Out of Town for the Weekend

I am out of town for the weekend in beautiful Ludington, Michigan and probably won’t be able to update until next week.  I’ll be trying to fit in time at the beach with the pile of manga that I brought, but so far, sitting around and enjoying the breeze time has been sadly lacking.  The sand dunes ride was awesome, though!

Off-Line for a Bit

I am out of town at a horse show this weekend, so there probably won’t be any updates until Sunday evening.  Yesterday was horribly hot and muggy, making hanging around half ton furnaces extremely uncomfortable.  Hopefully we’ll get a break in the weather today and it won’t be so humid. 

More Alike than You Might Think

After spending the weekend at a horse show, I suddenly realized that anime cons and horse shows have a lot in common.  Far fetched though it may sound, here’s proof beyond a doubt that equestrians and otakus have more in common than first meets the eye.

Cos-play – Just as anime fans feel the need to celebrate their favorite series by spending hours crafting the perfect costume, cos-play abounds at horse shows.  I’m mystified as to why it’s necessary to dress up like fox hunters or plantation owners in order to ride a horse, but it’s generally required to wear these outlandish costumes in order to participate in the festivities.  Driving classes demand fussing up in dresses, which makes about as much sense as wearing flip-flops to either show.  Besides getting nasty blisters walking around the dealer hall at a con, who knows what you’ll step in at a horse show.

Gender bending – Gender bending doesn’t only exist in manga!  Check out the local saddleseat show for proof that it happily exists in real life.  Look at all of those women decked out in their Sunday finest.  Wait, why are they all wearing suits?  And ties?  Like many an anime series, this ritual makes little sense, but it sure gives you a feeling superiority knowing that your Double Windsor looks so much neater than everybody else’s!

Really bad expensive food – This is another reason to eat a healthy breakfast.  Like you’ll find at anime conventions, the food at horse shows is over-priced, and just plain bad for you.  Full of empty calories and not especially appetizing, the day is much too hectic to strike off in search of cheaper, better options.  Trapped at the fairgrounds, or the convention center, you’re a sitting duck for the greedy food vendors.

Lack of sleep – Trying to catch another anime episode or hit that late night panel?  Horse shows are jam packed with too many activities as well.  Getting up at 5:30 in the morning to help wash tails or braid manes, the day is just crammed with too much to do!  Even after the last class of the evening, there are still horses to be worked into the wee hours of the night.  Catching a catnap while waiting around soon becomes a necessary art at both events.

Constant schedule changes – Just missed that panel on cel collecting because of an unexpected schedule change?  Did the arcade not open until two hours after the official posted time?  Just like the frustration at anime cons, the printed schedule at the horse show is just about worthless.  Class run over because a horse threw a shoe?  Was there a hold between classes because of a necessary equipment change?  These unexpected schedule delays at anime cons and horse shows are one of the major reasons that we are forced to eat the really bad expensive food!  You’re taking a gamble if you count on the schedule running smoothly and try to actually make plans around it.

The need for soap – And you thought only otakus needed to be reminded to shower!  While most participants at the horse show do start the day off with a liberal application of soap, wearing a three piece suit in 90 degree weather soon makes that shower a distant memory.  Since many of us only have one costume, we are stuck wearing that smelly thing the entire horse show.  Phew!

Well, there you have it.  Anime conventions and horse shows are just flip sides of each other.  Can’t make it to a major con this year?  Don’t worry!  Just trot over to the local horse show!  Just don’t wear your flip flops!

The Other Hobby

Taking a tiny break from the manga blogging, I was at a horse show this weekend.  If you’re interested in a Manga Maniac’s adventures at the horse show, please click here.  I even managed to read Vs. Versus #3 during the excitement.  Review to follow shortly.

OT – Random Riding Lesson – Are We There Yet?


Last night I took a riding lesson with Roxanne and Krystal way out in the boonies. I raced from work over to Karla’s after wolfing down a package of Thai noodles, and then we drove for an hour to arrive at the barn, just in time to wait because the lessons were running late. *sigh*

Roxanne went first. She is catch riding at ASHAM next weekend, so she rode the horse she’ll be showing. Her lesson was only about 20 minutes. Yeah! I was really tired by that time and just wanted to get on a horse and then go home.

Krystal was next. I thought we would be riding in a group lesson; I was disappointed to find out we weren’t. The arena is about half the size of DHS’s, but there is an observation room with a bathroom. The barn was clean and well kept. Overall, the farm was nice, but it’s so far away!

They brought out a paint while Krystal was still riding, and I hopped  on. The horse’s name was Vinny, and he’s a country pleasure horse. That means he doesn’t have a lot of forward motion, and doesn’t trot very high. He had a nice head set, though, and I didn’t have to fight to keep his head up.

Vinny was a lot of work! It was rather warm last night, and I soon worked up a sweat. He was a notch lazier than Harley – argh! The entire time we worked at the posting trot it was sit, kick, up, sit, kick, up. I can’t believe how quickly I became tired! The canter was the same – stride, kick, stride, kick, and he still kept falling out of it! I was able to get the correct canter leads every time he took off, though.

After the lesson, we went out for a bite to eat. The Tomato Kitchen was right by the freeway, so we stopped there. It was ok, but it was so far past my bedtime that all I wanted to do was go home and sleep! I didn’t get home until after 11, and I have to get up at 4:45!!

OT – Sunday at the Barn – Like Little Worker Bees


M called and asked if I could come out at 3 instead of in the morning.  D had some shoeing jobs he had to wrap up in the morning, and he’s the Blondie guru.  Erin told me she isn’t even working her.  I guess I should feel special that Blondie’s his pet project. Smiley

I had a quick lesson on Harley before he got there.  The first part was with no stirrups (ugh!), and the rest was transitions.  Since Kim has been leasing him for 4H, his head set has really improved!  Too bad he wasn’t like that when I was showing him over the summer.

When D finally arrived, he started working Blondie.  He explained that because the rack is a lateral gait like trotting, he won’t let her trot until she learns how to rack.  Then he has to teach her how to trot again.  Hopefully all of this will happen before April, so we can go to River Ridge.

When it was my turn to ride Blondie, M came in and tried to give me another lesson on slow gaiting.  We just worked one rail again, and concentrated on keeping her in the gait.  This was hard, because I can’t tell yet when she’s doing it and when she’s not!  I also was using my hands too much, jerking the bit to keep her going.  On the last pass, I did it correctly, just jiggling the bit and keeping her going.  We quit after that, to leave off on a good note.

D mentioned that as soon as Woody’s show season is over, I can start riding him to get a better feel for the gait.  After I put Blondie away, I watched D and Robert struggle to drag one of the carts on top of the trailer.  Everyone was busy packing up, so they could take Monday off. They’re planning on leaving at 6 on Tuesday morning, and it’s a 20 hour drive!  Not wanting to get in the way, I left shortly after.

OT – Lesson 8, Block 5


Sadly, fall is in the air.  It was rather chilly this evening, but at least it was dry.  The weather has been just awful the last few days, with gloomy skies and unending drizzle.  The sun even came out, shining brightly to blind me on my way to the barn; I was driving into the setting sun, and couldn’t even see the traffic signals!  Good thing I haven’t packed away my sunglasses yet.

Tonight I rode with all new riders.  I’ll have to drop Kim an email an find out where she was.  The other riders tonight were Tina (with Gio), Robert (Pepper), and Abby, riding Alex.  I went to Hartmeyers last spring with Robert, Abby, and their mom.  Everyone in the arena shows Morgans but me, so Harley was the only Saddlebred out tonight.  He was still the best looking horse out there!

Abby is going to be showing in the Morgan World Championship in 2 weeks, so we were given the instruction to crowd her so she felt more comfortable riding with traffic.  This reminded of my first group lesson, when the FBI invaded, and only Kim and Jilly were there to get in my way. 

D showed up to shoe some horses, and he suggested we trot figure 8’s, two going one direction, and two riders going the other.  I think he just likes to watch collisions.  Just trotting around in circles is too boring for him, and he likes to toss in some risk.  Kind of like how Jen thought it was exciting when someone fell off during a class at the horse show she went to.  There were many near misses, but nobody ran into anybody else.  Since Harley is so slow, I didn’t have to worry too much about it.

We worked on transitions again for the rest of the lesson.  I still rush the canter.  I don’t set up the horse correctly, but instead hurry through the cues and wonder why the horse picks up the wrong lead.  Good thing I have until April to work on this.

The show horses have been moved to the lower barn, which is attached to the arena.  Yeah!  No more having to pick our way carefully through the ice, snow, or mud, and no more getting soaked when it’s raining.  The tack room was even set up! For the past few weeks, the tack room was just a jumble of equipment tossed into an empty stall in the new barn.  And the dreaded tent was gone!!!  Things are finally getting back to normal!