From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Monday, 12 September 2011

Martine and Dressage - Regional Dressage Championships 2011

The earliest photo of me on a horse.
Taken on holiday in 1975.
I'm on the right
I started riding when I was seven years old (thanks Mum!), but did not have my own pony or horse until I was in my mid-twenties (yeah, thanks Mum!)  
I did my best to make up for lost time, and got very involved in the Cork riding club scene for several years, competing regularly and organising competitions for my club. 
As our daughters got older, they started riding more and more seriously, so on Sundays, the family would often be split up as George took them off to showjumping competitions with their ponies and I went off to whatever was going on with the riding club. 
One Sunday, I had an epiphany moment while I was standing in the middle of a windswept field, mobile phone clamped to my ear, listening to the girls excitedly telling me all about their clear rounds that day.  I realised I was missing out on a huge part of their life, and I resolved to put my own (not very exciting) equestrian career on hold and become the dreaded “pony mum
So the family was reunited on Sundays, and we hauled ponies, horses & girls all over Ireland for the best part of ten years.  We had successes, disasters, triumphs and tears, and I wouldn’t have missed one minute of it! 
Towards the end of Tansy’s teen years, she got more and more into dressage, and I got more and more involved in the organisational side of it, happy to put something back into the sport.  I’ve been Chairman of South Munster Dressage Club for three years, and I’ve been one half of the driving force behind “Silver Spurs” for that time as well, the other half being my good friend and sometimes trainer, Naomi Donoghue, Chef d’Equipe of the Irish Para-equestrian team.
Now that Tansy is competing less, I have time for myself again!  My lovely cob Flurry has been drafted into the role of “Martine’s Dressage Horse” and.... well.... we’re having fun!
Flurry & me, just after I bought him

In a dressage test, you ride a series of movements, just like the set pattern in figure skating.  For each movement, you’re allocated marks as follows (para-phrasing  from Stephen Clarke):

10 - Excellent
The movement could not be done better. It is something very special to give a 10, and if given too lightly will lose its significance.
9 - Very Good
'Goose bump material', with most of the movement being excellent.
8 - Good
For an 8 there must be no basic problems. The movement has been properly executed, but maybe there was some small hiccup that brought it down from a 9
7 - Fairly Good
There is usually nothing to really complain about with a 7. Normally everything needs a little more impulsion, suppleness, expression and/or cadence. The basic qualities are clear and show a certain amount of harmony and ease within the movement itself.
6 - Satisfactory
This covers a multitude of sins. It is normally a 6 when the movement is basically correct but lacking in quality.
5 - Sufficient
If the horse has achieved the movement it is usual to give a 5. Even if the movement is a somewhat restricted, earthbound, lacking suppleness or impulsion, as long as the regularity is clear and the figure is fairly accurate, it can still warrant a 5.
4 - Insufficient
The most important thing when giving a 4 is that one thinks of the movement as 'insufficient'.
Serious mistakes like breaking pace, dropping out of canter, jogging through part of a walk movement, not walking in a simple change are examples of when a 4 or even a 3 would be appropriate.
3 - Fairly Bad
This could be given if there is fairly bad resistance, or a resistance combined with a lack of quality and/or other mistakes (resistance = horse very reluctant to do what is being asked of him).
1 - Very Bad and 2 - Bad
These marks are about severe resistance. For example if a horse stops, runs back or refuses to go forward. Provided this is not for more than 20 seconds (when he would be eliminated), then the movement has to be bad or very bad.
0 - Not Performed Practically nothing is shown

I have my own interpretation of this system.  It goes something like this :

10 - That Judge is insane - clearly bonkers, no-one ever deserves a 10
9 - I think I’m getting sympathy marks – the judge knows me/thinks my horse is cute and/or is being nice to me
8 - Me & my horse are awesome - I’ll be on a high for weeks
7 - I’m very happy – I’ll be on a high for rest of the day
6 - Not too pants – yeah, ok I can live with that
5 - Fairly pants – hmm, not great, I need to do a bit of work
4 - Pants – crap really, I’ll have to roll up the sleeves and sort that out (usually to do with striking off on the wrong leg in canter or breaking pace)
3 - I am never riding in front of that judge again - he/she doesn’t know what they’re talking about
2 - I am never doing dressage again - why do I do this to my horse?
1 - I am never riding again - why do I do this to myself?
0 - That Judge is insane - of course I performed that movement!

Flurry and I have been competing in the amateur “Sportsman’s A” classes with Dressage Ireland since March this year.  We’ve managed to qualify for the National Championships (two scores over 62%) so actually, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve achieved – Flurry had never seen a dressage arena before he met me, and I really hadn’t ridden for over eight years, apart from the odd hack on the girls’ ponies.
Due to personal commitments, I can’t compete at Nationals this year (but watch out next year) so the South Munster Regional finals held today was really my last BIG outing this year.  This is how it went.
6.30am: Out of bed, fed Flurry, scraped off mud, plaited his mane, washed his tail. 
7.30am: Back inside, ate brekkie, watched the second half of Ireland v USA (jeez, what can I say? They were so bad they made the yanks look good)
9.00am: Load up jeep, hitch up trailer, load up horse and off we go....
9.30am: arrive at Maryville Stables, help set up arena with other victims... eh I mean volunteers
10.30am: tack up, mount up, warm up....
11.06am: in we go for championship Prelim test.  Not the best ever, he broke out of canter, jogged in his walk, we came out with 56.6.  Going by my scale of marks above, between a 5 and a 6 overall - yeah, ok I can live with that, hmm, not great, I need to do a bit of work
11.45am: in for “other” Prelim test.  Flurry felt GOOD by my standards!  Yeah, the canter still isn’t perfect, it’s a work in progress, but he was going forward sweetly and was (mostly) round.  We came out with 63.2 – a mark that’s good enough to qualify for Nationals, and according to Martine’s Scale of Marks, “yeah, ok I can live with that”, with a touch of “I’ll be on a high for rest of the day”
12.00pm: To work, helping run the show.  Competition was scheduled until 5pm.  However, the impending arrival of the late hurricane Katia had caused a lot of people to withdraw, so we encouraged people to go early when possible and managed to finish up half an hour ahead of schedule.
4.30/5.00pm: help disassemble arenas with other eejits, sorry, volunteers
5.30pm: Back home, walk dogs, feed horses, order chinese and relax!

A good day!