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.

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