Monday, April 26, 2010

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease!

It's been awhile since I posted...  Things have been a bit crazy for me lately!  After my week+ of illness, I got back to work with the boys.  I have been getting some dressage help from my friend, Hillary (, who always seems to have lovely tests on her horses.  She lives close, and she has a great eye, so she's been my drill instructor for dressage bootcamp!  Bug has really been making leaps and bounds in his dressage work, and I feel like I'm FINALLY starting to get it.  

Renn and I have been working on relaxation in the jumping and the flatwork.  He's really starting to come along as well.  

Of course, when all is going well, another wrench must fall into the gears.  To make a long and gory story short, I got double barrel kicked in my upper thighs, sending me flying about 10-15 feet into an old barrel which decided my left arm looked mighty tasty.  The result, two very badly bruised thighs and thirty stitches in my arm.  That happened Sunday, April 18th.  Luckily, I was able to keep Bug going with lunging and hacking one armed.  Hillary, from earlier, was also kind enough to jump him for me last
week.   I was able to do some dressage work last Thursday as well, just to test out the arm.  Fortunately, it hurts to do just about everything with it, except hold the reins.  I am getting my stitches out on Thursday, so Thursday evening, I'll be jumping Bug.  This week will be filled with a lot of dressage work, which is just what we need, anyway.  
We leave Friday morning for a 7 hour trek to Hamilton, GA for the Poplar Place Horse Trials.  Bug is competing in the Preliminary division, and Catherine and Thunder are taking on the Beginner Novice division!
I am hoping that myself and my horses can manage to stay healthy for the rest of the season!  haha We'll see.
Hope all is well with everyone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sometimes you have to make the big girl decisions....

I am the typical horsewoman...  I push myself to the limits, even when I'm feeling crappy or under 100%.  I always try to push through the pain.  haha  Well, sometimes, that's not always the thing to do....

After my return from The Fork with Bug, I came down with the flu from the darkside.  Coughing, sore throat, congestion, body aches, fevers....  I felt like death.  I kept thinking that I would feel better the next day, but I kept feeling worse.  Unfortunately, Jeremiah was busy with his two jobs all week, so that meant that I had to do all of the daily work around the farm.  There was no rest for the weary.  I was supposed to be taking Renn to The Fork II that approaching weekend, so I kept riding the boys every day as well.  You wouldn't catch this eventer wimping out!  

By Thursday night, I had myself so sick, I had a high fever, night sweats, and was generally looking like death.  I had also had a call from the doctor that my white count was low, probably due to my sickness.  Jeremiah put his foot down....Friday was a rest day, whether I liked it or not.  Bless his heart, he got up at 5 on Friday and fed everyone before he had to leave for the day.  I was determined to rest all day, so that I could take Renn to the show on Saturday.

One thing resting gives you time to think.  I was thinking about all of the hard work that I've been doing with my boys.  Renn has been getting quieter and going so wonderfully, and Bug, well, we have big plans for him.  The more I thought, the more I realized that going to the show and making myself worse was probably not the option I should choose.  I would never feel well enough to give Renn a good ride.  I would hate to give him a bad experience after all of the work I've been doing.  I would also hate to make myself so sick that I mess up my health for the season.

I made the big girl decision, and I stayed home.  I'm very happy that I did, because I wasn't feeling very well by Saturday.  

However, I do need to congratulate Catherine and Thunder for going to The Fork and coming home with a 3rd place ribbon from their Beginner Novice division!  That makes two 3rds at BN, so they are not qualified for the 2010 American Eventing Championships!  I know Catherine is very excited.  It's been a very long road with that pony of hers, but she's stuck with him!

I'm finally feeling pretty close to 100%, and I've ridden the past 2 days.  Bug will be going to the Yadkin Valley Hounds Hunter Pace this Saturday for some fitness work, which I'm sure he will enjoy! 

Hope all is well with everyone!  Kick on!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Last Thursday, Bug and I embarked on a long weekend to The Fork CIC3* and Horse Trials in Norwood, NC.  It was my first time attending this particular show at The Fork, and I was very excited for the big weekend.
Our dressage was Thursday afternoon, and I was hoping that all of my hard work would finally pay off in a great dressage score.  However, Bug had other ideas.  He warmed up great, just as he had at Southern Pines, however, when we entered the arena to do our test, he livened up again.  He was very difficult to ride in the test, and I tried very hard to push him through it.  We ended up with a 40.4 which is not great, and it's definately not competitive at a show that size.  I was bummed.  However, after watching Kim Severson ride her tests and listening and watching while she coached others, I definately learned a lot more about test riding.  I got some great advice from her, that I am putting in my toolbox, and I'm taking it with me.  Ride. Every. Step.  Don't let it get to the point that you can't fix it.  Dressage has never been my strong point, but I have come a long way from where I used to be.  I am confident that with a lot more hard work, I can get to the point where I can ride Bug through a great test.  He has the capability of bringing in great scores, I just need to learn to ride him to them.  I let go of the disappointment and vowed to have a great rest of the weekend.  I'll have plenty of time to work on the dressage before the next one!
Friday was a free day.  I spent it watching Kim ride and coach and walking my XC with she and her other students.  The course wasn't as big as I had expected it would be, but I thought it was one of the more technical Preliminarys that we had done.  I was very excited about jumping the Canadian goose in the water!  I just hoped that I could keep my position the way I had been working on, and I really wanted to be able to make time safetly.  Bug and I have come close many times, but we had yet to make time at Prelim.  With all of Kim's comments tucked away in my toolbox, I went into Saturday mulling over my plans.
Saturday was show jumping day for me, while the rest of the levels were doing XC.  Luckily, I had show jumping early in the morning, so I would be able to see the best of the best doing their XC rounds later in the day.  I walked the course with Kim, and once again, I tucked away all of her comments, with the hopes that I could ride it just like she said.  My main goal was to ride the whole course each jump at a time, without getting overwhelmed.  I wanted to see every distance and not throw my shoulders.  I had been working hard at home.  The course was decently tough with a lot of turns and a lot of thinking involved.  Bug jumped well, as usual, putting in a double clear round.  I was so thrilled with him!!  However, I was very happy with myself too!  I felt like there were only two distinct fences where I threw my shoulders.  Now, my goal is to make it none on the next course!  Bug's jump is so big, it's not always easy to stay with, but I am working hard to try to pull it all together.  Here is the link to the video:
After giving Bug lots of cookies following his stellar show jumping round, I headed out to XC to watch the best of the best go XC.  I mostly watched the big water, as their approach to the second portion of the water was similar to ours, but with narrower fences and shorter distances.  I took in the good and the bad, and I tried to make a plan for myself.  I got to watch Kim and Paddy do their Advanced XC, and their ride was foot perfect!  If only I could ride like her!  I tucked away more information to add to my plan for Sunday's ride.
Our cross country round on Sunday was so great.  Bug was ready to go, so much so, he was trying to take me to the start box while we were warming up!  He jumped everything like a pro.  I felt like I rode the course as closely as I could to all of Kim's suggestions.  He was such a star!  I tried very hard to balance him correctly before each fence without slowing him down too much.  We had one bobble at the next to last fence, where he didn't quite balance enough, and I should have balanced more.  However, I got him back after, and told him that wasn't acceptable and went on to the last quite nicely.  I believe it was the BEST round we've ever had.  We came in 10 seconds under time, and Bug was still ready for more!!  I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.  Here are the links to two short clips:

Our double clear jumping rounds moved us up from 22nd to 12th out of 30.  Bug is jumping so well, now, we just need to buckle down and ride each step!! 

**Special Thanks to Elaine Ohler, one of my besties from college!!  She came down and helped me at The Fork this weekend, and it was soooo nice to have someone with me at the show!!**

Next stop, The Fork Horse Trials this coming Saturday, where Renn will do Novice.