Peaks and valleys

Well, the first half at 2014 has so far been action packed. I would have to say, that in general the good has outweighed the bad but I would be lying if I tried to tell you that it has felt that way all the time.

We all know that this sport and anything to do with horses really can put you through the ringer. I’m beginning to understand that that may just be life no matter which way you look at it. There will always be times where you’re the windshield and times where you’re the bug.

After going through a really rough winter with the injury of Seahawk that ultimately led to him being laid to rest way too soon, we did seem to start the spring out right with a quick trip to Aiken. True Bellamy picked up a win at Pinetop training, and Erin Reilly did very well in her first PT at sporting days, jumping one of the only clear show jump rounds in the division. Tracy Ryan and Sue Southard joined us to get an earlier start on the season and to escape the horrible winter that we had. Fun was had by all! We got a bit of sunshine several good jump schools and had a lot of learning!

After that, however things seemed to unravel a bit. After training hard on what we felt were all of the right things, True Bellamy ended up having a very uncharacteristic run out at his first prelim attempt at Loudoun. Our day ended as a result of that, because he ran out to the side underneath of a tree branch which ended up unseating me. No one was hurt, and it may have been a good thing that we didn’t get any further that day.

It just so happened that following week we had the saddle fitter and the massage therapist scheduled to come out. Both of them had some surprises for me, and we went a little bit back to the drawing board. Thanks to my wonderful support crew I have managed to borrow saddles in the meantime until I can get a long-term situation sorted out. But with the better fitting saddle and continued body work from Gibby Booth and Courtney Molino, he is feeling much better.

I have also been able to get a few lessons from Lauren Kieffer and one from Jackie Brooks in recent weeks and that has really helped me to feel like we are back on track! He scored a 27 in the dressage and had one rail which was the result of me not making fast enough decisions at the Morningside combined test on Saturday. We did a second show jump around where the communication with a little bit smoother and I gave him a better ride.

Now that I feel like his body is where it needs to be, and the dressage and show jumping are better than ever it’s time to get back out and do some more cross-country schooling before we even pick our next horse trials. The goal is a horse that goes out and feels completely capable and confident about everything that he faces! After all he is only six and I feel like we have plenty of time! Huge thanks to his owner Chuck Akre has been so supportive over the last two years of our partnership and was able to come and watch Trubie win the prelim ct at Morningside on Saturday.

My students have not been without their struggles either. Gmork was diagnosed with Lyme disease after some poor performance and back soreness prompted Erin to have a blood test done on him. luckily after only a short course of antibiotics he was feeling super and they returned to competition at Waredaca with great success completing the prelim with just one rail to add to their good dressage score.

Laila upgrade to the training level did not go as planned due to lack of power brakes and steering in the show jumping. After a quick tack adjustment and a good cross-country warm-up she went out on course but unfortunately was so nervous from the sticky show jumping round she cantered right past the third fence! She also redeemed herself at Waredaca with just a couple of spooky moments to add to an otherwise excellent performance.

Alayna and her new mare had a super go at Loudoun in their first training level together. For a number of reasons Waredaca did not go as well for them. External factors seemed to cause a lot of extra nerves, and although we had three good warm-ups, every time the whistle blew the impulsion went away. After two quick stops early on in the course Alayna got just mad enough to go forward and the rest of the cross-country was excellent. I think a lot of the time things have to go badly for you to really understand how to make them go well. It really sucks when you have these moments out at competitions, instead of in lessons. But it’s a different ballgame when you are out under a bit of pressure and that takes practice. I’m glad we had the opportunity to go back and school later on that week, and figured out a few different strategies to help get things to go on the right path.

Laila and Alayna joined me at Morningside on Saturday and both had huge improvements. I know they are both looking forward to Seneca this weekend. Erin and Karissa will both be contesting the prelim with Lila and Alayna in the training level!

The winter training projects Lusie and Pirate have both been coming along extraordinarily well. Lusie is a really adorable trakehner mare, who was kind of pulled out of the field and put into training with me in December. I rode her in a combined test in early April and a couple of cross-country schools. Her owner Hallie has taken over the reins in recent months and is doing an excellent job with her. I see her weekly for lessons, and I’m very excited about their future together She is seven or eight and is definitely mentally mature enough to be pushed along a bit. She is sticking to the unrecognized beginner novice/elementary circuit this summer to make sure that all of the T’s are crossed and i’s are dotted.

Pirate is a five-year-old off the track thoroughbred gelding sent to me in February by the same Canadian couple who owned True Bellamy and Harbour the Truth when they were racing. Pirate is only about 16.1 hands, but he is built super uphill and has a really wicked canter. He is supposed to be for sale, but we may have to figure something out in order for him to stay a while longer. Bay thoroughbreds are apparently my kryptonite. For some girls it’s shoes and handbags. I bet that would be cheaper!

Anyways, expect updates to the results and upcoming events pages soon! Thanks for reading.

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