Saturday, November 14, 2009

Showjumping in Raleigh



Collection Pass

The year has finished as it begun, jumping in the rain!! Kaden and I made the 6 hour drive south on 95 to Raleigh for the RMI Benefit Show with Canyonliegh Sirecho, McCuan Maio and Collection Pass. This was my first show on Cole and I was exciteda and anxious to see how he'd perfom. Owned by Rege Dvorsky and Jeanne Leone, he's only been in my barn a couple of weeks. After an intersting warmup that involved tarpulins and crazy horses he jumped a super first round. I'm really impressed with his talent and 'can do' attitude and am excited to see where he's headed in the future. Rocco jumped consistently and was happy to be jumping in front of a crowd, such a show off! Mario was a bit of a star jumping four great rounds with rider error (my toe kicked a standard knocking it over) to be blamed for one less ribbon. The show was a great way to finish the year, I feel as tho I'm riding really well. For the next six weeks before I head to Aiken I'll be working hard to have the horses prepared for next season.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Well both the dressage and eventing seasons are coming to a close with the Greater American Insurance Agency (GAIG's) Championships the last of the dressage and Rubicon the last of the eventing. Tony did very well at the GAIG's finishing third which was awesome. He's come a long way in a short space of time and obviously I'm very proud him! Also this weekend was Waredaca One Day Event where I had several students competing including Kaden Weaver on Rocco. This was Kaden's first event in America and he got the call up after Lisa suffered an unfortunate injury. Competing one of my favourite students horse and in front of a crowd (solicited by me..!) of onlookers provided him with enough pressure to keep him on his toes and he finished on his dressage score coming third. Another student to finish the year on a great note was Meghan Avella riding Fantastic. After a tumultuous year she ended up with a well deserved second place.

This coming weekend I am teaching a jumping clinic and the following weekend is Rubicon which will signal the end of the recognised competitions. Over winter we'll compete in some local jumper shows to keep our eyes in, so to speak, and in January head south to Aiken, SC. Hope all is well with your horses and that your year has been as fun and successful as mine!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lisa with Rocco, Kaden on Lucy, myself and Brittany on board Parker, aka Parkman.

After winning on the first day at the BLM's we finished the second day with a 2nd place at 2nd level. First day, 1st, second day 2nd. A theme happening there..... Think I'll only ever ride on the FIRST day again! Tony was good, trying hard as he always does, he was just a little tired. Kelsey Schmidbauer had a great weekend finishing 9th at Loch Moy. Glenda Player as did very well winning Champion at the Irish Sport Horse Breeder Championship in Lexington, Va.

This week has mostly involved teaching and catching up on cross country schooling. Yesterday we had a lovely day in the ,albeit cold, sunshine with Brittany on Kiefer and Parker, Kaden on Lucy and Lisa with Rocco. Today wasn't so pleasurable in the cold rain with myself on Lois, Glenda on Catnip, Alex on Wes and Kaden on Lucy(again). As was successful with no one falling off and all the horses improving.

This weekend we're off to the New Jersey Horse Trials in what looks to be wet conditions which suits me just fine. I love competing in the rain, that's what real eventing's all about! Next week I have the GAIG dressage finals to look forward to with Tony.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

BLM Championships

Tony was fantastic today competing at 3rd level (medium in Australia). He warmed up awesome and was great in his first test. Perfect rhythm, very obedient and tried extremely hard. He was first in that test and then for the next next he was a little on the tired side and wasn't active as he had been in the first test. Still has good even to finish in the ribbons and give us a victory lap! Dressage victory laps are very sedate for those who don't know. . . Today we have two more tests and I'm very excited with how they will go.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


So much has happened since my last update. About 25 shows (a slight exageration!) and a lot of training. Firstly I didn't quite have the show at the AEC's that I'd been anticipating. Mario had gone beautifully at Loudoun and I was all set to take my blue ribbon in Chicago, unfortunately he had different ideas. After his best dressage test ever to leave us in touch with the leader all we had to do was finish on that score and we'd have it in the bag. Apparently Mario has an allergy to either blue ribbons or bank complexes. So long story short it was a long drive home thinking of the would have, could have beens. On the bright side my student Abby Gibbon finished on her dressage score at her first ever American Championships. So back to Maryland to figure out Mario's 'allergy' problem. Since we competed last weekend and won a blue ribbon I can only assume his problem is with banks which will be easy to fix with a little extra cross country schooling. Boo's been going well with a win at a Young Event Horse competition and Lois also picking up a ribbon.

This Friday and Saturday are the prestigious BLM dressage championshis with Tony. He feels great and we're expecting a great show. Already he's settled in and looks fired up ready to go. Please look back for updates.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

This weekend begins a very busy and important six weeks. Today was the last opportunity to qualify Tony for the GAIG championships which will be held in Lexington, VA in October. And qualify he did! He scored a respectable 65% followed by an impressive 72%! Which I believe was the highest score of the day. I was so happy with how he felt. He's new to third level and still finds collection a challenge but I thought he tried very very hard today. This was also his last show before the BLM Championships in NJ in October. Alex McLeod sits her A rating test tomorrow (Sunday) as the youngest rider (the only still in her teens!) in the group to be tested. It's extraordinary the riding skills required for this level but I really think she'll be fine. If she is, it's because of my teaching, if she's not, it's because she went on holidays over summer!!!!

We leave on Tuesday for the American Eventing Championships in Chicago, IL. I'm riding Patrick McCuan's Mario and am feeling confident. Last weekend we competed at Loudoun Horse Trials and I was over the moon with how great he felt. Good dressage, super cross country and clear show jumping. We had a few time faults on the cross country which cost us first or second place but I was very happy with my decision to look after him for next week. I am taking him on Monday to a racetrack to do a little galloping, a skill he's yet to master! Abby Gibbon with her lovely bay mare Prima is also coming to Chicago with us and should be fairly competitive. After the AEC's we have Plantation CIC at the end of September. Buddha was has been impressing me more and more. His cross country is amazing and he's great in the show jump arena. For such a young horse he's showing a lot of maturity. Joe and Krista Hubschman's Lois is also another horse I'm really impressed with. Clear cross country and show jumping at her first novice start and only her second time out. Her dressage needs some work, but as a four year old she has time for that! I will keep you updated on our progress as we go!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rachel and Payday

Between eventing I've kept very busy in the last few weeks. Boo made a very successful jump up to training level at Fair Hill with clear show jumping and cross country. He followed that at Waredaca with a 4th, finishing on his dressage score. Lois Lane made her debut finishing on her dressage score. Definately an eventer, she LOVES her job! Rachel Berlage with her horse Payday have had an awesome few weeks by placing in all three of her recognised events. They have certainly overcome their fear of ditches! Abby Gibbon also stepped up to training level with a 2nd at Loch Moy and a win at Difficult Run. Amy Gaynor has been doing well with Jake showjumping him over the summer. Her hard work is paying off with a much more rideable horse.
Tony, the wonder dressage horse, had a very good weekend by qualifying for the BLM's at third level and in the process winning yet another blue ribbon. I love riding this horse and am very excited for the championships we have coming up in October. Next on the schedule is eventing at Loudoun with Mario, Lois and Boo, then it's dressage with Tony, AEC's with Mario followed by Middleburg Horse Trials.
Thanks for reading and have fun with your horses!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Time to Shine!

Monty the wonder pony!

It's important to keep the jumping skills fine tuned so yesterday Alex MacLeod (my working student) and I headed to Virginia to compete in a show jumping competition. Me with Mario and Boo and Alex with Monty and Wes. Alex has had Monty since before she reach the pedals in her car and has trained him the whole way along, in the process winning national show jumping championships. So it was no surprise that she won her division on him, however it was a surprise just how much she won by. Let's just say that in the jump off she could have sat down and had a cup of tea and still won! Wes also did well by jumping clear in his first time at a show since he hurt himself.

Mario was the superstar of the day winning both of the big classes in style, along the way winning champion! He jumped super and didn't touch a rail all day. Boo jumped in two classes coming second in one and having an unfortunate rail in the other. All in all it was a very productive day were both the horses and riders had positive rides. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Blue Ribbons!

Tony and I had another fantastic win in Lexington, VA, qualifying him for the BLM Championships in the process. His progress through the levels has so far been filled with blue ribbons and this one is one of the most rewarding as the classes were pretty big and the horses and riders tough to beat. The good news keeps on coming this week with the news that Patrick McCuan's Mario and I have qualified for the American Eventing Championships to be held in Chicago. Rhythm and Blues has also qualified for the Young Event Horse Championships.

I'm excited with the newest addition to my team, a chestnut mare by the name of Lois. At four years of age she has a big future ahead of her. One of the most athletic horses I've seen in a long time, her jump is exciting and with her natural movement and great work ethic will have her in the ribbons in no time.

Amy Gaynor has been going well with her own Jake, winning some blue ribbons lately. Abby Gibbon with her mare Prima won second place at Maryland Horse Trials on the weekend, losing only in a count back. Alex Macleod is doing a great job with all of my horses and providing great entertainment throughout the day!

Thanks for taking the time to read my updates, we're enjoying quite a lot of success at the moment! Take care and have fun with your horses!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This is one of the busiest times of the year for me with a combination of competitions and teaching. This is also one of my favourite times of the year! Rachel Berlage and Alex Macleod have both been spending summer with me working and riding which is hugely beneficial to all of us. Rachel is making leaps and bounds in her riding with Payday proving to be a prize winner already, and Rachel showing her bravado with her feats of courage riding whilst less than in perfect health!! Alex is one of the hardest working, most dedicated young riders I've met and am excited to have have her working and riding for me.

I look forward to bringing you my results from the coming weekend with Rocco, Mario and Tony. Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

When will it stop raining!

This week has beenvery busy with shows. I had a successful show at Plantation riding Mario, Tuck adn Boo into placings in all of their classes. The going was very wet for the showjumping and I was embarrased to be towed into yet another competition! Although practically everyone had to be. I was very happy with how my horses jumped, especially cross country.

Seneca Valley PC event was also very wet, particularly on the cross country. Harmony finished on her dressage score and Boo also jumped well adding only a green rail to his score. He is a super horse and has a great future.

On Wednesday I took Mario and Boo to Swan Lake A rated show jumping show. Boo was good but Mario was super jumping clean in the 1.15 round. Pilot error (missing a jump) cost him first place, we still ended up a respectable third tho. Yet another show that was in the rain, we were faced with the probability of being towed out. Thru some expert driving (mine) and a bit of luck, plus about 10 attempts, I managed to make it out without the help of a tractor! Now the truck and trailer just look as they've been off roading and will mean I'll be spending my day off at the car wash! Next week is Surefire event with Tuck, Boo and Mario.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Alex MacLeod and Arrow have had a fantastic season topped off with a second at the Virginia CCI. She finished on her dressage score in a class where the top five places didn't change.
Walking the course at VHT.

These juniors really can ride! The cross country was tough but fair and the show jumping was big and requird bold riding. It was a great experience for Alex to jump in the coleseum with a crowd and atmosphere.

Another success for us has been Abby Gibbon and her fantastic mare, Prima. They won the Area II Adult Amateur Scholarship. They've been making leaps and bounds and are a hugely exciting combination. Prima's not a big horse, (just don't tell her that!) but certainly has unlimited potential.
Abby and Prima winning at Shawan Downs.

I look forward to bringing you more stories of both my personal success and that of our team over the coming weeks.

Tri State competing.

Raleigh CDI, North Carolina.

I have had a very busy couple of weekends with two eventing competitions and two dressage shows. First of all Tony and I competed at the Raleigh CDI in North Carolina winning 4 ribbons (seconds and thirds) in 4 different classes. This is exciting as the competition was tough with very good horses and riders. Then it was a dash back to make it in time for Waredaca One Day Event. I need to put a speed camera out on the cross country course with Lisa and Rachel going way too fast and incurring time faults. This weekend I successfully rode Mario, Tuck and Boo at Plantation Fields One Day Event in PA. Each of them placed in spite of the deep going. I was particularly impressed with how Boo felt cross country, he's really getting the hang of things. This is exciting as he's a real quality horse. Sunday was the VADA/NOVA dressage competition at Morven Park, VA, once again with Tony. We ended up third in a big class and qualified for the championships in October.

Next week we're at Seneca One Day Event with Harmony, Tuck and Boo. Amy Gaynor did an awesome job organising a very successful clinic with Boyd Martin which was hosted by Robert and Kathy's Taylormade stables.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Busy weekend Showjumping/Combined Test/Dressage.

Cathy Butler's Tony made a successful start to his competition year by winning at Morven Park. This was his first time at that level so I was very happy with him. There were some mistakes in his test (like when he fell into the carlike crater half way through what started out to be the worlds best medium trot!) and he felt pretty green. Overall he was fantastic tho, especially with the mud, mud and more mud. On Saturday I rode Robin Doser's Harmony, McCuan Farm's Mario and my partially owned Boo at a jumping show. They were all great and brought home varying ribbons. Alex McCleod took Arrow and rode some very good rounds. Perfect warm up for her three day event next weekend. We competed in a couple of the same classes, nothing like a bit of student/trainer rivalry to spice up the competition!

Amy Gaynor competed at a combined test and wowed them in the dressage! She scored a 30 and one rail in the show jumping had them finishing 3rd. A strong result which is great.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mario schooling.
Unfortunatley for our team last weekend's show at Plantation was cancelled. This was due to the huge amount of rain we've had which would have made parking in the paddocks impossible. Instead Amy Gaynor showed at Loch Moy Short Course and finished 7th. MCTA @ Shawan Downs opened up their competition course for schooling this week which I took full advantage of. This is a fantastic course and it was great to be able to use it to train the horses. The coming weekend we'll be competing at Morven Park, hopefully the rain holds off!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

MCTA @ Shawan Downs.

Our show schedule is in full swing with both MCTA at Shawan Downs and Difficult Run events on last weekend. I competed on Sunset Hill's McCuan Mario and Robin Doser and my own Rythm and Blues. Mario is a new ride for me and this was my first competition, he went well and I was happy with how he felt. I didn't run cross country as the going wasn't great and this was his first show in about 6 months. Boo jumped pretty well but unfortunately didn't really take to the dressage arena. Apparently he doesn't think sliding around in the mud is a good use of his time!

Abby Gibbon and Prima won their first Novice with Lisa Kurr fifth in the same class. Brittany Meyer came 2nd at Difficult Run. Next weekend is Plantation Eventing where I'm competing Boo, Mario and Tuck. Robin Doser will be riding Harmony and Alex McLeod on Arrow. I'm hoping for some good weather, it seems that every event is a wet one at the moment!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another show, another success!

Michelle and Shorty getting ready for their winning ride.

Abby and Prima on their way to winning.

Sunny showing us that the ditch wasn't that big after all..

The past weekend was another great success for us. We were at two events, Redlands and Fair Hill CIC. Firstly Fair Hill. Alex Macleod and Arrow competed in their first ever CIC 1star finishing on her dressage score. An huge feat given that only two people were able to do that and that it was an open class (she's only 16). The course was pretty tough, in particular fence number five which had a huge ditch under it. I have a rule that if my dog can jump a fence, then the fence is fine and safe to rode. Unfortunatley for Alex Sunny is a great jumper and can jump anything, so she had to listen to my riding instructions, which mostly involved just point him at the jump and close your eyes!

Back at Redlands Abby Gibbon and Michelle Corbielle both won their classes. It was particularly great for Michelle as it was Shorty's first one day event. Lisa was third, her first eventing ribbon which was fantastic. Brittany Meyer had a great show as well, by finishing 2nd. Her horse is very green and she did a super job. Gibby Booth rode an excellent test, great sj round but unfortunatley had a stop on the cross country. Not her day but I'm sure she'll win her next one. Amy Gaynor did a great job under difficult circumstances, I'm excited about where she goes from here. I was also impressed with Deena's jumping, she's really come a long way in strengthing up her seat.
Deb Schuman rode a couple of good tests and has started her competition year out which is fabulous. I am very excited with my own horses feeling pretty fine tuned and ready to win their next starts.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eventing in rain. Again.

This past week has gone by in a flash with so many things going on, one minute I'm planning for the up coming shows, the next I'm checking out the photos on the internet!!! Last weekend Harmony, Buddha and Ivy competed in their first eventing competition which was fantastic. called for rain and rain it did. From 10 on Friday night until 3 Saturday afternoon, and all of my rides where to be completed before 2. So I got wet. Robin got wet. Ashley got the wet. The tack got wet. Even my phone got wet, and goodness knows I am protective of my phone!!!! So you get the picture, it rained. Anyhow we came home with a couple of ribbons and 3 horses who now know what eventing is and are looking forward to the coming shows as much as I am.


We are settling into Taylormade very well with Robert and Kathy being absolutely awesome by accommodating our horses and team. On Wednesday night we had a great wine and cheese night whereby I introduced my riding and training techniques on Lisa Kurr's horse, Royal. This went very well with a good turnout, I look forward to similar evenings in the future.

Austin Doser braving the cold with one of the cutest ponies in the world, Sunny.

I have some great photos to come up later this week. We have a big weekend coming up with Alex Macleod competing at Fair Hill CIC 1Star and Amy Gaynor, Abby Gibbon, Gibby Booth, Deena Kleinerman, Lisa Kurr, Michelle Corbiegh and Brittany Meyer all doing their best to bring home the blues from Redland Horse Trials. Allison Sirna has a race this weekend as well and, going off previous form, should do well.

Take care and look after your horses!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Morven Park/Clinic.

This past week has been a very busy one. Alex MacLeod competed at Morven Park in hideous conditions. It rained all night before the competition and throughout the dressage. The cross country was tough enough for the begining event of the year with a bounce up the bank to a big enough oxer, plus some maximum size fences. Alex did a super job riding very well and showed great horsemanship in looking after Arrow by monitoring his fitness and taking it easy in the bad going. She went clear in the cross country and show jumping, with a minor directional problem ight at the end that cost her a place. Arrow still has a long year ahead of him and she was wise beyond her years to make sure he made it home sound. They ended up sixth which was great and are on track for Virginia Three Day Event in May.

Boyd Martin and I taught a clinic at Loch Moy which went very well despite the poor weather. Everyone had a great time and jumped very well. Each rider had the opportunity to work with both trainers which was great as it allowed everyone to get two sides of advice for their horse. Amy Gaynor did a super job, as always, of organising the whole thing. The next one is at the begining of May.

Not sure what happened to March 'in like a lion, out like a lamb', it didn't seem to warm up at all, but thankfully we're seeing some better weather now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunny South

When it's cold and snowing out it's time to head south. I came to this conclusion after returning from Christmas in Australia with a suntan, to day time temperatures that couldn't reach above freezing! So this year I took the boys Rocco, Royal and Sydney with their girlfriend Harmony to Aiken, SC. Pam Evans generously let me load up her trailer and take it with me. Kadi Eykamp arranged a great barn and accomodation for us at Pine Ridge just out of Aiken. We had an absolute blast and Syd found a new home at Surefire Farm with Jan Byyny's student. This was after he competed in his first A rated jumper show, having jumped clear and making it into the jump off. I think this horse has a great future ahead of him and is one of my favourite horses in a long time.

Lisa Kurr made the trip down and had a great learning experience thru Rocco. She also learnt just how much activity can fit in one day. Yes, that does mean competing at two different shows on one day!! If your cross country times are scheduled for the afternoon then why not take advantage of the morning and go show jumping....

Harmony was great, she has really matured in the last few months. This has a lot to do with the time she spent in Florida with Marilyn and Lyn Little. She has turned a corner and is shaping up to have a good season. Sunny the dog also appreciated the trip south and made the most of the sunshine and sand by rolling in the dirt and sleeping in the sun!!! All in all a great time had by us all.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mr Sanchez is back.

Cowboy and I spend a lot of our days taking pictures, mostly of ourselves....
Cowboy (aka Mr Sanchez at the Vesuvio restaurant) came back to work this week, thank goodness. The replacement staff just weren't really up to the task..... No more sweeping for me! Seriously, thanks to everyone who chipped in, we truly realised how valuable Cowboy is and just how much he does do. Personally I had thought he spent his whole day talking on the phone to his various girlfriends! That and listening to yet another one of my stories about 'back in Australia'. Like 'back in Australia, the GROUND DOESN'T FREEZE'!! And 'I'm going back to Australia where I don't have to wear six layers of clothing'..

Robin Doser is back into riding in a great way at the moment. Yesterday she jumped Harmony for the first time since she came back from Florida and was very impressive. Both of them did really well and it makes me happy to see Robin having so much fun. We also look forward this weekend to welcoming Deena Kleinerman to our eventing team. Along with her horse Vaughn, I know they will be a valuable addition to the group. I've known Deena since last January and have seen just how committed she is to the sport. She also bakes the best cookies this side of Germantown. Yes, this is a challenge to see if anyone can bake them better, Cowboy and I will be the judges! Both of us, as always, are open to any other offers of food.... Meatballs Mary Beth?

The barn is set for another busy weekend with everyone coming out to either ride or to see their horses. If this is how busy we are in cold February then I'm super excited to see what Spring and Summer bring!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another busy week.

Sunny and I working hard
Today I had a lesson on Nikki Wingire's lovely mare, Flirt. This is such a fantastic little mare with a huge amount of talent. Nikki is a very good rider and has been bringing her along patiently and thoughtfully. I LOVE mares and like most Flirt has her own opinions and quirks, which only makes her more likeable to me. It has taken a while to get her to relax and use her back but with a lot of hard work she's now a lot more consistent in that area and today she was on fire!!! For a little horse she sure has a big heart and huge paces! It felt like we were moving on air and barely touching the ground! I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do with her in competition this year. Along with Harmony (Robin Doser), Gwen (Deborah Shuman), Prima (Abby Gibbon) and Classy (MaryBeth Avedesian) we have a team of bay mares going!!! I love it!!

Our team for the coming year is looking very strong at this point with everyone showing a huge amount of enthusiasm and already chomping at the bit for a start! Yesterday we set up a jumping course to put together some of the ideas we've been working on. I have to say I was impressed with the improvement Lisa has made in the last couple of months in the jumping. She really turned a corner at our Boyd Martin clinic and hasn't looked back. And Amy's horse Jake is becoming more reliable with his rhythm which makes me very happy. Sydney is really starting to go super well and is so proud of himself! He's starting to swing over the back and has the most elastic paces, and he's starting to jump awesome too. As you can see below he's a real quality horse, I'm sad to have to sell him. He'll make a great horse for someone.

Alex worked for me on Friday riding some horses. As a natural rider she has a good feel for the horses but she is getting a crash course on improving her seat. I have been putting a lot of pressure (which just means I've been yelling a lot!) and she just gets better and better. She really puts a lot of effort in and is starting to be rewarded for that.

It's heartening and motivating to see the dedication of our riders who are here day in day out (Linda, Deborah, Lisa, Marybeth, Gibby, Liz, Cathy, Alex, Amanda, Amy) preparing for the coming season. The award for the shiniest horses in the barn has to go to Cathy! Personally I get a great feeling from seeing all the growth and progress from our team. The compulsory 'Team Chadderton' uniform shirts are on their way....!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cross Country Schooling.

Last weekend we took advantage of this lovely weather we've been having by cross country schooling at Frying Pan Park in Virginia. This is a fantastic training course for horses and riders starting out as it has everything you need; water, ditch, bank, scary bogey men lurking behind the bushes.... I was accompanied by Lisa Kurr, Deborah Schuman, Gibby Booth and Alex Macleod. I took Amy Gaynor's horse and two of mine, Boo (Robin Doser) and Sydney. Lisa's pretty new to the whole riding thing and is an absolute champion. She lives her life by the theory 'jump in the deep end then learn how to swim, fast!' She's also new to the challenges that come with driving horses around. As we had 7 horses we had to take two trailers, one being Lisa's. Gwen (Deborah) and Roy (Lisa) were very comfortable and happy with Lisa's driving as was Deborah. They certainly looked to be having a good time chatting away.. The same could not be said for poor Gibby who was stuck in our truck with the two worst singers in the world, Alex and myself. And even worse for her was the fact that both Alex and I know ALL the words to ALL the songs on my Ipod!!! Think she'll be traveling with the horses next time.... For Lisa the only hiccup of getting a bit bogged which she turned into a learning experience, and that learning experience was that Kate, being the country girl I am, sure knows how to get a truck out of mud!!
Thanks to Alex for the great pictures, they were much clearer until I 'improved' them with Photoshop!!

The great weather encouraged a lot of people to Frying Pan on Saturday and we were lucky (or not!) to share our cross country course with a harness horse, coloured horses, crazy horses and hunters. The going was very slippery but we made the most of it and the horses all jumped well.

Australia is probably best described as a temperate climate so I'm still learning about all this ice and snow. I learnt two lessons on Saturday; 1, when the ice melts it makes the ground slippery, no rain necessary, and 2, get the person standing on the ground to test the thickness of ice in the water jump, not quarter horse having his first experience cross country!! Evidently even in 60 degree weather the ice can still be a few inches thick, lesson learnt!!! Lisa and Roy were the stars of the day and they had a blast. I LOVE helping people learn the ropes of this awesome sport, especially we they show as much enthusiasm as my students always do.

Rocco and Harmony came back from showjumping in Florida this week which is fantastic. They look awesome with their suntans and 'too cool for school' attitudes. Both of them feel great and have busy schedules planned. This week is pretty busy as Cowboy had a car accident and I have taken the bulk of his job. Hopefully he'll have recovered soon and be back on deck.
And also congratulations to Lara Dombrovskis (and her partner Alex of course, Australia) on the birth of their first child.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter, wonderful winter.

Every now and then I am reminded of just how great a climate Australia has and this week has surely been one such example. We've had a serious ice problem. My recent meteorological learning's (thanks Norm!) have taught me that this occurs when the snow melts and then refreezes as ice. Everything is covered with a deadly coating that is akin to walking down a water slide blindfolded and with your hands tied behind your back! Needless to say Cherie had to make the very wise decision to keep the horses in for a few days in order to avoid any accidents.
I was really fortunate tho to be able to go cross country schooling at Loch Moy right before the bad weather. For both Buddha and Royal this was their first ever schooling session and they both excelled themselves by jumping beautifully. Roy in particular was a champion. Boo is really starting to feel like a grown up and he is such an exciting horse to me. He did however have a rather unfortunate misinterpritation of directional control resulting in Robyn (co owner) meeting the wall of the arena at Walnut Pond with her shoulder. Robyn's one tough cookie but even she was agreeing she needed a few days off riding, at least until the swelling in her shoulder reduced so it looked like a shoulder.. Come back soon Robyn, we miss you!!!! Back to Loch Moy and Gibby Booth with her fantastic little Connemara horse, Delaney, also had a successful schooling session. All indications are that she'll have a great year ahead. Rocco is still in Florida showjumping and enjoying the much warmer weather.

This week my dressage trainer also arrived to teach a clinic at Tewksbury. I train on Tony with him and as always he helps us find even more gears. Today was an especially good day with Tony really showing us his unlimited talents. I've never had a horse that could passage as easily and with so much fun as this horse. Lets just say, if he were an eventer he would be a four star horse!!! Several of my students also train with him, in particular Linda Lewis and Anna Uchmann. Anna has really improved in leaps and bounds with her horse Roccoco. It's so great to see her hard work paying off, and I know Wout was VERY impressed with her improvement. Particularly that now Cocco can pass an open door without spooking at the monsters lurking outside!

Our barn is very busy at the moment with Cathy arriving early in the morning and the last riders (usually Mary Beth) finishing at around 9pm. Tonight Alex was still riding at 10.30pm, not bad after a whole day at school, then hockey and then two horses to ride! If she keeps up this dedication she'll do very well this season. Both Liz and Amy started the barn off to a great competition year with a win (81%) for Liz (and Sam Smith) in the Pas De Deux and with Amy picking up a couple of placings at a local hunter show.

I had very unhappy news this week with Confetti (Australia) breaking her pelvis. Unfortunately it was severe enough for her to have to be euthanised. This is distressing for both mum and I as she was a charm to own and a valuable horse. Mum is such a star in these situations by taking care of everything and keeping things in perspective. Adding to this sadness was the news that Becky Gordon (from Australia) lost her awesome little horse Prince. While Becky and Prince were training with me I developed a huge respect and affection for this horse. Both he and Becky were able to progress through the ranks winning against the 'big guys' at prelim.

On a better note we welcome Pam Evans and her cute Morgan Tuck to the barn. We have such a great bunch of people and horses in the barn at the moment, we are truly blessed!!! I also have to take this opportunity to sing the praises of the Nutrena feeds. We have 37 horses, all in different amounts of work, with different personalities and needs. Nutrena has a feed solution to suit each horse perfectly and for that I wholeheartedly thank them!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back to Work!!

Holidays are so called holidays because they break up long periods of work! I must say tho that I have one of the best jobs in the world. I ride horses for and train some of the nicest people in the world. Also for some that aren't as nice, but we don't generally talk about them!! I had a fantastic time back in Australia, from race days antics with my friends to my brothers wedding just hours before catching my flight back to the US. One of the highlights I must say was doing a bit of event training on one of my mum's cow ponies, Penny. She didn't really take to the dressage component but she really got the hang of the cross country!!! Aside from increasing (in my mind!) the value of mum's ponies I took the opportunity to catch up with old clients and friends. Unfortunately I missed meeting up with many people who I wanted to including Rocco's proud owner, Marg Warwick, also Jenny Brown on the Central Coast, Lara Dombrovskis, who is heavily pregnant with her first child and STILL taking care of a couple of my horses, John and Sharon Carroll, Gordo and Emma Bishop (actually Em's still an Armstrong, I think..) and of course Heath Ryan. I wish I had twice the time I had, 2 weeks just doesn't allow one to see everyone, especially with such vast distances in Australia.

So from Australia, recreation and tanning, I returned to MD refreshed and ready for the New Year!! With 26 hours of travel time I had plenty of time to plan the year ahead. First up my work involves preparing the horses for the first competitions. Robin Doser kept our future superstar, Boo, in work and he feels FANTASTIC! Robin made a big effort to keep him going, she has a family and it was the holiday season. Cathy Butler also made sure that Tony was on fire when I got back. Amanda Cross kindly helped us out by using her extensive skills to bring him back into work. I'm very excited with how he's going and what our year holds. Sydney had a month off so needs a couple of weeks to get back with the program. I love this horse and he really wants to do the job!! Sunny (my awesome dog/co conspirator) hung out with Toby and Skipper Doser and was suitably happy to see me when I got back.

I was impressed with how everyone had worked whilst I was away. Deborah and Gwynn improved their right canter, Lisa and Royal pushed their boundaries in every way, Mary-Beth has Classy going I've never seen her, Anna found the forward button, and Linda has Chevy ready for 1st level, training 3rd!! I'm humbled by what has gone on whilst I was away tanning by the pool, a LOT of blood and tears (no sweat, WAY too cold!) has been shed in the indoor arena! I'm thinking of making a new policy, if the horses have to dig thru the snow to find grass to eat, then I'm not leaving the house!!!

I'd also like to welcome Carla and Alex McLeod and Amanda Cross to the team, absolute pleasure to have such dedicated and keen eventers on board. Check back soon, I'll keep you up to date with the latest goings on. Please feel free to add your thoughts to my blog, the more feedback I get, the better it'll be!! I love hearing from everyone, whether it's on my blog or via private email. Stay warm, or cool, where ever you are!

Tony, Sunny and I enjoying our time in the MD snow! NB the sunshine, almost enough to bring out the sunnies!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009!!

I love this part of the year, the competitions are over for a while and I use this time to set my goals for the coming year. 2008 was really successful for both myself and my students with wins in eventing, showjumping and dressage. We competed at the American Eventing Championships and the BLM dressage championships. I was so happy with how Rocco moved from Australia to America and kept performing so well, he really is such a fantastic horse. In 2009 I look forward to continuing my success with Tony. I have also recently acquired a partnership in one of my favourite horses, Buddha, and am very excited to see just how far he'll go. Robin, who part owns him, is currently riding him, so hopefully by the time I get back he'll be ready to go advanced. She will also do some competitions on him. Sydney will be started his eventing career in Feb which will be fun. Merlot made a lot of progress in 2008 so I'm looking forward to continuing on him until he sells.

As 2008 involved a lot for me, not the least of which being relocating myself and business to America, I took the opportunity to travel back to Australia for the holidays. I arrived back in Brisbane on Christmas eve and spent Christmas with my family. For Boxing Day I travelled to Sydney and spent the day at the races with fellow Aussies Eventers from America Boyd Martin, Ryan Wood and Dom Schramm (soon to relocate). We all had varying successes with the our bets with Ryan being the most successful. I started out well then got a little biased by backing horses that I had previously ridden (Tommifrancs above, Smashing and Scorched Earth) whilst riding racehorses at Limitless Lodge. I think I was even bucked off the one above once or twice.... The jockey had no trouble with him so I think I must have schooled the it out of him! And judging by my gambling success, I'm much better at picking an eventer than and racehorse!!! But I do get a huge kick out of seeing horses I had ridden going around the racetrack, they look so grown up!

Back at home in Queensland I've had the chance to see my young horses which include a really nice yearling filly by Falchrik that was born last Christmas. My other favourite is Astra, a 3 year old mare by Aspen. Really growing into a nice horse. My mum has been in poor health recently so I've also been clocking up a few hours in her takeaway shop making hamburgers, and I must say I'm pretty good at it! Unfortunately it's about 45 degrees celcius in front of the cooker. Needless to say I'm looking forward to returning to the horses and hopefully snow!!

Happy New Year to everyone.

Blog Archive

Follow by Email