Zan is having an eventful summer, full of firsts. That means, lots of pictures to share!
Zan’s list of summer accomplishments includes: first trail ride with Annie & Dexter, first show (and a little in-hand trail course practice), a Western style photo shoot with Monica of Horsebytes (http://blog.seattlepi.com/horsebytes/), and her second show. Not enough you say? Ok, well, she also discovered that cross fencing is less of a mandate and more of a suggestion (has become a bit of an escape artist), decided the sprinkler for watering the arena feels pretty good on a hot day, and participated in 2–3 rides a week. Go Zan!
A quick synopsis of each follows
She went first, she went in the middle, she went last– she didn’t care. Zan kept her little ears pricked forward the whole ride and was great throughout. We tackled some trails that were a bit overgrown and pretty mucky/muddy, twice requiring a turn on the haunches to exit. She wasn’t sure about splashing through puddles on the trail– but I think this can easily be overcome with some work. She was happy enough at a walk and stayed easily under control when we picked up the trot. As you’ll see in the pictures, we even spent some time on the buckle. Someone started shooting a gun nearby and she was not too woried about that, either.
We used the July Hollywood Hills Saddle Club show as a warm-up to the SAFE show and I’m so glad we did. It allowed me to see how she would behave in a new arena, with different horses; gave us a chance to ride in a regulation sized ring; as well as to practice the concept of ride, break, ride again. It gave me a clear picture of what I needed to work on before the big SAFE show this past weekend. Zan had her wits about her– stepping off the trailer calm and ready to work. I was a bit tense and Zan was a bit fussy about the warm-up arena footing (quite deep with puddles in some areas) and it showed in our work. Nevertheless, she did well enough to take third in both classes (training level 1 and training level 3). My tests were 3 hours apart and she was just fine tied to the trailer for the duration. We also tried out the trails course and she had no hesitation about the clippy-clop sound of the wooden bridge or any of the other obstacles.
Western photo shoot:
We first talked about doing this in February as a “winter sparkle” shoot. Concerns about timing and the cold combined with muddy and wooly horses, forced us to cancel at the time. It was the end of July before stars and schedules aligned again, and with time running out– we decided to just make it happen. As Kelly eased the western saddle atop Zan, she had a moment of “what is that! not sure I like this!” and then she was fine. She’s only ever worn an english saddle so I figured the larger surface area of the western saddle might take a little getting used to for her– but after the initial “not so sure about this” reaction, she seemed fine. I lunged her first, just to make sure, and didn’t even get the tiniest of bucks. Mounted, she was just fine as well. Monica introduced her to the flag (no big deal), we tried another bridge (still no big deal), some poles, etc.
To see more about our shoot: http://blog.seattlepi.com/horsebytes/2011/08/05/bling-on-summer/
What can I say? Zan was amazing. I was beaming with pride all weekend. Donida really puts horses to the test. There is an almost constant stream of tractors moving around, water trucks, and so on. Not to mention several different arenas to ride in– each a little different. The show had over 150 participating horses, meaning crowded warm ups, lots of people, big classes, etc. Zan handled it all just fine.
She won one of our english pleasure classes and placed in several others. She also took 4th in in-hand trail. By the time we got to the trail class, it was the end of the day and she wasn’t so sure about doing more work (neither was I, by that point!) so we didn’t get our trot in hand and she was fussy about the idea of backing through the L and then side pasing. Weave polls, the bridge, walking between two shiny culverts with pinwheels attached and over the tarp, however, were all “ho-hum” as far as she was concerned. The car wash was cause for concern– however she did scoot through it when the wind blew an opening for her. We tried it again mounted and her reactions were pretty consistent (decided not to attempt the gate).
Sunday was a busy day dressage tests in the morning with the intention of doing the trot poles division of hunters as well as some western classes. I had signed up for intro b (walk trot) and training 2 & 3. I was running behind so we went into our first test with virtually no warm up. We also hadn’t ridden on the dressage court yet (which is ringed by flowering bushes and right next to the turnout paddocks). Zan was a bit looky going in, but our test got much better towards the end; good enough for 2nd. After a good warm-up, our next two tests were much better. I was thrilled that we actually got some nice bending moments, she was fairly steady in the contact and, best of all, she picked up all 4 canter departs. We won the T2 class and were 3rd in T3 (missed 2nd by 2 tenths of a point, if I recal!). I could feel that she was running out of gas at the end of our third test so I not to push her. We ended the show on a good note, even if we didn’t quite make it into all of our planned activities.
Zan is such a neat little horse. I am happy to keep riding her as long as she is around– but she will be such a fun partner for whoever ends up with her. I am continually impressed with her level headed approach to new situations and just love her spunky personality.
Sadly, no video, but lots of pictures. Enjoy!