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!