Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Smiling is good for the soul.

Wow, it hasn't been THAT long since I blogged, but it feels like so much has happened!

Renn and I had a great outing at Full Gallop Farm at the beginning of February.  He warmed up quite nicely for dressage, but, per usual, he got a bit wild when it was time to go in the arena.  He had some good moments, but he can be hard to contain with all of that movement when he's feeling frisky!  However, he went on to jump a nice around in the show jumping with an unlucky rail.  He's really jumping quite well now and really listening, but I forget to ride him forward when he's being so good.  Our XC round was definitely one that showed our rustiness from winter, but we got around clean with a handful of time penalties.  I was quite happy with our first outing.  We finished up 6th in our Open Training division.  Not too shabby for our first time out. :)

This past Saturday, I took 4 horses and 2 students to Hillcrest Farm HT in Mocksville, NC.  I also took an AMAZING crew of help, Jeremiah (my husband), Michael, and Chris.  They did an AWESOME job of keeping the horses coming.  Without them, I would never have gotten everything accomplished!

Renn competed in the Training division, and I was really glad that I took him.  I think running him again not long after Full Gallop was just what he needed to continue knocking off the rust.  He put in a decent dressage, but it definitely wasn't his best.  It was a lot better than his test at Full Gallop, but it still wasn't anywhere near what he can do.  I have to learn to really kick him into a softer contact, but he's right at that fine line where he's only strong enough to do so much.  He went on to jump a very good, forward SJ round.  I had a bit of an oops in the one stride, but he dealt with it fine, and we just kept on going.  His XC was interesting.  He had two stops early on course at innocuous jumps, as he was trying to turn and go back to the trailer.  Apparently, he became good friends with the other horses and thought he should be going back to them.  Once he realized that I wasn't having it, he went on and finished the course beautifully.  He didn't look at the ditch, down bank, or drop into the water, which have all been his Achilles' heel in the past.  I was quite proud of him for finishing up a more mature horse.  

Catoctin Moon, aka Moe, one of the sales horses, competed in the Novice division.  It was our first full event together, and I was excited to see how he went.  He was a bit tense in the dressage, but I thought it was a decent test.  The judge, however, did not agree.  For a schooling show, I thought she was pretty tough, but thus is life in dressage, eh?  Anyway, Moe went on to have a SJ round that got better and better as we went.  We are still getting used to each other, and he's still figuring out exactly how I want him to react.  He started out a bit erratic, but by the end of the course, we were much more in sync.  He went on to jump a stellar XC round!  This horse is going to make a young rider or an adult amateur a fun mount!  He's a blast.  He ended up finishing 6th in his division.

Une Grace, aka Gracie, was my little star of the day, really.  She's just barely 4, and this was her first BN event.  She was such a star!  She was 3rd after dressage, as she put in quite a lovely test.  She's still a bit green about the correct bend in the arena, and her canter needs some work, but I was THRILLED with her.  She was 100% better than the last dressage test she did at TTC back in December.  She went on to jump a super SJ round.  She and I just click.  I started her from the ground up, so she only knows my style of riding.  I love her!  She showed her greeness a bit on XC by being slightly nappy between fences 1 and 2, and she didn't want to touch the white dirt surrounding the water.  However, I was thrilled with her.  She didn't look at the ditch and went up and down the little banks.  She was a star.  She finished up 5th in her division.

Golden Altar, aka Zeus, is another of the sales horses.  We did our first BN full event together, and I was quite pleased with how much he's matured since TTC as well.  His dressage was MUCH MUCH better than a few weeks ago.  He is really starting to understand a true connection now and he had some really good moments.  He's quite a lovely mover if we can get him to relax. :)  He went on to put a HUGE smile on my face in the SJ and XC.  This horse is a BLAST to jump.  He was quite good in both phases.  We definitely got some speed fault penalties on XC, but he was never racing or scary.  He just has a huge stride and knows how to gallop.  I have a feeling he will be moving up the lower levels pretty quickly.  He ended up 4th in his BN division.

My student, Catherine Schumak, and her horse, MrSecretAgentMan, also competed in the Training to finish 2nd!  They are really maturing together as a team.  (unfortunately, we didn't get video of them!)

Also, Maddie Whisnant, and her horse, My Daddy's Cash, competed in their FIRST BN event together.  Maddie did a great job!!  I look forward to watching these two as they progress.

I'm very excited about all of the hroses.  I just can't stop saying it!  Bug will be making his spring debut next weekend at Sporting Days in Aiken.  He'll be competing in the IP division.  After that, everyone is going to Full Gallop  March 9-11.  I'll be competing 5 horses there!!  I am glad that I will have a great crew with me that weekend as well. :)

I also want to give another shout out to my awesome sponsor, Snider's Elevator!  They have been great in helping me find the products that I need to make this business a success.  Please check out their website at

Until next time....sit tall, soft elbows!

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