Whoa 2016 where have you gone! Its the middle of July, feels like 100 degree and I feel like my season is only just beginning to start! This year has been an interesting one to say the least(It always is who horses, who are we kidding) and I had these grand ideas that I would be blogging every week as I was chosen as on of the trainers in this years $100,000 thoroughbred makeover with the retired race horse project. Because Gem didn't do anything last year due to her multiple near death experiences, she was still eligible and I was so excited to see what she could do. Fast forward from January where we were literally learning to walk and trot in an indoor surrounded by three feet of snow to now getting ready for Gem to do her second recognized event at the novice level next weekend. These last 7 months has been absolutely incredible and I am so pleased with her progress and willingness for eventing.
The year started off with Tempi heading down to South Carolina to get a jump start on our season. She ended up being 3rd in the open preliminary at Full Gallop and won the dressage at her first IP and ended up finished 5th overall at Sporting Days. I had a blast those few weeks down in Aiken and trying to figure out how to get there next year. Then at the end of March I ended up leasing Tempi to a local Young Rider and decided Gem needed a buddy, so I purchased a very nice off the track thoroughbred, Dante. Dante is four years old, raced last year and then had quite a bit of down time starting back under saddle in March. I picked him up April 1st and started to work determining what his "plan A" would be. Well as a 17 hand four year old, we still had quiet a bit of developing to do so we have been working a lot on the ground and under saddle. I firmly believe giving this guy time to develop will only help him in the long run.
I have been taking both horses over for lessons with Lynn Symansky and while I really enjoyed my lessons with Tempi, I am so enjoying the process and learning from Lynn's expertise on the ground and with the young horses. Gem is so impressive every time we get the chance to go over to her place, I little giggle the whole time I am on her. Dante has started jumping and we have been working a lot on staying quiet and teaching him to use his body correctly.
It's been a fun summer and I am determined to keep everyone up to take on both of these horses progress as they make their eventing debuts and prepared for Kentucky in October!
So I feel like it is finally an appropriate time to fill in all my friends, supporters, and sponsors with where I am currently at with my riding and business. As a child we all have this dream or vision of where we see our lives. Some want to be firefighters, some doctors, some CEO’s (my 9 year old brother Charlie frequently informs me he will be the next) and for me I always wanted to be an Olympic horseback rider. I haven't lost sight of that vision, but my path to it may have changed slightly.
In June I took the time to really evaluate what I wanted out of life and what was important to me. Horses were always number one. My parents always said I thought to much about the future and didn’t enjoy what was in front of me. Honestly I have to agree with them. As many of you can attest to, we as riders, grooms, trainers, get in this constant day to day routine. Wake up and feed our lovely creatures, ride them, groom them, feed them again and the routine goes on and on. There are the constant ups and downs as with any sport, winning big competitions, that riding lesson or jump school when everything seems to come together and those all make what we do every day worth it. For me that routine was becoming so “routine” I found I wasn’t able to focus on my riding the way I had in the past. I had bigger issues to deal with that were really holding me back from being able to put 100% into what I was doing. That was when I made the tough decision to take a break from riding professionally. Murphy had pretty much hit a plateau in his training and I made the decision to lease him to a young girl to teach at the training and preliminary levels. It has been great to see him with someone else and watch their partnership grow.
So in August I got a fantastic job offer up in DC working for a software company called Vocus as a sales executive. It was a great way for me to enter “corporate” world. My major was finance and marketing in college and my sales experience in the horse world allowed me to do quite well and I actually recently just left the company because I received a fantastic opportunity for a outside sales position at a company called PayChex. I am really excited to start this new part of my life and this will allow me the financial aspect and flexibility to start riding and competing again. I plan on taking a full 6 month to really take a “mental” break from the horses. I am working on planning a trip to Europe next spring to find me a nice young horse to start bringing along and have also thought about taking this time to spend some time doing the jumpers. Show jumping has always been my biggest weakness and I feel like this is a perfect time to start to pick some of those issues apart and jump some bigger jumps. I excited for this next chapter in my life and want to thank everyone for their constant support.
So although I am not sure that I am ready to let the world know my true feelings, I feel that I owe it to my special horse Murphy and share with whoever is going to read this how this horse has been apart of my life the last six years. Tomorrow morning Murphy is heading up the east coast to go teach a lovely girl Olivia at the training and preliminary level. Although I am very sad and I am sure tomorrow is going to be one full of tears, I know that this will be a great partnership and in the best interest of both me and my favorite four legged friend. We will save a later blog to update you all on my life, but for know the spot light is on my friend spotty.
Murphy has been a rock in the last six years of my life. When I thought I was at my lowest, this lovely horse showed me how to heal and really how to love again. While although some of you may laugh, there is something so special about brining a young horse along and having so many of your dreams come true. When Griffin passed away I honestly thought about giving up and letting go of riding. It wasn't but a mere coincidence that I ended up crossing paths with this horse who I frankly thought was ugly and wasn't sure he was going to be anything special. But I do have a firm belief that God puts people in the right places at the right time and this horse happened to enter my life when I needed him. I remember the first day I brought him home to Baythorne Farm and my stellar coach Matt at the time looking at me like I was an alien as this red headed chestnut with SPOTS comes into the indoor and starts running circles around me... Lets all remember my parents had no idea that Murphy was apart of my life until I had had him about a month. Luckily he has always tried and tried and I decided to keep him around. My first event with him, I cried the whole way around the cross country as I wasn't sure I was going to be able to ever have the joy of running across the cross country like I did with Griffin. But by the end I knew this horse was going to exceeded every expectation I had hoped for. The next years were a blur. He quickly progressed to the preliminary level and next thing I knew we were on our way to a CCI* long format. At 7 years old he finished 4th and 3rd in the USEF Championship. I have never experienced I high like I did that weekend. The following year he made a successful move up to Intermediate at was ready for the fall CCI** at Fairhill in 2009. Unfortunately the weather Gods got the better of us and I decided not to run XC, but learned a lot about this beautiful sport we all call our own. He was reserve champion at AEC's, and we finished three CCI**'s and finished the Fairhill CCI** National championship twice all while I was a full time college student. He has brought me to knew heights I didn't realize I could accomplish and really has helped me to get my foot in the door in the international scene. For that I will ever be in debt to him.
Along with our accomplishments, he has been a ever standing rock in my life. He has taught me to love, taught me to heal and allowed me to succeed. I have met so many amazing people because of the places we have gone together. There are so many people I wouldn't be able to call my friends or role models if it wasn't for my amazing spotted friend. When I think about everything, I ultimately laugh. I have at least a week worth of stories that I could share with everyone that would leave everyone laughing a little bit inside. So I just want to say thank you to my lovely spotted friend. I will miss your beautiful eyes and your shoulders that you always let me cry in. I will miss walking to your pasture and calling you and you always coming running. I will miss going to morning hacks and watching the sun come over the mountains. I will miss that feeling of coming through the finish flags and knowing we did it. I will miss laying with you in your stall dreaming of everything else to come. But I am so happy that some else is going to get to experience all that I have been able to. I love you Murph, you will always be my Sparkle.
Yesterday Kali ( Chance of Romance) did her first training level event and I was very pleased with how she finished we left her twin sister the fire breathing red mare at home! Considering I spent Friday night bunkered down in the house with three dogs, two cats, twelve horses, a donkey, and of course a pig wondering if I was going to survive the night of tornadoes coming my way, I wasn't feeling like going to an event Saturday Morning. But I but my game face on and off to sporting days we went.
The dressage was quite good for this little mare. I just got her about 6 months ago and before she came to me she was basically teaching someone beginner lessons so I am super happy with her progress. She scored a 35 in the dressage which put us tied for 9th but only a couple of points out of first. I think Boyd was winning on his lovely new Quinn horse on a 31.4 so we were right up there. Her trot work has been much improved and she handled the canter work well considering we were basically riding in quicksand once you got in the dressage arena. She has a long way to go, but we are on the right track. We had two showjumps down but they were "green" rails as I like to call them. She tends to start a little behind the leg so I was sure to come out strong making sure we had a forward canter once we got in the ring. She jumped the two combinations well and the course was much more rythmical and smooth then I have had in the past.
Cross country is obviously this mare's specialty. She was GREAT! The course was much more beefed up at all the levels then it was in February so a true test at every level but still very inviting. The training level had a log into the water and then a log out which a couple people seemed to be having problems with. We also had a pretty decent corner fence and a big ditch to a skinner rolltop. Kali came out of the start box and stepped right up to the plate. She peaked a little bit at the water but responded as soon as a put my leg on and jumped great. I find it so rewarding to bring along the youngsters. I remember last summer when I got her I took me over 2.5 hours to get her feet wet the first time... now we are jumping preliminary sized drops into water! Overall it was a successful 1st training level and her 4th event ever. Many thanks to everyone at sporting days for being getting everything off and running with the weather and working on the footing! Kali's plan is to run the training at Southern Pines II and then another one or two to prepare for the training three day in May at Heart of Carolina. I really believe that the classic format will teach the mare a lot about jumping out of stride and help her to gain a lot of confidence.
In other news, Murphy is back in work which he decided today would be the day, he was really suppose to start full flatwork and jumping tomorrow but instead he decided to buck me off in the field today and have a nice little gallop back to the barn. Mind you this is a very far distance at the Gibbes. So I think if he looks good tomorrow he will head to Southern Pines to run the Intermediate and then move up the advanced at Fairhill. I have a couple new horses in for sale and have also sold two in the past week! It's been busy but always entertaining. Congratulations to Kim Severson's Groom, Liz on her purchase of Chance of Fortune ( the best baby horse ever) and Julie Gibbes and her new horse Brickland Super Eight! I can't wait to see what these young guys do in the next couple years!
Well everything is really in FULL swing here at the Gibbes Lovely, Amazing, spectacular farm. I have been very busy with six horses, another one or two in half training, a lessons galore! It's defiantly time to start added to the circus act. All the horses are going really well & I am really excited about the next couple weeks. A few updates on each horse:
Murphy has been super in my lessons with Emily. He had his first cross country school today and he feel ready to go rock around the Preliminary at Full Gallop. He will then head to do the Intermediate at Pine Top and then dare I say the big A at the following Pine Top. I feel after three years of running around some solid intermediate and 3 CCI**s I think were almost ready!
Kali is heading to do the novice at Full Gallop and then probably the training at Sporting Days. She has gotten a lot stronger these last couple weeks and is really starting to carry herself.
Peetar is just as cute as ever. He is walk, trotting, and canter and picking up both leads wonderfully. He has been over little logs, ditches, and banks and was very brave and walked into both water jumps without a lead! He is such a cool guy I am really excited to see what he does in a couple years.
Lilly is doing both some eventing shows and and continuing to do some hunter classes as well. She is enjoying living in the soroirty pasture and long hacks around the farm.
Superstar Jack looks like he will be getting a new home next week, more the come on that, but I am really glad I was able to find him a great home. It will be exciting to watch this new pair in the future. I want to thank Cindy Burke and his owners Michelle Busse for letting me have the opportunity to have Jack.
And last but not least, Mr. Finn is loving his new clip job and his work. He is really coming through on the flat and he has the most amazing canter. He will probably run one unrecoginzed event and then run the training level at Sporting Days in March.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and hopefully you were able to spend time with friends and family. I was lucky enough to head home to Chicago and hang out with my large brady bunch of a family and see many long lost friends. I guess I need to continue making my yearly appearance.
There are some exciting new things happening here at Burke Equestrian. First off I would like to congratulate Beth Hemmer of her purchase of Sam. Sam was sent to me this fall and I have really enjoyed my time riding this lovely horse. He will now be moving to Missouri and I am excited to see Sam flourish with Beth. I also purchased a new three horse trailer with living quarters! I am cringing a little at the cost, but I needed a little upgrade and more room! And finally I got a new critter named Chance of Fortune aka Peter. He is a lovely three year old I got off the track. He is showing a ton of promise as an upperlevel horse and is the sweetest guy in the barn. I can't wait to see what this horse is going to do!
Soon I will heading home to Virginia and will shortly after head to the Gibbes farm for a couple of months in South Carolina. I am really excited to start competing again and see all my students down south!
Hope everyone has a wonderful new year!
This past weekend I took my young mare Chance of Romance, “Kali” to her first ever recognized event at Kelly’s Ford. I was really excited because she has been absolutely lovely at home and is turning into one very special horse and she proved to be just that this weekend. We were in a competitive novice horse division and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how she finished. She scored a 31.5 in the dressage which I actually believe is my lowest score all year. Great way to end 2011 even if it was only at novice. Once she gets a little stronger and can start carrying herself I expect her to be in the 20s. Then we went onto a very decorative showjumping. We had a triple bar, waves under fences, wishing well standards, a fan jump and some other spooky objects. But she handled it like a pro which I felt like was a lot to ask of beginner novice-training horses. We had a clean sj and then moved onto cross country. She was pretty foot perfect all the way around. We had some bigger questions for novice but she just pricked her ears and went along like a well schooled hunter. It is so gratifying to teach a horse new things and when they put all the pieces together it is a really great feeling. I am happy to say I think I have another little star on my hands with a 3rd place finish! Not a bad end to 2011! Hopefully I can carry some of that mojo over to 2012 and can start the new season on a good note again!
In other news I have lots of horses for sale and lots coming in and out! Emily Beshear and I will be heading south to Aiken, SC for a couple months and I am just about ready! It’s been so COLD here! I have turned into a major whimp living down in South Carolina the past four years. I will be staying at the Gibbes farm and working and running the business out of their lovely farm. I still have a couple openings for training horses and will be teaching a lot, so contact me if you would like any help while I am South. Weekends look full of horse shows and Murphy is looking ready to make his advanced debut! He trotted for the first time yesterday and the next couple weeks will do LOTS of walking and trotting! Good thing its pretty in Virginia!
So although AEC's was roughly two weeks ago, I will still give you a quick update. What a gorgeous facility and a great please to host AEC's at Carl Bouckhart's Chatachoogee Hills. The stabling was fantastic, great vendors, and fabulous rings and footing. It is so nice to be able to have such a nice venue to host events. I only expect it to get bigger and better every year. Well Murphy was pretty freaking awesome all weekend. I am not sure our results reflect the amount of improve this horse and I are making, but I am on cloud nine (even two weeks later) after his spectacular effort all weekend. He put in a very steady dressage test, with only a few small mistakes. He seemed to be slipping in his canter walks and therefore we had some reining like stops. It didn't score as well as I would have hoped, but everyone was very tightly packed and he is ready to make huge improvements at Fairhill. Cross Country was literally foot perfect. We had 1.6 time added to our dressage score and he was incredibly. Everything felt so easy and he was so on and looking for every flag. I don't think the horse every questioned me and seemed to enjoy himself on a whole new level. Finally was show jumping on Saturday. He warmed up great and we canter right into the ring working on our problems from HITS. He jumped his heart out. We had three rails down but Emily was pleased. Basically we decided that he was focusing on the final element of the combinations and was a bit too slow off the ground at the first element. We had A and B down in the triple and A down in the double. This is a relatively new problem and we have already had some great jump schools to fix this. Emily is fantastic with her exercises and I believe we will make a lot of progress before the CCI at Fairhill.
So everything else is great. Very busy with sales horses, but I am totally enjoying it and ready to start preparing for the last couple weeks before Fairhill. Gym, here I come.
This past week, I was suppose to be at Richland Park with Murphy in the intermediate, but unfortunately my Grandfather passed away earlier this week. My Grandparents have always been huge supporters of my riding and my dreams and have done so much to help me get where I am today. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be here without their loving help. It is so important to have a support system and surround yourself with people who support you dreams and aspirations whether it is family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, or all, but you can't get very far without them. So thank you to my wonderful Grandfather who has always believed in what I could accomplish. I now have on more guardian angel watching over me. Love you so much, you will truly be missed.
On a lighter note, the horses are going well and I took Murphy and Kali over to HITS this past week to get some practice in the showjumping ring. Murphy was great. He did three classes on Wednesday and then did two on Friday. I even won some ribbons in the large classes of 25 plus! I felt like as the jumps got bigger on Wednesday that he started to overjump and was jumping me out of the tack. I think I started overriding a bit and we had a rail in both the level 3's and 4's. So on Friday I really thought about taking my time and thinking about each and every stride and making sure I was in an appropriate spot before, during, and after the fence. He was great! I had a clean round in the level three's and one down in the jump off which left us in 6th place. Then in the level 4's I made a silly mistake down a line and rode a little too forward into a in and, but he jumped out well and ended up 6th in that class as well. It was really great to be able to go and just continuously practice, practice, practice, without the pressure of a three day competition. I am really looking forward to AEC's and hoping the "practice" will pay off come Sunday. I also brought Kali over on Friday to let her see everything. She was great. We hacked all over the property and had a really nice flat and jump school. I have two new horses coming in next week so I will have the young ones out very soon as well.
Both horses traveled to Waredaca this weekend and besides my little mistake of turning the wrong way onto the toll road I couldn't get off of, we made it! Murphy ran in the OI and scored a 37 in the dressage to put him in 7th out of quite a large field. There is LOTs to improve on, but I now the next two weeks will be fun of dressage work in our new arena with mirrors! In the showjumping, we had three down all due to my pilot error. Words of wisdom: don't tell yourself your having a great ride with jumps left to go, never fairs well. I ended up getting him to close to a vertical before the triple combination which carried over to the first element of the triple and then my nerves got the best of me at the last. He jumped great otherwise and I know we are continuing on the right training plan. Cross Country was freaking awesome! He was just about perfect. We changed his bridle and bit, and what a difference that made. I was able to spend much less time setting up for the fences and he thus was able to focus on what was being asked of him. He was really looking for the next fence in all the combinations and was so eager. It was a great feeling. His plan will be to continue on to the CIC** or OI at Richland Park and then the OI at AEC's. We have hopes of running an advanced horse trial and maybe the CCI** at Fairhill again, but we will take one weekend at a time. Kali was suppose to do her first recognized event this weekend, but she ended up not feeling quite right in the dressage so I ended up scratching. It was good for her to go out though and hang out and see everything, which she was very relaxed about! Hopefully its just something minor and she will be back in form for something in the next couple weeks. She has been so good at home, that I am really disappointed she wasn't able to run.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love to tell stories. Follow Murphy and I on all our adventures of traveling around the country and competeing at the upper levels of eventing.... Im sure it will be a treat :)