Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Almost wordless Wednesday

Random pictures from the Sixth Annual Mtn View Schooling/Fun Show held on September 20 in Wellington, Colorado.

Leadline saddle with built in hand hold and peacock safety stirrups. A beginner rider using a neck strap to hold on to.
A different type of safety stirrup.
Loosely braided Arab tail--don't braid your show hunters like this!
Katie's horse show headwear.
A Gypsy Cob cross gelding named Frodo.
Simply the cutest spotty pony ever.
This is the color I want for my Starfire resin. Any takers? I took at least fifty pictures of this pony from every conceivable angle. Whoever paints him will be swimming in reference photos.
That's it. Look for a real post tomorrow!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bad news/Good news

Five days ago my long planned trip to the Region 4 Regionals live show in South Dakota was abruptly cancelled. This was a huge disappointment as I had really been looking forward to the trip. The last four weeks have been pretty rough, and the idea of a weekend getaway filled with friends and models was incredibly appealing. I have to admit--I did not take the cancellation very well.

And then... A couple things happened. I realised that not going to South Dakota meant that I could go to the High Country Live show in Calhan, Colorado. This is an all division show--a rarity here--and it includes performance. I emailed the show holder and she still had room for me. Excellent.

But then I started in on the second thoughts. Could I afford the entry fee? If I could, would it be worth it? I don't have any new horses. My performance stuff is completely disorganized. Oh, it all seemed like a lot of work for very little payoff. I was ready to throw in the towel and be depressed all over again.

Enter Teresa, aka "Flicksmom". She came over to drop off some tack Saturday, and we ended up having the nicest visit. I pawed through her tack box. She pawed through mine. We talked about horses and people and tack and it was just wonderful. I'm afraid I probably talked her ear off, but ever since then I have been bubbling over with enthusiasm about both the show on Saturday and the hobby in general. I started working on my Victrix again, and today I spent the entire day working on tack. This is all I have to show for it now...
but that's only because I mailed Sherry's tack before I took pictures. Oh, it feels so good to be working again! It's funny how these things go. I haven't wanted to work on tack for ages, and suddenly that's all I want to do. Do you think my family would mind if I made a breastplate instead of dinner?

(Just kidding. Sort of.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Performance Spotlight--Other Games, Part Three

The last class I'm going to discuss in this Other Games series is Toilet Paper Pairs. Like Egg and Spoon, this is an eliminations class. Riders compete in teams of two. Each team is given an specified amount of toilet paper which they must hold between them while performing the various gaits on the rail.
It can be a definite advantage to have horses that are well matched in size and speed.
These two Arabs are full brother and sister. They belong to Trish and are both retired show horses turned school horses.
Phoenix is twenty six and Fille is twenty four.
Although they start out with a distinct disadvantage, some mismatched pairs manage to do just fine.
As with Egg and Spoon, this particular class did not progress past the first canter. Oh well!
Toilet Paper Pairs is a great favorite of mine and I have actually set it up in the model arena. This is my own "Flicker of Sunshine" winning the English Games class at Wild, Wild West Live in 2007. Don't mind the doll on the prop horse--she has serious equitation issues!
I'm closing with a couple pictures that I'm including mostly because they make me happy! This is Cinnamon and me competing in a Toilet Paper Pairs class at Eaton Canyon Riding Club circa 1983.  ECRC held several Schooling/Fun type shows every year, and the competition was extremely cut throat. It wasn't uncommon for a Toilet Paper Pairs class to progress to a work off that included simple lead changes and small jumps! Unfortunately, I wasn't one of the kids involved in those work offs. I was always mounted on a school horse or a borrowed pony and was lucky to get ribbons of any sort. The two fourths and a fifth in the next picture probably represent the high water mark of my gymkhana career!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Performance Spotlight--Other Games, Part Two

Today's post describes two more good Other Games options for your slow moving model. The first is the Boot Race. Unlike the timed events I discussed Tuesday, this class is exactly what its name implies--a race. All the horses are in the arena at the same time and the first one over the finish line wins.

The class starts with all the horses and riders lined up on one side of the ring.
Each rider removes one boot and gives it to the ring steward.
It's kind of fun to see all the unusual socks people are hiding under their boots!
The ring steward takes all the boots and piles them up at the opposite side of the arena.
At the starting signal, the horses and riders "sprint" across the ring to the boots. Trisha's ring is not very large and she isn't into mass chaos so she runs this class entirely at a walk. However, it could just as easily work at a trot or canter.
When they reach the opposite side of the arena, the riders dismount and retrieve their boots.
They put their boots on...
and climb back on board.
Then they turn the horses around...
and sprint to the finish! This is a great class for models--it's easy to understand and doesn't take a lot of props.
The second class is the Egg and Spoon class.Egg and Spoon is a classic eliminations event. The class is run in a traditional rail format. By that I mean the horses perform on the rail as a group. They are asked to walk, trot and canter (not necessarily in that order!) and then reverse and walk, trot and canter in the other direction. Before the class starts, each rider is given an egg and spoon. The rider is required to balance the egg on the spoon without actually touching the egg with her thumb. As soon as the rider drops the egg, she is asked to come and stand in the middle. The last rider to drop her egg wins.
The beginning of the class is always pretty crazy as there are a lot of horses on the rail at the same time and steering can be a problem!
Not surprisingly, this is a class where the Western riders often shine. Their horses are used going in a nice slow jog and are accustomed to being ridden with one hand. This girl came in second, but I'm not sure she isn't cheating just a little bit with her thumb. I didn't notice it at the time (ack! and I was supposed to be one of the spotters) but it's kind of obvious in the pictures...
The class winner was Rylie and her nice bay horse, Dragon. No loping pictures to share. The last two riders only managed a couple lope strides before the eggs came crashing down!This is definitely a class that's much easier to do with a model horse than a real horse!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Performance Spotlight--Other Games, Part One

If you are looking for something to do with your slow speed or standing model in the Other Games class, this Performance Spotlight series is for you! All the pictures were taken this past Sunday at the Sixth Annual Mtn View Schooling/Fun Show in Wellington, Colorado. Like most schooling shows, this particular event caters to beginning and intermediate riders who looking for a fun and safe day on horseback.

There are two main types of competitions at a fun show--timed events and elimination classes. The former are often scaled down versions of events you might see at a regular gymkhana or rodeo. The classes I'm focusing on today fit in this category. They are the Walking Keyhole Race and the Trotting Cone Race.

Before we discuss the Walking Keyhole Race, let's take a quick look at the real deal. The Keyhole Race is a test of not just speed, but also the horse and rider's ability to stop and turn quickly. The horse races across the arena to a "keyhole" pattern marked with flour or powdered chalk in the arena dirt. The horse enters the keyhole, turns 180 degrees to the left or right, and races back across the starting line. Time faults are added to the score if the horse steps on or outside the chalk line. Here is a diagram of a typical Keyhole Race course.The Walking Key Hole Race is a slow class for beginners who are still learning how to stop and turn their horses. The class is timed and penalties are added to the score of any horse that breaks into a trot. Riders may use Western or English tack and everyone should be wearing a helmet.

On to the pictures! This grey Arabian heads toward the mouth of the keyhole.
Time starts as soon as the horse passes through the cones.
The rider starts her turn as soon as she reaches the round part of the course.
Still turning.
All turned around...
and heading out.
Almost there! Time stops when the horse passes through the cones. Most schooling shows do not use electronic timers, so a doll with a stopwatch makes a nice extra touch.
The second scaled down event is the Trotting Cone Race. This is a slow speed variation of Barrel Racing. Three lettered cones replace the barrels, but the cloverleaf pattern remains the same. Refer to my post about Pee Wee Barrel Racing ( for a course diagram. Entrants are allowed to walk or trot, but horses that break into a canter will receive time penalties.

Here's a photo tour of the event as performed by Jentry and her pony "Blonde Bombshell."
Approaching the first cone at a nice forward trot.
Jentry is a good little rider with solid basics, but her bridle is missing its curb strap. As a result, the bit is not working very well. This resulted in a some unhappy, open mouth moments for the pony. I know Jentry's mother is a knowledgeable horsewoman so I'm kind of baffled about this particular tack decision. If you make this mistake at a model horse show you will almost certainly be placed at the bottom of the class (and rightfully so!).
The second turn started well...
but ended up wide. That's pretty typical. The second cone (or barrel) is where all naughty horses and ponies try to take a shortcut to the ingate.
The pony is now pointed in the right direction and is trotting boldly toward the third cone.
Around "C".
Heading for home!
Despite the missing curb strap, this is a nice pair. The pony is ridiculously cute and Jentry rides her very well. I enjoyed watching them compete in all the fun classes over the course of the day.
Boot Race, Egg & Spoon and Toilet Paper Pairs tomorrow!