Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cole warming up for a lesson.
I love Olympic years and this is probably the most exciting one for me yet with so many friends in contention. As well as exciting it’s also super motivating, making it very easy to get up with my alarm at 5 am each day! In order to get the most effective ride on each horse, I try to get them ridden before it gets too hot. This week I took Cole to a clinic with Irish eventing hero Eric Smiley. Waredaca Farm hosts him each year, however this was my first time riding with him. I’m never quite sure what to expect when I go to a clinic, it’s hard to change your riding (nor do I want to) in one go. I really hope to get one or two pointers that I haven’t thought of and a tune up of ideas I may have been working on. Eric did just that, making our lesson well worthwhile.
Back on the home front in Australia mum has been making up for the loss of our wonderful mare Fifi in a big way! She got news thru the grapevine of a group of young warmbloods who had found themselves in the local slaughter pen. As foals and yearlings it seemed a little unfair and that their lives would be wasted so prematurely that she brought home the ones that look as tho the will grow into performance horses. So now she has her hands well and truly full! It's quite amazing to think of what their fate would have otherwise been....

One of the lucky, unnamed, youngsters.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I don’t have any eventing competitions until mid July. Which means my days are filled with teaching, training, teaching, sales, teaching and showjumping! Two of my favourite horses at the moment are the Irish guys we imported in November. Both have started competing and, as you can see from the photos, they are real jumpers! Keeping that in mind my next few competitions involve entering Culpepper HITS Showjumping into my GPS and driving to VA! I always feel at home there, perhaps because it’s called the Commonwealth Park, or perhaps because my horses always seem jump well! Both of them are for sale so I’m enjoying the last rides I have on each before they are snapped up by their new owners. 
 VS McCuan Tremendous
VS McCuan Ari Gold
On the home front in Australia, we had to say good bye to my best brood mare Fifi which was unfortunate. Fifi produced some lovely foals for us, including a stunning Regardez Moi that I imported last year. She was a 3/4 sister to dressage star Centaur so I hope we can keep her bloodlines going.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bromont 2012

Bromont has come and gone for another year and my French STILL hasn't improved.. Perhaps next year! This year I ended up only taking Liberty in the 1 star, leaving Cole at home to work on his eating and relaxing skills. There's nothing like a three day event to mature a young horse and get him to understand his job and Bromont is the best venue I've ever been to for this purpose. It's a three day obviously, the horse has to learn how to trot up (jog), learn to be in a stall,  all the vet checks and compete on three separate days. Somehow Bromont manages to have all these requirements and still have a relaxing feel to it. The surroundings may help, Bromont is a tourist town surrounded by beautiful mountains. However I think it's more the organising committee that gives it that feel. This year both the Canadian and American teams used this event as the Olympic tryouts: the Canadian team was finalised there and the American team shortlist was selected. I was very happy to see Boyd on the shortlist with two horses, I've known him and his riding for over 12 years and have to say he is at his absolute best. His dressage is looking incredible and he showjumping like he should be on the showjumping team, his xc is as good as always. Phillip is also on the shortlist with Heath's Mystery Whisper. VERY exciting, I've seen this horse grow up from a yearling and have competed against him in two different countries. He proudly represents Heath's awesome breeding and training program, and Phillip has gelled with him in such a way that the entire eventing world ought to be very very nervous at the Olympics. Another person I was happy to see on the list is Marilyn Little-Meredith. I did make an ill advised bet with her last year on whether or not she'd make it to Rolex this year given that she had at the time been eventing for only a year. Not only did she make it to Rolex, she made the Olympic shortlist! So I lost my $10.. The only bad thing about this list is that the two people I train with will now be away all summer.
Back to Liberty's Bromont. He's been going so well all season that I thought he'd be in with a great chance to win. As he has become fitter tho, his body shape has changed and his dressage saddle started to pinch him while we were at the event. This led to a more tense than normal test, but a clear and fast xc moved him well up in the standings finishing well within the top 20 at his first international event! Not bad considering his test was not at his competitive best. This is a seriously good horse and I'm so lucky to be involved with training him to reach his fullest potential. He'll now have a break before coming back at the end of the summer where he'll aim for another international competition in the fall.
Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support about Ronnie. He really is missed both on a personal and professional level. Good horses are difficult to find!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ron Jeremy

Today is a sad day as we lost one of my favourite up and coming youngsters. Ron was a training level horse that was an event horse thru and thru. I picked him up out of a paddock in the middle of nowhere as a 3yo, so scrawny that even his mother would've struggled to love him. When I got him back home he did, however, show enough promise for my working student Kaden to buy him. Kaden trained him and rode him until he left to return to Australia at which point we purchased him and I started competing him. The first thing we had to do when we got him was to name him. I wanted something like Gambler (his previous owners' occupation) or Champion (his intended occupation) or Genius Extraordinaire (my occupation). I left this process up to Kaden assuming he'd follow this line of thought. But you know what happens when you assume.... He came up with Ron Jeremy, Ron for short. I liked it. I thought it was a strong, solid citizen sounding name. It had integrity. It's none of these things. If you know what I'm talking about, shame on you. If not, Google it. It wasn't until weeks later that I found out who his namesake was. Fortunately he hadn't been registered yet so Ron stayed and the Jeremy was dropped. Ron was the perfect event type: brave, careful, nice movement. Although  he had quite a buck in him, he was very gentle and always tried his absolute hardest.
Last Tuesday he developed an aggressive form of cellulitis in his right hind. With the aid of our wonderful vet we treated him with antibiotics, hitting it as hard as we could. As Ron was in a great deal of pain and  because of his exceptionally high fever, we stayed with him around the clock. Heather (my barn manager), Chloe (working student), Paula (farm manager) and I took turns keeping him on his feet and making sure he stayed with us and checking his temperature as well as administering drugs as he needed them. His hock joint became infected and he developed vasculitis In spite of our efforts his condition continued to deteriorate to the point where he was hospitalised. They were unable to get him stable so he did not return.
Ron was an important part of my team, and more than that, he was very well loved. I just hope he knew that.
Thank you Ronnie for all that you were, and sorry for all that you could have been.

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