The wait for the results is long and nerve racking....but no matter what the placement, when they call your number and announce your name and are so happy. The exit ride is always a happy moment with ribbon in hand!  ;).  

B in Western - riding
for a 5th place!
2.  The judges cards. For me a personal accomplishment was that we made every judges card, in every one of our classes. Our placements in the end were a 5th, two 6th, and an 8th place tie.   Our highest tie on one judge's card was a 2nd place. And another judge placed us 4th in the championship class. The rest were mostly 5th or 6th placement...and as expected much variation between judges.  But it is the first celebration where we consistently made every card!  Woot woot.  So I chalk that up to an outstanding accomplishment. Especially considering that we aren't well we're making a dent in it that and making a mark. I'm estatic that they are starting to appreciate B as much as we do. ;)

In the line-up in The Big Oval at
the end of my very first ride in this
historical ring.  Spectacular!
1.  My first ride in the Big Oval.  Yes, this is the top memory. While I have shown the past two years at the celebration, I have never shown in the Big Oval. The pleasure classes are typically held in the morning inside in the Calsonic. It's only the evening classes that are held outdoors in that huge 30,000 seat coliseum.  Classes start at 7pm, so it's dusk, and the flood lights are on.  You start up in the warmup, and then a huge digital clock is set for 2minutes and 30 seconds and the count down begins.  Everyone lines up, and the trainers grab their clients and guide them down the "chute" towards the ring. As you come through the doorway and make your way down the ramp, I mean chute, you come around a bend and there for the first time you see the ring. It's the coolest moment and it looks totally awesome from between Bourbons ears.  Bub was guiding me and B, and I looked down and said to him, this is my first time out here...and he smiled at me.  Then Hannah arrived, smiled up at me and said good luck and have fun. She ran along side me, down the chute and right to the gate...  I picked up B and began my first ride out in The Big Oval.  It was early, so the crowd was just beginning to assemble, but it definitely was a lot more people than I've shown in front of then ever before. B kept looking over the wall at the people sitting in the first box seats, and I think it was distracting him.
My second Oval ride - Hannah
bringing us down the "chute" to
the ring for our Championship class.
Typically the seating is above you, not I pulled him a little off that wall to keep him focused on the task at hand. He actually did a great job, and other than a little bauble near the end, which I think was someone's horse behind me that spooked, we had a great first oval ride. I'm not sure I was breathing or not, but it did help to have Hannah with me in my ear on the Bluetooth. Just in case. Once in the lineup I finally looked around. So many people watching. I saw Jane and Sam sitting in that front corner box seat, and smiled. Sam pulled out his phone/camera and captured the moment.  The first ever moment of the big oval.  When the announcer made the winning awards....the Honey Badger won the class...and me and B, we took 8th.  We pulled out of the long lineup of 17 hopeful horses and riders..and rode up to collect our ribbon....and then rode out of the big oval.  Smiling.  We did it!  Woot woot. 

Pretty in pink.  Libby, me
and Krysta pose near the
HP stalls...
Of course I probably could have filled a top 25 or 50 list with cool memories.  Like Hannah's customers who rode to the blues...and winner circle photo sessions and celebrations.  Congrats to Kathy Anderson, Maggie Moore, Jordan Howell,  Jennifer Bingham, James Abernathy, Wayne Westbrook, Allie, Whitlie, and so many more on earning their WC, WGC, or RWC titles this year.   And Hannah, Bub, Candy, and Alberto, who work so hard to make all of this possible. To show baths, show shopping, and to bling accessorizing. To getting ready, And to packing up.  To laughter and to tears. 

I'll never forget all the memories and all the friendships of the 2013 celebration.  Thanks everyone!

Here are more photo memories below.  Enjoy!  (Tip If you click on a photo, you'll be taken to the entire gallery and can page through them and  see larger sized pictures.)

 B's ad appeared in the Thurs. issue
- the night of my Oval ride!
Was cool to see.
Ed Lewis in the HP suite.
Ed owns Main
Gait where B stays.

The Allen sisters (left & right), and the
Dennis sisters (3 middle) all dressed
up to give ribbons in center ring!

Yummy.  Fried Oreos (I know!)
and curly fries with cheese.  OMG!
Alberto giving B a post-
class shower on the grounds.

B drying in the rack after
his show bath!

The line-up in the Big Oval.  I
think there were 17 horses in this
class...we went end to end of the ring.

The Warm-up ring.  Horses prepping
for their classes.

Carol & Mary enjoy the
show from their box seats!

Tami, Marcia and Sheryl
sit with me to watch the
show.  Lovely ladies!

Tami sitt'n front and center on the wall.
B and me - enjoy a ride
down the driveway
when we get home.
Bourbon on the cross ties
at the HP stalls on the grounds.
Love these guys!  Bub and Hannah
at the "cook-out" enjoying some fun!
"SHOW BATH" - says Bub!

Me and Marcia relaxing
in the HP suite.  Love the fur
bench!  :)
B in his stall.  Note his stall
boasts his name...and FC
status - Futurity Champion!
My saddle all shined up
and ready to go to the big
show!  Silver is sparkling.
Me, Candy and Kathy toasting
in the HP VIP suite.
B is sporting his dread locks.
Handsome boy!

Celebration 2013 or Bust!

Flat!  Thank goodness I
was already in Shelbyville.
I can't believe it's celebration time again. I drove down on Wednesday. My first class is Friday morning. So I have a day in between to get in a practice ride and get settled.  The drive was long this time. I had good weather but there was construction, traffic  and accidents that slowed my progress dramatically.  So what should have been about 10.5-11 hour drive, extended way past 12 hours.  Arghhh....  Even longer due to a stop at Carlan's to gather all my show outfits from her place.  It was a nice detour...always nice to catch up and see the girls too. Plus I got to meet their cute little dogs - tater tot and Diva.  Very cute!
Our view at GordonView farms.
Beautiful...and quiet by a pond!

I'm staying with the Allen sisters in a 2 bedroom house in Shelbyville that we rented for the week+.  It's really nice, full kitchen and family it's more like staying at home than a hotel. Plus it's nice to be staying out in the country where it's quiet. But still just minutes from Hannah's and the celebration grounds. Our only issue is wifi access. So we're trying to get a solution to that little gap in technology.  I am working most of the days so I need to stay connected. 

Semi swerves off road in
traffic. Almost witnessed
the crash!
Upon arrival I was met by the proprietors who helped me park and unhook my trailer. Rachel and Krysta were already here. So I unpacked my luggage and we decided job one was grocery shopping and dinner. Off to Kroegers to accomplish that task.  And then back to our home away from home to make dinner. I had one of those new Bartolli cheese filled shells in vodka cream sauce. Ummmmm, yeah, it was either my deep hunger pains or those buggers are tasty!  I'm going with the latter, and literally licked the microwave bowl clean. ;)

Now we're watching a little TV and decompressing. This will be a short I'm going to get to sleep. I'm here safe, it's a great place to stay....and I get to see and ride B tomorrow. Can't wait. 

For those who may be watching the stream of the show, or just want to know when I's my schedule for the preliminary classes. 
The official 2013 program!
Bourbon is listed in the
program!  We're back #614.

Friday, Aug 23 morning 9am:
#42 - Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-YO Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, opt tack

Sunday, Aug 25 night  7pm (big oval!)
#84 - Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Western Trail Pleasure Walking Horses

Monday, Aug  26 morning 9am
#102 - Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice English Trail Pleasure Walking Horses

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Celebration Bound - Movie Trailer 2013

Celebration 2013 - here we come! WATCHIN FOR THE STORM and Renee Stasiewicz. We appreciate your continued support as we compete for honors in the 4 year old and Novice Trail Pleasure divisions.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Scott's Here!!

I enjoy being with B,
while waiting for a
practice ride.
Scott arrived on Thursday....and unfortunately my blogging got put on hold for a few days.  The few solitary moments I typically had when I was alone at night or in the morning that I used to blog when I traveled alone, were filled with conversation or eating with Scott.  Now it's already Sunday and we're driving home to Wisconsin and I'm finally getting time as the passenger to catch everyone up. 
Scott gives B some
specific instructions.

So, let's rewind.  On Thursday I picked Scott up at the airport about mid afternoon. We hustled our way back to Miller Coliseum before the 4pm show set began. Tonight I would ride both Diva and Bourbon, so he'd have the opportunity to see them both perform. Upon our return I made introductions to the clients and team at Hannah's barn and other friends I've made along the way.  And he met Carlan's girls for the first time.  I oriented him to the grounds and the aisle where bourbon was located. Our first stop was to see B, of course!  When we arrived he was already in the cross ties and Scott stopped to give him a pat and start a pep talk about how he was to perform outstanding tonight. LOL.

Adding my blue and
reserve ribbons to the
HP Stables ribbon rack!
A billboard seen on my
way to the airport to
pick up Scott.  (Really!)

Tonight I plan to wear my orange day coat, since it will go well with both horse colors (black and sorrel).   Plus, we put both of my horses in orange, red and black ribbons to match my tie. Having Scott here was super for me!  He's always my rail man at home and knows how Diva goes, so he immediately gave me pointers as I warmed her up. She would be ridden first tonight.  He coached me, and said to take a bit more hold, get her head up, and ride circles to stretch her legs out. Then he gave me my pep talk and got me all ready mentally. By the time I entered the ring I was in the zone. I picked her up and she rode right into the ring and hit it right away. We had a great ride. She's so consistent. We completed clean rides both ways of the ring and it felt good as we went into the line up.  Our work was rewarded with a third place in a nice sized class - I think 12 or 14 horses.  This was the English novice country pleasure class. 
Diva in the line-up.
We were tied 3rd place
 in this class.

Next on deck was B.  Bub brought him up through DQP and then the team saddled him for me.  Hannah warmed him up and gave me a few pointers while I rode in the warmup ring.  His class would be the trail junior horse. A tough class. But once again Scott got me all revved up. And, by the time the class entered the ring I couldn't wait to show off B for him.  I rode him the best that I could. I am more comfortable in English and he has a high head and looks good that way too. Even Hannah comments how much she likes him English every time I ride this way.  So, we're going to make the most of all of this positive energy and see what we can do in this class.  As the cards are tallied I look for Scott in the stands.  He's standing with his arms folded like he does, giving me the approval nod and smile, which makes me excited for the ribbons to be called. Plus, Katie is there in the front row, right in front of me with her thumbs up and giving me the number one sign.  :)  (I need to figure out how to bottle her up. ) When they come on the mic to announce the winners.....B gets tied as the reserve! That's 2nd place for the red ribbon. I pull out of the line up and ride over to collect the ribbon from the ribbon bearer.  As she hands me the ribbon, the woman tells me she grew up in Wisconsin. What a small world. :).  As I exit the ring, many people are congratulating me and commenting on B.   I look for Scott and when our eyes connect, we both smile. He's grinning and says B looked awesome out there!  Yeah!  I'm so glad we did well and Scott was here to see a great ride and reserve win!
A double Winner's Circle Celebration!
Carlan & her girls with Lil Wayne.
Scott & I with Watchin For The Storm.

The class that followed mine was Carlan's class. Beforehand we promised that if by chance we should both win our respective classes, we'd get a photo taken together in the winners circle.  So, I watched her class while holding B's reins...and sure enough she gets tied with the blue. She smiles at me as she exits the ring, and after she gets her winners circle pictures....Scott, Bourbon and I join her, Lil Wayne and her girls for our double winner/reserve shot!  I couldn't be happier.  We were both smiling and hugging each other. I have Scott here, and my friend, and two great winning horses!  Life is good. 
Marsha Coffey and I enjoy
some time together ring-side.
Love making new friends!

Friday and Saturday were filled with readying horses, practice rides, watching the show, socializing and mostly Scott taking it all in. He was constantly evaluating the horses, the overall situation (aka "the game") and B's potential.  This was his first trip to the International, so it was good for him to see it all first hand. He commented about how good it was for him to see it for himself - and the horses, and what the judges were placing. B is big, and he moves big. Very different than the small shaky or snappy horses that typically win the big blues most of the time. So we had much discussion about him and how likely or unlikely his "big time" potential could be.  Especially going into The Celebration. But, it is certain that he's getting more notice than ever before, and climbing in the ribbon ranks. Last year he was in the ribbons....but this year he's in the high ribbons and pulling blues here and there.   This week...he collected a blue, two reserves, and a third place in the championship class. Wow!  This is his third blue of the season.  Plus, we receive many comments about him. Or have overheard someone say something positive about him.  I even had a few folks I didn't know comment to me or Scott about him..or about our ride. It all helps to get a feel for his potential. Both of us talked at length too about how much Hannah has done with him. He's come so far. He's improved so much. And the rewards for her hard work....and that of the entire HP team, is shining through. It certainly shined bright this week with our ribbons as the outcome. 
Scott gets a ring-side
view of the competition.
The saddles and pads are
stacked and ready in the
warm-up area for HP Stables.

Diva did her job too.  She started the week with a bang with her reserve ride at the TWHBEA-Futurity. Then she got a ribbon in every class she was in during the International.   A seventh in her largest class out of 26 horses - with a workout ride.   Then she climbed up the ribbons with a fifth, fourth and a few thirds.  She did as well or better in her western classes, which were our new addition and challenge this year. I'm proud of her...and it feels good that she could ride with this level competition and make good ribbons in large classes. She was tired out by Saturday - and it was noticeable when I placed her back in her stall after her last class. She slowly nickered at me as I tossed her hay and Scott filled her bucket with cool water. I pat her and told her to have a good night's rest for the long trip home tomorrow. 

Which brings us back to Sunday morning.  Scott woke at 5am and turned on the lights. He tickled my foot as I pulled the covers over my head. He said get up. I said no.  I even tried to bribe him.  "I'll pay you if I can stay in bed." He just laughed at me...really pay me, huh?  "Get up!" Arghhhh.  At this specific moment I wish he wasn't here with me. LOL. We got up, packed and then went back over to Miller to hook up the trailer and load Diva. She was so happy...I swear she knew we were finally going home and she jumped right into the trailer. I promised her pasture time once we got home. We're on the road a few hour already and making good time, and should be home around 5pm for dinner. 
Love this view from the
passenger seat!  :)

Thanks to WHOA who put on a great week of showing at The International.  Its been an amazing week...and so many folks helped out in so many ways.  From the judges, to the DQP, ribbon bearers, announcers, center ring preparers, and registration desk staff.  It must be a huge undertaking to plan and run such a huge show.  More than 1500 entries in 212 different classes. You can only imagine the orchestration that goes on behind the scenes.

And, also thanks to the team at Hannah Pulvers Stables...who not only help with the horses and tack and making sure you are ready and in the ring, but who go above and beyond for their clients by coordinating lunch and snacks, providing super nice a fan and mounting block ring-side and a stall converted into a dressing room with clothing rack to hang your suits and chaps, and dressing curtain for privacy.  Every detail, on top of the horse training, was provided - which makes it so easy to focus on making good rides.  I for one appreciated everything...and am blown away by the thought that goes into the show from my trainer and team!

And then there are all the other clients of Hannah's.  I have met so many people...from all around the country.  They are so friendly, and we help each other and provide encouragement and support.  It makes sense that someone special like Hannah would bring together such a special group of clients.  I count myself so lucky to be part of her "gang"...and have enjoyed meeting and getting to know them all better.

Next stop.....The Celebration!