American Eventing Championship
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.
Practice Makes Perfect
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.
Waredaca Horse Trials
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.
Back to the show ring we go...
So as many of you know, but I guess not all of you because I have friends asking where I am living these days... I will inform you. As of this moment, I am working outside of Charlottesville, VA working for the amazing Dr. Jeff Beshear and his vet practice, Old Dominion Equine. It has been pretty amazing and I am getting quite good at hooking up the xray machine, jogging horses, and drawing up medications :) Pretty exciting stuff. But in all fairness I am learning a ton and am really enjoying the hands on experience and getting to learn more and more about sport horse performance veterinary care. I am also leasing a small barn with my wonderful friend Coren, and we are finding ourself with 5 chestnuts and a bay... Everyday is a new day when dealing with the redheads, especially the one with spots :) But Virginia is amazing and I see why it is so perfect to keep horses here. Besides the 100 degree weather and 100% humidity, it is absolutely beautiful and there are plenty of places to hack and gallop complete with hills, which I am not use to coming from the midwest.
I have also gotten to ride with Emily Beshear (Jeff's Wife) and she is simply amazing. I know I am always saying how amazing my lessons are with Jon, Bonnie, and everyone else, but I guess I have just been very lucky to ride with such top quality coaches in my riding career. Emily and I have developed a plan to "reteach" Murphy how to jump and use his back/topline over the fences. If any of you have ever watched him he is pretty darn scopey but also tends to hurl himself over the jumps. We are really forcing the issue that he must stay as supple and soft as possible as I would like to think about doing an advanced horse trials this fall. So after the last 6 weeks of doing lots of hill work and long and low flat work, Murphy has started jumping again and is a completely different horse. He is pushing and really using his body CORRECTLY over the fence. Emily is pretty brilliant when it comes to her exercises and I am having a blast focusing on reschooling and not worrying about competing. The rest of the summer will be spent doing lots of local jumper shows and some horse trials just to keep working on the whole picture. Today we ventured to Richmond with about four horses to a nice low key jumper show. It was exactly what Murphy needed. By the last round, he jumped absolutely the best he ever has and was pushing and jumping so confidently it was amazing. I think he ended up a two time penalties, otherwise he would have won the class. Next weekend we are going to go to a combined test and then head to Maryland II for their horse trials.
In other news, I also bought a new pony! Her name is Kail and she is a 7 year old thoroughbred and of course she is red with a white stripe. I guess I am a softy for the chestnuts. She is lovely and I am really excitied for her future. She is going to go to a hunter show tomorrow possibly to just get off the farm and do some low key type events, but she will probably be making her eventing debut in the next couple weeks as well. Lots more information to come on her including lots of pictures and videos. Also check out the sales page, I have a really nice training packer that has done a one star for sale and he is simply amazing and ready to go teach someone through prelminary again.
Have a nice 4th and God Bless America!!
Final Ocala Recap
So I really tried to blog throughout my weekend, but the internet at the house was not working well enough :( But anyway Ocala was a weekend with a lot of positives. Murphy put in a stellar dressage test for him at socre a 56th to land him in 11th out of about 40 horses. I was so pleased and Jen Holling said she rode the best I had seen and didn't give a point away! Yah for me!
Cross country was overall very good. It was a tough course and Murphy seemed to jump around like a champ. I did decide to take the option at the bank complex and opted to circle before the brush offsets since time was pretty easy to make. Murphy was awesome through the brushes and went I jumped up on the bank I was sure I could make the line, but I opted to be safe. He was then really super at the water and felt like a million bucks. Towards the end of the course we had a bounce on a mound down to a skinny toothbrush wedge. Well I rode strong up the hill to the bounce, Murphy jumped A and then stopped at the B element. I think he was quite surprised by the drop and it spooked him a bit. I then galloped around and jumped back into the gully down to the wedge and he was super good. I was obviously very disappointed, but I still think it just a question he hasn't seen much of. Otherwise Murphy was a super star man and came home with just the 20 penalties. Murphy looked great on Saturday and was really good at the jog on Sunday. Man has he grown up since the his first jog at the Midsouth CCI* a couple years ago when we took off bucking and squealing...
Anyway showjumping was quite good as well. I had two down, but I don't think I have ever ridden a course thinking about every stride as much as I did. We had fence two and three down which was a vertical 5 strides to a oxer. He just ticked the vertical behind and I sat down a little two early and then somewhat chased him down to the oxer. After that he was much better and really jumped his heart out for me. Now Murphy is on a little break and we will see what the future holds.
All of the students are doing really well, which is very exciting! Over at Windchime stables, we had dressage practice day which was quite entertaining. Riding a correct 20 meter circle is harder then it looks! I have two horses that are coming for training and a couple coming for sale. Things are busy here but Murphy is enjoying his vacation and his time with his favorite donkey Nick! Here are some pictures from cross country and from the competitors party!
Ocala Day 1
Nutrition: Key to Success... a night of grilling and hamburgers the day before a big event, I couldn't ask for much more thanks to Alex and Tony. I had a great jump school of Murphy yesterday with Jon. We worked over a very big course with all the usually questions, bending lines, combinations, exc. and he was quite good. Jon gave me some last minute pointers to help put all the pieces together for hopefully a good round on Sunday.
Today we had jogs and a competitors briefing. Murphy looked nothing less the spectacular and behaved himself like a grownup horse :) Then I took a nice stroll around the park and I must say that the course is pretty beefy and a true test of the level. There are plenty of combinations and enough to keep Murphy and I on our feet. I will have pictures of the course and such tomorrow. I then watched some epesoides of Modern Family (a great way to pass a 90 degree day) and then had a very good flat lesson with Jon. Murphy should be ready to put in a superstar test tomrrow. We ride dressage
Fork Horse Trials Recap
This past weekend, Murphy and I traveled up to the Fork Horse Trials in Norwood, NC. Jim & Benadette Cogdell have the most beautiful farm I have probably ever been too. It is absolutely world class, the footing is unbelievable, and everything runs smoothly with the help of an amazing staff and a great group of volunteers. Needless to say, it is one of my favorite events. The original plan was to just come to the Fork to help some friends and bring Murphy as a non compete horse and take lessons with Jon Holling as he was there competing with two horses. But since Southern Pines showjumping didn't go as planned, I decided that it might be worthwhile to run the combined test to get as much practice as we can in the dressage and showjumping. Looking back is was a great tuneup for Ocala and just what I needed to focus on Murphy for next weekend. Thursday PM I had a great lesson with Jon and felt like we were able to fix a couple things for Friday. I had a very steady test with some great moments and of course there is still some room for improvement. Murphy's canter work was quite good with all 7, 8, and even a 9. The trot work is still a work in progress, but I feel by the end of the year, it will be scoring better and better. He scored a 36.4 and landed us in the middle part of a larger division.
Showjumping on Sunday was just what I needed to feel confident for Ocala. Murphy warmed up quite well, and I felt great going in the ring. I rode a steady round and really concentrated on my canter quality and rhythm. We ended up having two rails, one at the first, and then a vertical towards the end of the course. I have had experience with having the first rail down quite a bit, and I think Murphy gets somewhat distracted and I don't have the canter I need until later on in the round. With the vertical, Jon had made it clear to not jump not in the middle because the stripe was gray and blended in with the footing. Well I came around the turn, changed the canter and jumped the middle stripe. Opps. Overall I was pretty pleased and look forward to a good weekend at Ocala.
Today Lisa is coming out to give Murphy and Dillon a massage session before we head to Ocala. Dillon will go back to his owner after his 6 week training period tomorrow and Murphy and I will head to the Hollings for a jump lesson Wednesday afternoon and then to the horse park. Hopefully I will have internet and will be able to keep everyone updated on the CCI**.
Redhills Horse Trials
Redhills was if anything an improvement from last year and I great wake up call. Conor and I left early Thursday morning and after a 6 hour trailer ride, we settled the horses in and went off to catch the rest of the riders coaching meeting with David O’Connor and Leslie Law. I was very impressed with David and think he has all the skills and ideas to take this country to the top. Leslie clearly has the riding ability and I believe his experiences in the UK would make him a good candidate as well. Either way, I am really excited to see either of these individuals rise to the position. We finished off the evening with a nice evening at the Bonefish sponsored party! My favorite!!!!!
Friday Murphy did his dressage test in the morning. After a lesson with Jon on Thursday PM, I felt I had a good idea of what I could expect out of him. He was very good in the trot work and in the places he is usually quite good, he was a little tense. I do believe that we are on the right track to a competitive test at the CCI** at Florida in a couple weeks. He ended up on a 38 and was tied for 7th going into cross-country.
The course country course was very different the last year with some great new combinations. Murphy continued his great start to the season with a good clean fast cross-country ride to finish with just four time penalties in the Intermediate. I did feel he was very strong though and I had to do more setting up the I am use too, so we may be working on galloping at speed soon to get back control. But where he needed to pay attention, he was very good. I have been really excited recently with my showjumping as Murphy has had two clean rounds at his first competitions out this year and I felt we were on track to go in and have a great round. Well that isn’t exactly what happened. He warmed up pretty well although I felt like I really had to focus on moving his shoulders. Well first jump was good and we then turned right downhill to a large oxer. I went to bend him through the turn and he just dismissed my aids, came off the line I saw and I missed badly at the 2nd fence and on the brakes went. As many of you know this started to become a large issue last spring so it was a little disconcerting. After a good 15 seconds or so of Murphy propping, it was all I could do to get him to go forward and back on track to jump the 2nd fence. He was then very strong and was galloping less the ideally around the stadium track. He ended up with two rails and some time dropping him from 4th to 8th. I am obviously very disappointed but I do feel like there is more going on then what we are seeing. I have been really good this spring about keeping him feeling good through acupuncture; massage therapy thanks to Equinox Equine Massage Therapy and Lisa’s generous help, and some chiropractic adjustments. Dr. Beshear is thinking we may be dealing with a bone issue in his back so we did some shockwave therapy and if an improvement is seen, Murphy may be taking a trip to the University for a bone scan. So we are home safe and sound and will take the next to weeks to work on parts of the dressage test and maybe head to a jumper show to get some practice in the ring.
Both horses were quite good this past weekend at Pine Top Horse Trials in Thomson, GA. Murphy was in the open preliminary and finished 7th and Bijou was in the preliminary horse and finished 6th. Both horses added just a few time pentatlies to their dressage scores! I am a very happy girl right now. It was great that my week in Ocala last week with Jon Holling is paying off. I usually talk about how I need to work on the jumping phases but I think these next two weeks are going to be focued on working in the sand box! I was so impressed with Murphy. It was his first run since fairhill and the horse came out like a champ. It was great to feel my very confident, cross country machine back and know that moving up to Intemdiate at the next outing is probably a good decision. He tends to canter over fences sometimes instead of jumping them. Hopefully the little bigger questions will encourage him to actually jump the fences.
Bijou was great as well and she came out better then last weekend at Full Gallop. There was little hesitantation if any around the course and I was able to go a little quicker. She is so easy to ride cross country because you just raise your shoulders about 4 strides from the fence and she is right there balanced and ready to jump. What a cool little horse. Hopefully she can find a great home and someone who will let this little horse shine.
In other news, I have a horse rigth now in training for the month named Bogart and he is doing wonderful. We are hacking around the farm quietly and working quite well in the dressage ring. He isn't even scared of Otis! For all of you who don't know Otis, he is a large pig at the Gibbes. All of the other students are getting back into lessons and I am excitied to see what the spring shall bring us. The weather in South Carolina has been quite fantasic. I am enjoying riding in a polo shirt or a light jacket everyday. Thank you sun goods. To all my friends back in Chicago, I am not jealous of the artic you are living in right now.
The next two weeks we will be taking some lessons and just working on some small things before the Advanced Pine Top. Murphy will be in the Intermediate and Bijou will be in the prelimimary again. Thank you to Kate Samuels for her photography skills for the SJ pictures. The other picture is of the Hollings statue decorated for superbowl... we all know how that turned out.
Let 2011 Begin
So I have lots of exciting news to share. First off I would like to welcome our newest sponsor to Burke Equestrian - Equinox Equine Therapy. Lisa Hinkle has graciously given up some of her time to work on my horses doing massage therapy. After already one session I can feel how beneficial this is going to be and will become an integral part of our training program. Please check out Lisa at http://www.equinoxequinetherapy.com/.
In other news, both big horses are back in full work. We started the season off with a CT test at sporting days farm just to knock some of the rust off. When I mean rust I mean I had two errors in the dressage but still managed to get a 36 in the preliminary on Murphy. Bijou got a 27 in the dressage and was great. I am very excited to see her progress through the winter. Then last week I took the little mare over to Holly Biddle's for a dressage lesson. She was so good. We really had her through and working within the half-halts to start getting some serious engagement. It was nice to take a lesson again and ride under very watchful eyes.
Then the next morning was horse show time! Bijou ran the preliminary at Full Gallop farm and was such a good little pony. We scored a 36.7 in the dressage which I thought was a bit harsh, but I was very pleased with the little gal. I had two down in the showjumping, but I am working hard to become better and think that we will see improvements in the next couple weeks. Then cross country she was perfect! A little spooky at the beginning but got so much better as the course went on. She was very brave into both waters and just overall a really good girl over a much bigger course then anyone is use to seeing at Full Gallop.
Currently I am sitting at the Holling's in Ocala after two days of intense lessons with Jon. I have to say, Jon is one of the most talented professionals I have ever worked with. Not only in his own riding but his teaching skills are amazing. We had a excellent jump school on Murphy yesterday jumping through some course work. Today Bijou jumped and I was able to really figure out how to keep a "horse" step on her and not take away from her while still keeping a very consistent balance and shape. Murphy then did a dressage school and Jon said his canter work was superb. I am so excited to bring both these guys out next weekend at Pinetop in Thomson, GA. Tomorrow is a dressage day for Bijou and a cross country school for Murphy. Then on Monday, I am riding Bijou in the ICP clinic with Phillip Dutton and Captain Mark Phillips. I hope it continues to be a fun filled learning week. Here is a picture of Bijou at Full Gallop Farm. Thank you to Hoofclix photography for their excellent photos!
"Be so good they can't ignore you" - Steve Martin