Sunday, July 17, 2011

The nature of the beast...

This is been a very exciting past 10 days...  I LOVE being back in my element in "the North."  It's so nice being near "my people," the ones that I love.  To make it even better, my two most favorite pony boys were along for the ride!

Renn post Novice XC, ready to strike a pose.
Last Saturday, Renn got to have his confidence boosting run at the Maryland Horse Trials.  He was in the Open Novice division against a lot of big name riders.  I have been working very hard on Renn's dressage.  He has world class breeding in dressage, so it is quite ridiculous for him to be getting 40's in the dressage!  Well, I was THRILLED after my dressage test.  Baby stallion was quiet, rideable, and quite forward and floaty.  He was so grown up!  I couldn't wipe the smile from my face.  He ended up with a 33.5!!!  His best score ever.  He went on to jump a very rhythmic, quiet double clear show jump round.  I'm glad that I decided to back him down, as he was a bit green and worried on xc.  Mostly, he was just squirmy to the water complexes. He was still double clear, though. :)  Funny thing is, even ending on a 33.5, he was still only 9th! 
I spent the week doing a lot of riding and teaching.  The boys were both super in their flat and jumping schools.  I had a lot of fun teaching all of my new students up north. :) 
Yesterday, the Maryland Horse Trials II was my big day of riding both horses (Bug in the Intermediate and Renn in the Training) in a one day, plus coaching a student!  It was my first time with all of that in one day.  Thank God for my friends, Elaine Ohler and Katie Douglas.  They helped me juggle everything and took care of the boys when I had to move on to the next thing.  They were soooo much help!!  Thank you, Ladies. :) 
I have been schooling Bug in the double bridle some, as I feel like it helps me really get him where he needs to be.  I decided to try it at the show, though it's not something I want to use forever.  I felt that he had one of the best tests of his life.  He was quite good.  Unfortunately, the judge did not agree.  We got a 41.6.  I was bummed.  I'm so frustrated with our dressage.  I KNOW this horse can get good scores.  I WANT to work my butt off to get it right.  I think I make progress, but the scores never show it.  *sigh*  Oh to be a natural dressage rider!  The superstar went on to jump double clear in the show jumping.  Though my show jumping woes are not completely fixed, I felt that it was a much better round than we've been having, even if it wasn't perfect.  I still have to learn to go forward to my distances.  Luckily for me, my superstar of a horse saves my butt when I mess up.  He is just SOOO scopey.  He went on to rock around the Intermediate XC like it was nothing.  Unfortunately, as always, I didn't push him enough to make time.  The biggest problem is, I don't ride at a true gallop to the fences, and he hangs in the air for soooo long.  We lose a lot of time from  being in the air.  We had 14.6 time penalties.  We ended up 10th in our division.  I am so disappointed.  I KNOW that we can do so much better than this.  I am determined to work hard, take lessons, and get this straight.  I have every intention of going to the CCI** at Fairhill this fall and holding our own with the big boys!
The baby stallion, Renn, had yet another lovely dressage test!  Actually, it wasn't quite as good as his test the week before.  He spotted the horses galloping xc next to the dressage and got a bit more "up" than the week before.  However, he still had some super lovely moments.  His score was a 34.  His excitement carried over to the show jumping.  Unfortunately, he was a bit wild and ADD.  haha  He was m ore worried about getting to the galloping part!  He had FIVE rails.  He went on to ROCK AROUND the xc.  He wasn't squirmy or backed off at all.  He was such a star.  Now, to figure out how to have that boldness but to still have a rideable horse for the show jumping!  I'm still really happy with him. 
I have to send out a big congrats to my student, Catherine Schumak, and her horse, Mr. Secretagentman.  They competed in the Junior Novice the first week and placed 3rd on a 33.9.  They went on to complete their first Junior Training with a 37.7 in dressage, one unlucky rail in sj, and a double clear xc!!  They ended up 8th in a big division of 19.  So very proud of them!  They're on the road to their big goal of the Training 3-Day in May 2012. 
I'm spending the day with my parents, then back home to NC tomorrow.  I will back up north next month for Waredaca. 

Thanks to everyone who has made all of this possible for me.  I feel so blessed with love and support.  I just hope that I can start bringing home some big finishes and making people proud! :)

Heads up, Heels down!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just be quiet and listen...

Time is flying by as usual, and we're already here in July.  I can't believe it!  Tomorrow, I pull out with Bug and Renn for Maryland.  We will be staying up there from July 8-18.  I'm excited to be teaching some lessons, riding extra horses, and competing the boys.  Best of all, I get to see family and friends!! 

Originially, Renn was supposed to do Training at the first Maryland Horse Trials and Prelim at the second.  However, after having a less than stellar XC schooling session, I have decided to listen to what Renn is telling me.  He's just not quite ready to move up.  He wasn't acting like himself, and he lost a lot of confidence.  This isn't normal for him, so I've decided to take a BIG step back and try to gain back my "oh so confident" boy.  He will be doing Novice at the first Maryland and Training at the second.  Renn is only 7, so he has plenty of time to move up.  We will see how Maryland goes and then go from there. 

Bug is feeling great and ready to go!  He will be doing his first horse trial back since the CCI** at Jersey.  His dressage is steadily getting better.  He is jumping like a champ.  I've been working very hard, and I have big plans to do well this fall!  :) 

I want to send out congrats to a RSS student, Leigh Ana Castillejo, and her horse, Top O' The Hill.  They did the BN combined test at TTC earlier this month.  They showed a lot of improvement in their dressage, and they had the best show jumping round I've ever seen them have!  They ended up 4th in their division.  I'm very proud of them. :)

Well, that's all for now!  I'll check in during our big trip.

Heels down, head up!  Stay cool.