Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Looks like I've started yet another collection

How does that song go? Something about being excited about whips?? Well you bet I am! But I only get excited about antique whips, especially hunt whips!

On our holiday to British Columbia we did a fairly obscene amount of antique shopping. Whenever I'm parusing the piles of interesting old stuff, I've always got that "holy grail" in mind. You guys know what I mean... Anything sidesaddle related, an actual sidesaddle itself is especially exciting, photos, boots, hats etc. It seems up here hunt whips are few and far between but every once in awhile you can strike it rich and come across one. Most are in pretty terrible shape, likely because a lot of people have no idea what they are and just toss them aside.

A few years ago while antique shopping with some friends, I found this lovely little whip at a shop that specializes in military antiques. It's fairly large so I'm assuming it's a man's hunt whip.

On our holidays we came across a shop that had a GORGEOUS ladies whip, lash & all still intact. I gasped when I saw it and knew it HAD to come home with me. (think little girly squeals on the way out of the store with it in hand! lol) The little silver collar has the initials "E.A." on it. I wonder who E.A. was? I believe the shaft is covered in braided/woven linen. The leather was really dry and I feared that the lash might break right off so I carefully oiled it and I think it will hold a bit better now.

We stopped by another antique shop that specializes in movie props and all kinds of interesting stuff and you guessed it! I found ANOTHER one! This one with braided leather on the shaft and in almost perfect condition! It is MUCH more stout, so it's definitely a man's whip. The guys at the store had no idea what it was (to my advantage) so I got it for a song! On the collar are tiny letters "ZK", maybe it's a whip made by Zair? I'm not sure!

And all three together to show the size & color differences!

I think I can safely say, I've got a collection of whips now too! I want to build a little "whip rack" to put in the living room to show them off. Maybe that'll be a winter project though!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bits about bits

I've been doing some thinking about the whole "poll too low" comments and the fact that Brigit looooves to curl her neck in. She's very very soft in the mouth (most days) and I ride her in an eggbutt french-link snaffle. I'm wondering if a bit change might help our issue?

I've had two thoughts... Swap to a regular loose ring snaffle so there's nothing to lean on and perhaps that will make her curl in less?

Or perhaps change from a french link to a regular snaffle mouthpiece, perhaps that french link is just "too comfortable" and allows her to roll under?

Or perhaps something with a little roller on it for her to play with?

Or perhaps a waterford bit? They're supposed to be the most gentle bits and the mouthpiece doesn't allow for any leaning or resistence since it's to "bendy".

I don't really want to go out and buy all new bits though! Might have to see what I can beg & borrow to give my theories a try.

Back from holidays! On to the saddle search!!

We had a good time, did WAY too much running around trying to visit as many people as possible but that's ok! I'm actually quite happy to be at work today and "relax" at my desk and not be in a car!
We had a great visit with a lot of our relatives and ended off our trip with a wedding on Saturday. We had a GREAT time and I got to wear a fun new dress I ordered online.

This week I'm going to focus my attention on a search for a new sidesaddle. Brigit has put on some weight through her back and my sidesaddle is not fitting well anymore. Likely this has been a bit of an issue all along but now that she's a bit chubbier, I'm thinking it has gotten worse. The point on the nearside of the saddle is too curved and is digging into her side. I noticed a sore spot on her side after our last show and ran my hand down under the saddle and what do you know.... Ouch! I always think to check how the top portion of the saddle is fitting but I suppose I didn't think of that. I will know now!

So now I'm on the hunt to find something different. Going to do multiple wither tracings tonight and send them off to various people and see what we can dig up! I've seen some lovely saddles around! Unfortunately it will mean that I have to begrudingly give up one of my sidesaddles to pay for it. I would love to keep them all and just hoard them! But they might as well be enjoyed by someone else. The Great West saddle I will NEVER sell but my Champion & Wilton I probably will. I'm torn on selling my Aulton & Butler, I love that saddle and it was my very first one.... So I'm humming & hawing about it! I guess I'll cross that bridge when I find one that's suitable!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another successful show aside! Updated with a video link!

We went to another show today and did the Training level tests 2 & 3. Brigit was really settled & calm and behaved really well.

We only had one hiccup in the first test (test 2) - in our poor attempt at a stretchy circle, we broke into a canter accidently, the judge gave us a "4".... Ooops! I think that's the worst mark I've gotten on a movement thus far. We still managed to score 69% and get 2nd place out of 14 people though! Just imagine if we would have been more successful on that movement!

Test 3 we nailed that stretchy circle and got an "8" on it (Boo yah! lol) and I felt like the test overall went WAY better than the first one, it was smooth, consistent and I thought our transitions were pretty bang on. However I guess it didn't look like it to the judge! We got 3rd place and a 68%. Still really good considering there was 16 people in the class. She commented a bunch of times that Brigit's poll was too low, which she does tend to do a lot, mostly when she's upset. But I really didn't think she looked or felt that bad. Ah well! I'm still really happy with our ride!

Here's the video from our 2nd test today, what do you think? (Also, Robin if you're reading this, any thoughts on the poll too low thing? How can I fix/improve that?)

We got lots of nice compliments on our turnout, I'm so glad the weather was a decent temperature, not too warm & with a nice breeze. I was still pretty hot in the wool habit with the wool vest underneat but hey, the price of lookin good!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Exciting news & pro pictures!

I've really had nothing too interesting to post about lately (I'm sure you're sick of hearing about my gigantic tomato plants haha) hence my slight break in posts.

We ordered some pictures from the photographer at the dressage show we went to and they finally came! Her pictures are SO much better than the ones my camera took. Wish I hadn't had such goofy faces in so many though! LOL

This is my favorite.

Our attempt at a stretchy trot, doesn't look all too bad but we can do sooooo much better! (Think western pleasure pony with nose almost to the ground)

There must have been something scary in the distance, it's really hard to get a pic with B's ears forward!

I wish I didn't look so grouchy!

This one is really cool & very artsy! Just love how all the colors are so rich.

Now onto the exciting news!! My scores were good enough from that show, to qualify me for the Alberta Provicial Dressage Championships ANNNND the Western Canadian Regional Dressage Championships!! I'm really excited, this is really further than I've ever made it in terms of riding, it's a big accomplishment for me. When I did the hunter & jumper thing, I did so/so but didn't put this much effort into it and it's really paying off. So of course, this is an opportunity not to be passed up! I'll be saving my pennies and practicing my tests! I hope we can do just as well as we have thus far! The championships are on September 15-18.