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!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bob and the Medallion

Miller arena. 
The days are starting to blur together. It's Wednesday, and the show stress is starting to take its toll.  The HP crew has been waking at dawn and working till wee hours of the morning working horses. There is a lot of help but also so many details.  We all try to pitch in by holding a horse, carrying a saddle, braiding a ribbon or running for red bull. Extra hands are on the job...and it keeps things humming along.  Hannah is starting to lose her voice....coaching from the side ring for so many client classes. And our youth are losing the spring in their step.  In fact, this is the point where we'll meet Bob!  I had arrived in the Hannah Pulvers aisle and was saying my good mornings. The group was up and at 'em since 530am...and one of them said that they were so tired they didn't even know what their name was anymore. I said , well then from now on we'll call you only has two letters and it's spelled the same way forward or backward. It should be an easy name to remember. Lol.  I have officially converted to using this name for this person, who will remain anonymous....but they know who they are!  :). (right Bob!? Or can't you remember that name either anymore?)
Darden all decked out.
He's our Mr Dapper!

Today is also my first class on Bourbon. I got to practice again on him with Candy in the morning. She rode and then I rode. And she gave me really good last minute tips and hints. I'm once again amazed at how much this entire team helps us improve and is dedicated to making us better riders with our horses.  And the patience and understanding they have is so appreciated.  It makes you want to do a great job every ride, so that all the hard work they put into your horse gets rewarded. You start to want a blue ribbon for them!  For the horse. For yourself.  For the entire team!  And it makes you realize that all the people in the entire team wins when your horse wins a ribbon. So your position on the team of making a good ride is critical to the payoff of everything that has been done up to this point.  From Rodger, the barn manager feeding him well. To Hannah or Bub or Candy riding and training. To Alberto who tacks, preps and show baths your horse.  It's a well oiled machine at the Hannah Pulvers Stables....that all comes down to some specific defining moments. 

Whitlei and Krysta entertain
Diva in the warmup. 

I will have two classes tonight, one with B, and one with that order.  And I have 10 classes in I'll have plenty of time to switch my mindset and get Diva ready after my ride with Bourbon.   As the day progresses and we get closer to the 4pm start of the show, my nerves start to fray. My stomach hurts and I'm getting anxious. I decide keeping myself busy will be I call Scott, I dress, watch some classes, eat a little snack and flit around talking with different people to keep my mind off of things. Thank goodness for people like Darden, who always has a joke to tell, or Katie who is everyone's number one fan, or Tami, who is so positive....and 100 other people I am so lucky to have met along the way.  
Lisa Weaver serves up
jambalaya during the barn
party.  Yummy!!!!

It's not long before I see Bub bringing B through DQP...and shortly thereafter Hannah takes him around  the warmup ring. She ride so well and makes him look spectacular. Every time I see him he looks better and better. If that can be possible! Hannah parks in and asks me to jump up and get a warmup ride in.  This is my least favorite part. The warmup ring  is always so crowded and B needs space. But emotionally I have learned to disregard my warmup, as once B gets into the's like pulling out on an open highway. So I walk him, and pick him up and navigate around, between or through other horses to get a little warmup done.  Then I settle in at center ring and wait and talk to Candy for a few last tips. 
Carlan enjoys the jambalaya
during the barn party!

When the class is called, I navigate towards the ring. I see Hannah ahead and shes looking for me...where's Renee!?  And everyone points at me beside her. She looks up and smiles and walks me up to the gate and ushers me in. I pick him up and I'm excited that the track along the rail is a bit more packed than yesterday. This is good solid footing for B.   As I enter I feel B falter a bit in the dirt closest to the's banked and higher and I note to myself to get a little off the rail so I don't do that again.  I focus now on keeping him slow and nodding...a great powerful nod and flat walk. I pass in front of the judges and begin to take the curve. He picks up speed and I check and lift him. I'm headed towards the straight away and I see Bub coming my way in the stands...he says I'm dogging and I should pick up speed. Of course, I think I've finally mastered taking it slow versus flying around the ring...and now I'm too slow. Lol. It's always something. 

We have to place Tami
in the drunk stall during
the barn party.  She still
says it was only water!

As I take the running walk and pass by Hannah shes yelling in her lost voice that I should get off the rail to keep from getting covered. I look around and find a spot and get my head into the game. We're gonna show this Big Boy...and those judges are gonna see him.  (PS to B...don't trip!   Lol.)  I drop him into the softer ground and drive him more...lift him up...they call for the running walk and I drive him on. He feels powerful but also floaty. He's my big Cadillac.  The reverse is called and then into the lineup.  

B decides he is gonna be fidgety in the lineup and chews on the bit, steps left, right and I finally circle him around and re-enter the line in hopes of getting his attention.   The judges come to the line and we back. And then we continue to fidget. I rattle his bit and he stops for a moment. But only a moment.  Then the wait for the judges' decision. 

The intercom system comes on, and the announcer calls out winning number 434....and I think, hmmm, I wonder what my number is, I never looked when I was handed my number and put it on.  Number 434.....watchin for the Storm!  B!!!!!!!!  Woot woot...I pull out of the lineup and head left.   Hannah is already running out to the winners circle. And the women with the ribbon is there too.  She has a regular blue ribbon, but also a blue ribbon with a medallion. And she tells me to remove my hat and put it around my neck. I do...and then Hannah is tossing dirt to get bourbons ears forward for the picture. Once that is taken she's placing the ribbon on Bs headstall and congratulating me. She says we did awesome...she's so proud of us. And she says...darn why isn't Scott here to see this!  I am starting to cry and I lean over and give her a big hug and a thanks. I can't believe it! I lean down for the hug and almost knock her hat off. Lol.  She points me down the rail for my victory lap as she resets her hat, and I head out walking as they finish calling the placements.   I then pick him up....but he sees all the horses leaving and with his fidgety attitude from the lineup decides to take a somewhat ungraceful exit. would have been nice to have a good victory lap. But my momentary disappointment is quickly changed to celebration. Photos in the winner circle, hugs, congrats and so may compliments. Everyone who saw us said we had an awesome it felt really really good.  And I think back to earlier in the day...and I'm so thankful I did my part in the show off everyone's hard work!
Hannah prepares to carry
in the flag to start the show.
She is riding Gigi's Majestic.

Next it's on to Divas class. And we earn a 5th place in the AOT Country Pleasure English. I'm so proud that she is continuing to be in the ribbons in all her classes at this level of competition.  It's a very different success than with B.  This one more personal for me and her...since we only have us on our team.  Lol. And Scott...and a few fans!  ;). After our class it's the barn party....and let me tell you, the jambalaya and the beer hit the spot.   Plus it was fun to socialize!  My nerves are calm, finally. 

Tomorrow Scott arrives!  Can't wait for him to be here and see both B and D show!