Friday, December 30, 2011

Woodbine, next stop Aiken!

My favourite jeans are packed, Sunny's bed is packed and Digger's two favourite sticks are conveniently sitting on the backseat of the truck. So we are FINALLY ready to head south for the winter! Albeit a week late..... After such a mild winter I thought how could a few extra days hurt?! Save some money, earn some more money and sleep in my own bed a few more nights. A decision I seriously regretted the day after we were supposed to leave and it started SNOWING! So tomorrow we head off with two trailers, nine horses, six dogs (only 2 will stay) and five people. Everyone is excited, probably because we haven't had a show in about six weeks and we're all getting a bit of cabin fever. Just to give you a little insight into the life of a travelling competitive barn, this is how the morning will pan out:
Hour 1: Five people arrive at the barn and start wrapping nine horses. Same five people load nine horses onto two trailers. About three words are spoken the whole time.
Hour 2: First Red Bull and cool morning air start to take effect. Dogs sleep. Humans limit conversation to weather, 'how much further' and discussing the new Facebook.
Hour 3: Dogs sleep. No conversation since the MASSIVE Facebook argument. All humans asleep except drivers.
Hour 4: Stop for petrol. Dogs wake up, go for a run then back to sleep. Humans that were arguing switch trucks.
Hour 5: Start to see South Of The Border signs. Dogs sleep.
Hour 6: First 'are we there yet'. More South Of The Border signs.
Hour 7: Stop for more fuel and breakfast. Arguing parties make up agreeing that Facebook, in whatever form, is still pretty cool. Both of them update their statuses accordingly. Head count of horses to make sure we still have all of them.
Hour 8: South Of The Border theme park/rest area/restaurant/motel comes into view. We drive straight past. Dogs sleep.
Hour 9: Every topic expect, including Australia VS America, has been discussed. It's a tie.. Dogs sleep. 50th time someone asks 'are we there yet'.
Hour 10: Final fuel stop. Dogs wake up, then don't go back to sleep.
Hour 10 1/2: Arrive! Unload horses and settle them in for the night. About three words are spoken the whole time. Dogs run around in joy.
Hour 12: Dinner and quiet drink to ring in the NEW YEAR!

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year where ever you may be! I'm looking forward to a big one!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Update on the new Irish guys!

Ari with Tate Shaw.

Our two new Irish 3 year olds have had a busy couple of weeks, firstly travelling from Ireland to America. On one day they had their feet on the ground in three different countries, Ireland, England and America! They've now been with us for ten days and are coming along very well. Firstly we had to decide on names, Irish 1 and Irish 2 just didn't really sound personal enough.. The bigger one of the two has incredible charisma that would make him stand out in a herd of a hundred horses. He also has his own agenda and a lot of self confidence, he therefore became Ari Gold after one of my favourite TV characters. If you don't know who Ari Gold is, google 'Entourage, Ari Gold', you'll find out! The other one is super athletic and a fantastic mover that has EVENTER written all over him. Watching him trot around the field you can see every joint and muscle move and can imagine him jumping ANYTHING! And to ride he's already wanting to go on the bit better than a lot of 5 year olds! So he has become Lux Tremendous (Lux being his sire), Trevor for short. Both are green with Trevor being the more experienced of the two. Therefore Tate Shaw, local young jump jockey, has been helping out riding them. Both horses love him and he's doing a great job. Trevor will come to Wellington, FL, with me while Ari will stay in MD to get a few more rides with Tate before heading to Aiken, SC with me at the beginning of January.

Trevor's first time thru a gymnastic exercise. Tate Shaw in the saddle.

Trevor showing off his pretty face!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Instead of planning and packing for my annual trip back to my home land for Christmas under the sun and blazing hot temperatures, I'm planning and packing for my annual southern migration to the warmer (albeit not blazing hot) temperatures of Florida and South Carolina. This year I'm foregoing my trip home and instead investing that money on more dressage and showjumping training. My regular readers will know that back in May/June I drastically cut back on my teaching in order to focus more on my own training. By going to Wellington before Aiken I get in 10 days of focused, intensive training. This is something I do for myself but also greatly benefits group of students. I always do better when I'm in an intensive environment surrounded by other top level riders. So Cole, Liberty, Ari, Trevor, Ron and I will hit 95 south just as soon as I've eaten my Christmas dinner!
This is my second favourite time of the year: it's a time to reflect on the good, the bad and the unexpected from the year past and plan for the upcoming one. My favourite part is starting the new competition year! I plan on writing another blog to analyse this past year, so I won't go into that here. But I would really like to use this one to thank my supporters and team publicly. Each person, whether they take one lesson a month or own a few of my horses, plays a huge part in keeping this ship afloat!
Amy Gaynor: my manager. Thank you for being the organiser and glue that holds everything together. I'm excited for what you and Cindy will be able to do this spring.
Heather Pettit: our barn manager. Thank you for taking such great care of the horses and being so attentive and observant.
Kaden Weaver: Working student. Thank you for keeping everything running efficiently and getting on all the horses that buck!
Deborah Shuman: Thank you for keeping the financial wheels turning!
Hannah Firth: Working student. Thank you for keeping Kaden under control and laughing at my very funny jokes.
John Loosaririan: Working student. Thank you for your kindness to the horses.
Paula Bollinger: Sunset Hill manager. Thank you for keeping the McCuan horses organised and keeping the farm so well run.
Taylormade Stables: My teaching barn. Thank you to Robert and Kathy for taking care of and supporting our endeavours.
Sunset Hill Farms: My base for my horses: Thank you to the McCuan Family for providing such a lovely facility to train out of.
Rege Dvorksy and Jeanne Leone: owners of my best friend Cole!
Carla MacLeod: Lola's owner.
Pat and Jill McCuan: owners of the McCuan horses, most notably Mario and Liberty.
Amy and Alan Taggart: owners of Ti, Cowboy and Cindara.
Beth Sokohl: owner of Charmer (temporary ride) and at the top end of my favourite student list!
Thanks to my students and other supporters that make my job such a pleasurable one, and that help me get closer to my goals.
Thanks to the organisers and volunteers that enable me to compete week in, week out and provide the base of an industry I earn a living from.
Most of all tho, thank you very very much to the horses that give so willingly and generously each and every day. I may be the trainer, but you are the ultimate teachers and team mates.

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