Saturday, December 29, 2012

Luck be a...

Its been an exciting year of amazing activity for me this year, taking me to places I never considered going, and of people making dreams come true.  I promise to do a year recap blog, but right now I wanted to share something close to my heart for now. 

As many of you know, I was extremely blessed to have some people come together and purchase me an upper level event horse prospect from Ireland earlier this year.  Clover Joe, or as we call him in the barn, "Captain", is the sweetest, most athletic, fun loving guy, and everything we hoped he would be.  I had the opportunity to compete him at a couple events and then, as some of you are already aware, a mysterious illness seemed to have beset him.

 At first we thought it was a sinus infection, and treated it as such.  When that didn't relieve his symptoms, we tried a myriad of other antibiotics, antihistamines, steroids, and therapies, with not much improvement.  We changed his feed.  We blacked out his window to see if it was photo sensitivity, and tried riding him in a variety of bit less bridles. This has probably been the most confounding, frustrating, heartbreaking thing to watch happening... seeing him so agitated and clearly not feeling well but not being able to help him much less diagnose the problem.  I  had people tell me that he was a "headshaker", that he had a training problem, and other assorted opinions, but in my gut I knew there had to be a reason and a way to treat the problem instead of just masking the symptoms.  I began to do research. and more research. and more research.

In my search for answers, I sought out friends and fellow trainers, peers and mentors for advice, and got some interesting information.  One particular friend (who is a veterinarian) even stopped out to watch me ride him, and did video on his own time to try and help figure something out.  Then came our biggest breakthrough.  A few weeks ago a friend of mine named Angel said I should contact Dr. David Miller and have him evaluate the horse and have him try acupuncture as it had greatly helped her horse.  I always say that people are put in our lives for a reason, and Angel is no different. I can't help but see the irony as she turned out to be a true "angel" in disguise for sending me on this path.  I decided to give Dr. Miller a try before going to Rood and Riddle to see if he had any idea of what could be happening with Captain.

Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Miller met Captain.  I told him the story of occurrences that began in August leading up to now, and he began his examination.  It was very apparent where Captain was telling him the pain and discomfort was, and Dr. Miller was actually able to show me blisters in his mouth.  We finally have a diagnosis, and I was so dumbstruck and relieved at the same time, that I actually just hugged him!  He believes Captain to have Immune Mediated Neuropathy Syndrome.  This is a condition that follows Herpes virus exposure or infection.  Captain's symptoms began on August 11th, 6 days after he had his first ever Rhino vaccine, which as you know is an EHV-1 virus. It causes inflammation of the nerve roots and peripheral nerves, and affects the respiratory tract mucous membranes disguising itself as sinusitis, blisters, as well as fatigue and hind end weakness. Captain illicited all these symptoms, some of which I didn't even connect such as his sudden cross cantering which I attributed to saddle fit.  All of the dots were FINALLY connecting.  Dr. Miller performed acupuncture, and treated Captain with some medication, and we have formulated a treatment plan.  This is a rare condition, and I want to stress it is not an EHV infection therefore not contagious.  It is an immune response to the exposure to the virus.

Many people told me I should not make Captain's story public for a variety of reasons, but I want to share this with you now because  if there is someone else out there who is experiencing the same frustration I have, maybe it can help.  I hope to chronicle our SUCCESSFUL therapy here, and give you all a chance to be on the journey with Captain and I.  While I thought our journey would be a much different one, I am optimistic and faithful that we will overcome this hurdle and continue on our path.  More than ever I am convinced that this is an amazing horse, as he tried every day to do what I asked when he was clearly suffering.  I can't wait to see what he can do when he is feeling 100%, and I can't thank him enough for being such a giving partner.

Thank you to all who have been so supportive, or helped me figure this out , and hopefully some great therapy, a few prayers, and a little luck o' the Irish will heal our own lucky clover quickly.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Clinic with Boyd Martin

not sure why there is a huge blue line....
On October 8th and 9th, we were privileged to welcome Olympic rider and four star competitor Boyd Martin back to White North Stable and South Farm for our fourth consecutive year.  I have been lucky enough to have known Boyd and Silva for five years now, and while I constantly wish we could train with them on a more consistent basis, the clinics they do are a wonderful refreshment to our training system and in getting us to raise our bar higher!

Monday at White North was all about the finer points of stadium jumping, focusing on riding out of a rhythm, and maintaining adjustability and balance at all times.  We started with an excellent turning exercise with two verticals set next to each other on diagonals, and proceeded to a related distance in which you had to be able to get 5,6,and 7 strides depending on your canter.  We then had a treble and did some course work, again focusing on ridability through out.  The treat of the day was watching Cori Garcia, Kelly Sult, and our own Kate Shaughnessy jump around the 4' and 4'3 in preparation for Cori and Kelly to compete at Fair Hill International, and Kate to develop a greater partnership with her new jumper Ciro.

Tuesday at South Farm took us to cross country where Boyd focused on proper galloping position, rhythm, and accuracy.  (And for me, proper connection with my new mount!) It was a beautiful day and Sarah and Chris had mowed and set up several areas that were perfect for catching multiple jumps where auditors could watch and listen.  I had so much fun watching everyone as they progressed through their lessons...several of my students on new horses that we have bought together, and seeing them excel through the sessions.   On a personal level I was able to have an excellent lesson on Captain, where I conquered my fear of Weldon's walls, and also dropped our little five year old boy off the Prelim water.  I was thrilled that Boyd liked him so much, and he definitely got me thinking on the fast track, reminding me that the fastest way to progress is to be detailed and correct in our training of this youngster. 

On Monday night we hosted our first dinner at Sara's Place to benefit the American Horse Trial Foundation which helps riders like Boyd fund raise to compete at the top level.  While we didn't raise as much money as I had hoped, we did have a great time, and Boyd gave a wonderful talk about his career up to the Olympics, followed by some candid questions by the audience.  It was excellent to have such a diverse group of attendees, and I personally would like to thank all who came, as well as Sara Welsh, Mandy Williams, and Jami Lieberman for helping me with last minute details. 

Big thanks also to Sarah Cherry for providing Boyd's accommodation, as well as our entire team (Liz, Mandy, Jami, and the guys) who worked to prepare the farm and helped keep things organized and flowing throughout the clinic.

We hosted the most people from out of town that we ever have, and had the biggest number of auditors to date. It is such a special experience to have the opportunity to host someone of Boyd's caliber, and I cannot thank him enough for making time in his busy schedule to come to Ohio and share his expertise with us.  There are countless things to be learned in clinics and lessons with Boyd, as well as his straightforward perspective on making one's way through the equestrian industry.  We can learn so much just by watching and listening; being immersed in that level of instruction even for just two days is priceless.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dressage at Devon

Buenos Noches owned by Angela Hambrick
October has been a marathon of fun events and competitions, and I decided the best thing to do would be to separate posts about each event.  So, grab a coffee, and enjoy the read!

Dressage at Devon was the first leg of our fantastic close to the show season, and I have to say it more than lived up to the hype!  I was so honored and humbled (but mostly freaked out!) to be in the warm up surrounded by people like Silva Martin, Cesar Parra, Lars Petersen, the Barteau's, Jackie Brooks, David Marcus, George Williams...the list goes on and on.  It was more than surreal, and also difficult to stay focused when half the people around you are riding legends.  Luckily, I had an outstanding support team with coach Charlotte Bayley-Schindelholz, groom Mary McKeon, and two fabulous owners, Marian Shaughnessy and Angela Hambrick to tell me stories that made me laugh, and keep the atmosphere from playing with my head. 

Goodman, aka Buenos Noches, kicked off our week under the lights in a fourth level test of choice in which he placed fifth out of eight!  It was so amazing to ride this spooky horse in the dark with shadows everywhere, and have him just do the job!  I was so thrilled with this little horse's performances...each day he was better and better, and stayed very confident (something we have worked very hard to achieve) in the ring.  We rode our best test on Sunday, and finished all the other days in the middle of a very competitive field of amazing horses.  We changed a couple things in the way we "bring him to the ring" and Charlotte got me viewing this horse from a different perspective, and it paid off.   I always think of this sweet horse as the little prince, but he came to the party in a big way, and told us that he is ready to be a grown up like all the other fancy horses.  Training him more like a "hot" horse, instead of a spooky distracted one, gave him a greater degree of fitness, and focus. I was so proud of how far he has come I thought my heart would explode, and I couldn't wait to call Angela each day and tell her what a superstar he was being.   I also saw how much more accurate and detailed I need to be in the tests holding my lines, and really developing movements ahead of time.  Watching so many riders be artists of this was hugely beneficial for me in recognizing where I need to take my own level of riding to be more competitive in the international classes.

Tsjesse and I competed in our first CDI (both his and mine), and it was such a fabulous learning experience, that I am still sorting out all the valuable information.  We did the jog on Thursday, and had fun getting all shiny and dressed up~a big thank you to my sister Mary who helped me find a great ensemble, and topped it off with a super cute hat that made the outfit!  Friday we competed in the Prix St. George and entered the Dixon Oval for the first time.  Tsjesse is usually a cool character, who comes to life in the ring like a peacock fluffing his feathers, but in this case, as soon as we entered the arena, I felt the breath get sucked out of him, and he was set back on his heels.  I have never had the occasion to have this particular horse feel nervous or actually scared which took me by complete surprise, and left me with a lot of riding to do in the ring.  We were able to get through the test, but had many mistakes, and a horse that never quite settled, even to the last halt where I could barely make him stand still.  It was very hard for me to understand that my stalwart partner had a case of nerves for the first time ever.  Its almost funny because this amazing horse has given ME the confidence to ride in the FEI, and been there for me when I have not been my best and greener than grass, and for the first time EVER he needed me.  I felt bad because I was unprepared for this to happen, and left the arena with a million things buzzing in my head.  Charlotte, ever the eloquent coach, smiled and said, "Well, he IS a horse."  She said alot of other things that helped hit home, but that one really made me stop and think.  We changed our preparation the next day for the I1, and I felt like I took a bit of a risk riding him early in the morning to school in the Dixon because after all he is a Friesian, and there is only so much in the tank.  It was definitely the right decision though, and this time when we went down the center line, I was ready.  I knew I had to "be there" for him, and I really felt that this time I executed with precision, letting him know I was right there with him every step of the way.  While we still had mistakes due to tension, we came out of the ring wiser and with a new found level in our partnership.   The best part though was even with the mistakes, he got three rounds of applause, making for a very special experience for Marian to see how much people appreciate her and her beautiful boy.

Thank you to everyone who made this amazing experience possible...owners, coaches, family (especially Mom and Dad who bought me a fabulous new short coat for early Xmas), coworkers, friends, and supporters.  Also, special thanks to Katie Gussenhoffen and  County Saddlery for sponsoring me and outfitting our saddles to keep the horses comfy. 

Lastly, and most importantly, thank you to the horses, for trying their best, sharing their special gifts, and teaching me something beautiful everyday.   

And to the Dixon Oval...we salute you, and will see you next year!
Tsjesse fan it Beielan owned by Marian Shaughnessy

Monday, September 24, 2012

Devon here we come!

As I mentioned in an earlier Blog post, Tsjesse and Goodman qualified and made the cut for Dressage at Devon this year!  It was exciting to find out that I would be doing my first CDI in Devon, but I must admit it felt somewhat surreal.  I thought after the summer we have had that there must have been some mistake.  Well, the ride times came out yesterday, and sure enough there we are....

I knew I was going to need some help getting the boys ready so I enlisted the help of trainer and friend Charlotte Bayley Schindelholtz to get us tuned up and prepared.  I knew I picked the right coach when we started working on the bending in halfpass in the first lesson with Tsjesse!  Charlotte really pegged both horses, and had me riding Goodman's "big boy" gaits (ahh my back!) right away.  We discussed a good plan, including body clipping both horses, "learning to run" with the horses in the jog (ahh my ankle!), not to mention all the things I need to do when I'm riding!

I am excited (and nervous) to compete these two horses for their owners Angela Hambrick, and Marian Shaughnessy, who have been two of my biggest sponsors over the past few years.  They have put their time, trust, faith and financial support in me for the last five or six years, and its so exciting to have the opportunity to bring their horses to such an amazing competition, and hopefully give them a special experience.

I have been trying to figure out my outfit for the jog, and found the most excellent shoes...there is a video of me practicing in them in a sweet outfit of brown breeches floating around out there (No blackmail please!) so now I just need an ensemble.  Or, I could just jog in the shoes, but I'm pretty sure no one wants to see that!  So much to do and only two days to go!

HOLD onto your hats folks,


Saturday, September 8, 2012

TIme Flies!

Well, time certainly flies as its already nearly the second week of September!  We had a great outing at the Grand haven dressage show, with Angela Hambrick, Sanae Tanebe, and Jessica Hart!  Angela made her return to showing in style, coming second and first in her two classes on Saturday with great scores in the high sixties.  Unfortunately, York came down with a low grade fever and subsequently we had to scratch him on Sunday since he wasn't feeling well.  Angela's horse Goodman made his return to the competition arena with me after a break from a tendon strain, and while we had a few exciting moments, he mostly held it together.  Sanae showed great improvement over the weekend, with great scores at Training Level, and she and her horse Leggs are becoming a great team!  Jessica Hart and Zophie also put their best foot forward in the dressage ring, and these two eventers held their own with the DQs!  Everyone had great placings and our riders were in the top three all weekend!  Way to go ladies!  Thanks to our grooms Mary McKeon and Maggie Des Roches for keeping all of us on time and beautifully turned out!

August took us to the Erie Hunt and Saddle Club Horse Trial, where Tiffany and Cisco, Jessica and Zophie, and Captain and I all had move ups to new levels.  Well, for Captain it was his first recognized horse trial in the US, and despite a spotty dressage, he jumped around clean and within the time to finish in 7th.  I am really enjoying getting to know this horse, and cannot thank all of our sponsors enough for giving me the opportunity to ride this amazing animal.  Jessica and Zophie moved up to Novice like professionals, clinching the win with a stellar performance.  Tiffany and Cisco made the move to Training, and after a good dressage, went into cross country with a great plan, but sadly had a miss at the 3rd fence, a very upright wall and ditch. All was not lost however, as it did give us the opportunity to meet a fabulous new friend, TD Seema Sonnad, who went around with us after the event to school the XC.  Seema is an outstanding TD, focused on improving safety and the education of the competitors in a very positive fashion.  If only all TD's were like her!  Thanks so much Seema for all your helpful advice, and giving us the chance to help Tiffany and Cisco work through the wall, and some of the other questions on the course.  We really appreciated it! 

We also attended the South Farm Horse Trial Labor Day weekend, and Jessica solidified her move to Novice with a third and a clinic of a cross country round.  I am so proud of all the hard work she and Zophie have done this summer, and they have improved by leaps and bounds.  Myra Chudakoff and her horse Mikey competed in the Starter and did a great dressage but had a little problem at the water.  She did a super stadium round, and finished in 6th! We did get to school the water after, and Myra did a great job getting him confident and reliable.   Captain and I did our second Novice together, and after dressage were tied for 1st on a 28.  It wasn't to be though, as I circled between the last two fences to try and get closer to the time for the tie break, and inevitably came in two seconds over!  HEARTBREAKING!  We ended up fourth with a 28.8 (yes its was that close!) and a really awesome directors chair for tieing with Holly Taylor and Nova for the best dressage score of the show!  Thank you to Sarah Greer and Chris Gable for everything they do to make this such a special horse trial.  It always feels like home away from home to us, and thank you so much for the great prizes!

Finally, two quick notes... Tsjesse and Goodman both made the cut for Dressage at Devon!  I am so excited to compete these two horses for their owners at a true festival of dressage.  It will be my first CDI and you can believe I will be enlisting some help!

and drum roll please....Tiffany and Cisco made the trek to the AEC's in Fairborn Ga (with Myra as groom, cheerleader, support system/happiness guru extraordinaire) where they are currently ranked 5TH!!!!! after dressage in a very competitive (well it is a National Championship) Novice division. Keep the juices going and go take down that cross country course today!!!! More updates as we get them!
Go Cisco and Go Tiffany!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Busy July!

We have had a very busy July!  After South Farm we took the dressage horses to NODA at Grand Haven, and while there seemed to be a black cloud over us  regarding transportation issues, the horses were amazing!  Tsjesse and I made our debut at the Intermediate I with great results.  We had a 65 and change the first day and placed second both days earning the FEI Reserve Champion. I am so proud and fortunate to have Marian and Michael Shaughnessy giving me the opportunity to show this special horse for them!  I also took York, owned by Angela Hambrick, and showed him in Training Level.  This horse is a hunter who has found a new calling as a dressage horse with my long time sponsor Angela, and he did not disappoint.  York won 2 of his three classes and was second in the third with scores in the high sixties and low seventies, earning him the Open Training Champion.  I am very excited that Angela will be showing him herself for the first time in a few weeks; its been a long time coming,  and I know she will be great! Myra and Mikey made their dressage debut, and did an awesome job at the Training Opportunity classes, scoring in the sixties.  This is a fabulous match, and it is going to be so fun watching them develop.  Huge thanks to Myra for all the hard work she did, and her patience through all our transortation issues. Thanks (and probably a few beers) is also deserved by Debi Smith and her husband "Smitty" who luckily took pity on me, and single handedly dimantled our trailer jack so that we could get it to lower onto the truck.  This guy is a real life Macguyver.  A hundred thank yous for helping us so I could get the horses home.  I also need to send out a big THANK YOU to my Dad and Mom for being our stand in grooms, and especially my Mom for keeping me from completely losing it when it seemed like everything was going wrong with all our vehicles.  She was a trooper and enormous help, loading and unloading the trailer, and running me home after all the work was done! 

This month also took us back to South Farm where we competed at the unrecognized Mini Trial with Myra, Jessica, Tiffany, and you guessed it, Captain making his debut.  Myra and Mikey had their first outing together at Starter, and did an amazing job, cruising around the cross country course in style, and clinching a great showjump round like champions!  Jessica and Tiffany each made a move up to Novice and Training, and showed that they are ready to rock the move up!  Their horses were both great, and they rode like superstars.  Captain and I made our first outing at Novice, with a respectable dressage, and great but green rounds in the cross country and showjumping.  This horse loves to run cross country, and everything is so easy for him!  He has the best temperment, standing on the trailer by himself like a big boy, and being easy to handle all day long! My Dad hung out for a better part of the day, holding, grazing, washing, and buying lunch to keep me from keeling over running back and forth from the warm up areas.  It has been really fun having my parents help out so much at the last few horse shows, and I hope I havent scared them off by putting them to work! 

Our last show this month was at the Cobblestone Horse Trials, where Tiffany and Cisco competed in the Area VIII Novice Championships.  This was the first time attending this event, and I can tell you we will be back!  They did an amazing job on the cross country footing and all the courses were outstanding.  Tiffany put in one of her best dressage tests yet and had an outstanding cross country putting her in third going into showjumping.  She and Cisco were jumping great but had an unlucky rail moving her down to fifth overall, still an outstanding finish at her first championship!  I am really proud of her for powering through, as well as for her excellent horse management skills, as Cisco was a bit foot sore, and she had to work at getting his feet comfortable throughout the weekend.  Great job!  Pictures coming soon!

We have this weekend off, and will be heading to Grand Haven with five dressage horses next weekend, and several of our clients making debuts at new levels.  Good luck to everyone, and stay cool!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

South Farm Horse Trial

We had a very good outing this past weekend at beautiful South Farm in Middlefield Ohio,  with Jessica Hart and Zophie coming in first in the Beginner Novice Rider A, Tiffany George Kete and Cisco racking up a big win in an extremely competitive Open Novice division, and Leah Fredericks and Earl coming in 3rd in the Starter A section.  All these ladies had outstanding dressage rides, double clears XC, and superb rides in the stadium!  It was so fun and exciting to be on the journey with each of them, and to see so many of their family members out supporting the team.  We also had Ted, Myra and her cousin out on Saturday, helping and cheering the ladies on, sharing a good bit of camaraderie! I am so proud of how hard they have all been working, and it showed this weekend! 

Thank you to Sarah Greer, Chris Gable, and all the volunteers who worked very hard to make this event spectacular; all the big and little details are noticed and appreciated so much by all of the competitors!  Great event, and thanks for all your hard work!

Congratulations again to our ladies and their wonderful horses on a successful weekend!

Birthdays to remember

When I look back at memorable birthdays, its hard to single out one extra special one because my family always made every birthday a fun and extraordinary day.  As kids my Mom made amazing cakes for us in the form of Big Bird, a space shuttle landing scene, or other decorative miracle. We had big parties with friends that my Dad made sure had fun activities, and we always finished the day feeling like a queen, or king,  if you happened to be my brother.  As we grew older, the special birthdays continued with dinners out, festive birthday singing,  and the quintessential Dairy Queen cake.

This year, my birthday was really something.  My family, of course, was ever amazing, with fun calls from my brother and sister in law and a sweet little message from my neice in Switzerland, wishes from Chile from my sister and brother in law,  and a yummy dinner with my parents and son (Ivor had to work) at a great restaurant in Chagrin Falls.  My friends and co workers not to be outdone brought me a birthday lunch from scrumptious Lemon Falls, gave me lots of wonderful things (massages, DD gift cards and more)  and got me a cake decorated with CLOVERS~and yes they even sang me happy birthday.   The most incredible part though, was welcoming our new competition horse to the farm from Ireland. 

 Mandy, Jami, Myra, Ted and Sara welcomed him in style with a suprise champagne toast and cute signs the night he arrived.  Its hard to believe that he has already been here a week now, and you would never know that he is only 5!  Let me tell you, Courtney can really pick one!  He is brave, calm, sweet, and loves to work!  As soon as this guy is tacked up, you better be ready to walk to the ring or wherever because he is ready to GO! He hacks out great...actually he would tell you he prefers to be outside, and I did a jump school on him Friday and he is really going to be so wonderful.  After a fun barn name naming contest, we decided on calling him Captain, and keeping Clover Joe as his show name. 

I cannot thank ALL THE PEOPLE and there are MANY who have helped to make this all happen, and I still feel like its not real...I have had people give me tack, saddle pads, halters,  a stall at the farm (THATS A BIG One), the HORSE (thats a REALLY BIG ONE), sponsors for farrier work, horse trailers, and so much more.  A hundred thank yous are not nearly enough, as all the wonderful gifts I have been given are more than any one person could ever hope for.  

Its been an unbelievable birthday, and so many people helped to make it more special than I could have ever imagined.  That, itself is a truly exceptional gift.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus...

Call it what you want...karma, generosity, luck, blessings, sponsorship...I call it
A Dream come true.

From the time I started doing this sport I wanted to do something cool.  I dreamt like good little horse girls do of having a "big time" horse that would compete on the national stage. My friend Janet and I were really extreme, and played with our Breyer Horses of Might Tango, Jet Run and a dozen others, "taking them to horse shows,"  and we were even known to run on hands and knees and jump books to "practice"! (You know you did it too!)

 A lot has changed since then, (thank goodness cuz my knees really took a beating!)  I have been given the opportunity to ride so many spectacular and amazing horses in the dressage ring, but have not had the same luck in the event world.  It became apparent to me earlier this spring that while I know "Z" would jump anything for me, and try his heart out, Preliminary was probably going to be his topping out point. He is such a special guy and it breaks my heart, but I know that he is better off doing the job he loves at a bit lower level.  So, the search began. 

I think I looked at over 150 horses since February, and only a handful made the short list.  For one reason or another, something would fall through or not work out, and the roller coaster that is horse shopping continued on.   Then, in the most unexpected way I was given a game changer: some anonymous people offered to purchase me a competition horse for the purpose of competing in the upper levels.  I was stunned at such a generous gift!  It allowed me to pursue avenues that I would not have thought possible, and opened so many doors to finding a really special horse.  Working with Alex Robertson and Bastian Schroder I must have looked at hundreds of video clips of horses in Germany, and we vetted one that didn't work out.  They were so patient and really kept after it!  I happened to give another friend of mine, Courtney Cooper a call to keep her eye out for me as well, and lo and behold, she was making a trip to Ireland the following week to look at horses for herself.  She kindly offered to look around for me as well, and I didn't think too much of it until I got an email a few days later.

Some of you probably know Courtney or have heard of her and her husband Neal's place C Square Farm.  Let me tell you, Courtney is an amazing lady.  First off, she is a MASTER baker; I hope I get cookies this year.  We have had the pleasure of working with Courtney on several buying trips, and she helped  match us up with the lovely Zophie for Jessica.  She has seen me ride a fair bit, and knows what I like, so I had full faith in her judgement. 

When I got the call/email/video of two horses that she thought I might like, I couldn't get home fast enough to see the footage.  Right off the bat, I thought Clover Joe was a great jumper with a good walk and canter.  She sent video of her riding as well as the current owner, Steve Smith.  They kindly posted more video at my request, and after talking, and thinking, and talking, and talking, (Courtney is a saint) and getting more pictures, we decided to go for it and vet him!  I have never bought a horse without riding it before and never off a video, but I was confident that having Courtney ride him would tell me what I needed to know.  I knew that whatever I bought needed to be a very good jumping horse with quite a bit of Thoroughbred blood, and that it was ok if it needed a little help on the flat.  This horse was right up my alley.  He passed the vet, and a deal was struck! 

Now that everything is done, and arrangements are being made for his arrival from Ireland, its starting to sink in.  I randomly get goosebumps and teary eyed when thinking/ talking/blogging about this whole process.  It seems so surreal that people would do something of this magnitude for me.  I have so much still to learn, and that they would put their faith in me is well, I don't know what it is.  I am so completely touched that really I am speechless (not that you would know it from this book I just wrote). 

Thank you Courtney Cooper.

Thank you Anonymous Friends who made this all possible.

How do you thank Santa Claus? 

One Event at a time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kentucky Wrap up

Sunday dawned sunny and hot with the temp at 85 degrees at 8am.  Tsjesse was first on the docket at 8:15 (thankfully due to how hot it would be later)and was a bit tired after putting everything he had into the test on Sat, but did a good test finishing 3rd out of 15 in the final PSG of the weekend.  This horse needs lots of carrots!!!! He was such a good boy and I was so proud and grateful to ride him for Marian and Michael Shaughnessy!

Tiffany was up next and put in a super confident, powerful stadium round on Cisco coming in within the time and leaving the rails in the cups.  She did a great job training her horse this weekend, and while she may not have finished where she wanted, she learned alot about him, herself as a confident rider, and became a better horsewoman and rider than she already was. Great job!  I then shot over to XC warmup with Jessica and Zophie, where Zophie told us she was super excited to finally run cross country!  Jessica piloted her around the BN course with ease finishing in 3rd place!  Congratulations!

Lastly, York and I had the Training Level Qualifier at 2pm.  It was SO HOT!  I think the heat got to him a bit and he put in a respectable test and got his qualifying score.  The judges all seemed to really love this horse with only one of 6 scores being a 68.9 and the rest being in the 70's.  I am very excited to see Angela ride this horse in competition and hopefully qualify for Regionals.  I also need to give her a HUGE THANK YOU as the unsung hero this weekend, toughing it out with me in the blistering heat doing chores, bathing, grooming & tacking horses, and being such an immense pillar of support.  It was so fun to have her there!  She is one of my biggest supporters, and I can't thank her enough for everything she does behind the scenes!

As a side note on the whole 26 thing...

After I finished recounting the events of the PSG Saturday and recurring  "26" in everything I have been doing lately to a friend of mine named Kristi, she said, "Well of course you won on Saturday, it was MAY 26th!" 

Enough said.  Lotto anyone?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

26 strikes again!

When i arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday with two horses instead of the three I was slated to bring, I couldn't help but feel a little sad that my buddy Goodman had to stay home due to a slight injury.  I should have known as soon as I saw my stall number...oh yes you guessed it stall #226 that God had something special in store for me this weekend. 

Thursday we began showing, and I had Tsjesse in the PSG and York, Angela Hambrick's newly re-vocationed dressage horse at his first time in the Training Level.  The competition was very steep and York was in the 70's, specifically 72 and 73, but still came in 4th and 5th.  Tsjesse did a good test with some mistakes that put us in fourth with a 63.  When checking ride times for Friday, I noticed I was in ring "R".  Huh, what is ring "R" I asked the Secretary.  She smiled and said "Its the Rolex Arena", and handed me a schooling sheet for when I could get in the ring to let him check out the atmosphere.  I have always dreamed of riding in that arena, but never imagined it would be on a dressage horse! 

Tsjesse was a star in the arena, and settled right in, hardly affected by any of the pomp and circumstance.  I have to say I was a bit nervous and had a fairly good test until the changes, when I simply over rode, and tried to hard, causing us to have some major miscommunication and mistakes in both the fours and the threes.  We got a 63 again.  I was so mad at myself! Charlotte Bayley Schindelholz was watching my test and gave me a few tips as I exited that I stored away for my next ride.  Luckily, I had the opportunity to ride in the arena again on Saturday, so I was determined to redeem myself.

Saturday was crazy!  Jessica and Tiffany had come in on Friday for the event (that's a whole story of how they broke down on the road outside Cinci that I wont go into here) and I had to juggle trying to do my rides but also help coach them.  We started the day with Jess in dressage and she did a good test.  Then it was off to showjumping for her, where Zophie thought the cattle trailer was going to eat her for lunch.  Jess did a great job riding through it, and had a double clear round.  Thank goodness we had a golf cart, because I high tailed it back to the barn and started getting Tsjesse ready with the help of my friend Mary McKeon.  Off we went for the long walk to the Rolex Arena.

I started warming Tsjesse up in the walk, doing lots of traver, renver, shoulder-in, and walk pirouettes, really driving home the consistency of bend poll to tail, and keeping the hind legs connected.  As I progressed to trot, we continued on the same path, adding 10 and 15 meter circles again, addressing the balance, and bending.  All of a sudden, I started getting more horse.  I noticed that several riders were dismounting so I thought I would check to see what was going on .  Apparently, the wrong ride times had been posted, and I had to wait 20 minutes!  This is not good for a big, black Friesian in 94 degree heat!  I dismounted as well, and stood under a tree until 20 minutes before my test.  I finished my warm-up with lots of 10 meter canter circles to half pass, keeping him bent and balanced, and popped those changes each once.  As I headed into the arena, I could tell he was a little tense.  I just gave him a pat, picked up a trot and focused on moving his body so he could refocus.  I had developed alot more cadence and carrying power in my warm-up, and he was right there throughout the test.  We rode one of the cleanest tests we have ever done, and kept a good rhythm through most of the movements.  I was thrilled.  As I exited, the judge commented on what a great horse he was, and I said, "He is just so fun to ride!"  and looked up at the score board.  It was showing a 70.5%!  I couldn't believe it!  Then the announcer made the official score call and I was the new leader in the Prix St. George!  I was stunned!  Everyone started clapping, and Tsjesse was so proud of himself!  We held our lead and won the class of approximately 10 or 11 on our personal best score of 70.526%.  I can't say enough how grateful I am to Marian Shaughnessy for having me ride this spectacular horse, and I am enjoying every minute of learning!

Tiffany was dealt the short end of the stick in the coaching department as since my ride on Tsjesse was so late, I could only watch her for about 10 minutes before I had to get on York.  She did a great test and was in the Top Ten in a class of 22!  Meanwhile, York scored a 73 and was fifth again...  Tiff went cross country as the last ride of the day and really shone as a rider, getting a hot tired horse through the finish flags.  She really dug deep to get Cisco around as he was definitely affected by the heat, and I am so proud of her for getting it done safely!

Tomorrow Jess has XC, Tiff has stadium, and I have the boys in one class each.  Hopefully we can pull off another great test, but in the meantime, check out this video of us executing our winning ride.  Go Tsjesse!  You are amazing my friend, truly amazing.

And as far as you 26's go, well, keep 'em coming! This is getting fun!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day at Stonegate Farm

Happy Mother's Day  to all our friends and Mom's out there!  We had a fabulous weekend at the Winona Horse Trials.  Tiffany and Cisco put in a solid dressage test sitting them tied for fifth in an Open Novice division that contained a few notable pros from the area!  They followed it up with a great stadium round, and tackled the cross country on Sunday with panache.  This pair has really come a long way since last year, and they jumped around the XC with style, poise, and an excellent rhythm throughout, landing them in fourth!

Jessica and Zophie made their comback in an Open Beginner Novice division with style! Zophie and Jessica had been on a hiatus due to an injury that required surgery and left Zophie sidelined since August of last year.  Jessica put in her time and it paid off this weekend with a lovely dressage test, and nearly foot perfect stadium round.  You would have never known they had not been on a cross country course since July as they rocked around the BN course with ease, and practically flawless tempo that brought her in 3 seconds under Optimum Time, clinching 3rd place! 

We have this weekend off, and are looking forward to Silva Martin joining us for the day on May 22nd for a dressage clinic.  We then head out to the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park for the KDA Dressage show and MayDaze Horse Trial.  Until then, have a great ride!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Keeping the faith

Prospect 1
Well, looking for a new event horse has certainly proven to be more of a task than I could have possibly imagined.  Some would say I am too picky, and others might say not picky enough.  I took a chance and flew to Florida this past Monday and Tuesday to look at two possible prospects (yes only two), one of which I was super excited to see. 
Despite a bumpy flight due to the high winds, I made it into Orlando earlier than expected, and settled in to my lovely accomodations thanks to my friend Catana!  She has a beautiful farm near Ocala, and I was very lucky to get to stay there!  My friend Alex Robertson kindly offered to take me around and show me horses-he sold us Sarotti and Tsjesse- and we had lots of fun; especially cross country schooling one of the horses that he owned and has alot of potential.  Our next stop was to see a horse at Samantha and Pierre St. Jacques, that I think will be a really beautiful horse for an AA. It was nice to meet them and their beautiful new baby, and chat with Samantha about horses.   Our final prospect was a horse I had been stalking since the fall, that has competed at an unrecognized HT and YEH class in 2012.  Maybe I built the horse up too much in my brain, but he was not exactly as I remembered. I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet Peter Gray, and tried to not be too nervous riding his horse!  So, slightly deflated and mind spinning a mile a minute, I flew home to think.  After much consideration I decided to go forward with the horse in a previous blog, Blockbuster (whom I loved right from the start), only to find out that he was sold the day before.  Talk about luck.  I keep telling myself that it just wasn't meant to be, but its still hard! 
 Finding that really special one with great gaits for dressage, a good mind, and spectacular jump is so tough! I know there is one out there and I keep telling myself to just keep the faith, let everything fall into place, and I will know when its the right one.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chances are...

Chances Are was the name of my first "real" event horse.  He was (you guessed it) a chestnut Thoroughbred that I competed to Novice. While I mostly did unrated horse trials with Chance, he  was a great horse, and I sold him before going to college to a sweet girl who wanted to do dressage.  I was a DQ even then.  I loved his name because I felt like it was full of hope and promise of the future; one that would take me to competing in equestrian sports at a high level.

Somethings can be left to Chance.  There is a chance that you can achieve things that you have only dreamt of. Chance meetings, lucky chances, chances of a lifetime.  Sometimes, you have to take a "chance" and wait to see what will happen.  Life is full of "Chances", if we could just recognize when they are happening .  Sometimes they are small everyday occurances that we take for granted, or the interaction with an aqaintance, friend or client.  Everyday, we are given chances, and its up to us to make the most of them. 

I am so blessed to have been given so very many chances, opportunities, and straight out gifts, that I am in awe of  God, the Universe, and people around me.  As I embark on what is sure to be the beginning of a great adventure and chance of a lifetime tomorrow, I feel like a kid in the candy store. I can only pray that God will continue to guide my path and lead me to the right series of events.  Thank you to everyone who is being so supportive and keeps making amazing things happen in my life.

"Ask and it shall be given you."
"Knock and it shall be opened unto you."


My faith is in You!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lets go Eventing!

Moi, Jim Wofford, & Sarah Greer
After a month of fun and successful Dressage shows and clinics, I was ready to hit the cross-country track and play with some stadium rails!  The first week of April we headed out to Jackie Smith's Stonegate Farm in Hanoverton for a fun day of schooling with Tiffany, Myra, Marie's horse Princess, and Zigzag.  We had a gorgeous day with sunny blue sky, a gentle breeze, and practically perfect ground.  Tiffany & Cisco schooled the Novice and a bit of Training like pros, showing that they are ready to hit the first horse trial of the year with confidence, and Myra & Mikey had their first successful outing together!  Myra is building a great partnership with this cute horse, and it was fun to see her get really brave as the school went on, doing the water, bank and putting several fences together.  Zigzag schooled with his regular poise and vigor after shaking off some rust, and eagerly hopped around the Prelim water, bank and shelter.  Princess is a new horse to us and this was my first time with her cross-country.  She is a bold, fearless mare, and we had a great run around the Novice and Training working on rideability and the transition from galloping to preparing for a fence.  She was lots of fun, and its always great to have the opportunity to ride a client's horse in order to get a birds eye view of what's going on.  Thanks Marie!

April 14th and 15th we attended the Jim Wofford Clinic at South Farm put on by Sarah Greer and Chris Gable.  First of all, a huge thank you to Sarah and Chris for bringing one of Eventing's Legends to our area.  Its not easy to put these clinics on, and to bring someone of this caliber to our backyard is really special.  I rode two horses in the clinic, one a catch ride of Kathy Henry and Sarah's named Klue, and the second my faithful companion Z.  I was excited and humbled that Kathy and Sarah would ask me to ride Klue for them as I had not ridden him since the summer, and really enjoyed being teamed up with one of my old pals.  He was a really good boy, and though a little past having to stand around, jumped great, and gave me some good points to think about in my daily riding.  Klue is a fancy horse that will make a SUPER dressage horse...I have no doubt that we will see him in the FEI dressage ring at some point.

 "Z" was stellar the first day for all the grid work and I enjoyed working on letting him figure things out without so much help from me.  I have to admit riding to a grid with no leg and long reins is a bit unnerving, but it was a great exercise in training the fifth leg of the horse!  The second day was course work and riding related distances, which for us can sometimes be a challenge as "Z" likes to head on down the line (read: charge down the line to the next jump)! Jim gave me some great tips like staring at the pole of the fence I was jumping to help keep him focused and not override to the next fence, as well as making the half halt quickly at the landing to let him move evenly up to the next jump. 
This was my second time riding with Jim, and I enjoyed his "playful" banter and thoughtful comments that got to the point.  He gave great examples and multiple analogies to help drive home ideas and training principles, and it was fabulous to have the opportunity to pick his brain about my "next steps."  I was seriously pinching myself during our discussion!

A huge thank you to the person who sponsored me for this clinic~what a gift! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Prix de Ville 2012!

From left: Sanae Tanebe, Leah Fredericks, Therese Evans,
Mandy Williams, Tiffany George-Kete

 What a weekend!  I am so very proud of all our riders this past weekend at the Prix de Ville at Lake Erie College!  We had such a great group of ladies making up our team, and lots of supporters coming out to cheer them on. The camraderie was so amazing!   Everyone worked really hard to get their horses ready and it showed, with a fifth place finish out of fifteen teams!  Thrilled doesn't begin to describe how excited I was that they were able to do this together!

Tiffany and Cisco
Tiffany and Cisco made their USDF debut at First Level with an impressive set of scores in the mid sixties!  This horse and rider pair are eventers turned DQ for the weekend, and they really brought the team home with great rides each day.  Its always tough being the last team rider of the day, but Tiffany is a seasoned competitor and handled the stress with class and poise, laying down solid, competitive tests each day (highlight score of 65%).  I am so proud of how hard Tiffany has worked and how far she and Cisco have come in the last year.  Its going to be exciting watching them event this summer now that the dressage is going to feel "easy" at Novice!

Leah and Earl
Leah and Earl were our lead off pair every day, and did a fabulous job starting us off with all their scores in the high sixties. (Read 69, 68, 67%) Leah is also an eventer, and Earl is actually her Mom Pat's horse, and I have only been working with them for a couple of months.  They also have worked hard, and Pat even rode Earl every day while Leah was on vacation to help get him ready.  They were a great cheering section for all the other riders throughout the day, and considering that Earl was just figuring out his balance in the canter a month ago, they turned in an outstanding performance.

Mandy and Saint
Mandy & Saint probably had their best rides to date, and were pushed up to 1st Level at this show so that we could have a team of four riders.  Mandy has been working hard to prepare Saint without burning him out, and has improved him by leaps and bounds in a few short weeks.  I am so happy that we finally got to take her with us to a horse show!  She was amazing, showing up at the crack of dawn every morning, and helping me and Mary M get everyone ready all day long.  While Saint was a bit tired the second day, Mandy rode two good tests on Friday and Sunday, and has just begun to scratch the surface of what this horse has to offer.  I am so proud of her!

Sanae Training Level
Reserve Champion

Sanae and Leggs
Sanae and Leggs were our secret weapon, pulling out some fantastic scores(71%, 68%!) and finishing the weekend as the Training Level Reserve Champions!  Sanae purchased Leggs a little over a year ago and has been diligently developing her partnership with this sweet little horse.  She had a turning point in Aiken this year, and boy did it show this weekend!  It was exciting to see the joy on her face when she found out she got a 71% on Saturday!  If this weekend is any indication, they are going to have a great show season this year!

I can't say enough times how proud I am at the successes of each of these riders and how wonderful it was (and how lucky I am) to coach such a fun team!  I greatly enjoyed the atmosphere, and thanks to all our friends who came out to support our group!  You really made it special.

On a side note, Tsjesse and Goodman also competed as individuals, and Goodman got a qualifying score for championships and Devon on Sunday!  I was very happy to finally get this talented guy back in the mid to high sixties.  I also had the opportunity to work with a Friesian trainer from Holland who greatly helped me with the ride on Tsjesse, and I can't wait to continue developing some of the tips he gave me!

Thanks also goes out to our groom extraordinaire, Mary McKeon, for keeping us all organized, clean, and the horses gleaming from start to finish.  It is so awesome to have someone who can run the show and let me just do my job riding and coaching! THANK YOU!

Until next time~

Thursday, March 29, 2012

LEC Prix de Ville!

We are off to the Prix de Ville this weekend with one team and two horses showing in the Open classes.  Come join the fun and cheer us on!  Ride times listed below!

4:37 Tiffany George-Kete & Cisco
5:21 Mandy Williams & Saint
5:56 Therese Evans & Tsjesse
7:51 Sanae Tanebe & Leggs

8:08 Therese Evans & Goodman
10:29 Leah Fredericks & Earl
1:09 Sanae Tanebe & Leggs
3:33 Mandy Williams & Saint
5:14 Tiffany George-Kete & Cisco

TBA Therese Evans & Tsjesse
8:25 Sanae Tanebe & Leggs
9:25 Leah Fredericks & Earl
1:55 Mandy Williams & Saint
4:45 Tiffany George-Kete & Cisco
1:39 Therese Evans & Goodman

Good Luck Everybody!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

LEC Dressage Show

We had a great weekend at the Lake Erie College Winter Series dressage show the weekend of March 16-18th.  I took Goodman and Tsjesse, and was joined by one of the Assistant Trainers at White North, Mandy Williams and Sally Cutler's horse Saint. 

Goodman was a very good boy, and put in two condident performances at Fourth Level with no drama.  I was very happy with his work ethic, and test on Sunday, and it was great to have his owner Angela Hambrick there to enjoy seeing him compete. Goodman can sometimes be a victim of stagefright, especially in an indoor arena, and we were really proud of how brave he was!   Tsjesse did the FEI Prix St. George both days, and scored a 66.9% securing the FEI Championship at the show!  We were really excited.  He and I have finally figured out how to work together, and its been such a gift that his owner Marian Shaughnessy has given me the opportunity to compete him. 

Mandy and Saint had decided to tagalong at this horse show because she and Saint will be showing at the Prix de Ville this weekend on our team, and Saint had never been to a show.  Boy did "Saint the Paint" impress us!  He walked off the trailer like he had been doing it all his life, and settled right into his stall.  In the warm-up he had nary a spook, and went into the show ring like a pro.  While he was a little exhuberant in the first test, he put in a very solid second test and won both his classes finishing on a 65%!  We were exstatic!  Mandy has been working at White North for some time now, and has really blossomed as a coach and rider.  She began riding Saint at that time, and has been training him as a good all around mount for his owner Sally Cutler.  When it became obvious that he enjoyed the dressage work, she began schooling him a bit more and taking lessons to advance their skill set.  Mandy has worked very hard with this big guy, and its great to see them be so successful!  We cant wait to see how they do through the rest of the summer!

This weekend we will be taking five horses to the Dressage Prix de Ville, fielding a Low Team.  Our team of riders includes:
Mandy Williams and Saint
Sanae Tanebe and Panglossian (aka Leggs)
Tiffany George-Kete and Cisco
Leah Fredericks and Earl

I will also be competing Goodman and Tsjesse again in the Open classes.  Good Luck to all the riders at the show, and we are looking forward to a fun weekend!
Mandy and Saint having a pep talk
at LEC 3/18

Its a Wrap

Boyd & Neville, Phillip & Mystery Whisper
Lauren Hough, Capt. Mark Phillips
at USEF Team training sessions
Well, its taken me a while to sum up our time in Aiken this year, so I thought I would just begin by saying WE WERE BUSY!  I was fortunate to have one of my best friends, Mary McKeon, helping out on the weekends, and Haley Goodwill as our official groom for the month.  While the trip got off to a rocky start~ie: Haley's truck breaking down, my substitute stall cleaner getting sick, one colicking horse, and Haley's beautiful dog passing on at home, it finished with a much better swing of events! 

We enjoyed having several of my wonderful clients come down during the second and third weeks to catch some sun and outdoor riding, and the  horses were wonderful.  Sanae, Utako, Cathy, and Jessica all rode twice a day (Jessica even got to do a XC school with the infamous Boyd Martin)  and made the most of their time in Aiken.  It was such a joy to have them all with us, and made for a great time!  We also got to do a bit of horse shopping, and came home with a sweet new horse for Cindy Pordon, Hidden Promise. 

I did a fair bit of showing while we were there, taking Goodman and Tsjesse to Florida once, and also competing them with Sarotti in John's Island South Carolina.  They were all good boys, and it was great to get back into the show ring and shake out the cobwebs.  I also competed Z at the Full Gallop Horse Trials and he had a fabulous run with some time to finish 8th in the OT.  Unfortunately, he did not get to compete again while we were there due to getting kicked in the field, but I am excited for what will be an interesting season with him. 

Fortunately, Haley and I took some time out to watch the USEF Training sessions at Ilene Boormans gorgeous place Bridle Creek Farm, with Lauren Hough and Capt. Mark Phillips which was very educational.  We had the opportunity to see Lauren coach Boyd, Phillip, and Becky Holder, and she even took a ride on Can't Fire Me which was very interesting.  For someone like me who struggles a bit sometimes in the showjumping, I found it very helpful to watch a petite woman pilot a larger horse around some big jumps.  Of course, its always amazing to watch Boyd and Phillip ride; I learn so much by watching!!!  I also had the outstanding opportunity to catch a few lessons with Boyd and Silva, and I can't thank them enough for making time for me.  I get so much from their lessons, and it really ups my game at the start of the season.

I have to say one of the best parts of my trip was the friendships I was able to make, and others that I was able to rekindle.  I enjoyed getting to meet Michelle and Chris Adamson from England, and hear all about their homebred steeplechasers turned event horses, Emily Beshear and her adorable son Nicholas, and Jimmie and Dom Schramm and their "coyote dog" Willow (no she is not really a coyote) who Rose promptly dubbed as part of the family.  I would be remiss if I didnt mention Bubba Forrester and his girlfriend Janet who are the perfect hosts at Sandy Hills Farm, and I will be missing the glazed donuts on Sunday mornings.  Speaking of hosts, where do I begin in thanking Diane and Steve Toth my friends and hosts for not only welcoming me into their home, but also for all their help, support, and general sanity, not to mention chocolate cake, brownies, dinners, stall cleaning, truck fixing, and the hundred other things they did to make life easier during such a crazy time!  I OWE you a huge THANKS!

Lastly, thanks to everybody at home who held down the fort and enabled me to go this husband Ivor and son Jake~ thank you guys for giving me the flexibility to be gone for such a long period of time.  My parents for helping out with Jake on weekends, and all their encouragement, and finally, all the people at White North (Mandy, Liz) for teaching and riding so many horses while I was away! 

And now, on to the show season!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Building the Bench

Well, I know that I am way behind in regaling you with the events in Aiken, and I have decided to impart the activities of the month in something less than chronological order. (Sorry)! 
As some of you may already know, I have quietly been on the hunt for a "special" eventing partner that is a serious upper level prospect for the future.  Who isn't, right?  I have had the amazing opportunity to ride several wonderful horses, some for extended periods of time, but never felt the proverbial "click". 

I like to think of Eventing like a professional sports team...think baseball, hockey... part of creating a team is to have some superstars on the first string, as well as DEPTH on the bench.  A good team has to have up and coming players learning the ropes from the big guys for the team to be consistently successful.  The Detroit Red Wings are amazing at this.  I would never purport to REally know anything about hockey, but thanks to my husband I have a distinct appreciation of the hard work, knowledge and attention to detail that they employ in their team building to have a group of athletes that dominate at the top level of their sport year after year. 

During my time in Aiken, I continued this search and low and behold, found an outstanding prospect that I believe to be the future at Evans Eventing.   Blockbuster is a gorgeous, U.S. bred, 6 year old Dutch gelding by Sir Sinclair.  He is an outstanding mover, with a fantastic personality, and a great jump.  This young horse never looks at a fence~let's remember when I tried him he had only jumped a handful of times, and went straight through a bounce, one stride, and variable lines, not to mention spooky panels, liver pools and planks.  He never looked at a thing!  I even hacked him out, and he would rather trot or canter than walk.  He is curious about investigating his world, and shows the real quality and "thinking" properties possessed by top eventers.  After sitting on him the first time, (at the risk of sounding cliche) I knew this was the horse I had been trying to find.  The best part is that because he is by Sir Sinclair, he has about 25% or more Thoroughbred coursing through his veins!

I had the opportunity to ride him several times, (including with Boyd~thank you!) and really got to know his character and capabilities.  After some thought and some chance meetings of his breeder, I began trying to put a plan together to purchase this amazing horse.  I have secured one part owner, and one sponsor, not including myself to bring Blockbuster to Evans Eventing, but we need a few more people who want to be part of our exciting future to bring it to reality.  The sky is the limit with this horse, and he presents a fabulous way for someone to get involved in the sport of Eventing at the ground floor of an international prospect as we make our way up the levels.  Please contact me at or 440-622-4976 if you have any interest big or small in becoming part of the group to bring this developing horse to our  team.  In the meantime, enjoy the video!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Congratulations Cindy!

I am pleased to announce and welcome Cindy Pordon's purchase of her new Dressage horse, Hidden Promise!  Promise is a 10yr old TB, (yes you read that right, TB!) trained to 4th level, and schooling the FEI Prix St. George. Purchased from Silva and Boyd Martin, Promise was bred and previously owned by Nina Fout who competed him to the two star level in Eventing.  He is a very fancy mover with a fabulous temperment, and we are very excited for Cindy to continue her dressage career with such an amazing partner!  Cindy was one of my first dressage clients at White North, and it is a joy to see her purchase such an exceptional horse. I wish you all the best for the future! Congratulations!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rest up "little chickens", rest up.

Myra and her new pal Mikey
2012 has made a quiet entrance but is quickly going to transform itself into a lion of a year at Evans Eventing.  We head to Aiken with a great group of horses this year including 3 dressage horses that will show twice in Florida, and 3 event horses that will show 3 times in Aiken.  Its going to be busy without my right hand girl Mary keeping me organized as she is in Chile on MATERNITY duty! I can use some more help while we are there, so let me know if you have any interest.

Zigzag decided to give us a little scare this past week when he took a gallop around the pasture and came up with a fussy leg the next day.  Seven days and one ultrasound later he is fine (Phew) and back in training for hopefully what will be his debut at Preliminary in Aiken.  We have a rigorous schedule set for him this spring and there is some one star whispering, but we are not going to get ahead of ourselves.  What I can tell you is that he is really happy in his work, and feeling good and quiet in his body so fingers crossed, and saying our nightly prayers!

We have a couple clients looking for new horses so we will also be doing some shopping in Aiken and the surrounding area.  Speaking of which, congrats to Myra Chudakoff on the purchase of Mikey (pictured above) a 10yr old Tb gelding that she is going to start eventing in the summer.

Our show schedule is going to be pretty demanding once we get back with two horse shows in March, and between the dressage circuit and events we are going to hit the ground running and never look back until about November.  My Mom has a great saying for this...she always refers to us as "little chickens" because we are always "cluck cluck clucking" around  and difficult to herd into an organized flock.  Nevertheless, wherever she tries to lead we eventually follow, except for that one little straggler (you know who you are!).  So, rest up little chickens. Its going to get busy!