End of the Season

Well!! It has been so long since my last blog I seem to have trouble even figuring out where to start. I have been procrastinating blogging for a couple of reasons. In August my reason was that my foot was broken and all of my plans were down the tubes and I had nothing good to say. In September I still didn’t know what my prognosis was, and was grouchy and restless from staring at my horses and not riding!! October … well that was when the “where do I even start” set in… and I got off my crutches and was way too busy walking around just for the sake of walking around to sit and blog!!! Those of you who follow SRB Equestrian Sports on Facebook or Twitter are probably mostly in the loop, so thank you for keeping up with that.

What better time to check in and give an update than the evening of the year’s last recognized Horse Trials?!

In reflection, in a lot of ways this has been the best year yet. At the same time, this year I have faced some challenges that I had no idea how to deal with and was completely discouraged on more than one occasion.

I am so grateful for the friends, clients and students I have met this year, and for the old friends that have stuck with me through the last few years. I have to congratulate all of my students on their successes this year. Tracy and Fudge have broken on to the US Eventing Scene this year with ribbon finishes at most of their outings, and a 10 point improvement in dressage scores in the last 6 months. Alayna had a successful upgrade to Training level after some great runs at the Novice level early in the season. Her mare has been retired at the ripe age of 19 and we are all so grateful to Filey for getting Alayna to where she is today! Alayna is looking forward to her 2014 season with a new partner. Erin has had success at the training level on her old mare, Annie as well as her new partner, Rumsey Keefe’s Gmork. Erin and Gmork finished their season with back to back wins at the Training level. Gibby and her Connemara Delaney had a rough start to the year, but after busting their butts all summer, they had a few great runs at Loudoun, Seneca, and Marlborough to finish out the year at solid at Training level. Karen and Smokey are building towards a happy partnership in the hunt field after my fun spring and summer campaign with the big grey guy. Lesley Arnold’s Cricket Song is still (unbelievably) looking for her future partner after a super summer with Erin, she is at Emily Daily’s Cady O’Daly farm. If you’re looking for an awesome little horse who has no limits to her talent, email Emily to set up a time to see Cricket! We have welcomed Laila and Facesso to the team this fall, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for this lovely pair. Karissa and her boy Dance on the Double showed great improvements this fall and completed their first CCI 1* at VAHT.

Chuck Akre’s True Bellamy spent August and September being ridden by my student Erin, who kept him going while I was sidelined due to a fractured calcaneus and a severe ankle sprain. Thanks to Erin’s help, Trubie and I returned to Competition with a win at Morningside Prelim Combined test, and what could have been a win at the Waredaca Prelim/Training hybrid division. Unfortunately for Trubie, I made a mistake that cost us 20 penalties at the end of a wickedly fun cross country course. He was 3rd after dressage and show jumped clear to the top of the leaderboard only to be let down by his pilot…I will be kicking myself for a while over that one, but I am so proud of this horse for his first 2 efforts in Preliminary dressage and stadium, and I am so grateful to Mr. Akre for the ride on this little prodigy.

My boy Seahawk had the first 6 weeks of my injury off work, seeing as his year started in February and he had a few great runs. I have been slow bringing him back because of what was hopefully his last growth spurt, that was conveniently timed at the end of his planned time off. He is finally feeling like his big fancy self again, and is 3 jump schools in to the winter training sessions! Stay tuned for more news about him very soon.

My lovely wonderful superstar Port Authority had such a great time at Surefire and Maryland HT this summer. It is such a treat to be out there on a horse like him. I was absolutely devastated when I broke my foot because I saw our fall season and our plans to qualify for the 2014 WEG disappear into thin air. Turns out though, that “Ollie” may have enjoyed his outings, but despite the fact that he was 100% sound after MDHT, his suspensory didn’t enjoy the runs as much as we would have hoped. After a long 2 year process of treatments and rehab and very careful management, we have made the decision to retire him from upper level eventing. Battling with a suspensory injury in an aging equine athlete totally sucks, and in many ways it is a relief to be done with the attempt to return to the international scene with him. He has proven that he will hold up to a heavy work load in good arena footing, so we will only do what he can handle and he should have another few years of fun work ahead of him. I owe this horse so much, he is the reason that I have clients and students and fun young horses to ride, and he is the reason that I moved out east and have built a life that I love. I have had a few months to come to grips with the fact that I have gone cross country for the last time with this phenomenal athlete, and nobody can ever take away any of the experiences he has given me.

I am so grateful that he has no idea that he is physically limited, he was not lame, nor was he positive to flexions or palpations on the day of the fateful ultrasound (conveniently the day after I broke my foot). I am also so thankful that we decided to ultrasound even though he looked so great. A lot to be said for conscientious veterinary care!!! I owe Dr. Ober  a great deal for her management of this horse through his CCI 3*s and 4*s , and also through his injury and subsequent rehab. We as a team are very proud of this horse, and I’m excited to see what the next chapter of his life holds! More info about him will come as we make decisions about his future, but as of today he is still sound, happy and loving life in some moderate work with a big old belly.

We at SRB Equestrian Sports are currently planning the schooling show calendar for December and January, as well as trips to Aiken in late January and February. There are 2 stalls available at our home base in Woodbine, Maryland, and I am always available to take on new students in Howard, Carrol or Frederick Counties in Maryland, or Loudoun County, Virginia.

Thank you so much for continuing to follow along with me, and stay tuned for pictures and videos from the recent horse shows and training sessions, as well as exciting upcoming events!

One response to “End of the Season

  1. Bonjour Steph. Didn’t know Monsieur Ollie didn’t fully recup and feel sorry you have to give up on big international plans (for now !). Time to write another chapter of your life, maybe !?! Hope you will make it to Normandy next year, at least as a supporter of the Can Team ??
    Best thoughts 2 U 2. Take good care.

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