Prior to Saturday, the last time I showed performance was at Springamathing 2014. I didn't do a lot of preparation before that show, and most of my entries were thrown together at the last moment. Some worked, some didn't, and although I did end up winning an overall championship, it was a long, stressful, and sometimes frustrating day.
After the show, I came home and wrote a three part series entitled Hits and Misses, which chronicled what worked, what didn't, and what I hoped to change the next time. I referred back to this series several times while prepping for Springamathing 2016. It helped me immensely, so I've decided to repeat the process. However, this year I'm immodestly calling it Hits and Hits because I am just that pleased with this year's performance.
Before I go any further, let me clarify one thing: this is not about winning or losing. Winning is great. I like winning, and I am happy every time I see a judge set a blue ribbon next to my entry. However, what makes me even happier than winning is feeling like I have shown my model the best it can be shown. I think I did that, or at least came close, more often than not at this year's Springamathing.
So here's a quick run through of what I think worked and why, starting with Schutzengel's parade entry. Schutzengel was a bit of a challenge because she arrived just days before the show. I didn't have time to make her any tack from scratch, so several things had to be modified. In this particular case, I removed the parade breast collar because it didn't fit around her mane. Without the breastcollar, the costume looked unbalanced, so I ended up removing the loin drops and crupper. The bridle got a new crownpiece, and just like that, everything looked right. This entry also allowed me to add in some extra little Jennifer touches, like the dog, mini food and Jose, all of which make me happy.
Showmanship is one of those classes that seems easy but really isn't. There are a million ways to go wrong, and usually, I make a mess of things. Knowing this, I spent a lot of time researching and preparing this entry. It may not be one hundred percent perfect, but it is a huge step up for me.
Draft horse barrel racing... What can I say other than, I love this entry. All the pieces worked together beautifully. This is what the Uileam resin was born to do!
Moving on to the English division, I was pleased with all of Liam's over fences entries. They were all extremely well documented, and I took the time to change saddle pads to match each rider and discipline. My cross country and jumper dolls carried short whips, and I got to use my bridle numbers. On the minus side, I did have dog hair issues (go figure!) with some of my dolls. That's something I can work on next time.
I spent a lot of time before the show matching trail obstacles to each of my horses. The galloping tarp carry was a good fit for Liam's big personality, while the bridge with poles was perfect for a quiet, precise horse like Schutzengel. Bonus points for finally getting to use Ryan's jump risers.Although it didn't place, I was equally pleased with Lady Liberty's water bucket entry. Getting the doll to hold the bucket properly was not an easy task. I would have never accomplished it in a timely manner had I not practiced beforehand. Hurray, for Erin style preparation!
|photo by Kiersten Schmieding|
The judge is using a ruler to measure the amount of beer left in the glass. A parked out Tennessee Walking Horse is a challenging choice for games type classes, so I was really pleased with this effort.
|photo by Kiersten Schmieding|
I was also pleased with my other games set-ups. Liam's hide race entry played nicely to his strengths...and Schutzengel's set up just might have been my favorite entry of the day. She's such a quiet little horse, I was tempted to go with Egg and Spoon or Sit A Buck, but those are so boring. I wanted something memorable, and eventually hit on the Three Legged Race. I paired her with Muscatina, and they looked perfect together. This entry had it all--two Purdy mares, two gorgeous tack sets and two cute kid dolls. I just loved it!
Overall, I think this was a really good show for me, perhaps even my best ever. I was well prepared and I didn't wing anything or go for any easy options. I used dolls in all my entries, and I had lots of good documentation. Because I wasn't showing halter horses, I was able to concentrate on what I was doing. Even though I showed three horses with multiple tack changes, I never felt rushed and frantic. It was a good day and a fun day and I can't wait to do it all again!