Monday, December 10, 2018

November flew by, that's all I can say.

Format is going out the window because frankly, I'm tired of setting it up every time.

No, this is not depressed Chloe, this is tired-in-her-bones Chloe.

Isn't funny how when you repeat certain sequences in order every day your brain automatically associates the thing you're doing with getting to do the next thing afterwards?

Like, when I get home everyday, it's usually around seven in the evening, so as soon as I pull in and drop my stuff, I go and get something to eat.

Well, I got home early one day, and hadn't even been thinking of food at all for the drive, but as soon as I pulled in the driveway I was instantly starving.

Yeah so anyway. There's that.

We went to another judging contest in Oklahoma City, Quarter Horse World Show. The same level of bigness and importance as the Quarter Horse Congress, about. While we were there we actually saw one of our other professors watching. But they organized the actual contest much more efficiently, especially in terms of giving reasons. I only had to give two sets this time.

I didn't like how I delivered my first set because I accidentally worked myself into a nervous frenzy right as I was walking up and I started giving them on an exhale, so I was frantically trying to get a decent breath while plowing through what I had rehearsed- it just wasn't very smooth. I was kind of kicking myself back at the table when the lady with her therapy dog that hangs out with us, because we are poor stressed human beings just trying to do the best we can, walked by and let me cuddle the dog for a minute. It helped a bunch! I liked my second set much better though. I thought it was very well put together and enough big words and terms to be decently impressive sounding, and I delivered it so much better than my first set. HOWEVER they liked my first set better and gave me the lowest score I've ever gotten on my second set. Kinda wish the reasons takers would take notes and give at least a small amount of feedback, because I really want to know where I messed up on that second set.

The limited division finished a while before the collegiate, so the three of us in limited got to go and walk around some and see what there was to see before going back to hear the awards at six. Of course, there had to be something go wrong. The collegiate finished way ahead of schedule. So instead of letting all the coaches know to bring back their kids, they just up and started the awards. So lots of us only made it for part of the awards. We made it to the building for the last five minutes, but didn't go into the room because they were almost done. So we didn't even get the whole contest experience because we missed the awards (though I'm kind of ok with that because honestly, the awards are as stressful or more so than the actual contest).

Christian came home while I was gone. Everyone else except Lydia got to go to his graduation. He had been sick for the past three weeks, so he was a wreck when he got home, but he was in good spirits, and his time away has definitely helped him improve.

Christian also had his birthday this month, and has officially graduated from the kid table to being allowed to sit with us adults when we have family or friends over for a meal.

We had family out for Thanksgiving, which was a blast. We spent it with Mom's side this year, so we didn't have to drive anywhere. But we didn't really get to watch the parade this year because somebody *sideeyes the tv* didn't dvr the channel we like even though we had it set to, so we had to watch on a different channel that we didn't like as much.

We were going to have another judging contest at the Reining Futurity (big deal show) at Oklahoma City, but not enough people wanted to go. When I told my boss that I actually wouldn't be needing that time off, I think he was more disappointed than I was, so his wife took me up to go watch on Black Friday. It was pretty cool!! We even bumped in to one of my past professors there and sat with him for awhile.

We finished with the yearlings for our behaviour and training class. I was so proud of mine! At the start, she would just run circles around whoever was trying to catch her- she did not want to be touched. At the end, I had her longeing with the bit in her mouth, both directions, on the long line, with a surcingle, was able to saddle her, pick up all four feet, lead her around in the arena over poles, around cones, over a bridge, and groom her.

Eventually we might get to work with some weanlings for the last few days we have in the semester, however that is only if the breeder actually gets them out to us. We'll see.

Got registered for classes next semester. It's gonna be awesome!

I got Bonnie's oil changed. When I pulled in and got out, I brought out a bit of my southern accent and nicely asked for an oil change and if they could please check the tire pressure I'd appreciate it. The guy I was asking said that was probably the nicest anyone's ever asked him for an oil change, to which I replied; "you said that the last time I was here." Stuff like that happens when you go to the same small-town mechanic shop almost every time.

Gas prices went down and that makes me so happy!

Our neighbors went out of town for a few days again so I took care of their horses. I love them so much.

Drove down the freeway and passed a truck with a sign saying "We hire solo's and teams." *almost dies by grammatical error*

Mom: "I don't know how you're able to start the day with cold coffee right now."
Me: "Well, I don't really like hot coffee, and this cold coffee is really convenient. I don't know, maybe I'll end up changing my tune once it gets colder."

One time since class finished early and there were only two of us left with the professor, the other girl and I tried switching horses so we could try the pattern on a horse we weren't as familiar with. It was a fun exercise!

We had another contest in Fort Worth for the Cutting Horse Futurity. We did not have to give reasons on anything. Ms. Becky somehow managed to get ten of us to go (since this was a show where you didn't need to be on a judging team, just needed to be a full time student), and one of us won high individual and got to judge two rounds of finals with the other judges! I did not do very well. It was a learning experience, and I still enjoyed it though!

I honestly don't remember what else happened. I know we had rain a lot. I spent a lot of time at work, school, and shows. Somehow the same bug hit all of us within a few hours so all of us were sick for two days. That was nice. It is cold now. Finals are this week.

Ta-da, blogpost complete. Off to do homework.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Quarter Horse Congress

(bc honestly there was too much to put in here to fit in the October Recap)

Quarter Horse Congress is one of the really big quarter horse shows. It lasts almost a month up in Columbus, Ohio.

Lots of people there. So many. And so many different smells. And it was cold the entire time as well.

They have both English and Western disciplines, though the focus is on the western things because that's what quarter horses are mainly used for.

We (my professor; Ms. Becky, and two other students; Lara and Robert) flew up Sunday morning a few days before the judging contest so we could practice. We shared rooms with a small team from Georgia. We went and practiced for a couple hours Sunday afternoon before heading back for an early dinner at Bob Evans (I may have accidentally out ate everyone). We saw a Texas Roadhouse, of all things, on our way to dinner. After that, we practiced some more back at the hotel.

Monday and Tuesday were about the same as each other. The hotel was about thirty minutes away from the expo center, so we were all up and out at a reasonable time so we could get there to practice. We worked on Halter in the mornings for an hour or two, then got to see some of the performance classes in the afternoon. The event we most needed to work on, we got pretty well immersed in, enough so that we were eventually able to recognize which horses were good, which were decent, and which were not very good.

Wednesday morning was the competition. It started at 7:30 in the morning. Lots of teams showed up. We had the performance classes first. Nine of them.

Trail- Basically an obstacle course. Do not hit anything.
Western Riding- Lead changes. Lots of them. Do not break gait.
Hunter Hack- Jumping over two short fences in English Tack. Keep the horse's knees even.
Hunter Under Saddle- Rail class, everyone's in at the same time. Walk. Trot. Canter. Back. English.
Western Pleasure- Rail class. Walk. Jog. Lope. Back. Slow. Western.
Hunt Seat Equitation- English. Pattern class. Judging the rider, not the horse.
Western Horsemanship- Western. Pattern class. Judging the rider, not the horse.
Ranch Riding- Stuff cowboys do out on the ranch. Pattern class. Lots of extended trotting. Western.
Reining- You know, the fast circles, the spinning like a top, and those really dramatic sliding stops.

Then three halter classes.
Yearling Mares- Why should the withers be even with the croup? Why would we want that? Really?
All Aged Geldings- Honestly, no one really knew how to place this class.
Performance Mares- Which non-halter type mare is most like a halter-type mare? You tell me.

Each of those classes had four horses in them that we had to observe and then rank them and hand in a card with our placing on it so the officials could see how well we matched up with their placings. Then after all the classes have gone, they announce which classes we have to defend in the dreaded Reasons Room. So because we don't know beforehand, all of us have to take notes on each class as if we will have to give reasons on them.

Reasons classes.
Limited: 1. Western Riding. 2. Performance Mares.
And unfortunately I don't remember all of the collegiate reasons classes because I didn't have to give that many.

Sample set of reasons for a Western Riding class so y'all know what I'm talking about when I say 'reasons.'

Ma'am/Sir, I placed this Western Riding class, 1-4-3-2.

Opening with my top pair, I placed 1 over 4 because the buckskin was the more consistent of the pair, being smoother and more confident throughout all four of his line changes, and travelling at a more even cadence, in addition to competing on a higher degree of difficulty with his greater drape of rein.

-I will grant that 4 showed more compliance when asked to back.

Moving on to my middle pair, although 4 did hit the log as he was jogging over, he still manages to place over 3, not only because he was the more willing of the pair, as he was smoother in his transition from the jog to the lope, but also because he was more consistent with his cross changes.

-I did see that 3 was shown on a greater drape of rein.

Ending with my bottom pair, I placed 3 over 2 simply because the sorrel was more correct in his lead changes and had a more even three-beat cadence at the lope.

-Now I realize that 2 approached and went over the log with more confidence, but unfortunately the dark brown must still be placed at the bottom of the class today, due to the fact that he was the least coordinated individual, being more sloppy in his transition from jog to lope, being late in both of his second line and cross changes, in addition to hesitating at the cone for the third line change.

It is for these reasons I placed this Western Riding class, 1-4-3-2. Thank you.

The reasons can't be written before the contest, and you can't read them off of a piece of paper. You have to go into the reasons room after practicing what you want to say, and give your set to the person who is going to determine how well you did presenting them. Kind of stressful the first few times. I have messed up my placing before. And forgotten to say something I meant to say. And scrambled up the order of how I wrote down what I wanted to say. And I've froze up before too. But the main idea is to present a concise explanation for why you placed the class the way you did.

To determine the order in which everyone gives reasons, they had us all sitting at different tables with other people from our divisions. They organized it by the number we were each given at the start of the contest. I was sitting way at the back of our table, and was one of the last people to go for each set of reasons. They actually almost forgot to let some of us go from that table. They called the first people from our group to go and give their second set before five of us at the end had even given our first. But we caught them in time. We were all given a box lunch to eat as we prepared our reasons. No one is allowed to talk to anyone while we work on our reasons. We can stand up at our seat and quietly rehearse in whispers, but no talking is allowed and walking around is generally discouraged.

After I finished my sets, Lara (who was also in the limited division) and both students from Georgia had already finished and left a while ago, so I wandered around until I saw the coach from Georgia and was able to ask her where Ms. Becky was at. We found her and everyone else back in the main arena. Lara and I walked around the booths in the shopping area (lots of really cool stuff, but EVERYTHING costs and arm and a leg) until Robert found us in there eventually.

We went back to the hotel to change clothes before going out to dinner with the Georgia team to a restaurant that felt like Texas as soon as we walked in. We stayed there for almost three hours talking. It was great!

Thursday morning was the awards breakfast, which consisted of donuts, so we all just ate at the hotel instead before going. None of us placed in the top ten, but that was alright. There were a lot of really good people there. One of the Georgia people got second in something, so good for him. One of the Oklahoma FFAs (kind of like 4-H) swept everything in their division. The bigger Junior Colleges won just about everything as well.

After the awards, since our flight wasn't until that afternoon, we went back to the shopping area to look for t-shirts or something to bring home. We spent quite a while at a place where you got to pick what kind of shirt you wanted and choose which design went on. It was pretty cool, and I came home with a really nice sweatshirt.

Funny things:

"Oh look, more hood." -Ms. Becky when we were trying to find the expo center and took yet another wrong turn.

"Aw, I wasn't done with that." -Me when I saw that the hotel maid had put away the couch bed I was sleeping on.

"What was that?!" -Ms. Becky, while parking.
"The curb." -Everyone in unison.

"We asked for extra water for y'all's lunch, but they didn't give us any to begin with. If you want, you can dump out a soda can and refill it with water from the water fountain." -Contest organizers.

"Someone needs to make a meme with 'ride it like you stole it' but with a western pleasure horse instead of a barrel horse." -Robert.

Outside of it being delayed, our flight home was smooth. We had all been able to get seats close to each other for the ride up, but on the way back no one was together. Lara was all the way in the back, I was in row 14, Robert was in row 20-something, and Ms. Becky I think was in row 18. The flight was so full that they had to gate check most everyone's second carry-on as they got down to the groups boarding later, on the house of course. Dad and Ava met us at the airport to drive me home.

All in all, it was a very fun experience and I look forward to going back next year.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

the time I missed almost two weeks of school or, The October Recap

Hey look! It's decently close to being on time!

Life stuff

Everyone came home from Maui much darker than me, showing very sunkissed faces.

Lydia had her birthday. They had a potluck with all the beach family out on the pool deck. She was completely oblivious to their plans.

Christian is continuing to push through with his ALERT training. They've had a three hour hike, a six hour hike, a twelve hour hike, and a twenty-four (*chokes*) hour hike. Most of them in the rain. Then they had a survival week where they were all tested on their survival skills and spent a week out in the woods taking care of themselves. He was pretty down and out emotionally for a while, but he eventually came around and perked up. He's grown so much. They are really able to find and push all of his buttons to help get him past certain things, and through his letters we can see a whole new level of maturity in him. We are so proud, and are looking forward to having him come home soon.

We have a new temporary resident in our pasture for the next couple of weeks. Little Boy "Casper" is an orphaned bull calf. Our neighbors had to go out of town for a while, so he is being spoiled rotten by the Linn crew. Ava is doing a fantastic job keeping up with the feedings and making sure he's doing okay.

I had to give away the rest of my birds because of that awful critter that kept finding ways to get at them. We were down to four when I finally just called Mom and said I was done with it all. I couldn't keep them alive with the current system and I didn't have the time to figure out a new system. Of course, Fred of the nine lives made it out without so much as a feather out of place. But they are now all safe and happy with a much bigger flock, a couple of goats, and two guard dogs to keep them company.

Sunday Morning
Lydia: "You might want to do something with your hair, you look like you just rolled out of bed."
Me, not caring: "I did just roll out of bed."

"Open Sesame!" -Mom, trying to open a bag of spinach.

Called one of my professors to ask where she was.
Her: "Around that white truck to your right."
Me: *whirls around toward the only white truck I was aware of that so happened to be to my left*
Her: "Your other right."
Me: *sheepishly turns back around and sees the truck she is talking about*

Went to the Quarter Horse Congress up in Ohio for a judging competition. We were gone from Sunday to Thursday, so all of us missed a full week's worth of classes. (post to come soon).

Went to Arabian Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma for another judging competition. We left on Wednesday and got back on Saturday, so we missed a few classes, but it was not even a week after Congress, so homework was still pushed off. (also post soon).

Mildly freaked out when I saw a question on a quiz that I was absolutely positive I hadn't been instructed on. Called the professor over to ask her about it. Didn't even see the big o'l EXTRA CREDIT over it, meaning it wasn't mandatory that I answer it, probably because it was from a lecture that took place while I was gone and there wasn't any homework pertaining to it.

Was very relieved when I got caught up on everything I missed while I was gone.

Mom: "Y'all realize that I can be reading a book out loud to you and have no clue what happened in it."

The Owlcrate book box came. Really liked everything inside, and I can't wait to read the books!

Work things:

I left J/S and went to work for an owner who does reining instead.

J/S was good to me for awhile, but as we got further into the semester, it was made pretty clear to me that it wasn't going to work out for much longer. The other girls were doing the work I had been doing, so there really wasn't much for me to do there, and I could tell that the assistant trainer had her mind on other things and not on giving me tasks. So I talked with my boss and asked her what the expectations were there, and told her that I didn't feel like I was doing enough to earn what they were paying me, but that also there wasn't enough work to go around between three people that I had been doing by myself all summer. So she agreed and said that it was probably time to give it a rest.

Luckily enough, I had just had someone else contact me a day or two before asking if I had been able to find work. So I was able to ask them if they still were looking for someone.

Turns out to be a very nice situation. The owners had gotten into horses through the other trainer that was out of the same barn as J/S, so there was some connection there. They mostly do reining, but they also have a few babies that they are working on as well.

Small, but small is what I need right now.

Very nice people.

They want to teach me things. They've already let me ride some and have said that once I'm comfortable enough on their horses I will be able to start working them from the saddle instead of just on the ground.

Very good communicators. They are very much in favor of education and are happy that I am in college. Flexible too.

Music things:

I didn't make a playlist this month because I forgot and didn't really listen to anything really new. It was mostly country though.

Of course there was music at the horse shows as well. The Arab people are better about coordinating the playlist to each class though. At Quarter Horse, you could hear quiet strains of generic country music, while at Arabian, you could have horses enter to the blaring of Footloose and exit to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Anyway, this recap is kind of short because most of the interesting stuff is going into two other posts.

How was your October?
Anyone crazy enough to do NaNoWriMo this month?
Did y'all survive midterms?