Saturday, August 17, 2013

Blogging from AQHA Region 1 – toes in the Big Pond

Today is Saturday and I’ve been here since Monday when we hauled in early to set up and settle in. I was able to grab a partner for Ranch Sorting on Wednesday – we only penned one cow in the time allowed but placed 5th in the Amateur – most of all it was fun and Grace loved it! 

Wednesday night I rode in a Trail Class Clinic, the clinic was great – tons of information on how to ride a trail course at this level, many technical aspects that I never thought about. The riding part did not go so well. Grace was running at the poles and by the end of the night she and I were both incredibly frustrated. Once again this year I am having a hard time not comparing myself to the well-schooled horses and riders that are my competition. Ranch Horse Pleasure on Thursday morning was another fun class. I am upset with myself for not having higher scores, I know I can do better at home; still Grace was relaxed and really flowed on pattern. We fell apart in Trail that night picked up the wrong lead and never recovered. Grace and I were tense for the rest of the pattern and I was so pissed at myself. When I came out of the ring my trainer made me continue to school my horse until I got her to settle. I wanted nothing to do with it. I had already embarrassed myself enough, but Sarah forced me to not leave the ring until I had ended on a good note. I had that overwhelming feeling that I didn’t belong here at all, really not cut out for the Big Pond. This was all taking place at 11:00pm at night when Trail ended. 

The next morning Sarah wanted to talk about it. She said I could go home if I wanted to and not show at this level but she feels that I do belong here and reminded me of all that I have accomplished in the last year with my horse. With that said she reminded me that for some reason I ride differently at these bigger shows and it is something that I am going to have to get past. I had planned to go home today but went ahead and signed up for Horsemanship on Sunday. Western Riding and Showmanship were held on Friday. I thought my Western Riding patterns were good, had a bobble over the pole at the lope in the Novice Am class but put together a nice pattern for the Amateur. Still not near the level of my competitors but I wasn’t last in the class either. For the first time maybe ever I enjoyed Showmanship. I even placed under one of the judges in my Rookie class. I should really consider practicing that class – I might have a chance to be competitive! 

I still feel like I am at the bottom of the competition here and I question why I am here. Then again if I don’t push myself to a level outside my comfort zone I’ll never have a reason to push myself and improve. I’ve really enjoyed spending time getting to know my fellow riders at this show. Today is English so no classes for us but I will school today to get ready for horsemanship tomorrow. The classes are huge- 30+ in the Novice Am so I will plan to just go out there and put together the best pattern I can.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I Fixed It Myself!

Whenever possible I prefer to take on small auto repairs on my own. Little things like lights and topping off fluids I should be able to handle, so when one of the head light bulbs burned out on the truck I went ahead and put in a new bulb. I must not have locked the collar behind the bulb into place because after a few days of driving the light was out of place and the truck had taking on a new smell of burning plastic. I popped open the hood and jumped up on my trusty step stool to see what happened. The bulb had burned through the plastic backing of the light assembly. I could replace the bulb but now there was no way the collar would fit on the assembly to hold it in. This meant I would have to replace the head light assembly.

I pulled the bulb out completely and planned to tackle it on the weekend. My truck was built in a Ford plant in Canada so it has daytime running lights. There is no way to turn them off so I was now at risk of being pulled over every time I drove with the head light out. I live on an Island which no longer has an auto parts store, so I would have to head 20 minutes down the highway to get to the closest one. The first store I went to on Saturday morning told me they could have the headlight assembly on Tuesday and they would have to charge me for freight. I called the other shop in town in hopes that they would have the part in stock. I was quickly reminded why they were my second choice store, apparently they aren't used to women who do things on their own.

Me: "Hello, I'm looking for a driver's side head light assembly for a 2000 F250"
Guy at Parts Store: "pause... We only have the passenger side in stock.. another pause .. And it's only for a white truck"

Me: " Um, this is a white truck, but I need the driver's side.. wait what does the color have to do with it"

Parts douche bag: "Ha! there is no difference they are the same, I'm just messing with ya!"

Me: "NO they are not! I am looking for the assembly not the bulb, I have the bulb. I need to replace the assembly because it melted"

Parts guy: searches inventory on computer " I have one in the warehouse that I can have here by this afternoon"

Me: "Fine. I'll take it" I really didn't want to give them my business but I also didn't want to either risk a ticket or keep the truck sitting for something I could fix.

Google is my friend so I put in "How to Change Head Light Assembly for F250" and found an awesome video from an online parts store. I had it on my cell phone while I worked on the truck and came back to it many times in the process. There is zero wiggle room to work with when replacing head lights or bulbs on the heavy duty Ford Trucks. The headlight assembly butts up to the battery casing which looks like a bigger pain to remove than to just squeeze my hand in there. On the driver side there is something mounted in a cage which I have to jam my hand past to get to the light. I wore gloves until the point that I had to take them off for feel. To get the bad assembly out I had to remove two clips and then reach down behind the light to release a bracket. I had to bring in a flashlight and a screw driver as my bracket was much harder to release than the one on the video. I should have been able to squeeze it with my fingers to release but the thing wouldn't budge. Finally I got it to give and the light popped out:

It's out! Too late to turn back now.

Melted! Why do they make those things out of plastic?

New Light Assembly Is In!

And It Works!

So Much For My Manicure!

The moral of the story is - don't be afraid to take on simple auto repairs on your own! Google is your friend and you can go toe to toe with the guy at the parts store. Actually the moral of the story should be - make sure the damn bulb is locked in tight the first time and you won't have to replace the entire head light assembly!