Thursday, September 26, 2013

The region 10 tag manager

Recently there has been some talk about starting a national tagging system. I only show in region X but I can certainly see the value in the system having used the RX tag system since 2007. I guess when you first hear about it there could be some confusion on what it's all about so I figured I would do a blog post about the tag system. I have experience with it as both a shower and show holder and have found it very convenient in both cases. I would also like to note that this is entirely about the region 10 tag system which is what I have experience with. I know nothing about the plans (or if there ARE plans) for the national system and I am sure it will not be identical to the RX system. That being said I would also like to say I learned to take a screen shot to do this post.
   So how do you get started? Well that's easy, you put in your email address, your name and your region X number (I believe that is ALL you need to sign up). A region X number is the number you get when you decide to show in region X. It is yours forever and all of your horse's numbers start with that 3 digit number. Once you are signed up for the tag manager you start adding horses. The add a horse page looks like this 
Since my number is 511 and I am signed into my account it is automatically up there. Now I just need to put in a 3 digit number for my horse, it's name, gender and so on. It's super easy and takes almost no time. If I want to do a bunch at once I can keep on going by clicking the Add Horse button. That will bring me to this same page and the horse I just entered will show up at the top (so you can't forget what you just did). If you are done adding horses you can click back to list to get to your horse list. That looks like this
This is just a piece of mine but it has all the tags in order as I have entered them, the horses names, their breeds, gender and make. I can easily edit or erase any of them with the buttons to the right of the names.
    If I am going to a show I can easily print tags from this same list. All I need to do is check off the horses I need tags for and click print tags. The system will ask me if I want to print all the tags or the selected tags. I will choose the selected tags and I will get a page that looks like this.
This is cropped down from a full page. These are regular address label size and can print nicely on Avery tags. When you are done stick them on a hang tag so they look like this
and this is the back
When at a show you put your horse on the table with the number side up. The judge writes down the number and then flips the tag over and can add the horse's name and the owner's name on the judge's sheet. Simple.

OK so I printed my tags and stuck them together and now I need a horse list to bring to the show. So I can do the same thing and go to the menu and click on print horse list. I get the same options of all or selected and I again choose selected (I really only NEED to list the horses I am bringing after all. So now my printed horse list will look like this
I show mostly in performance so I don't usually have huge horse lists to bring to the shows :)
When I hosted my first show (the month before the tag manager came into being) I told my judges to just write down the horse's number.  I had only ever attended two live shows and because I was very new and a first time show holder I didn't realize that in saving the judges time I was causing myself a big headache. I had to look back and forth between the number in the results to the horse lists, type the name and then on to the next placing. Results took weeks. If I hadn't goofed and had had the judges write the names I am sure it would have been quicker but still labor intensive. The next year when I held my show it took me two hours, total, to do the results. And it was a very large show. Also I didn't have to look things up or type anything other than the numbers. The data base pulled up the horse name and the owners name. Here is what that looks like
All I had to do was pull up the class name, type in the number of horses in the class then click on the first placing. After that I just had to type in the numbers because it would skip down to the next line after I typed in 6 numbers. Typing up the results for one class takes about 20 seconds. It really is super easy. When you are done all you have to do is click on generate results and you will get pages that look like this

There is also the option to print NAMHSA results which will give just the first and second place horses info. Oh, here is a nice shot of the menu for the tag system
It's very easy to use the show holder menu or the show menu. The site is easy to use, easy to navigate and doesn't take a lot of time. It probably took longer to do this post than it takes me to prepare my horse lists and so on to bring to a show. Plus when it's time for TRXC (The Region X Championships) there is a whole menu just for that. And it's very cool.

Any questions?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oh the mini donuts...

 The other day Jennifer Buxton did a blog post about miniature donuts. Well it was sort of a post about a prop that got out of control but I understand. I have spent many hours on many Saturday mornings making miniature food from polymer clay. There are so many tutorials to be found on line (and I picked up several books as well) and as Jennifer mentioned, it's fun to make miniature food. 

I have made pancakes...

 cinnamon rolls...
 cakes in pans...
 cake on plates...
 and once a whole tray of assorted pastries to thank my friend Marci for coming all the way down to my area of the world to pick up my horses for NAN.
 No donuts though. I have a serious lack of donuts in my miniature food collection. The box template makes it almost irresistible...There may be tiny donuts in my future. And some more pie.
 and maybe some more croissants. I love miniature food! I wonder if anyone would want to trade miniature food. How fun could that be!

Hmm, I guess this is the second time I have blogged about mini food. If you'd like to see how far my food has come you can check out the first addition of miniature food :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Yvonne can do it all!

As promised I showed Enchanted Eve in several classes in the English division at NEPC yesterday. All in her new side saddle tack. I have learned a lot about side saddle in the past week and did get some pretty good documentation but trying something new, with unfamiliar tack is very daunting. For her first entry Eve went in other English and did a game. I think the photo was originally from a side saddle handy hunter class but it could be a game so I went with that. The rider had to stop and take a tennis ball off of one post and carry it to the next post and put it down. Not too hard but with 4 reins to deal with I imagine it is harder than it looks. Well 4 reins still scare me so I didn't have the doll reaching for the ball but wrote a note in my documentation that she had just stopped at the first part of the obstacle. Enchanted Eve still got 3rd place but the judge said she could have done better if she was reaching. Maybe next time, all those reins are scary.
So next Eve tried out arena trail. I don't have any English trail patterns that say to just stop somewhere without doing anything so I had to take her hand off the reins for this one. She did the standing on the bridge showing the mail portion of the trail pattern. She got first for that effort of fearlessness!

Next Eve was going to go into natural trail with a clever card that said she was taking a short walk in the woods while waiting for her side saddle class at a show (have to explain the fancy outfit after all) but I couldn't get poor Eve to stand securely on the natural trail diorama. No one stands all that safely on that thing, I think it needs to be remade. So we skipped it for safety reasons. Then we went in dressage where all Eve could do was perform the salute. That was only good for 4th place. I am not surprised, the salute is not the most interesting part of a dressage pattern and there was some really cool stuff on the table. Even with my reference photo of the lady in side saddle tack doing a salute it couldn't get her any higher. But I figured it was worth the effort.

 Enchanted Eve's last class of the day was English pleasure sport type. She managed second place with that. Which means I managed to get all those reins back in the correct place after dressage!

When I saw the call-backs I figured Enchanted Even didn't have a chance at any big wins. She just didn't do enough classes. There were several horses with a ton of points on the table. But it's not all about winning, sometimes it's about trying something new. Imagine my surprise when the judge got permission to award a couple of honorable mentions for horses that did very well but didn't have the points to champ.
For my first time showing in side saddle I think Eve and I did very well. Eve was relaxed and comfortable the whole time, as if she has been showing in side saddle forever. I need to become more comfortable showing in side saddle but yesterday wasn't a bad start. Hopefully we will keep improving.

I still think that Jennifer Buxton's Hummingbreeze and Enchanted Eve are related

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The best prize ever

 I don't usually win awesome prizes. I am the one that wins the prize at live shows (when I win at all) that I put in one ticket for and didn't care if I got or not. So I was completely shocked and excited to find that I won Jennifer Buxton's blog contest back in February. All I had to do to enter was comment on her blog posts. I regularly do that anyway so it was easy to enter. When I won I really was very surprised and very very grateful. The fine print on the contest was simple, I couldn't pick what saddle I would get. Totally fair.

 Jenn and I have done several tack for doll trades so I do have a small collection of Braymere tack. Jennifer knows what I "need" and I was very much hoping I would get an English side saddle. It's not polite to ask though so I just kept hoping. When I saw the finished photos I was thrilled! How could I not be? The contest was for a free saddle but Jennifer traded me the bridle for something I made for her. I think I got the WAY better end of that trade (and yes, I feel very guilty about it and will hopefully remedy that soon).
 I was happy to have a side saddle to properly photograph side saddle dolls for sales pieces and orders. But when you get an awesome gift like this it doesn't seem right to use it once in awhile for 5 minutes and put it away.
 Well my excitement grew and so did my plans for this great set. I was going to bring it to a live show of course and show it in Other English. That would be fun. So I needed a side saddle doll of my own and I whipped one up. She may get a new coat one day, this was my first attempt at a cutback coat and I think it needs some work.
 Yvonne is a great doll for side saddle. She comes with several hand options which make it possible to hold the reins correctly (once you customize a pair of hands...)
 I did run into the problem of not having a clue how to even put on side saddle tack. This past week I have done so much research on side saddle riding. I ordered a book as well but that hasn't arrived yet.

 So my original plan was to make a doll and show this lovely set-up in Other English. But what fun is that? ONE class to show off this super awesome gift? It hardly seemed fair. So Enchanted Eve and her new rider are going to show in five classes in the English division at NEPC next weekend. After all once I get that bridle on I might as well show the horse as much as possible.

 I've printed out multiple reference photos showing me how to put the bridle on, adjust the reins and so one. The doll has been slightly customized to ride nicely but honestly, the Yvonne doll rides just as well side saddle as astride and with very little customizing.
 So side saddle riders/showers, how did I do? Did I get the tack on correctly? How are the reins? Do I have to shorten that apron a tiny bit more? I have photo reference of side saddle riders in regular English classes so I think I am covered there. But if I was to do an actual side saddle class what sort of documentation would I need? You can learn a lot in a week if you are obsessed focused but any tips would be appreciated. And Jennifer, thank you again for my truly awesome prize!