Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Lion's have it - Liberty and Eagleville

Day 1

The June 21st weekend brought the Liberty Lion's and Eagleville Lion's charity shows. I flew down on computer in tow to continue to work during my traveling that afternoon. I was lucky to get the exit row alone and got a lot of work done as planned.  And, I connected on a few tele-conference calls during my layover. I just may have gotten more work done than if I had been in the interruptions emails or phone calls on an airplane.
B just hanging out at
Main Gate Farms

Due to my late arrival in Tennessee, I did not get a practice ride.  Instead I met up with Bourbon on the show grounds that night. We were at the Shelbyville Ag center for the Liberty Lion's show.  Last year it had poured cats and dogs in my class.  But this evening it was blue skies. However not very many trailers were in the parking lot when I arrived. Hmmmm, not gonna be a very big show - not like last year.  That's disappointing.   Wonder why? As we got closer to the opening anthem, the count situation did not improve. It was going to be a quiet show. Maybe 10 trailers in the lot. A few horses in each class, if the class wasn't cancelled altogether.

Hannah warmed up B, and then I rode too. It wasn't pretty. We were in the parking lot on the stone and riding a sloped lot. Cars were entering, people walking around, and I was not getting a very good feel for him.  After B went through DQP I rode again in the warmup area. It was better, but I felt a little off. Without a practice ride and coming off the plane right to the show didn't sit well with me.  On the other hand watching Hannah warm him up, he looked awesome. Even better than just two weeks ago. Amazing!  No longer do I have to worry about head shake (or lack of) B has big time game in that category. And he's getting stronger and lifting more in front. Still work there, but improvement for sure.

By the time my class was called only three horses were lining up to go into the big oval.  Me on my junior horse, along with two aged horses....ummm and they were big time winners, one was even a World Grand Champion!  Yikes!  I guess I was destined for a third place before the class had even begun. LOL.  And that's exactly what I received. My ride was okay, but not great. At least that's how I felt.  Hannah said we looked great. And it was good to see me slower and not flying around the ring.  (What me, flying?)  So, some bonus and progress. But a little deflation of spirit.   Lesson learned, put B in his junior class where he has a fighting chance at a top ribbon.  On the other hand coming in 3rd behind Wayne Westbrook on Firecracker, and Pushers Secret Rose, a WGC, is not shabby. :). Hello!

After the class I joined Carlan, who had come to watch me show.  And we headed over to the Calsonic to watch the 4H show with her girls.  There were more horses here than at Liberty.  It was fun to watch the kids ride patterns, and I cheered on #420, a little girl in pink whose horse was just ear floppin' along.  She didn't place, but I went up to her afterwards and told her I loved her horse, it was the best one out there. Her name was Fairy. And she certainly was a precious, ear floppin' little fairy for sure!  

I called it quits by 10:30pm and headed to Jane's to hit the hay. (Figuratively, not literally).

Day 2

On Saturday I woke and headed over to Hannah Pulvers Stables for my practice ride. They were working horses as usual when I arrived. B was brought out and I watched as Hannah warmed him up. She gave me some instruction on holding my hands much further down, and in the subtleties of providing light corrections. B is progressing, and his cues are more subtle and so I need to learn that too. And he's learning to carry himself more too. So I need to be way better in the cue and release action. This is great news...but definitely a change for me.  I now need to catch up to Bourbon on my learning and lessons. He gets weeks, I get minutes. Soak it in quickly!

As I took to the rail for my practice ride, it felt funny to have my hands so low and in front of the horn. I felt like I was tipping forward. As I picked him up into the flat walk, he rose in front and my seat still felt funny but a little more upright. I focused on keeping my hands where I was told, pressure in my thighs and to release. For heaven sakes, release!  It felt different, but as I rode I began to understand how that helped him with freedom of his head.  And his shake. I corrected in the curve and released. Well, most of the time. For the other instances, I did it quickly after I was told to do it.  :)  But I was starting to get it. B is so progressed. It definitely is me who needs to catch up.  So glad I got my 1on1 time with Hannah and B.  I am thankful for the lessons! (Now if they can only stick!)  I hung around to watch another young girl get her lesson on a beautiful black colt named Leonardo deCaprio...and learned more just listening and watching her lesson.

Afterwards, I headed out to meet up with Anne Frank. Two of her mares had babies this week...and they we're both Jose babies.  Since I'm partial to those Jose's (that's Divas daddy too) I couldn't wait to see them.  A little tan colt and a big black filly. Sweet!   Only a few days old. We went into the stalls, pet the mamas and tried to touch those soft newborns. They were shy and nervous, but I touched each one and coo'd a bit to them.  What a cool experience. Thanks Anne for being so gracious for the opportunity. Wonder if one day one will be mine (can you say pretty black Jose filly!?), and I'll look back on this moment with a smile.

Go Packers! This just may be my new favorite pic of B.
Love the way the sunset makes him copper! @ Eagleville.
(purchased from Sid Abernathy)

I caught a mid afternoon nap at Jane's and then was off to show number two of the weekend.   Eagleville was less than 20 minutes from Jane's. They say its the oldest walking horse show in Tenneessee.   My heart leaped for joy as I turned into the grassy park-it was FILLED with trailers, cars, horses and people. Yeah, tonight were gonna have a horse show folks!  I found the Hannah Pulvers' trailer and parked my car under the shade of the big oak trees.  The sun was beating down, and it was hot.  B was tied in the hot sun sweating. I asked for him to be moved to the shady side of the trailer and felt much better for him.  I swear he gave me a look of gratitude.

The ring at Eagleville.  Warming up
before the show started.
I then took a walk up to check out the ring. I loved was small, makeshift and country!  Yes, this was what a true Tennessee one-night show is supposed to be like.  My heart was happy.  I watched folks warming up in the ring and then headed back to the trailer to get dressed.  Tonight I would be in Packer and green. A new outfit I picked up this summer shopping with Kricket, with serious bling. I felt that was the right outfit for this show.  Everything felt better tonight. Even the heat was almost bearable.  I tried to stay in the shade and stood still to stay (kinda) cool in my leather chaps and cowboy hat.

My class was number 7. Lucky number 7.   Bourbon looked good under Hannah as he was being warmed up  And I felt good riding him in the warm up area too. Well, except for that little bucking off incident due to a performance horse spooking. THAT little trick is gonna have to stop! Second show in a row now.  Bad B.

Soon we were heading into the show ring...Packer colors and all!  The sun was setting but still out. I could see the crystals from my shirt reflecting in the under-rim of my cowboy hat, like a mirrored ball.  I it too much bling?  Nawwwwww!   I picked up on the reins and we went in shaking hard.

The spectators were right along the edge of the ring. Some stood inches away rail-side, some had lawn chairs, there was a bleacher section on the south and a gazebo in the center. People were walking, babies were tossing toys, smoke from the BBQ stand was lofting, so many moving things....but B flicked his ears, and kept on walking and shaking. My hands were where they were supposed to be, and I tried to remember to release. As I rounded the bend the HP team was there cheering me on, and reminding me to breath, release, use your left leg, keep him on the rail....good job.  And as I headed into the other bend Hannah was instructing, keep that speed, looks really good, get off the rail. Huh? Should I stay on the rail or get off the rail or breath!?   Ha ha ha.  I guess all of those things.  We took the flat walk, running walk, reverse, flat walk and running walk. As I came through the bend again they called for the line up and I heard Hannah say "take the whole way" I stayed on course, I released and let him ear flop right down the straight away, right in front of the judge one last time, as if to say...lookie here judge.  And, then into the lineup we went.

Watch the ribbon presentation on ReporTV at: Bourbon's Reserve Ribbon pick-up

After a few minutes the judge's card was in. The blue went to - Line Item Veto. A greatly beribboned horse with a WGC title.  And, for reserve .....number 1146....everyone looked around as the announcer continued....."Watchin for the Storm".  Me and B!  I pulled out, looked around, omg where do I go?  The ribbon girl waved, and I turned back around behind all the horses still in the lineup and shook our way over to our reserve ribbon pickup. I grinned at Hannah as I about that!?  Yippee....much better feeling than last night. Woot woot. I received many compliments on our ride.  To my delight, Bobby Richards (who found, broke and started B for me) was impressed and came over to say I had a "great showing" and that B looked great.  And, my friend (and Brenda's) Jack Heffington, who owns The Scoop walking horse magazine, kindly offered that he thought I won that one. And that he noticed a great improvement in me and B this year. :). Thanks "Heff".
B gets a Reserve!  Woot woot.
You can see my bling shirt in the back. 

The rest of the night was spent socializing, hanging with the HP customers and team, watching horses getting warmed up and enjoying a few cocktails.  I watched some more classes....many pleasure classes were on the show bill, so that was nice.  Dr Jana Anderson won her class on Endeavor, and the HP contingent collected many more great ribbons.  I also spent some alone time lovin' on Bourbon. And unfortunately, it all ended too soon.  Tonight was really fun, not just because of my ribbon, but because the show was so active, I knew so many people, and got to share some laughs with the HP gang. Fun fun fun.   Goodbyes were said as I pulled out of the show parking lot and onto the highway.  I wish all the shows were this much fun.

Our next showing will be for the big July 4th weekend.....and Scott is coming too!  Yeah, can't wait!  Until then....keep on walkin'. 

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