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~