humor · video

Evention Tv

This may not be new news to anyone who reads Eventing Nation, but I finally got around to watching a few of the Evention Tv shows and I laughed until I cried. (Thanks to Saiph’s post at Wait for the Jump about finding the humor, which helped kick me out of my grumpiness about the weather and sent me to watch these.)

Here are just a few of my favorites.

They also have a variety of educational videos that are really quite well done and informative. Check them out when you’re looking for something to do on these cold nights!
horse racing · secretariat · video

Secretariat and the 1973 Belmont

As far as I’m concerned, this is the best video on the internet. Yes, the entire internet. In fact, I have been known to say that this video, this specific video, is the reason the internet exists.

I can’t watch it without breaking into big, ugly, gulping sobs at about the halfway mark.


They’re on the turn, and Secretariat is blazing along! The first three-quarters of a mile in 1:09 and four fifths. Secretariat is widening now! He is moving like a tremendous machine! Secretariat by twelve, Secretariat by fourteen lengths on the turn! Sham is dropping back. It looks like they’ll catch him today, as My Gallant and Twice a Prince are both coming up to him now. But Secretariat is all alone! He’s out there almost a sixteenth of a mile away from the rest of the horses! Secretariat is in a position that seems impossible to catch. He’s into the stretch. Secretariat leads this field by 18 lengths, and now Twice a Prince has taken second and My Gallant has moved back to third. They’re in the stretch. Secretariat has opened a 22 length lead! He is going to be the Triple Crown winner! Here comes Secretariat to the wire. An unbelievable, an amazing performance!

reining · video

Stacy Westfall – Reining Without Saddle or Bridle

Here is something for More Joy Day for you to watch. It never fails to make me tear up. (In a good way! Happy tears!)

I had the great privilege of seeing this same freestyle in person at the Equine Affaire Fantasia in 2006 at the Big E in Springfield, MA. That was the first I had seen or heard of her, and she completely stole the show.

If you haven’t seen this video, turn the sound way up and grab some tissues.

Rolex Commercials

I’m feeling marginally better but not up to riding, so I did make it out to the barn to longe Tris today but in the meantime I’ve mostly been sipping tea, eating bland things, and binge-watching Arrow.

Here, in lieu of content, have the three Rolex Equestrian commercials that they produced years ago. They’re my gold standard for good equestrian editing to music.

abscess · video

Now, with video!

I asked the barn manager to film me jogging Tris out on Monday afternoon so I could send it to the vet. Good news: he actually looks not half bad! He’s not 100% sound (that’s too much to hope for) but he looks good enough that the vet was impressed. I’ve asked her if he looks good enough to start handwalking; still waiting on that answer.

Walk and trot from behind:

And walk and trot from the side:

cross-country · scarlet hill farm · video

Scarlet Hill Photos & Videos

One of the benefits of having M. “squiring” (his word; apparently grooming sounds boring) was that I got to hand him a camera and document the XC school. There are only a few photos after the fall, alas, because he kind of freaked out, but so it goes.

First up, two videos. The first was our first attempt at going forward after a jump, which resulted in the little bucks there. The second was our second try, with me keeping his head up and really sending him forward. I like the second one better, for obvious reasons!


Second, a few photos. I’ll post them in order with my thoughts.

 Warming up, with a little bit of a run.

 I like our distance. I do not like my upper body, or my release. My crappy release will become a theme.

So the goal was, after landing off that jump, to get a good head of steam up, make a wide turn, and head back over the same jump. In this picture you can see my biggest and most constant challenge galloping him: keeping him straight, especially through his shoulders.

 Better, more forward jump! Even worse release and upper body.

Better distance, good forward jump, a bit of height…holy crap my release sucked.

And then, the jump that undid us. You can see two things here: how I was angled and off-center, and the slight shift in Tristan’s body that is him thwacking his RF. (Actually, three things: I’m leaning, which is why I’m about to eat grass.)

So then we rebuilt our confidence with this little jump, over which he is much scopier and centered and I am not leaning quite as much.

2012 show season · beginner novice a · dressage tests · hitching post farm · video

Hitching Post Recap: Dressage

…and then life intervened, whew. I haven’t even turned on my home computer since Monday, much less been able to work from it.

Back on track. Tristan woke up on Saturday morning disinclined to participate in the day’s activities. He paced his stall, followed me around while I cleaned it around him, had hoovered up his grain but was fussing too much to really eat more hay after that. I cleaned his stall as best I could – he’d tracked hay a fair bit, next time I’ll know and bring a hay net – and put him on the trailer. We got to the grounds about 6:50. My goal was to get on by 7:30.

Thank goodness I had some help getting him ready, because he would. not. stand. still. He’s typically a little fidgety in new places to be tacked up, but this went beyond the pale. He was flinging everyone who hung onto him every which way he could. Eventually we got tack on him, but it took three times as long to do a running braid in his mane – and unfortunately it looked terrible – because I couldn’t get a grip with his flinging about.

He was a hot ticket in his warmup too, and I fell into my typically nasty trick not wanting to put leg on because he was so reactive. Please understand that Tristan’s reactive is an order of magnitude smaller than most horses; I prefer him that way. He is spooky and light so rarely that it unnerves me when he is. I can out-stubborn my horse all day long, but as soon as he gets reactive, I feel like I’m riding a horse of spun glass and hesitate to apply firm aids.

Luckily, T. talked us through it, and pointed out that when I actually put my leg on, firmed my reins, and rode him, he was going nicely. If I’d had another 15 minutes I might’ve really settled us in, but the warmup was not terribly productive. We moved down to the secondary warmup and did some trotting. I opted out of cantering down there to avoid problems with the little kids on ponies without steering.

I felt good about him once he was in the ring, though, and overall, was happy with my test. He was responsive and mostly willing. The first left canter circle was terrible; sort of a 15 meter egg shape instead of a proper circle. After the free walk, though, I felt great about everything. I knew we’d nailed the free walk, which is one of Tristan’s favorite things, and I felt great about the right trot circle and then, bless him, he gave me an right lead bang on cue. My halt wavered a bit but I waited until he’d settled and gave a full, proper, measured salute.

(Pet peeve: riders who slide into a halt and nod and fling their hand out to the side in .25 seconds while their horse is still jigging. I halt, confirm he’s settled, put down my hand, half count, put down my head, half count, and then bring both back slowly. Then I look at the judge, then I drop the reins.)

The judge said it was a really nice test, and T. said afterwards it was really quite pleasant. He has said in days since that Tris wasn’t carrying any tension at all in his hind legs, and really produced a nice, rhythmical test, which was great news. Though I didn’t know it at the time, we scored a 32, with an 8 for the free walk and, astoundingly, an 8 for gaits. Thanks to my hare-brained wavering during the halt, we got a 5 for that – apparently I managed to completely miss X.

One of the barn moms was kind enough to email me a few days later and say that she’d videod the second half of Tristan’s test, so here it is for posterity. It starts with that lovely free walk.