Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Friday, August 08, 2008

More on the Tournament

Just a quickey to link to our local newspaper which ran a story on the Coursers and Quivers event last weekend on the front page this week!

Berthoud Surveyor


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

UH Coursers and Quivers

Unser Hafen, the SCA barony to which we belong, held their Archery and Equestrian championship tournament at our place this last weekend. The archery tournament took place in the morning. I saw a bit of it, Dave and Phyl watched a bit of it. (And then a whole bunch of other things happened to drag us away from it) They shot from several different distances at targets. These happened to be setup down-hill, as there really isn't much flat land on our place, and the archers were having a challenge to not overshoot the targets altogether.

At the end they did a big 'volley' shot at a flag way far down in the pature - scoring by who got closest. That was pretty cool.

(note the arrows still stuck in the ground)

We quit for lunch and retreated to the house because I certainly was in the mood for a little distance away from the chaos taking place. And it was good. But short, as it was rapidly approaching 1:00 which was to be the start of the Equestrian tournament. Got suited up in good time. *SQUEE*! We got many compliments on his blanket!

(yes, this is a repeat picture from the last post, but it's good enough to be posted twice. ;-D)

This next picture wasn't very good of Dave and I, but was spectacular of Jordan. Once again he was sporting the results of some camp-show-day bling. Amanda had done a really nice job of banding his mane. We took out the blue ribbons, but it still looked very impressive.

I was surprised that this year they didn't do the big parade, but rather introduced each rider individually. Since I never was able to make up a story about me and my persona that was pretty anti climatic for us. *shrugs* There is always next time.

Though Llameri and her arab sure made a splash. He was quite spirited (or as she put it, having an 'Arab' day) and jumping all over the place. Llameri is an amazing rider and did most of the tasks without stirrups at all.

Cecelia was last year's champion, and thus is this years (exiting) Equestrian Warden. She was in charge of the Equestrian tournament and did most of the announcing to boot.

The first challenge was a combination of 3 tasks -- only 2 of which we'd ever tried before! The birjas was first: you had to take a 4 foot rod, toss it through a 12" hoop, and CATCH it on the other side. LOL! I thought it would be impossible. This is the one we'd never tried before -- but Jordan and I did it! Only about half the people managed to do it so that felt really great.

Lady Anne -- good shot of the birjas ring itself.

Titus's shot ricocheted off the ring and dropped quickly.

And us -- can't see much except that with our height it really was a pretty good challenge just to get down to the level of the ring.

Immediately after attempting the Bijon we rode down to the end of the arena and picked up a pig-sticking spear, with which to try and spear the foam rabbit.

Morgan has an incredible costume.

I'm cracking up here because I still didn't have enough momentum to just swing that rabbit up. So I was struggling with it and in fact had to use both hands to get it upright.

And then finally you handed off your rabbit for a quintain lance. We'd done well in the warmup, so I opted for the big lance again. Our hit was medocre. The wind was playing havoc with the quintain. But I was still very pleased with our whole run, it was a lot of fun.

But check out the size of that lance! Jordan ain't no small horse and it's eaily 1.5 times as long as he is. We'd never tried using this lance before the warmup that day.

Nesta was the principle organizer for the event. She rides Rossalin's horse, Wagner, and looked great doing it.

After everyone went through that series of challenges, then we switched to Heads, which we did in pairs. Yes - other wise known as Head to Head Heads. We had to weave down, chopping off heads, then circle the end cone and get back to the start before your opponent. Well, we had a pretty bad start, and got off on the weaving such that we were nearly running over the pole in every weave. Grrr. But still weren't too far behind Nesta when we got done.

Yes, Wagner beat us back in this race.

In fact, Wagner won this race for the finish too. :-) Rossalin was laughing, saying the event had unleashed the latent race horse in him.

After the heads we set up to be able to run rings, also in pairs. That would have been fun to try, but the weather was continuing to roll in. It spit a little bit of rain, but really it was the wind that was threatening to turn the giant viking tents into giant viking kites over the heads of the horses that really made us decide to quit early. That was fine - everyone was tired and ready to pack up.

After putting the horses back in their stalls, and all the equipment away in the trucks, they moved the baron and baroness's thrones inside the barn and we held court in there. It worked great. They awarded prizes to a number of different people for different achievements. The outgoing wardens were awarded with amazingly beautiful hand drawn scrolls, as were this year's new incoming wardens. Their reward for winning the championship is to head up the training and practice of their respective diciplines for the next year, and to plan the next year's event. WhooWhee -- that's a full plate, for winning a tournament!

Unfortunately our camera started acting weird part way through the afternoon and the pictures were coming out cloudy. I'm sad for this because I think I'm the only one who asked for a picture of the two incoming wardens... Bugger.

Lord Colbain and Mistress Rossalin

Once court was over and the rest of the equipment loaded and trucked off, it was time to shower, eat and run off to the airport. Ah, but that trip will have to be another post - some exciting news there too.


It was the Worse of times

As we were sitting at dinner Sunday night, me rushing because I had to leave for the airport in 30 minutes, Mike commented "Bet you wish you didn't have to rush right off now." And Phyl countered with "I think there are a number of things today Monica wishes went differently."

Boy, howdy. Did I ever. It's a long story that actually began Saturday. Or weeks ago if you want to get honest about my procrastination with sewing our costumes --- but we wont get THAT petty. Not Quite.

Saturday a bunch of folks arrived to bring the equipment for Sunday's event, to stake out the archery range, to set up the main tent, etc. We'd mentioned several times that we are prone to wind out at our place, and because of that they decided to not set up the archery targets, but they were confident that their tent had survived quite a few years now and would be fine. They all left late morning. Phyllis and girls were heading off to go to Water World, so we were grabbing some lunch when we noticed a whole bunch of dust being kicked around at the neighbor's place across the road... And then watched as that dust came towards us, kicking up more dust from our pasture and arena. By the time it got to the house, we couldn't see 20 feet out the window. The trees were bent way over. One of our students was out riding Romeo, and I saw them come running around the end of the barn to dash inside just before the worst of it hit. And then it was gone.

The tent was too, by this point. Not gone, but a goner for sure. And then 5 minutes later, another wave came through just like the first. Ginger's double doors blew in. Our bathroom door was open as it typically is - and everything exposed to that wind was just instantly covered in dirt.

Thank goodness the kennel dogs were all inside.

A few minutes later, it was deathly still out there. We went out to look around. Picked things up from here and there. I'd gotten distracted earlier and had left my tack out on the hitching post. Somehow my saddle stayed put, but the grooming box, my helmet, my half chaps were scattered around. And the next day I found the saddle cover up behind the kennel. Collecting everything we could and putting it away, I then stacked some of the gear on top of the tent to make sure it wouldn't actually leave if it blew up again. Heading back to the house I stopped to throw away some trash -- to find that the right hand dumpster enclosure door - the one that is wider than the left and thus cannot swing IN -- was IN. Inside the other door. That latch overlaps by a good 1.5 inches - those doors must have flexed that much to let it swing inside the other. The boards that the hinges were screwed to were split in half. The door that has an anchor bolt that drops into the ground was split at that anchor point. In short, they're toast.

It was by then officially down to the last minute so I spent the afternoon and evening sewing -- tunics for Dave and I. I'd made one beige one that turned out pretty cute, but just a tad too snug for me. I'd intended it to be an under-tunic anyways, so that's fine. Set about churning out one for Dave -- but I screwed up in the process - it didn't fit him at all! I tried it on and it didn't fit me either. We re-verified Dave's measurements, and suddenly I realized I'd used some of his measurements and some of mine in the making of that tunic! LOL. Think that one is going straight into the waste bin. So I switched to the red fabric and made Dave a passable one. And made a final one for me: I think some people think I was just being clever making mine half red and half beige -- truth is I'd run out of red fabric! Heh.

Lookee - a family portrait.

Meanwhile the kennel was rather full for the weekend - 29 dogs over night! We'd switched our Saturday staffer to work on Sunday during the event, so Saturday we were all on dog duty, including my neices Sara and Kelsey.

Sunday morning started off ok. Lots of high clouds that managed to keep the temperatures down pretty well. Had a number of logistical kinks to work out - like mucking out the pasture around the archery shooting lines. Oh, also when the owner of the tent showed up they pretty much just shrugged - they said it had lasted them 7 years so they had gotten good use out of it. But she did say something worrysome -- "There was a cardboard box here yesterday..." Oh crap. It was the box holding the 'head stands' that hold up the heads on posts. I knew they were quite heavy, so I couldn't imagine the heads were far away. The box, now, I had little hope of finding. In fact, we did find one box, empty, and searched around a bit looking for scattered head stands (metal disks 5" in diameter) No luck. But after while she realized the box we found wasn't the right one. So we kept looking. Over in the water ditch we found it, and amazingly, though it was upside down and all 4 flaps were splayed out, all 4 head stands were still inside nicely snug down in their foam holders. Amazing.

Things started downhill rapidly when I was on my way back to the house to get into my garb, but instead I was summonds into the kennel because one of our employees had been bitten. She had quite a few punctures which seemed pretty shallow on her leg - no rips. We scrubbed them down and put ice on it and Ginger toted her off to the ER. This really was not the day any of us wanted to face "that day". We all knew it was inevitable we'd get an injury. All three of us have gotten scrapes and bruises from dogs, but this was the first employee, and the first real bite. Needless to say that dog will not be welcomed back.

Not long after that we were trying to figure out where the wasps that were showing up down near the archery range were coming from, and I got stung. Haven't been stung in 25 years, but when I was a kid I used to swell up quite a bit. Course, I got stung on the finger that already has the ring on it I haven't been able to get off for awhile. Soaking my hand in ice and oil non withstanding, I certainly wasn't getting that ring off the normal way after being stung. I was concerned enough that I'd swell and get in trouble with the ring that I had Dave cut it off. The ring, that is, not my finger. ;-D It was a bummmer because it is one of my favorites. We'll have to see if we can get it repaired. (Note, it's Wednesday now, and the hand is doing OK. It swelled up more or less to Micky Mouse proportions Monday and Tuesday, but is receeding now. It was certainly a conversation piece out in Seattle while I was helping them conduct the pilot for the software!)

Before long we had one of our students who were out just to do a little riding get tossed off and her horse come back to the barn alone. Really? I just didn't need that. Fortunately the rider was walking not far behind and was only scraped a bit.

Though I wasn't in the mood for it, I went ahead and saddled up Jordan to take him out for a warm up in the arena. It was a good thing, too, because despite being home-ground for us, all the new horses and people and equipment had him very much on edge. It was a little embarrasing that of all the horses in the barn -- HE was the only one screaming his head off. *sigh*

But he calmed down quickly once we'd gotten a look around the arena, and we had a nice warm up ride. It really helped to settle both of us down. And I'm very happy to say that from then on out the day went very well!

Read on, in the next post - due up very soon.