Thursday, August 17, 2006

random pictures

This is a drawing I did (soft pastel) of a still from the movie Kingdom of Heaven. I think the girl in that movie is absolutely Gorgeous (Eva Green), and I loved her costumes. However, this doesn't look like her. She looks too old and like she's witnessed too many of life's tragedies.

This second one is Otis, my fish, when he was still young and somewhat slim. The colours are fanciful however, he really isn't that purplish red colour. This last one is a quick pastel sketch I did of a perfume bottle. Considering it took about 20 minutes, I'm rather pleased with it. I did it while sitting on my bed, so I didn't want to bring all my pastels with me and make a mess, so I just picked out about 15 and used those. I definately noticed I needed more colours as I was doing it, but I think it turned out interesting nonetheless. The faceted glass look is completely unintentional, but I think it looks kinda cool.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Provincial Championships

Well, I already posted my results from the Provincials, but here is a report with a bit more detail:

This weekend I took Prussia to her first show: the Provincial Championships. They were held at the Princess Louise Horse Park in Sussex, right next to a kid's baseball tournament, and also right next to the train tracks. There were plenty of things for the horses to be frightened of!

The first surprise of the weekend was that Prussia just walked right on the trailer. She hasn't been on a trailer in 5 years, and she just walked on immediately. At home Prussia is quite the alpha mare: bossy and opinionated, but once we got on the show grounds she was entirely different. She went into her shell completely, and was looking to me for guidance and support. It was really special: I have never experienced a horse trusting me like that, and she showed me this trust time and time again.

I know I am anthropomorphizing here, but we would be approaching something scary, and she would be acting like "Oooooo thats so scary! I can't walk near that! can I?" and I would tell her it was ok, and she CAN walk near it, and walk near it she would. She would still look at it a little, but her demeanor would be as though she was saying "Well, maybe I can, If you say its ok, it can't be that bad!"

We showed training level adult amateur division. In Prussia's first test at her first show, we scored 67.727%. I was extatic, especially since Prussia got an eight for gaits, and I got an eight for rider! In test two I pushed her a little more and we got 68.846%, and again, eight for rider.

The next day, I was a little more tense and made more mistakes so in test 3 we got 63.75%. Test 4 was an improvement, but she was getting tired and I was exhausted and made a couple mistakes, but we still earned 65.769%.

Prussia was a super star all weekend. Sure, she looked at some stuff, she bucked a few times, and she spooked a bit, but on the whole she was listening to me the whole time. And trying for me! Dymo always looks out for No.1, so Prussia's behaviour shocked me to the core.

I also came away with a renewed appreciation for how difficult dressage is. I am an amatuer, and I rode my very best during training level test 2. I was really trying to score above 70%, but I made some mistakes during the walk work, and came away with a 68%. When I say I made mistakes, I mean that the walk was slightly less forward than it should have been. Because of that, I lost 8 points off my test, which is what kept me from hitting 70.

On that same test, two of the people riding in the open division (Erin MacQuarrie and Harma Germs) scored 72% and 75% respectively. Let me tell you, they couldn't have made ANY mistakes to earn those scores. Every transition was right on the letter, and every long side and corner perfectly straight. The attention to detail and focus you need to get those sorts of scores is truly incredible.

It doesn't help my cause that I usually get to ride Prussia only once a week. I wish she was located closer to me, so that I could school her on a regular basis, but she isn't. So, considering that I get to ride at most twice a week, I think she and I did pretty well! ;)

rub my tummy?

This is Squire, my riding teacher's hellion of a basset hound. He is about 10 months old, and the cutest dog I have seen, ever.

I took this photo when he jumped up on my bed and rolled over as if to say "Rub my tummy?" How could anyone resist?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Say hello to the adult amateur high point champion

Well, I just got back from the provincial championships!

I am too tired at this point to say much, but I WILL say, Prussia and I are the adult amateur training level champions, and the adult amateur high point champion.

We won all four of our classes with the following scores:
AA Training Level Test 1: 67.727%
AA Training Level Test 2: 68.846%
AA Training Level Test 3: 63.75%
AA Training Level Test 4: 65.769%

We got four first place ribbons, one champion neck ribbon, and two horse blankets as prizes.

oh, and I also had a lot of fun!

PS. Prussia and I are the last ones on the right.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

comma happy

I think I am the only person I know who tries to put 5 commas in every sentence. At least when I am writing formally (as for my thesis) that seems to be the case. I actually have to think to myself "Ok, thats enough commas. Edit that sentence just a tad so you can get rid of 4 of those!"

As SEAN will attest, I am also emoticon happy. I seriously have to curb my tendancies there too.

No. 1 way to tell you are a geek: you don't have problems with use of alcohol or drugs, your abuses are limited to emoticons and commas.

Yep, thats me.

PS. Wish me luck at the provincial championships. I will most likely need it, as I just found out pretty much every pro in atlantic canada, and all of the riders I admire are competing at my level.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

gearing up for Provincial Championships

Pretty much all my time these days is occupied by writing thesis (hence my sudden aversion to writing ANYTHING, updates for my blog included). When I am not writing thesis, or crunching numbers, I am either on the way to or coming back from Saint John, because, as eveybody knows (or SHOULD know ;) ), the Dressage Provincial Championships are Aug. 12th and 13th, and Prussia and I have a lot to do before then.

For one thing, her canter to the left has become 'interesting'. Everytime I ask for the transition she explodes forwards like she just left the start gate at the Kentucky Derby. Perhaps she should have been a race horse, but a dressage horse is what she is now, and that just won't work. I won't have it. Do you hear that Prussia? Thats the law being laid down.

The other fun thing that she's been doing in the canter to the left is randomly throwing fits. One moment she'll be cantering along, happy as a clam, and the next she has thrown herself into the air (taking me along for the ride), twisting like a salmon jumping upstream. Let me tell you, thats lots of fun. Especially when I am not wearing my super stick-um breeches and my bum is slipping around in the saddle. Prussia probably figures the saddle could use a good polish anyway, so she is really just helping out. ;)

All these things included, its no wonder out of ALL the practice dressage tests we're ridden, only ONE has been error free. However, the errors do seem to be getting smaller so there is hope for us yet. One thing I have decided, I am most definitely wearing my helmet at the championships. Screw the elegant tophat look, top hats don't do much for your noggin when (and if) it comes down to the crunch.