Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hits and misses, part one

When I first started showing performance, my primary goal was to enter as many classes as possible and not make a fool out of myself.  I also wanted to win, of course, but I was realistic about my chances.  My horses, my tack, my props and my set-ups were decidedly average.  I didn't have a chance when the serious showers brought their A-games.  I just wasn't that good.

After the birth of my children, I took a six year break from live showing.  When I returned, I was no longer content to be average.  I'd upgraded my horses, tack and props, but most importantly, I upgraded my thinking.  

Instead of waiting until the week before the show, I started planning my entries months in advance.  I researched real life events and analyzed photos of winning model scale entries.  I worked really hard, and my efforts were rewarded.  I started winning and have continued to win ever since.

Unfortunately, all this winning has made me pretty complacent.  I've figured out what it takes to do well on the local level, and I haven't progressed much past that point.   

Tiffany and Erin are trying to talk me into going to NAN next year.  I can't guarantee that will happen, but it might.  If I do go, I want to be competitive and that means I'm going to have to upgrade my thinking again.

With that in mind, I'm taking a good hard look at my performance entries from last weekend's Springamathing live show.  First up is Rune's Egyptian Dancing Horse set-up.  Despite that yellow ribbon, I'm generally pleased with this entry.  The horse is beautiful, the costume is well made and well fitted and the doll is dressed correctly for the event.  This entry could be improved with good documentation and some minor adjustments to the rider's position.  Mostly though, it's fine.
Rat Bait is next.  I hadn't planned to show him in performance, but Tiffany and Erin (performance harpies!) bullied me into it.   
Not surprisingly, his entries were pretty slapdash.  Some of them placed well, but that was largely a product of small class sizes.
I would have to do a lot more work before I'd consider taking Rat Bait to NAN.  Right now, he's not even close to being ready.
Princess Trillium also suffered from my lack of preparation.
She showed in both the English... 
and Western divisions...
and most of her entries were of the "close but no cigar" variety.
Ugh!  So many yellow ribbons!
The good news is that it's pretty easy to turn a near miss into a hit.  Trilli would have benefited from better fitting bridles, but mostly her entries lacked polish.
 The few set-ups I'd planned in advance...
(this is the prop that goes with the lance)... 
did just fine.  If I go to NAN--and that's still a big if, Tiffany!--I'll almost certainly bring her.  She's a much better performance horse than she looked on Saturday.  I just need to slow down and not make so many little mistakes.
Tomorrow's post will discuss Lady Liberty and Jennibray!


  1. There is no IF, THere is only WHEN YOU GO TO NAN 2015!!!!!!!!

    1. If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if If if if

  2. I think I'm at the point where you were before you took your break. I win but there has got to be something that make my entries better than others. I'm still working on that. I know after the Stone Country Fair (And the pile of yellow ribbons I earned) that I can play with the heavy hitters. The real question is, how will I fare at NAN?

    1. I've seen pictures of your set-ups, Sara, and you're definitely ahead of where I was before I took my break. Of course, the standards are much higher now. Even though your entries are better than my mine were, they're probably similar relative to the competition.

      I suspect you'll do fine at NAN. The three judge system tends to reward good, safe entries that don't have any major errors. You might not get any cookies, but Top Tens are totally within your reach.

      In truth, even the best and most experienced showers aren't guaranteed cookies at NAN. There are so many factors that come into play. The most important thing is to make every one of your entries as good as it can possibly be. That way you'll feel good about it no matter how it places.

      For what it's worth, not one of the entries pictured in this blog post is the best it can possibly be, except for perhaps Trilli's Western Dressage. If I'm going to take her (IF I go), I'll have a lot of work to do!


    1. Ha ha. It might be a long year of me saying "if" and you saying "when."


  4. I think I'm stuck in that decidingly average place you were in before your break as well. I definitely need to do some tack and prop upgrades. I also know the frustration of walking away with a whole bunch of yellows. :/

    I'm curious to see what else you plan on adding to these entries to improve or polish them, and hoping I take learn from it to improve my own entries.

    1. You are the reason I write posts like this.


  5. I had a day about like yours Jennifer. I know NAN will be better as I will have more time to focus on fewer things. Plus, there are no "because I'm here already" classes that I will be showing in!

    (And then I'll still pull something stupid out of my hat...)

    1. "because I'm here already" classes...

      That is a perfect description and totally describes all my efforts with Rat Bait and Princess Trillium.

      Fortunately, I did better with Lady Liberty and Jennibray probably because those entries actually had some thought put into them (especially Lady's).

      If I go to NAN--and that's STILL an IF, Tiffany--I will make sure there are NO "because I'm here already" classes!


    There is no if, only WHEN