Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blue in Petersburg

This trip to Tennessee was a whirlwind. I flew in Friday night after work. And will fly out on Sunday to the UK on business. But, for a few fleeting moments in between, it's B-time!

Bourbon after his win @ Petersburg! 
I got up early on Saturday, had breakfast with Jane and headed over to Hannah Pulvers Stables for a practice ride.  When I arrived, Hannah was already working horses and was sitting on a pretty little thing that was shaking like mad and walking a hole in the ground. Wow! Was all I could think. In fact, I am constantly amazed at the great horses I've had the honor to see, up-close and personal, at her place. Some are aged - that are WCs and WGCs.  And some are young, up-and-comers. The later are always fun to watch as they progress during the season. The one she currently was riding was Designer Champaign, just an awesome country pleasure horse.

Soon Bub appeared with another horse in tow. We chatted a bit. And, I noticed Hannah had stopped riding and was just sitting there looking at me. I'm thinking there must be something on my face or......  Then I finally realize that the horse that Bub had walked out with was B!  Oh, my baby! I was standing there talking (I know. I know. I'm always talking.) and I hadn't even noticed it was him. The whole time B was right there looking at me, waiting for some of my attention.  I turned to him, tossed my arms around his neck and he just laid his head against me as if to say pet me. Where have you been so long? Pet me. And, I certainly obliged.
In the winner's circle.

In short order Hannah was warming up B, and he looked great. His head was REALY shaking. I taped it and sent the video clip to Scott. In almost real time he was returning my text and agreeing - very pleased.   My turn to ride next. He felt different and the same, all at the same time. I was learning to hold him softer but keep his nose in check. Ride him slower and harder. All I knew is that I was confused. How can I do all of that at the same time. But I'm getting closer to understanding what it means and how it feels, and navigating the tightrope.  Before I knew it, B was blowing hard and my lesson was over. Nooooooooo.  I need to practices this about 50 more times. LOL. Oh boy.  I haven't ridden him in months. Haven't seen him for more than two months. And in about five hours I was about to ride him into the show ring.  Eeeks. But that is one of the main challenges of long distance showing. While I'm not liking it any better, after two years of doing this, I am learning to deal with it (a little better.). I just have to refer back to what I do know. My riding practice on Diva and Fash. And my past rides on B - especially the time this past Fall, when we really started to gel while he was home.  Bottom line. I can do this.  I just wish Scott was here. I hate him always telling me what to do. But, he sees a lot and ALMOST is always right. ( Oh, I hope he never reads THAT, I'll never be able to live with him). :)
The whole team joins me and B after our blue ribbon ride.
 L2R - Jane, Carlan, me, B, Candy, Hannah and Bub.

I hung around and watched a few more horses get worked and then headed out.  Carlan had called and would be riding Lil Wayne and her new horse, Shake N Bake.  So I drove over to Bobby's to watch.  First was LW - and he looked good. Then we went into the barn to watch Emily ride SNB. As a bonus, I got to ride SNB too. He's a little energizer bunny.  Just goes and goes - like his name says.....he shakes. Fun! The remainder of the day was filled with lunch and getting ready for the show.

The ride to Petersburg was over an hour. But the sky was clear with blue showing through between the big white fluffy clouds.  When we arrived, we pulled into the grass and parked.  Right away I saw Hannah's trailer with B tied up, and munching on hay.  I was especially happy because Jane, Carlan and Emily were all able to come to the show with me. So, I had a little entourage. ;)  My class would be  #13. Hmmm, I hope that doesn't mean disaster.  I can be a bit superstitious. But, I looked up and the skies were still blue.  I crossed my fingers.  After class five I went to the car, got my show outfit and got dressed. Bourbon had been taken up and through the DQP, so I met up with him at the warm-up area. Hannah warmed him up and then I got a few passes in. Then we waited for our class to be called.
Victory Lap - so fun!

Hannah walked me up to the ring, provided a few last instructions, and in I went. As I picked him up and rounded the first curve my entourage cheered me on. Thanks girls!  Emily was already taping me for Scott to see later. Now to concentrate.  I watched Bs head just bob up and down. I heard his hooves hit the ground. I rounded the far curve and then the straight away. Hannah gave instructions as I passed. Check his nose. Slow, flat walk. Ok try. Try. Try. Keep him shaking and walking and slow. OMG.  Finally the running walk. Yeah we love this part.  We picked up speed. Weeeee.  He's really fun to ride.  Big and his stride covers the ground but soooooo smoooooth.  My Cadillac. Whoops. Slower.  ;). The reverse. Then flat walk and running walk. A few tail swooshes later and we were called into the line up. Anne Frank lined up next to me and we chatted a bit. She admired my saddle. I had bought it from her. I agreed it matched B perfectly. The judge came and we proficiently backed up on cue. Then the wait. But, in just minutes, number 222 was called - Watchin for the Storm!  I could hear my entourage cheer, and also Bobby Kaye (who I bought B from) too.  Woot woot!  Our first ride this season and its a blue!  I rode up to the winner's circle. The photographer took our picture. And Bub fastened the blue ribbon to Bourbon's halter. As the other ribbons were called, I gave B a pat. We waited and then we took our victory lap. Our names were announced again. I was very proud of him. I've seen many horses race for the exit, but B took his victory lap just like any other - well behaved. Or, maybe he was enjoying the moment as well, as he should!
Thanks Hannah!

Then it was picture time and congrats. Yeah!  A big hug from/for Hannah. A number of smiles, high fives, and more congrats from other customers in the Hannah Pulvers (HP) camp. My first blue ribbon with Hannah when I was riding him. And, my very first ever Blue ribbon Victory Lap at a Saturday night Tennessee show!   ....  So happy.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And so 2013 begins a new show year...

Me, Gale and Kricket - on our way.
To catch everyone up, it was March 1, 2013 when I returned B to Shelbyville.  I had hoped to get him back in training earlier, but a change of jobs - or more precisely a job hunt - slowed my progress. But by March I was beginning a new career phase and Bourbon was going to begin a new show year. This will be his last junior year as a four year old.  He's bigger, stronger and much more coordinated, so we're hoping for an exciting year. Fingers crossed.
B is back!

I was lucky enough to have company for the trip this time. Both Kricket and Gale decided that a road trip sounded good. And a little time to play with horses would be fun. So we set off hauling B behind us and headed south. And other than a quick detour through Indianapolis and Louisville, KY (umm, which was not in the plans but provided ad hoc compliments of Gale)  ;) the trip was basically filled with good conversation and tons of laughter.  We also fit in a night in downtown Nashville, which was fabulous. We did the honkey Tonks, enjoyed BBQ, and met Sam Moore, the damn cutest cowboy singer of the bunch.   In addition we fit in a bit of horsey shopping. Kricket got horse shoes, I got a new navy English snap brim, and well Gale bought a horse!  We decided to call him S'moore, after our cute new cowboy singer - cuz he was the darn cutest thing. He's gonna make someone in Wisconsin a great little horse. And her name is probably Gale.
At the Honkey Tonks.
Doin' a lil shoe shop'n

So now Bourbon is back in training. And I'm back to work in my new job. So we're both in learning mode. And ready to start our new adventures in 2013.

I'm glad you've decided to join me. I plan to keep my blog going....since so many of you have encouraged me to do so. And honestly, it's been a great way for me to revisit the fun journey I've been on too. So I once again tip my hat to my 'neice in law', Jena, who provided the idea through inspiring me to follow her blogging activity with my own.
Meeting Sam Moore! 

For those savvy readers, you'll note this is a March story posted in May. I'm now down in Tennessee for the first show. It's been drizzling all morning so I hope that clears before tonight's opening anthem. And now I'm gonna jump out of bed, have some coffee with Jane, and head over to ride bourbon for the first time since March. I'll post how today and tonight go. Stay tuned.

Two cuties at the Clearview B&B
that we stayed at during the trip.