"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Starter Trials at MDHT

Sunday, October 16 was the MDHT starter trial.  2 days before closing, I decided to enter Fred in the BN division.  LClark and Scotch (PB/PonyBoy) joined us for the fun.

In the week leading up to the event, Fred and I prepared every way we could.  Cindy helped us through show jumping, Wende gave Fred a fabulous massage on Saturday, and Sarah was super patience with us during our dressage lesson.  

Canter departs.  GAH! My brain understands them, my body doesn't.  We tackled my nemesis on Friday with Sarah.  Sarah's fix is easy once I get it. We practiced, and practiced, and practiced!  It's a work in progress.  On a really good note, Sarah says Fred's trot work is improving.

The PB stayed over at HVS Saturday night as we left for MDHT at 5am.  Fred was a smart horse and loaded on to the trailer with no issue.  (Big thanks to Lauren Gress for helping Fred practice loading and unloading.)  

MDHT ran the HT in a reverse order this time, elementary to training.  There were 5 divisions of senior BN and LClark was in the first one.  Her dressage time was at 8:30.  We left the barn at 5am.  The schedule worked well as LClark was completely done before I started and we were done by 12:30.  The weather couldn't have been any better.

The PB is so much to fun watch.  He is cuuuuuuuuuuute!  Lauren and Scotch finished third in a division of twelve.

 Lauren and Scotch.

Fred was excellent the entire day.  The dressage warm up was in between three dressage rings and the elementary/intro stadium course.  The XC start and finish was just on the other side of the fence.  Fred was all focus and lovely in warm up.  He held it together until the first lap around the dressage ring.  Behind the judge's booth was the concession area with lots of people and things moving in the breeze.  Fred wasn't afraid but he would have rather watched those going-ons instead of doing his test.  

  Moments like this make me feel very lucky to own this horse.
 What are they doing over there?  Let's go over there!
Ending a great test.

We had  two 8s in the test!  The trot and canter circles to the left were 8s.  The right side needs to be more supple and finesse.  I like the progress we're making.

Stadium started out really well and then I let him get backed off at the fan jump before the two stride combination.  We managed to leave all the rails up.  There was a red fabric bag blowing through the course during our round and Fred never blinked about it.  He's a good boy.

XC was fast!  The course was stunning.  Great fences and room between some to actually go forward.  Fred was focused and with me through the first 8 fences.  By fence 9 Fred the FreightTrain arrived.  Fred cruises pretty easily so it isn't scary but it makes my approach to the fences difficult.  We had a few awkward jumps but nothing to worry about.  The two water crossings went well. 

We also finished third in our division of twelve.  I was thrilled with how well we did.  Besides the small freight train run, I felt Fred and I are finally working together.  

In case you haven't seen enough, here are my photos and GRC's professional photos.

The day before MDHT was the two and three star at Fair Hill.  Here's my link to the photos I took. 

It turns out going to MDHT was a good plan.  We were snowed out at Plantation today.  Yes, snowed out.  As I type I'm trying to figure out if I can enter us in something for next weekend. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Week recap in photos

 The Herndon, VA IBM office.  White room with bright orange chairs.  Must be a Feng Shui thing.
A souvenir as a result to my Montgomery, Alabama trip a few weeks ago.  Guess I have my SEC team now.  Thanks, Fitz! ;)

Paige helped me work on Teeny Tiny's sensitive nose. 
 Paige shared her anguish with Fwed and he seemed to relate to her.
 Lauren and Paige were very helpful in loading Fred.  He's been in trailer training this week.
The Diesel in a Washington, DC parking garage with 6'6 clearance.  I was terrified.

 Me and Fred, Lauren and Napoleon, and Paige and Bootz.  

Red, white, and crazy!

 Fwed being good.
 Fwed being sassy.
Fwed being good.
Fwed being very sassy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fair Hill International CCI **/***

Tickets are $15 a person for Saturday or Sunday.  Living Social has a deal!

The Fair Hill fall event is one of the biggest events on the east coast each fall.  Tyler and I were outriders twice and had an amazing time.  This year I plan on going to watch XC as a spectator.  If you'd like to join me and a my friends, let me know!  On Saturday, the two star begins between 8 and 9am and the three star runs right after lunch and goes until about 4.  It is an outrageously cool event.

There will be family fun activities, shopping, dog events, pony club activities, and of course amazing eventing.  Check out the links above for all the info. 

It all changes from day to day.

Some days you need comfort food.  I'm battling a cold and went driving in Herndon, VA to find some food.  I'm having a great scrambled egg and ham sandwich as I think about what to blog.  There's a lot to catch up on.

Bad news first.  Almost six months to the day, Tyler had another neuro episode.  One second he was fine, the next he wasn't.  There was no obvious trigger.  Tyler lost control of his back end first and then his front end.  He was able to balance himself until he had control again.  It lasted about 30 minutes.  Probably 20 minutes into the episode, he tried to move towards the stall door and lost his balance.  He fell, but was up immediately and uninjured.  There isn't much I can do but monitor Tyler's quality of life.  I know what's coming but we aren't at that place yet.

Now onto the lighter notes.  

My parents and I ventured to Happy Valley on Sept 24 for the game versus Eastern Michigan.  I was able to visit with Jackie before the game.  We were prepared for rain and left with sunburn!  PSU came out with the win (it wasn't impressive but it was a win.)  Our seats were 11 rows from the field and we had two touchdown plays in our endzone corner.  
 Jackie and me. :)
 Mom and Dad.

The day after the game, I taught a few lessons and asked Gale to stick around the barn so I could jump Fred.  I measured the fences after I jumped them.  Many were about 3' and two were a little higher than 3'.  It was good for Fred and I to go jump something bigger without the reassurance from Cindy or Sally.  When I compete, they aren't there holding my hand through the course.  Their lessons have paid off!  We had a good ride.

In fact, the ride was so good I entered the Burgundy Hollow HT at the last minute.  BH offers a neat option to mix and match levels.  I did the novice dressage test, beginner novice XC, and novice stadium course.  But we'll get to that in a minute.
I returned from working in Herndon, VA on Friday (9/30) in time to jump with Lauren and Napoleon.  It's a little too much fun jumping our crazy red heads.  Cindy helped us feel ready for Sunday.

Saturday was a crazy day.  I rode Fred, taught lessons, and then picked up Aileen, Stephanie, and LClark (Lauren) for our adventure to Devon.  Connie, (I may get this wrong and I apologize), my mom's cousin had tickets for Dressage at Devon.  She has offered to take me for years and I usually had to decline for other plans.  I finally took her offer this year.  WOW!  It was spectacular.  Our seats were perfect and the rain held off while we went shopping and for the first half of the freestyle rides.  How about a stock pin for Christmas?  The shopping was great and we only saw half of it.  Stephanie had onion dip and chicken salad.  Aileen brought champagne, cheese and crackers, and fruit.  Lauren brought cupcakes in honor of Aileen's birthday.  :)  I brought my mom's really cute and handy picnic basket.  We enjoyed a great night of wine, food, and dressage.  

 LClark and I bundled up.  It was a chilly evening.
 Aileen, the birthday girl, and Stephanie.  Life is good.
I was home by Saturday night at midnight and up at 5 to get ready for BH on Sunday.  Fred, since his trailer ejection, has not been the easiest to load.  He had a rough time on Sunday.  Not a big surprise seeing as his owner doesn't practice loading and unloading.  Fred finally loaded and we were off.

Our dressage warmup was very nice.  The test went really well until I saw one of Fred's shoes laying along the chains at C.  The canter departs were explosive and nervous, thanks to a mental block with the rider.  At the end of the test the judge handed me the shoe and wished me luck.  G

I went asking for opinions.  The footing was very soft, but it was a front shoe.  Fred is a bit delicate, unlike Tyler, so I was concerned.  A very nice woman came by to tell me that she had enjoyed watching Fred and I during dressage.  That was a very generous compliment.  The best thing she did was point me towards a man who was spectating and also happened to be a Cornell farrier.  He was so very wonderful to tack Fred's shoe back on.  Fred hadn't done too much damage so we returned to action.

XC went well.  It was probably only the seventh or eighth time we've gone XC.  The first little log had Fred a bit confused, but we got our act together at the second fence.  We had three fences that we weren't quite together but we made it.  We had a moment of odd spooking between a pasture with horses and the 4wheeler.  After we got past that it was smooth sailing to the end.

The novice show jumping round that followed was not as smooth.  The first fence was ok and then it when down from there.  Fred and I haven't been out in mud before and we learned a lot.  He lost his confidence and I didn't rebuild it.  He fell behind my leg and we crawled through the course.  We had two rails and a technical refusal because I circled on a bending line.  I'll take the 4 points to save me and the horse.  However... it's been a year since I did a novice SJ course and I've had Fred for 8 months so I'm not too upset.  We have accomplished more this year than I expected.

I dropped an entry for BN at the MDHT starter trial on 10/16 in the mail today.  Let's hope Fred keeps himself in one piece until then. Obviously my plan to only do Plantation this fall has changed.  I'm back to traveling for work again and finally have some extra funds in the pipeline.  If I can go to MDHT again on Nov 12, I will.  Yay for fall eventing!  

Last, but certainly not least, please search for TACK Culture on FB and like the page.  My fried, Annemarie, has an amazing website for equestrians (Tack, Apparel, Culture, Knowledge.)  Annemarie is a fellow eventer and fabulous business woman.