The Kids at Work

2007 Now & Then

The following pictures and comments are ordered in reverse
chronology so the most recent will be seen first.

Standing Still

Tried Tandem again today, first lesson this fall. Someone asked me a few weeks back "How long have you been taking lessons and just how much longer will you need them." Odd question really, does anyone ever know all there is to know about anything?

The kids were great. They stood quietly while we worked out the harness. Moved forward when asked and by the end of the day were trotting off across the field ready to try our first hazard. We weren't perfect by any means but this is a new adventure we are ready for. Been toying with the tandem idea for several years off and on never taking that leap turns out the leap wasn't that bad or scary after all. With a little luck and a lot of work we hope to compete Tandem in '08. See you there!

Day One

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Each event this year found us with a different navigator/groom. Some might question why. There are two schools of thought on this matter:

  • One - I am so difficult and my horses so unruly that no one dares to ride with us more than once. …or…

  • Two- I am so kind and generous, my horses such fine tuned athletes that people are waiting in line to be invited to join Team Too Mini.

In reality it's none of the above. I am very lucky to know people who are able to take time off from work and away from their own interests to join me. I truly appreciate their help and support. They make it possible for me to follow a dream.   Thank You.

The last official event we attend each year is the VSE DT-T held at Happ's. The full name is VSE Combined Driving Schooling Event. It's two complete driving trials held one each day of the weekend. Last year we did not finish the second day. This year we did just fine, improving our score by nearly 4 points even with a higher dressage score on Sunday.

My sister agreed to join us this weekend as my groom/gator. She used to travel with me often to breed shows in my other life not so much nowadays. It was nice having her in camp once again. A funny thing happened during marathon, funny to me anyway. We decided to dress up some for marathon. Part of that included a flag the type that attaches to a bicycle for safety on a fiberglass pole. It looked great with its winner's black & white pattern. Here is the funny part.

Sue at Happ's

Turns out that flag pole is quite flexible, seems that at speed and tight corners it got whipping around pretty good. Let's just say that Sue was glad she had on a helmet when we were scooting around in the hazards. I was wondering what that strange ticking was. :) Needless to say the second day the flag was gone. Pictures here.

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Kim at Lincoln Creek

Did I mention we had no summer here? Lincoln CDE is held in August, traditionally the hottest month of the year here. This year it felt like fall especially Sunday.

A friend of fellow VSE competitors was in the area from out of state and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I asked if she wanted to groom for me and she agreed. Worked out well for us both, I had the assistance of an experienced horse woman and she not only had an opportunity to see a CDE event but to participate.

CDE results here

Dressage for VSE pairs was held in a 40x80 arena. Not an easy adjustment from the 60x30 everyone else offered this season but we did our best. Cones was a little different here also, VSE were only allowed to do the first 16 out of 20 gates. Seemed odd to quit two-thirds of the way through. We made our time but two balls down did not help our standings any

Lincoln Creek organizers also offered us all three phases of marathon. A=5k, D=1k, E=6.35k. 6 hazards. It's great to be considered a serious competitor. We were nearly last in the order of go so the cool weather was actually a benefit. That said I still hate to be cold and wet.

Timing both event and airline made it impossible for Kim to finish the competition with us. That opened the door for another competent horse person, Hannah Stormer, to join the Too Mini team as navigator during marathon. Hannah is not new to the combined driving world, I was lucky to find her available. She saved us on the very first hazard by keeping track of our loops and making sure I went through "B" before "C". Thanks Hannah!    Pictures here.

Hannah at LC

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Beavercreek

First time at Beavercreek. This event has a reputation for being tough. Lots of hills and valleys very little flat. The dressage arena was on the flattest of these areas still it had a nice crown at about "F" sloping down to "C" so most of our lengthening was uphill.

The entire cones course was on an incline. Even so it was nicely laid out with lots of places to pick up speed. This was the most difficult part of the event for us. Weaving our way up, down, all around the hill took it's toll. My guys were spent by the time we went through gate 20. So much so that I was considering withdrawing from the marathon.

The next day the kids were rested and ready to go. Guess that conditioning program is working. With the help of another of my favorite navigators, Peter Hance, we completed the course with flying colors. The horses finished the course in great shape, tired surely but not nearly as used up as the day before.

CDE results here   Pictures here.
scenery

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Each year those of us living in or within driving distance of Ethel, Washington here in the great northwest is treated to a full 3 day Combined Driving Event hosted by Happ's-Inc. This will be my fourth year in attendance. 71 entries in all, 25 of those VSE with entries in all three divisions. The competition here is fierce I wouldn't miss it for anything.

My good friend Jenn Charles agreed to navigate/groom for us again this year a habit I hope to continue.   We did not win our division but I am very pleased with the skill and effort the Too Mini team exhibited.   Our dressage score was very good.   Marathon went smoothly except for a little glitch in the water hazard, driver error.   Even so, if we would have had a clean round in cones we could have won.   Speed and accuracy, we had neither that day but don't count us out.

Happ's organizers were the first in our area to offer VSE full Sections A, D and E. We used the exact same courses as the other competitors, division appropriate, in accordance with the new rules passed this year by the ADS.

Jenn & K.C.

It was wonderful, we were given a chance to stretch our legs with the "A" any pace, cool off with a nice walk in "D" both providing the same warm up enjoyed by the big guys before embarking on a full marathon (4.86k for prelim) complete with 6 hazards and several water crossings.

CDE results here   Pictures here.

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With Stoneybrook DT cancelled this year we decided to give the breed ring another try. Pacific Crown Show & Evergreen Miniature Horse Club

The Pacific Crown weekend started off with some in hand classes. Obstacle in hand has always been one of Willy's favorites. The problem is he thinks he knows it all. Always inserting his personality into the performance. No one is ever quite as impressed with him as he is.

Look at me!

K.C. on the other hand is quite and obedient, though a little skittish when separated from her partner. That said K.C placed higher than Willy in almost everything. We had fun negotiating an obstacle driving course for pairs right after the warm up of single obstacle driving each of the kids.

Show Off

Evergreen Miniature Horse Club was next in line, one month after Pac crown and one week before Beavercreek. No in hand classes for us this time but we did hitch up for a fine harness class and a pair discipline rail. Another fun offering was the pairs liberty. A non-rated class offered only by Evergreen.   More Pictures

Nice & Easy

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One of my goals this year was to be in condition, fit and ready to compete. I always start early in the year, generally as soon as weather permits. The weather never really cooperated so we bit the bullet and got going anyway. Two things I did differently this time. First I got and used a GPS. No more guessing how far or how fast our workouts were. Second was to record everything in a log. Feed, weight, vet, ferrier, along with our conditioning efforts all written down. The aim was to not only keep us honest with our current work but to provide a record for us to follow in the future.

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Our first outing this year other than lessons was Cabin Fever Escape at Happ's in Ethel, WA. The main theme of the weekend was an introduction to carriage driving from choosing the right horse, through harnessing on to driving.

           Rein Board   First Try   Ho Hum

I was there as a helper and my guys were used now and then for demonstrations. A highlight of the weekend for me was hitching up tandem and giving it a try. The horses took to it right away. Me on the other hand could not keep the lines straight. More Pictures

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