Archive for October, 2008
See our bridless:
This is Women and Horses Expo – three days of versatility competition. The third day is free style. I got 298 points out of 300 for this. Dratted photographer couldn’t get the entire show and the sound was bad!
Velvet and I competed in the 2008 Women and Horses Expo three day Versatility event. The last day was Free Style.
Watch us…the photographer couldn’t see me and the sound was bad.
Velvet and Susan – Versatility Challenge!
“Women and Horses Expo” in Sedalia is what I heard from another horse person. I found the web side and Whoa…a three day Versatility Challenge event! Versatility is my middle name, so I clicked on the link. and it seemed to have Susan and Velvet written all over it. The third day event was particularly interesting…free style! We each had 4 minutes to do our own thing on Sunday. Entertainment, costumes, and your own music was highly encouraged. That is what Velvet and I do best – Entertain! Some people might call it showing off!
Velvet and I had three weeks to practice. I’ve rode her less than 5 times this past year. Velvet has most recently been in the Versatility Events at the World Celebration with Jennifer Vaught and Nichole Copple. When I started practicing on Velvet, she was a fine tuned versatility machine. We got our signals clear again. It took all of three minutes. We practiced riding bridleless, once, doing all our WoW stuff.
The event started. I met the “Paint Women” sisters and their horses. They were stalled next to me. We were chatting and one of them casually mentioned that they had won Paint World 1st thru 5th placings in dressage, jumping, rail work etc. with both their horses. I was bug-eyed at that. Then she went on to explain that they stopped showing and now are into the Extreme Challenge contests. Their horses will swim, jump up or down on anything, go anywhere and they had also done mounted shooting off them. GAD!
This conversation killed all the desire I had to brag about how good Velvet and I were. Right then and there, I gave up the idea that we might have a chance to win first or second. Hay! I’m older now and understand sometimes when to keep my mouth shut! I wondered what other talent would show up.
That surprise was soon to come. Velvet and I were practicing in the coliseum. It was dark inside but sunshine-bright outside. The gate opened and a backlit silhouetted horse and rider came in the gate. I recognized the silhouette and gasped.
Here is the famous multiple many year Versatility World Grand Champion, Hall of Famer, Sally Scott. She is a true goddess. Most of you know that, but I have seen her framed in the LIGHT! Later I met another cometitor…a dressage women riding a Friesian.
Good GAD! I am but a peon. From that moment on, I knew that I would just have great fun with this competition because I had no hope of winning.
The event had 21 participants…two on Friesians. We had the dressage woman; We had a Mustang trick rider; We had a rodeo eventer and more. We had 8 different breeds including Gypsy Vanner, Mustang, Friesian, Spotted Saddle Horse, Paint, QH, TWH, and Paso Fino! Most of the participants were from Missouri and Kansas. Our rodeo eventer came from Conway, Arkansas!
In the versatility world, we do patterns. We did patterns on Friday and Saturday. Compared to the Fox Trotter Celebration versatility patterns, they were simple.
Patterns might be simple, but they are never easy. When you are in the arena every step taken (or not taken) is under close scrutiny. When everyone had taken their turn, the day’s event was over. We didn’t get placings or judges’ score cards. No one had any idea of how they were doing. My new Paint Horse friend told me confidentially after we were done on the first day that Sally and I had “blew away the competition” and that she had never thought she would ever lose to a gaited horse! I was pretty stunned to hear her say that. I thought she did a fine job in her pattern on that day.
I lost 50 points the 2nd day partially because I didn’t understand that being on the left side of a barrel is different than picking something off the barrel with my left hand. However, the crowd was fooled. Velvet and I “were looking good”! Looking good is what really counts! It took me a long while to learn that fact about life too.
Sunday was freestyle day.
- We had Marilyn Monroe ride her Friesian draped with diamonds riding to Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend.
- We had a Friesian knight complete with warriors on the ground whom she slayed…and then she jousted an opposing horse with a lance. Our knight slew the opposition who fell off her horse and died on the arena floor. Good GAD!
- We had a trick rider on a mustang stallion.
- We had a rodeo competitor. She set up the barrels, poles, fake cow and staked a tame goat in the=2 0arena. She flew around the arena with the poles and barrels, roped the fake cow twice (two different ropes) and drug the cow. Her grand finale was to leap off her horse, topple the goat and tie up its feet.
- We had a “Queen from Merry Old England” costumed rider on a big Spotted Saddle horse. She zipped around the arena in a reining pattern, occasionally doing flying lead changes.
- Sally did a reining demonstration-bridleless on Thrill-A-Minute. They looked wonderful…a true team.
- Velvet and I did our bridleless comedy WOW routine. I had the crowd laughing at my first joke. That’s when I know that “the crowd is with us” and Velvet and I always perform at a higher level. Velvet and I come in pulling a ball on the end of an elastic string. We flat foot walked, fox trotd and cantered. Then I ask people what I’m doing pulling that ball. My response, “I just want to show you that I have a BALL riding Velvet!” If there is laughter, the rest of the program goes great! Velvet and I sidepass over a barrel, we jump over a barrel (after I pray that I might not fall off.) Then we do a little reining demonstration. I have an umbrella. Velvet and I canter fast down the middle of the arena and I open the umbrella. It turns inside out. Now that’s a raining demonstration! Then we turn into a snooty “dressage queen”. I don my black cardboard top hat and exude an attitude of dressage queenliness. That got a lot of laughs. We flat foot walk and canter diagonally (leg yield). Shoot, the barrel got in the way and I decided we needed to jump over it again. I was about to do more of our wow stuff when I noticed that the music had stopped. I asked my “routine” coordinator, Hope, if I was done. She told me yes. Drat! Four minutes went by in seconds. I always use the wonderful opera songs that my son, tenor Nathan Granner, has recorded. His voice accompanied by a classical guitar soared through the arena. We got a huge ovation!
It took three people to help me on the third day. Patricia Berning, Susan Bean and Hope Robinson made it possible for Velvet and I to perform to music, get my props in order and boost my courage. All the rest of that last day, we heard great compliments on the Wow and humor of our performance. Later, I learned that I had scored 198 out of 200 points for the free style performance. You don’t get much better than that!
Sunday afternoon the participants lined up to get the final placings. We started with 7th place and went on up. One of the Paint sisters got third (the one who told me she never thought she would be beaten by a gaited horse) and the other got 5th.
My name and Velvet was called for second! Sally and Thrill-A-Minute’s name was called for Number One!
Missouri Fox Trotters won first and second in an all breed event with many talented participants. WOWEE!
Sally won a saddle! We expanded our FAME! Velvet and Thrill-A-Minute have put the WOW into Missouri Fox Trotters! We got many new friends over the three day event.
Sally got 636 points out of 700 and I got 630 points. It was CLOSE!
I arrived at the Sedalia fair grounds and got Velvet into her new stall home for the weekend. I met the “Paint Sisters” and their horses. We were chatting and one of them casually mentioned that they had won the Paint World first through fifth placings in dressage, jumping, rail work, etc, with both their horses. I as bug-eyed at that. She went on to explain that they stopped showing and now into the Extreme Challenge contests. Their horses will swim, jump up or down anything, go anywhere and do Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Gad! This conversation killed all the desire to brag about how good Velvet and I were. Right then and there, I gave up the idea that we might have a chance to win. I wondered what other talent would show up.
That surprise was soon to come. Velvet and I were practicing in the Coliseum. It was dark inside, but sunshine-bright outside. The gate opened and a backlit silhouetted horse and rider came in the gate. I recognized that silhouette and gasped.
Here is the Missouri Fox Trotter famous multiple-many-year Versatility World Grand Champion, Hall of Fame inductee, Sally Scott. She is a true goddess. I’ve now seen her in “the light”. I am but a peon. From that moment on, I knew that I would just have great fun with this competition because I had no hope of winning.
In the versatility world, we do patters. We did patterns on Friday and Saturday. Compared to the Missouri Fox Trotter World Celebration versatility patterns, these were simple. Pattern might be simple, but they are never easy. When you are in the arena, every step taken (or not taken) is under close scrutiny. We were not given our scores after the Friday or Saturday competition. No one knew how they did. My new “Paint Horse” friend told me confidentially after we were done on Saturday that Sally and I “blew away the competition”. She said, “I never thought I would be beat by a gaited horses.” I was stunned to hear her say that. I thought she did a fine job with her pattern that day.
The second day is when I learned the definition of the left and right side of a barrel. The directions were to pick up a basket on the top of the barrel with my right hand. I rode to the right side of the barrel and picked up the basket with my left hand. We had to weave around the barrel. That meant I picked up the basket with the wrong hand and broke the pattern. I weaved when I should have wove.
I need a left and right side rehab clinic. Later, I learned that I lost nearly 50 points from the day’s score and most of it was probably the barrel incident. Curse the barrel!
Sunday was Freestyle Day. The riders included Marilyn Monroe riding a Friesian draped with diamonds with “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” music. We had a Friesian knight complete with warriors on the ground which the knight slayed. Then she jousted an opposing horse, causing that rider to fall on the ground and died. We had a trick rider on a mustang stallion. We had a rodeo co9mpetitor. The rodeo woman set up barrels, poles, fake cow and a living staked goat in the arena. The rodeo woman ran the poles, barrels, roped the fake cow twice with two ropes, drug the cow and leaped off her horse and tied the goat’s feet. That was amazing. We had a damsel costumed rider on a big Spotted Saddle Horse. She zipped around the arena in a reining pattern complete with flying lead changes. The crowd roared! Salle did a reining demonstration too, but she did hers bridleless. She and her horse did wonderful.
Velvet and I did our comedy routine. The crowd was with me from the beginning. They laughed and clapped. You know how that makes Velvet and I reach for the stars! My son was singing opera in the background. I was having the greatest time when I suddenly realized the music had stopped. I asked my coordinator, Hope, if I were done. Four minutes had gone by in four seconds. My legs were so full of emotion that I couldn’t dismount in the arena. I had to go outside and wait for the muscles to calm down to be able to get my leg over the back of the saddle.
All the rest of the day was great compliments on the Wow Factor and the humor of our demonstration. Later I learned that I had scored 198 out of 200 points for that performance! You don’t get much better than that!
After everyone was done and the points were compiled, we all gathered in the arena for our placings. We started with seventh place and went on up. My Paint Horse friends got fifth and third. I got reserve. Sally Scott won first .
Total possible points were 700. Sally got 636 points and a saddle. I got 630 points and a red ribbon.
Yep, that’s what horses do!
I took Nova on her on her first trail ride today at James A Reed Park. Hope was kind enough to ride with me. When we first arrived at the park, a woman came over ..enthralled with Nova’s beauty. Of course I bragged about her just a smidgeon.
For the record, Nova did great on the trail. Hope and Jazz were good partners to start my trail riding experience with Nova!
The woman was still there when we got back..still enthralled. So, I couldn’t resist bragging. I have both Velvet’s ribbons and Nova’s Celebration ribbons hanging in the horse trailer. I opened the door and gestured to the ribbons..some of them were Nova’s. But I didn’t tell the woman that. Of course she assumed all the ribbons were Nova’s. I’ll never see this woman again..what could it hurt. I would guess that I might have sinned a bit here.
We got the saddle off and had our treats. I rubbed Nova’s wet back….chat chat chat with the woman. I was feeling pretty smug.
Then I bragged ”Now you are going to see what trailer loading should be like!” I lined Nova up wiht the trailer door, pointed and threw my rope over her back as she started to get into the trailer. Then Nova backed out and refused to get into the trailer. For the first time in forever, she balked at walking into the trailer. I couldn’t believe it. It took me about 10 – 15 minutes to load her while the woman stood there and watched me.
She told me that I should give Nova a verbal command to get into the trailer. ”LOAD UP”, I said. Of course I did this with great tolerance. We laughed at how well that worked. Then the woman suggested I get into the trailer with a scoop of grain to bribe her in. I just love suggestions when loading my own horse in her own trailer…NOT!
I only seethed a little bit…after all, I was being humbled.
This time I chatted about patience, not loosing your temper and being ready to spend two days loading a horse into the trailer!
You should never brag about your horse because they know then exactly how to humble you. Maybe you shouldn’t mislead people about how many ribbons your horse won.
Horses Humble People! Nova finally did relent and let us return home.
The Next DAY at James A Reed Park
I discovered the woman is a volunteer at the park because she came out right as I pulled in today. She told the woman I was with today all about the trailer loading episode yesterday. She did say that she learned much about patience, so that was positive.
That woman will probably be there everytime I pull into the park on
weekends. Maybe it’s a good thing hunting season is looking us in the