Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Midwinter's Night Ball - Show Day #1

Sorry for the delay in updating this blog again and getting on with my Midwinter's Night Ball show report.  I'm currently taking three classes this semester in college, one of which is an 8 week (aka, intensive) course online, and the amount of schoolwork I have right now is sort of kicking my butt.  But anyway, let's continue with this show report, shall we?

When we left off, Rob and I were retiring for the evening on the Friday night before the big show.  The next morning was an early one.  Rob drove me to the show hall by 7am so I could have more time to fret and worry set up before my classes started.  The original plan was that he'd just drop me off and then go back to the hotel room to sleep some more, but because of my anxiety level, he stayed at least an hour or so to keep me company.  He's a good sport.

Since it was a two day show, the divisions were spread out so that the Original Finish Halter classes were all on Saturday with the CM/AR Performance classes, and the Original Finish Performance classes were on Sunday with the CM/AR Halter classes.  This also meant that Saturday was going to be very hectic for me, since I had a lot of OF models to show in Halter and had two horses that I was entering in a majority of the CM/AR Performance classes.

Knowing how tough my competition was in Performance, I was actually really happy that Epiphany earned a third place ribbon in my first class of the day, Showmanship.

Epiphany in a Hunter In Hand showmanship entry.
Epiphany also won another third place in Other Performance - Scene/Non-competitive.  No NAN cards for this division, but I was pretty happy considering what we were up against.

Fine/Pleasure Harness entry owned by LoGeana Anderson.
Showmanship entry owned by Christie Partee.
Other Performance (Competitive) entry owned by Val Tudor.
Other Performance (Scene/Non-Competitive) entry owned by Charlotte Martin.
I sat out the next Performance division, the Costume classes, since I don't own any costumes yet.  It was one of my favorite divisions to ooh and ahh over all the pretty horses and tack though.

Next up was the Western division.  Western is not really my strong point.  I'm not and have never been a Western rider, and to be honest, most of what I do know about Western events, I've learned from model horse shows.  I don't have many Western tack items, so I'm sort of limited in which classes I can participate in until I save up and invest in some new tack.  I also don't have any Western rider dolls yet - although hopefully soon I will, since I won a free Western doll by Lyn Norbury in a raffle at Hog Wild Live last year (I just still haven't decided on a style/design to ask for yet).

That didn't stop me from entering Ruby Slippers in Western Games and Reining (with a "Freestyle Bridleless Reining" entry.. since I don't have a bridle appropriate for a regular reining class).  However, she didn't place in the ribbons at all.  We were in Texas after all, and Western riding there is a big deal, both in the real horse and the model horse worlds.
Ruby Slippers in Western Games.
Ruby Slippers doing some Freestyle Bridleless Reining... you can't blame me for trying.  :P
The great thing about attending a show like this is that I learned a lot about what IS competitive, was able to take a lot of pictures of winning entries (including close-ups of properly fitted tack, riders, and other details), and learned about some new events that I might research more in the future to try for my own entries one day.  I also learned that maybe it would be a better idea to skip Western Performance showing in Texas until I have better tack.  ;)

The last Performance division of the day was English - my favorite!  I am an English girl at heart and have ridden real horses in hunter, jumper, dressage, cross country, and sidesaddle.  I've never been very interested in showing real horses though, so again, I've learned a lot about specific types of classes and levels through research done for model horse showing.  Despite my passion for English Performance, I'm still not what I would consider at a super competitive level, since I'm in need of better tack and props than I currently have.  Most of my tack is what could probably be considered vintage at this point, and while I've slowly been adding to my tack and prop collection (including making what I can), I still have a ways to go.  I'd call my current assortment of tack and props Live Show Quality, but not Top Live Show Quality.  I was able to buy my first LSQ huntseat rider doll recently though from Anne Field, and I was excited to try her out at Midwinter's for the first time.  I also put a lot of work into my documentation and some new props I made, but despite my efforts, unfortunately my results in the CM/AR Performance division were only lackluster.  Epiphany was out of the ribbons for our first class, English Games, then won 6th in Hunter, 6th in English Arena Trail, 4th in English Natural Trail, and 5th in English Pleasure (Sport Type).  Ruby Slippers was only in two classes - Cross Country where she placed 2nd and managed to earn her first NAN card in English (there were only two entries in the class.. but still.. she got her NAN card and that made me happy darnit), and Jumper where she placed 4th.
Ruby Slippers in a Preliminary Cross Country set up.  I modified a Breyer tiger trap jump for this one.
Epiphany winning 6th place for a Handy Hunter entry.
4th Place in Natural Trail.  I made the base, yay.
Epiphany in Training Level Dressage.  The fence and marker (which is mostly hidden behind her leg) were made by me.
I admit, even though I was expecting the competition to be tough and to get my butt kicked, my Performance results on Saturday were a bit of a downer.  The saving grace of the day though was that I actually did pretty well in Halter.

I mostly showed Stone models, Design-A-Horses in particular, which, much to my delight, had their own division!  I was pretty impressed with the number of Halter divisions in general, with separate ones for Breyers that were Runs of 500+, One-of-a-Kinds/Test Runs, Runs of 61-500, and Very Limited Runs of 60 or Less; and separate ones for Stones that were Runs of 61+, One-of-a-Kinds/Test Runs, Very Limited Runs of 60 or Less, and DAHs.  There were also separate divisions for Breyer Minis (Little Bits, Stablemates, and Micro Minis) and for Stone Minis (Pebbles and Chips).  This was also my first show that was double-judged for Breed and Collectability/Workmanship, which I thought was pretty awesome (and now I wish all of the shows I plan to go to were like this).

My non-DAH Peter Stones, most of which I've picked up second hand in the last year, did pretty well.
Sense of Pride won 1st Place Breed and 4th Place Collectability in the OF Stone (Runs of 61+) European Warmblood class.
Silver Belle won 1st Place Breed and 3rd Place Collectability in the OF Stone (Runs of 61+) Other Sport/Spanish class, and then won Sport/Spanish Breed Halter Reserve Champion.
Strawberry Wine won 1st Place Breed and 1st Place Collectability in the OF Stone (Runs of 61+) Quarter Horse Mares class.
Penelope won 1st Place Breed in the OF Stone (Runs of 61+)  Other Pony Breeds class and then won Pony Breed Halter Reserve Champion.
All of my Design-A-Horses did well too and all won ribbons, with the exception of four of my Design-A-Chips.  The DAH division had unlimited entries, and I took full advantage of that, especially for the DAH Sport Breeds class since most of the DAHs in my collection are Palouses and I show most of them as some sort of sportbreed or warmblood.  I think it would have been better if I hadn't entered so many though, since the class didn't get split as I was hoping it would, and the placings seemed a bit more random and each of my horses in the class only won a ribbon for either Breed or Collectability, not one for each like most of my other horses in other classes.  Still though, I was VERY happy with all of my winnings in the DAH division.
Here are some highlights (I won't bore you with pictures of ALL of my horses' winnings.. plus I didn't get pictures of all of them).
Amaleki won 2nd Place Collectability and 5th Place Breed in the DAH Arabians class.
Foxy Lady (a OOAK FCM Palouse) won 1st Place Collectability and 2nd Place Breed in the DAH Morgans/Other Light Breeds class.
Norther Native won 1st Place Breed and 2nd Place Collectability in the DAH Morgans/Other Light Breeds class.
Chick A Dee (a OOAK FCM Palouse) won 1st Place Collectability and 3rd Place Breed in the DAH Gaited Breeds class.
Firefly won 1st Place Breed in the DAH Sport Breeds class.
Anjolie won 2nd Place Collectability in the DAH Sport Breeds class.
Willoughby (designed by Sara Kucharski of PawPrints Saddlery) won 2nd Place Breed and 2nd Place Collectability in the DAH Stock Breeds (Solid) class.
Gold Charmer won 1st Place Collectability and 2nd Place Breed in the DAH American/Mixed Breeds Pony class.
Dun In Style won 1st Place Collectability and 3rd Place Breed in the DAH Longears/Other Pure/Other Part Breeds class.
My little guys swept the DAH Unicorns/Pegasi class.  Falcor won 1st Place, Figment won 2nd Place, and Fantasia won 3rd Place (all Collectability since fantasy equines aren't eligible for Breed Halter).
My big winner for the day was Osh Kosh!  She won 1st Place Collectability in the DAH Foals class, and then went on to win OF Stone DAH Collectability Halter Reserve Champion.
While I much prefer Performance showing to Halter showing and feel a higher level of accomplishment when one of my horses wins at Performance than when they win at Halter, I was still very glad to do so well in the Halter classes on Saturday.  Like I said, it really made up for my disappointment from my Performance placings (or lack thereof lol).

The show day ran pretty late, and I was glad to go back to the hotel, get off my aching feet, and get some much needed rest that evening.  Rob and I decided to skip going out to dinner with everyone else, and actually left when my horses' classes were done even though there were a few other classes (maybe China or Mini classes, I can't remember now) still finishing up.  As much as I would have enjoyed another chance to socialize with people over dinner, I was just exhausted.  It was a good day though, and I'm glad I gave everything my best shot.

Since this post is long enough, I'll end it here for now and continue with my show report for the second day of the show in a separate blog entry.  :)

Also, if you're interested, all of my pictures from the show can be seen in my public Facebook album here.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Everything's Bigger In Texas...

...Including the model horse shows!  I went to A Midwinter's Night Ball in Georgetown, TX this past weekend, and wow, what a show!  This was my first time at MWB, my first time showing in Texas, and my first BIG horse show (except maybe since going to Breyerfest as a kid).

I knew going into this show (and was warned by friends as well) that this would be a big show and that the competition would be fierce, especially in Performance.  Region 5 is already known for being a tough Performance region, but I think Texas represents the pinnacle of Performance showing.  I've managed to hold my own at the Mid Ark Model Horse Expo every year that I've gone, and each time managed to come home with some sort of Champion or Reserve Champion rosette - but I wasn't kidding myself going into this show, and was fully expecting to get my butt kicked.  Not only have I been out of the hobby for several years until recently, I still consider myself an amateur/budget shower.  I've slowly been investing in nicer tack and props, but much of my set ups is still self-made/modified and/or not top of the line.

I felt like I was rushing the whole way through my show prep - there is just never enough time for me to feel ready and stress-free before a show.  I wound up remaking a lot of my documentation as well as my explanation cards and tried to make them as neat, well-researched, and professional as possible.  I might not have the most expensive tack, but at least I could try to make my documentation top notch!

Rob and I left Little Rock around 6:30am on Friday morning to make the seven hour drive to Georgetown.  He did most of the driving, and I tried to catch up on some of the sleep I had missed from staying up late to pack.  It was an uneventful trip, and we made it safely to the hotel that afternoon.  After resting a bit and reorganizing, we headed to the show hall.

The show hall seemed ENORMOUS and packed with competitors and models.
A view of the show hall from my table in the back corner.
A view of the show hall from the halter showers' end of the room.

I was getting pretty anxious at this point (yay for social anxiety... not).  After picking a table in the Performance showers' area, I got my horses unpacked and my area arranged the way I wanted.  I started browsing some of the other tables and all the lovely horses and intricately-detailed tack and props... and then I started to get very anxious.  But, I had done all I could, and the only thing left to do was show and try to have a good time anyway.

The Palouse Pony Parade was ready to go.  And Rob kept himself occupied.
The rosettes were so lovely!

More lovely rosettes and prizes for the Grand Champs and Reserves.

A girl could dream, right?

Rob and I went out to dinner with a large group of other showers and the hosts/hostesses and judges.  At first I wanted to just go back to the hotel and get dinner on our own, but I decided that going out with the group and hopefully chatting with some of them might help break the ice and calm my social anxiety so that talking to people during the show would be easier.  We wound up sitting at a table with two of the show hosts/hostesses, the MC, and one of the judges.  Everyone was very nice and welcoming, which made me feel a lot better.

It had been a long day, and the next two days were going to be long as well, so Rob and I retired to our hotel after dinner and tried to get as much sleep as possible that night.

I'll post the rest of the show report later!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: Year in Review

So, it's the start of a new year, but I thought I should quickly take a look back at 2013.

2013 was my year to get back into the hobby after another long break.  My horses were mostly packed up in boxes in the closet in my office/craft room since I moved in Spring 2010.  In late May 2013, my boyfriend Rob and I went to Branson for a vacation to celebrate our anniversary.  While we were there, we browsed some antique stores and found some Breyers.  They were a bargain, so I had to get some, right?
Rob also bought me these two, and now blames himself for rekindling my model horse addiction passion.
The ponies that Rob bought for me in Branson.

The rest of the year became a whirlwind of hobby activity for me.  I jumped back into collecting (aka buying way too many ponies) and started looking for shows in the area.  I only attended two shows in 2013, but they were a great way to get back into the swing of things.

The first show was Hog Wild Live in Springdale, Arkansas on September 14th.
It was a great show, and I did pretty well for my first time showing since 2008, plus I learned a lot.
My show string for the day.
Some highlights of the show:
Ruby Slippers earned her NAN card in Western for my Bridleless Reining entry.

Epiphany won 1st place and a NAN card for English Pleasure.

To The Moon NANed in Over Fences.

Brytteva and Chiquita won OF Mini Foal Champion and Reserve.

Brytteva went on to win OF Mini Reserve Grand Champion.
Several other of my horses NANed in Halter, and overall it was a good day.

My second show of the year was the Mid Ark Model Horse Expo in Greenbrier, Arkansas on November 2nd.  This was my third time attending the Mid Ark Model Horse Expo (previously I attended in 2007 and 2008), and it was just as fun as before.  I had a more successful day in the Performance divisions than I did at Hog Wild, and I think I also did a better job of socializing there (normally I'm very shy/introverted and have social anxiety) so the day was really a success.

My horses did pretty well!
Some highlights from the show:
Epiphany scored the blue in Hunter/Jumper.

Another blue for Epiphany in Dressage.

Epiphany even got a blue in English Trail!

Epiphany trotted away with CM/AR English Performance Champion.

Ruby Slippers got another NAN card in Western Games.

Epiphany came back and won CM/AR Overall Performance Reserve Grand Champion.

In the OF Performance Division, Pennyroyal NANed in Hunter/Jumper.

Pennyroyal got the blue in Dressage.

Pennyroyal won enough ribbons to earn the OF English Performance Reserve Champion rosette.
Again, I had several horses win NAN cards in Halter, hooray!

2013 was a good year for me in the model horse hobby, but I think 2014 is going to be even better.