Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bad Voju' by Rachel Dors

It all started off as any trip to Lexington, Virginia would. With Christine texting, me reading, and Nikki writing/listening to her Ipod. Christine’s mom (Barbara) was driving and my mom (Pam) was sick this didn’t stop them from cranking the radio and chatting over it. Just before we hit highway 81 my mom started singing, “On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again…” It was part of a tradition trailering horses to shows. Then the stories flowed like rain…

BANG!!!! The trailer shook, something exploded!
“Holy Cow,” someone shouted, “I think that was the tire!” We pull over and Barbara got out to check on the trailer tires, followed by my mom. Nikki and I stopped what we’re doing and looked at each other. Next thing we know my mom and Barbara have the jack out and the tire was already changed.
“Wow, record timing mom!” I said enthusiastically.
“Look at the tire,” said Barbara, “It lost all its tread!” We all went back to our previous activities as we continued down the road, with mom singing “On the road again…”

12 miles down the road…

BANG!! “Holy schnitzel!” some one cried
“Uh My” I groaned, “we’re only 50 miles from home!!”
“We’re never going to make it,” cried Nikki (who wasn’t even showing at 4-H states, due to lack of time (1 year) in 4-H, but was willing to be my personal slave…(muh-ha-ha-ha))
“911 what’s your emergency?” asked the operator. Mom repeated the story twice. Once to the operator, and once to my father.
“What ever you do, DO NOT. I repeat, DO NOT go the left side” (the side by the highway) Commanded Barbara
Cars zoomed by as I stared incoherently out the window
“Hey, wasn’t that the policeman we passed earlier?” asked mom.
“Yeah,” agreed Nikki, “the undercover one.”
Then suddenly, like a surge the phones started ringing again, even mine.

I got 2 texts:

Hepner Tire- has # will call
From: Dad 1:45p

Tell Mom
From Dad 1:46p

“Alright, guys we’ve found a place, we just have to get there,” Barbara said climbing back into the drivers seat. The 3 miles were the scariest 3 miles in the entire trip. (except when the tires blew up, but that wasn’t 3 miles) The truck was dead silent as we were “limping” along. Christine suddenly shouts out “Look a blue Mustang! Just like the one I want, a convertible!” We were now on the back roads, and it was a gorgeous day, I felt sorry for the driver of that Mustang who was stuck behind us.
“There it is! There it is!” Nikki yelled
“Yeah!” Christine and I said in unison.
We pulled up and the jacks were already setup waiting. We were in and out, thanks to laughs. It was like being at a NASCAR pitstop! Barbara goes walking off talking on the phone and next thing I know she comes back with a piece of grass in her mouth! If that isn’t enough Barbara is saying that the guys that changed our tires are HOT, yes HOT. Just as if on queue, here comes a young guy in a truck that says UNIFORMS, and Christine goes,
“No, that guy is hot!”
“No, he’s not!” said Barbra
“Yes, he is”
“No, he’s not”
“I’m hungry,” I complained
“We have pop tarts,” said Christine
“OMG look on the box it says ‘pop tarts to the rescue’”
Mmm was all you heard for a while followed by, mom I’m thirsty!
After we found the ‘soder’ machine they all got drinks, (except me because I packed water). We learned that after 5-6 years the tires dry rot (no matter how many miles are on them), but you can’t see it when they’re inflated.
As we were leaveing we all rolled down the windows and yelled “Thank you!”
About 3 miles down the road (back on the highway) Nikki pulls out a book to read, and I gasp
“Nikki!” She had pulled out a book called Jinx,
“Really Nikki are you trying to kill us!”

About 2 more miles down the road…
“My butt’s on fire, my butt’s on fire!” said jumpy Barbara. Oh you must have hit the switch when you got in.
“Wow the window’s down!”
“The trailer window?”
“What’s all the shouting?”
It was mass chaos, for about 3 minutes then we pulled over at a truck stop and put up the trailer window and continued on our journey. There was drama, yeah there was drama, but we overcame, and we made it back (not without our own set of problems)
“On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again…”

What happens in Lexington stays in Lexington.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Something To Talk About

Life In the Fast Lane
I have so much good news to report that I am so overwhelmed I don’t even know where to begin! I think going chronologically is probably the easiest. So after we came back from East Coast Championships I was sure I had enough points for Beauty to earn her Legion of Merit but I had to wait. On we trudged to vacation. A much-needed respite from the farm was needed by all of us. We returned rested and ready for action. Next on the docket was a two-phase day. Early in the morning on September 18 we took Sabiyana our Russian bred Arabian mare and her ’08 colt, EF Rafikki to a GOV inspection. This was a new adventure. We have never been to a warmblood inspection before. Sabi is a grey one of those white grays. After about 3 hours and a gallon of Orvis and whitening shampoo she was respectably clean looking and braided to almost perfection. This mare, I am sure, was in shock. She is 21 and hasn’t been in the show ring for many, many years. She knew what we were doing, I could see it in her eyes, but she was definitely in shock. When we were done with her we decided a comprehensive grooming and braid job on Sam was sufficient. They looked fantastic so off we went. We arrived very early as we were instructed to do. We got our paper work in order, hired handlers, and in the ring they went. Sabi got into the GOV Main Mare Book! How exciting, a 21-year-old mare was good enough to get into one of the strictest warmblood mare books we have access to. Sam got good remarks and nice compliments. He was such a good boy, so well behaved. So well behaved in fact they said he was too quiet, we should have him checked out to be sure he is ok. He is fine; he is just a good boy. Unfortunately he was the youngest colt there he was just 3 months old but he made us proud. The old lady and the little boy that could. That’s what we are calling them, yes that’s it.

4-H States, Here We Come!
That same day a few hours later we were back in the truck heading in a different direction. Barbara Schirmacher, my co-leader of the rebel Riders 4-H club, myself and three 4-Hers were heading south down 81 to Lexington to the Virginia Horse Center for the Virginia State 4-H Championship show. There was quite a bit of drama on the ride down which Rachel will write about and post at a later date. The great news is that Rachel, Christine and Nikki had a fabulous time in Lex. They learned a lot about each other, about each other’s horses and about showing on their own. You see at this particular 4-H show the parents and leaders a re not supposed to help. The kids are supposed to minimally help each other. Nikki went down to help out as moral support, gal Friday, and official horse holder, assistant groom, stall mucker and any other job that needed attending to. The girls came away with not only knowledge but some fantastic ribbons. Rachel and Christine both got blue ribbons in stable management. That award was based on tack condition and cleanliness, stall condition including cleanliness, and amount of shavings, bucket height, arrangement and cleanliness, and lastly the overall condition of the horse. They, the three of them, did it all themselves and they were richly rewarded with the blue ribbon, way to go girls! Now on to ring work. This show was Rachel’s “coming out” to dressage. She has never done a test off of the farm. She decided this summer when entries were due that she would ride Blossom to the best of her ability, not as a hunter rider, but as a budding dressage rider. She rode Training Level Test 1 and Training Level Test 4. She received a 63.38% and a 62% respectively. Those scores were good enough to put her right near the top. She is third in the state in Test 1 and second in the state in Test 4. Holy cow, second in the state. I just don’t think things can get any better for us here at the farm. Rachel also entered a dressage equitation class, which quite frankly was foreign to me. She tried her best and came out with a very respectable eighth place in that class. Showmanship, her least favorite, was her last class and she left the ring with a Danish red ribbon. Not great but it ended putting her in 11th place. All in all Rachel proved herself as a force to be reckoned with in the saddle. I am so proud of her. Christine came away with a seventh place and an eighth place. Considering most every class had over 20 entries, she too took home very respectable ribbons.

EF KKlassique Beauty++
We are now home for a few days. We are able to catch our breath and chill for a bit. Well here is the mail and here is the letter I have been waiting for. Beauty did it!! Her name is now EF KKlassique Beauty++. She is just five and she accomplished something that to me is so out there that I cannot believe it has happened. Beauty has earned herself enough points to be among the elite in the Arabian world. The elite who have proven themselves not only as beautiful creatures but also as can do horses. The first and only pointed show for her came at Nationals in ’05 where she was in the jackpot 2 year old fillies SHIH class. She went Top Ten. She finished her points off with a double reserve champion in SHIH open and amateur. So in less than 3 years she accomplished two levels of achievements. One + is for earning her points or beating many horses in all conformation and one is for a combination of conformation and performance. I am waiting for AHA to let me know how many five-year-old horses have achieved this goal. The AHA sent me a list of the awards Beauty has won during her short show career. Here it is: 1 National Title, 10 Regional Titles and countless class A wins and placings. Wow 10 Regional Titles, you’d think she was with a big time trainer or something!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

East Coast Championships--What a Trip!

We did it again!!! EF KKlassique Beauty, our first-born KKoi baby has done it again. She has reached a milestone we are so proud of. She came away from East Coast Championships with 2 reserve Championships and a Second in Dressage. To make a long 5 days short, all tolled we got 8’s and 9’s on our gaits and 7's on rider scores! Wow, 8’s and 9’s on gaits!! There is never such a joy as near perfection. We have been working on our canter depart for 8 months. Balance had been an issue for Beauty in the beginning as she was growing. Then balance was not the problem but rather Miss Beauty decided that the counter canter was much more fun. So the canter departs amounted to counter canters and then flying lead changes as they too were so much fun to do. However, by the time we got to East Coast we had it nailed. We got an 8 for the right lead canter and an 8 for the left. How sweet the victory when you really work for it. If that wasn’t glorious enough we received a 9 for the free walk. A 9!! I wasn’t sure that I was able to read when I saw that. I was sure that I was hallucinating. The comments included things like, "showing nice bend...", "lovely ground cover well into bridle..." , "lovely over stride" and "nice potential". At any rate my chest is full of pride and yes my head is a bit swelled as well. Whose wouldn’t be? This is a clear victory for a small breeder with a clear vision. A vision clear enough that a mare was purchased, a foal was born, and the silks were won! Not bad, not bad at all.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Region 15 Championship Show an Incredible Journey

Wow is all I can sum up right now. I am still flying high after this past weekend at the Region 15 Championship show. It has been a long time coming for us, our little breeding program. But we did it. I know most of you are thinking well did she win? Well in my mind it is not just the winning that says it all it is the true accomplishment. And accomplish we did. EF KKlassique Beauty with her amateur rider/trainer/handler Pam on board achieved the trifecta. Well at least the trifecta in my mind. I climbed aboard three times and all three times came out with a victory lap and very long silks!!

It started with the Sport Horse Under Saddle Junior Horse class. There were eight vying for the top spots. A very competitive class said the VERY hunter oriented judge. This class seems to be dominated by trainers riding the mounts of their clients. It makes it a very daunting class for an amateur riding her homebred, home-trained, self-ridden horse. Well, when the announcement came, there we were in the top five. The judge’s card put us in third place. Behind two very well respected, high-end trainers. I was the first place amateur. Beauty was perfect, she did her job and did it the best she had ever done it. Tears were flowing and the victory lap was sweet.

The next day we had our Dressage classes. Phew, Dressage has been a true hurdle for us. Beauty, like her sire before her has this thing about the right lead canter. They like to show their joy by kicking out when asked for the canter and then sometimes doing a few flying changes before settling in to the nice forward canter they both know how to do. It makes for a very stressful canter depart. In fact, it makes for a very anxious rider! The first class was the Training Level Jr. Horse class. We have to ride test four at Regionals or higher and the right lead is right in the beginning of the test. With my breath held and my eyes closed, I asked for it and nailed it, Beauty knew just how important this was and she nailed it perfectly. No bobbles, no kicking, no changes, no nothing. Just a perfectly balanced, perfectly executed transition. The rest of the test was a blur! There were 18 in this class and it seemed an eternity before the scores were being posted. Once again mostly top trainers in this class. Holy cow, another Top 5! In fact it was another 3rd place, right behind two top trainers; first amateur again! Judges comments for the canter were prompt and well balanced. Truly a first for us! Another victory lap! Unbelievable, truly unbelievable!

The biggie was last. The Adult Amateur to Ride Training level class. This class can have any age horse, any level horse and usually has the very serious amateur competing. There were some very, very competitive horse/rider combinations. Horses with all the plusses and slashes after their names. Horses that have been there and done that. The 16 rider list was that of a whose who for amateurs. And then there was Beauty and I. We did our thing again. Beauty completed the canter transitions flawlessly. She just flowed into them as if she had been doing them all of her life. She glided on air and was, well Beautiful. Once again the wait was agonizing. It took an eternity for the test scores to be posted. One by one up they went. By the time tw0-thirds of them were posted mine went up. Rachel came to the barn to tell me they were up. She had her phone handy. Why? I had no idea, but I soon found out. I was tied for third place. I was in shock and ecstatic. She wanted to tape the moment!! The score was so amazing that if I had ridden that well in my first class I would have been the Champion with room to spare. The remainder of the scores went up, and there I was firmly placed in third place! A dream come true. A trifecta of sorts. Three rides and three very long, very beautiful, very well deserved, and truly waited for ribbons. The culmination of 6 years of waiting. So as I said winning is not everything to everyone. For me winning is not just the blue ribbon, sometimes it is the true accomplishment of knowing you gave your all and you got justly rewarded in the end. Accomplishment for me is knowing I picked EF KKlassique Beauty’s dam out of a field of mares with one vision in mind. Breeding her to KKoi and producing an award winning combination that would carry the vision. The vision of this little breeder/trainer/owner/rider riding to the top of her game. Taking that victory lap, not once, not twice but three times in one day. What a feeling. What a day. There was an announcement over the loudspeakers on that last day. It was said that the Region 15 Championship Show was the largest in the country. The most competitive with the most horses, 659 competing equines in all. Geeze, that makes it even more astounding…

What’s next, East Coast Championships of course!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sun and Fun at BRAHA

Next up we took our usual gaggle of kids to the BRAHA spring show on April 12th. What an absolutely fabulous day we had. We arrived at the facility in great time with limited traffic. Now that’s an accomplishment considering the distance we had to go! When we arrived the weather was perfect and the kids were geared up to get things going! It is so amazing when we stand back and see how much they have matured over the past year. They were all hands on with no trouble with each other and they were never told more than once that something had to be done. It was a sheer pleasure to be with these kids this year. We brought Rachel Dors and Ian Dors with their pony EF Senor Rojos (Charlie), Megan Santmyer with EC Wayne, and Nikki Zuleger and her horse, Bucephalus (Cephie). Jacob Tumblin rode with his dad and us and step-mom and Rachel and Ian’s dad and brother rode up the next morning with Jacob’s pony River. In another trailer was Christine Reed with her two mounts Sierra and Chessie (very ambitious girl!). So we had quite a crew of kids. They came home with lots of ribbons and lots of fond memories. I am so very proud of how they all helped each other out and how despite some rough spots in the day, they all rode their hearts out!

On a side note to the BRAHA show, our kids decided they wanted to start their own 4-H club. They call themselves the Rebel Riders. Rebel generally has a negative connotation, but the motto they came up with says it all “We have the right not to belong”. Anyhow, thanks to BRAHA for allowing the kids to set up a bake sale at the show. Based on donations only and the honor system the kids raised over $100 for future endeavors. Kudos to them for trying so hard “not to belong”!

Show season has begun!!

Our first show of the season was at the Spring Arabian Classic held in Lexington, VA. I just love that facility. This time we ventured out with just one other friend, Wendy Spangler. No one else was ready to show yet due to the winter weather. It is times like that when I realize just how spoiled we are with the ability to ride no matter the weather. Yes I am spoiled!! Well the winter riding paid off. Beauty was a superstar and has proven herself yet again. We did Dressage, Sport Horse Under Saddle and Sport Horse In hand. We also took fledgling show horse, EF Perfekkt Harmony. She is a coming yearling by KKoi and out of an Oldenburg mare. She went in two Sport Horse in Hand classes and did very well. All in all we came home with four firsts, one second, two fourths, and two fifths. We even got a qualifying score in Dressage. Woo, hoo! What a way to start the season.

Shawna Miller, another friend, met us down there for the day with her two KKoi babies. She showed CA KKarismatic and He’s a Hoot (Hooch) in Sport Horse in Hand. Hooch is a coming yearling gelding out of a paint mare. This was his first time off the farm and out into the big world. The best part was that Shawna’s significant other, Gary, showed Hooch, so it was a new experience for both. They did very well and came home with a first and a reserve Champion.

KKoi just keeps repeating himself by throwing sane, sound, and trainable foals. Kudos to him and a great thanks to the people who take the time to work with the babies and show them to their best potential!