Monday, June 09, 2008

The Spotted Pony Saves the Day!

You've met my Current Favourite Pony here already.  I adore her.  She is everything a pony should be:  tough, funny, stubborn, friendly, stubborn, cute, magnetic, and stubborn.  I seriously love this little monster, even if she does sometimes exasperate me.  My daughter loves her too, almost as much as she loves her own horse!  When the opportunity arose to take Skyla to a local saddle club show, we decided we had to take it. 

How could we pass it up?  Skyla's owner, our friend Susan (my riding mentor), thought it was a great idea.  We could borrow the pony and the trailer!  Best of all, we didn't need to buy anything for the show.  Girl already has the helmet and boots, my old hand-me-down black fringed chaps (oooh!  Fun!) and she's big enough now to borrow my favourite show shirt, which was made for me by another precious horse owning friend.  (Actually when Girl was little she believed that ALL of our friends either played an instrument or rode a horse.)

In the morning, at the barn in the Little Valley, we sponged the white patches and dipped that long pretty tail into a bucket of soapy water.  Ever seen what happens when the tailbone hits the cold water?  Kinda funny.  But don't tell anybody I said that and maybe don't try it at home.

Of course after a ten minute drive, Skyla came out of the trailer coated in sweaty black dirt.  I don't know where it came from.  We peeled her shipping boots off and walked her around for a few minutes to let the breeze dry her.  The dirt brushed off and she looked all sparkly-gorgeous.

I took Skyla to the warm up ring to get her ready. Not that anybody yesterday needed any "warming up". You can't really tell from the photos, but holy smokes it was HOT. I was wearing my Wranglers and a string shouldered tank top, and the sweat was pouring off of me. Mind you I am a sweaty disgusting mess, but it was ridiculous. Girl rode Skyla at a nice easy walk after that until the class started.  She waited until the last possible minute to put on the show shirt and zip into the chaps.  

Yeah, it was me that pinned her number on.  Luckily she wasn't being marked on how straight it was.  At least I got the saddle blanket on straight.  This time.

This is a very small club.  It's so perfect for a kid who hasn't done any horse shows since she was in leadline, and her wacky nervous mother.  They ran two age divisions together, because the classes were so small!  

And the result?

A red ribbon!  In Canada, that means... FIRST PLACE!  Please note that the funny pony appears to be attempting to eat the red ribbon.  Some horses take one peripheral look at that colourful flappy thing and freak out.  Not our friend Skyla!

I was so happy for her.  We chose not to go into great detail about the small class size, because she deserved a ribbon just for going in there.  I was very proud of the way she handled herself and the pony.  She looked calm and pleasant - and so did Skyla!

I love this club because it's so much like my old saddle club, which I hardly get to anymore, even as a visitor.  Everybody there cheered her on, even though they'd only met her that day.  

And while the show went on, Bucky and the Freckled Redhead, Susan's boy, sat in the back of my truck on lawn chairs, eating, guzzling water, goofing off and cracking jokes to each other.  Susan sat in the shade with her baby!
The excitement wasn't over yet.  If we went to the trouble to get Skyla all cleaned up and brushed and combed... how could I not get in on it?  When I realized how relaxed and friendly this place was, I sure was glad I packed clean clothes for me!

Girl had called some friends on our street to come out and see her show.  These are scans of some excellent pictures taken by my neighbour-friend.  (So, I've pretty much ditched my old No Faces rule for myself on the blog.)  Here I am with Skyla doing a little lope in the Western Pleasure class.  She's not exactly a classic WP horse, but I don't think anybody really minded.
I usually hate pictures of me riding.  I always criticize my feet.  My heels are down, but my darn toes stick straight out sideways.  I really have to work on that.

But I can get over it here, because of this great photography, and because Skyla is so cute.

I totally love this picture!  I look happy!  Skyla looks happy!  And we have a nice blue second place ribbon clipped onto her chest collar!

Of course, after all was said and done, Skyla got lots of admiration from her new fan club.  My Girl and her friend had to pet her and congratulate her.  I can't tell you how many people took pictures of her!  It kind of reminded me of the good old days, when I took my flashy red horse to my saddle club in a borrowed trailer pulled by my Dad's old red Chevy truck... and a gaggle of young teenage girls would come running up calling "Champ!  Champ!  Champ is here!"  They'd descend on my usually fiery gelding to smother him with pats and strokes and adoration.  He rewarded them with soft eyes and a lowered head, leaving me to shake my head at his huge ego and his magnetic aura.  

Skyla is not a big horse.  She's a 13hh pony.  She doesn't have a mean bone in her body.  She can be totally tricky, but she's not cruel - she's just being herself.  She doesn't have that big Look at me! attitude that most of the best show horses have.  The big Saddlebreds we competed against have it.  She's just a sweet funny pony who loves to be brushed and tickled and scratched and fed, and she's willing to carry us around when we ask. 

She totally made a girl's day this weekend.

(And mine!)


Sandra Ree said...

Great photos and story Heidi! How lucky are you? :)

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm so, so, so lucky, I can hardly even believe it!

JKB said...

Congrats girl! And mummy, you do look happy!

(Hppiness is to be found on the back of a horse)

What a great way to spend a day!

CindyDianne said...

I've never been in a show of any kind. I think I would enjoy it. It sure looks like the two of you did!

millhousethecat said...

Why is today's post not about Johnny Depp's 45th birthday? :)

Heidi the Hick said...

GAh! Geez Sherry, if my birthday wasn't on a major religious holiday, I'd probably forget it too...

Heidi the Hick said...

jkb, it was a great way to spend an afternoon. I remembered why I used to go to so much effort to get to my horse shows when my kids were tiny.

But man it was hot. I wore that pink shirt just for the class, and changed out of it right away. It was soaked with sweat around the waist and the collar. Ewwww.

Cindy, I do think that if you ever get a chance to go to a small show, like what we call a schooling show, or a saddle club, you should go for it! Maybe go first to watch, meet the people, find out their rules/ dress code. You know how to ride, and it's fun to show off your best hooved friend!!

Heidi the Hick said...

(I'm gonna hafta wish my pal Johnny a happy belated birthday tomorrow...!)

dilling said...

i do so love a painted pony....

Marni said...

Such a lucky girl... and you look lovely!!!

I want to love on Skyla, too!

Heidi the Hick said...

Oh she would give it right back to you both!

She's a cool pony. I'd tell you where she likes to be scratched on her neck. She'd be your best friend.

(We've got a picture of My Girl holding her red ribbon with Skyla leaning her chin on her shoulder. That one's going in a frame!!)

billie said...

Beautiful photos - and it looks like everyone had a marvelous day!

We love painted ponies too... :)

Reid Farmer said...

Nice to see your smiling face again!

Heidi the Hick said...

Billie, despite the heat and the sweat, it was a great day! And as for the painted ponies... I don't care how tall my kids get, I will have one of my own some day. (Another great reason to teach lessons!)

Reid, thank you!

Tribble said...

teehee i am amazing

Phoenix said...

That's a cute pony! I just noticed your comment on my own blog - your daughter sounds a bit like ME at that age :)