Sunday, May 20, 2012

Green Flags!

Photo GRC Photography
We have had a successful last three weeks here at Second Wind Equestrian. Hope and I have been attending Molly Rosin School of Rock. Two show jump lessons, two cross country schools, and one dressage lesson. Good stuff. Molly has been drilling me on 1.) More leg, less hands, 2.) Not making moves at fences, and 3.) consistency. MCTA was a great learning experience. In dressage we scored well enough to tie for 9th o/o 30. Showjumping we dropped three rails. Cross country was a blast and I appreciated that the technical combinations were smaller while the gallop fences were large. She was brave. We had a run-out at a narrow planter. I think at about the same time we both realized we didn't have enough gumption to jump successfully and Hope promptly stopped with her front feet on the second step. Re-approach, golden. Huge thanks to my friends Julia Beamish and Esther Gu of Mayadinya Farm for all their help.

Photo GRC Photography
Fair Hill was another positive experience. My dressage warm-up was brilliant and Hope felt game on, but my confidence got the best of us and we scored poorly. I think my lack of time spent working in a dressage size space makes my test feel rushed because everything arrives much quicker than you anticipate, which inevitably stresses me, which causes me to use my hands more, which ruins everything. I am going to set up markers this week for a 15 meter circle, a 20 meter circle, and a small dressage ring. Stadium was great because it was consistent. One rail and a mess of time. I need to stop riding conservatively and ride more competively. I am finally at a point where I can ride her to the fence. Cross country was fun and progressively got better.

I am finally feeling like I could actually have a prelim. horse in the near future. We just need a few more runs to bring it all together.

I went to Rolex for my first time with Julia and Esther. The experience was so inspiring. Being able to see each movement and reaction is invalueble. Seeing Allison and Arthur defining uphill. William Fox-Pitt so balanced. Coming home to Rose still on stall rest was disappointing because I know this mare has star quality when her head is in the game. 8 more weeks.

Moving home to lower Delaware tomorrow to work for the summer at the beach. Cheers!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Highly Anticipated Northern Exposure

Hello long, lost Blog. It has been a while and much, too much for my liking, has occurred since my last post. I returned to Fair Hill from Aiken a month ago. I don't think I have ever been so happy to not be somewhere, but thats another road and story. In a few weeks I will move home to Milton, Delaware onto the family farm. I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends since the last eight months were filled with work and little time to be social.

Hope tackled a very difficult Full Gallop Training course. She dropped three rails, but I finally had the adjustment I had been working so hard to achieve. Next was Pine Top. Dressage warm-up, incredible. Begin to go around ring and horse starts chasing cow in field next to ring. Hope is a star and we held it together. Not. Talk about a melt down. When the situation was finally addressed we began our test and finished on our worst score to date. One of the few double clears in stadium  moved us from 21st to 11th. The XC was, um, large. The week before I was told "Its hard to do a Training course at Novice speed". The result was Hope and I having several discussions as to what was appropriate for speed throughout the entire course. Finished with time penalties. I guess she was right. I ended my stay in Aiken with a trip to Gibbs Farm with Kristin Schmolze. It was incredible and I got to watch Allison get a lesson on Arthur!

Rose was going well in Aiken. Then Hope kicked her and fractured her tibia. X-rays confirmed the fracture as being non-displaced and the resulting prognosis was stall rest and the potential to avoid surgery. She has since been re-filmed and the fracture is healing. In three months we may be able to start again. Bummed is a complete understatement. I know, and others have confirmed it, this mare has star quality.

Grace. Not much changes in this category ever. I think conditioning will forever be this ones weakness. With Rose out of commission, Grace stepped up her game the last few weeks in Aiken. I started more technical grid work with Kristin and Grace demonstrated some serious scope. I mean serious. The decision now comes to selling her, which everyone has told me to do since I am pressed for finances. But this mare is a blast to ride and I always dismount with an ear-to-ear grin. She has been schooling Novice XC fences and even some softer Training ones.

Proof Numero Uno
Proof Numero Dos

I returned from Aiken with mixed emotions. I don't regret the trip, but there are some things I would have done differently. In the end I just felt completely unappreciated in the position I was brought in for. I, in no way, claim to know everything, but was consistantly addressed as if I know nothing. I came back from Aiken financially ruined (Thank you Mom and Dad for helping me out. Again). I count my blessings everyday for Kristin and her groom Vanessa because I am sure I would have self-destructed without their company and guidance. Since returning home my riding has been steadily improving. I know this is because I have been a much happier and stress-free person.

This weekend Hope and I will tackle MCTA, followed by Fair Hill in two weeks. Cheers to a happy report back.

P.S. - Just finished some great books. I believe we just discovered a new name for Rose upon returning to work and her debut to competing; Divergent.