Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My heart goes out to Boyd.

Homebred and imported Australian warmblood Jerry at his first ever competition!

This weekend was quite a busy one with 3 horses competing dressage in MD and another 3 competing at Fair Hill eventing. Cole and Liberty were both placed fifth in the prelim and intermediate, both scoring very well on the flat. Lois Lane and Jerry also won ribbons at the dressage show as did Kaden on his new horse Ronnie.

As a professional rider you tend to be quite tough when things don't go quite right, and growing up on the farm there's a saying 'where there's livestock, there's deadstock'. Still nothing prepared me for the absolutely devastating news this morning that Boyd Martins barn had burnt down with several horses unable to escape. The heroic efforts of two of his workers, Lillian Heard and Caitlin Silliman, and his best friend Ryan Wood, enable four horses to make it out. They had to be restrained by the firefighters to stop them going back in for more. For those of you who don't know Boyd, he is in love with each and every one of his horses and right now is still at the hospital with the ones who did make it but are in need of treatment. I can't even begin to feel what he must be going thru. I think of what it would be like if my horses were in that situation, I couldn't bear it. Every horse, whether he's not careful and has rails or doesn't understand shoulder in, tries his/her absolute hardest for me and I would be inconsolable in the same situation. So today, instead of worrying about the couple of rails I had at Fair Hill or the test that wasn't so good on Saturday, I'm going to thank and appreciate my four legged partners and perhaps even give them a carrot of two. Whether you know Boyd or Silva or not, keep them in your thoughts. And pockets when it comes to rebuilding.

A big thank you to my owners for entrusting me with your horses, I know you love them as much as I do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Whomever said Jersy's fun, is WRONG!

I'm the type of person who likes to give things names. For example when jumping there Long Spots, Deep Spots, Close Your Eyes/Pray To God Spots, Training Distances (which incorporate the afore mentioned, and most often used when I'm attempting to look good even tho I missed!). And of course there's the Perfect Distance, which obviously I see a lot (I wish!). Then there are Hot Attached Guys (the bane of my existence), Hot Gay Guys (loads of fun and super trendy) and Hot Available/Interested Guys (a VERY rare species!). Then there are drives. Just Up The Road to PA to compete. Just Down The Road to a jumper show in NC. Floating Home On Air when I've won. Finally there's the Long Drive Home. The most dreaded of all and the absolutely demoralising. Unfortunately I'm had to experience this one quite a few times, fortunately I've experienced the opposite WAY more times! And although over time my good:bad ratio has improved considerably (as it should), the bad ones are still there... And let me tell you, the pain certainly does not diminish with time and experience. Of course this is a LONG story to update you on my latest show, Jersey Fresh CCI with Cole. From the beginning it didn't go well. The dressage test was one best left in the past. I made a couple of mistakes for which I won't forgive myself, as my horse did try quite hard. If you're a regular reader you will understand the challenges and improvements we've made in the short time we've been together. His owner/s are super supportive and have enabled me to seek further help in this area, for which I'm immensely grateful. However it was seriously depressing none the less, just ask the couple of unfortunate recipients of my distressed calls immediately after I got off! I decided to run cross country as it would still be a qualifier and this horse has far bigger fish to fry at a higher level to get too worked up. He is super solid cross country and seems to just read my mind on course. Either that or he's been checking out the course map while I'm not looking and already knows what to do before hand! So I was mindful that to finish on our dressage score, very likely given his record and current fitness, would at least put us in the top ten and also give us the qualifier. So with that in mind we headed off to cross country. As always, no matter how straight forward a course seems, I gave it my utmost attention (given that it's possible to trip over even a 2 foot fence, and that's embarrassing). There were definately plenty of questions, but none that Cole wasn't prepared for. So it came as a bit of a shock to come out of the first water (ominously named the Jersey Shore) on a half stride and have a run out at the skinny. In the midst of the utter disappointment I at least still retained some common sense. Let's leave it for another day, Bromont is in a month, he can go there and we get a second chance. So back to the barn we went (certainly not something I thought I'd be doing 3 mins earlier, I'd pictured myself at that point jumping up the banks), me incredibly disappointed with myself but still very happy to have a healthy, sound horse underneath me. Always it's onwards and upwards to the next show (Liberty and Ti at VA Horse Trials this weekend), but still very depressing indeed. No amount of consoling myself with 'at least it wasn't at Rolex', or 'at least I'm not starving in Africa', or 'at least there weren't any hot guys in the crowd' helped. I know I lead a very charmed existence but it's all relative, I didn't smile all week.

I probably should have seen this coming tho, Cole has very definatley made it clear in the past that he can't stand the Jersey Shore (he's scared of Snooki, as am I), and he's very much more interested in the class and fevour of the French (even if it's French-Canadian) so Bromont it is! Plus he gets to hang out with Liberty (who's also going) for a week. . The next few weeks for us will see us jumping with Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin and Marilyn Meredith-Little and dressaging a LOT. It is fair to mention that the same jump caught out an Olympic gold medalist, a 3 time Rolex winner and several other very good riders. Not an excuse in any way, but a tiny tiny comfort. Every tunnel has it's end and eventingnation posted a clip of Cole and I jumping clear at Fair Hill CIC 2 star (thanks Julie Scott for alerting me!) and I was smiling ear to ear and ready for our next challenge!

O, I nearly forgot, it was a Long Drive Home from Jersey.......

Monday, May 2, 2011

This weekend I didn't compete any of my horses, I'm still taking care of an annoying head injury that's taking a little while longer than expected to dissipate.... Therefore I'm only doing the shows I really need to in order to qualify each horse. Riding at home is all back to normal, just making sure I'm healthy again before starting to compete full on again. That doesn't mean it was a quiet weekend with my students tho! At Loudoun Darcy Swain attempted to continue her unbeaten winning streak, which looked positive after the dressage, however a rail relegated them to 4 th place.. Still a ribbon's a ribbon! Beth Sokohl made her first outing since last year a successful one with a close 2nd. A costly mistake in the canter in the dressage cost them a higher place but it was definitely a great start to the season! Amy Gaynor riding her own Cindy finished on her dressage score to end up 2nd at Potomac. This is great as her dressage continues to improve. Meghan Avella convincingly won her division which was great to see. Sometime student but always Australian, Ema Klugman also won her division! She's worked very very hard with her mare and deserved her blue ribbon!

The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this weekend is that I don't actually need to be competing in order for my team to be bringing home the ribbons! Just the excuse I needed to escape to the Bahamas for a week.... I wish!

I think there was some other show on this weekend too. Rolex something? May have been in Kentucky.... And it may have led to me being a VERY distracted trainer obsessed with checking my phone for scores every two minutes... Thanks Julie, Beth and Jenny for pretending to not notice! Congratulations to Mary King for dominating the weekend finishing 1st and 2nd.

This blog is about my (owners) horses, career and the show results of my students. It's a personal collection of results, thoughts and updates, therefore I don't normally talk about anything outside of that (noone wants to hear the inner workings of my brain aside from the horsey bits!). However Lisa Kurr is one of my favourite and most committed students (I have a few) as well as team supporter. She had a very routine operation to repair her meniscus (skiing injury) that unfortunately turned bad. She developed a horrible infection that's left her in a lot of pain and laid up for 3 weeks and counting. My point is GET BETTER LISA! I know there are far worse problems to have in the world (like who ran into the side of my new truck...) but I'm sure you understand her despair of not being able to ride her horse.

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