Saturday, September 20, 2008

Preview of Upcoming Attractions

A quick update on the two competitions coming up for me:

Sweedish Warmblood Inspection:
This Saturday (9/27) I will be presenting Cinzano for inspection as a stallion into the Sweedish Studbook. We've doing a lot of work with him and it is beginning to show. Each time I ride this young horse, the more and more I like him. He is starting to express his gaits and figure out that under saddle throwing the head around from time to time is not good.

For his age, he is well balanced and is starting to come from behind. After watching him in trot while free, passage should be no issue for this horse!

I'll be showing him in hand and then under saddle. We'll also be free jumping him as well.

Here are a couple of short videos of us working:

Regional Championships:
This comes up in a week and a half. Vienna is starting to really show her stuff. Today I asked her to engage even more in the hindend and start to show off her gaits. More so from what I would expect a 2nd level horse to do. While she can hold this for short moments right now, it felt absolutely wonderful!! Her canter is becoming much more well balanced and when she stops pulling on me she can really float in the air.

From now until the show we are going to focus on transitions as this is our achilles heel. We did a ton of walk-trot, trot-walk, walk-halt transitions. With about 95% of the halts instantly square. If I can get her to come through on the canter transitions we will show very well!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Horses

In the last two weeks I have taken on 3 new horses to my list.

Is a Dutch Warmblood who was trained through the FEI lower levels in Europe before being imported 5 years ago. He is owned by Cindy Bucceri. Over the past couple of years Claudius has been showing 2nd and 3rd level; with one show at 4th level this year. I will be working to get Claudius back up to the FEI level with the goal of showing Prix St Georges and Intermerdiare I at some point in the 2009 season. His training will include me riding 2-4 times per week and giving lessons to Cindy and Emily (who successively showed him this season).

Is a 4 year old stallion owned by Wendy Hsue. I will be presenting Cinzano at the end of the month, both in hand and under saddle, for inspection into the Sweedish Warmblood Studbook. I've only been working with Cinzano for a little over a week and I really like this horse. Very sweet and is starting to move better and better with each ride.

Is a 4 year old owned by Rebecca Chatfield. Dutch is extremely green and I've been working with him under saddle to give him the basics of under saddle work with the goal of having Rebecca riding him in the very near future. As of today we are walk, trot, cantering with no problems and he is an extremely smooth ride. He shall be fun!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Whidbey Island End of Summer Show

Last weekend, we hauled back up to Whidbey with Vienna to try and get one last qualifying score for the Regional Championships. Plus, it was good to get Vienna some more show experience.

I knew all I needed to do was get the mare through and then ride a mistake free test and all would be taken care of.

I was only going to show her Friday and Saturday as I didn't want to go through another 3 day show. If we couldn't get one score out of two rides, then in my opinion we didn't deserve to go to Championships.

On the Thursday warm up day Vienna went pretty well. At the end of the session we schooled in the ring (lower sand ring) where we would be showing on Friday and she was a little tense and looking around. There are a lot of noises from the nearby highway that you can hear from that ring and she wasn't too comfortable with that. We tried to get her listening the best we could.

On Friday we rode in the late afternoon. Vienna felt a little tired to me on Thursday and I elected not to school her in the morning on Friday to ensure I had enough energy in her. So I spent the drizzly, misty day hand walking and grazing her a lot. She was taking in everything like a pro and I was thinking if she keeps this up we'll be fine.

Instead of rehashing the warm up and ride, I'll give you the quick version. The horse got tense in the ring and I rode her terribly. I didn't ride proactively and instead rode passively hoping to just get through the test without any bobbles. Well that approached backfired as we had a couple of leaps in the right lead canter. Needless to say we didn't get the score. Once again, without the errors we had it. On the bright side we did receive on 8 for gaits.

I immediately went back to the warm up and schooled her and we got going well. I was furious afterwards, mostly at myself, for not riding well. I knew better and yet I didn't step up. I went to bed that night vowing not to let that happen again.

Again, we had a late afternoon ride and this time I schooled her in the morning. In that schooling session, I put the mare in a deep frame and got her coming up through the back. We had a fabulous ride with no issues. Deb helped me through the ride and was very impressed with what she saw.

Flash forward to the warmup for the test in the afternoon, and we immediately picked up where we left off in the morning. I had a horse tuned into me, so much so that she was picking up the canter with the slightest seat aid.

Right as we were about to enter the ring for the test Vienna started thinking canter and I aborted the entrance at the last second, literally, and circled back around. Doing that probably saved the day.

In this test I had the mare the most attentive I have ever had and we had great test. We had a couple of minor errors where we picked up the canter early and bobbled for a section in the trot. Other than that, I was very happy with the mare. This is the horse we've been working towards for the past 10 weeks.

We got the score, 69.6%, and will be traveling to Nampa, ID for the Region 6 Championships the first weekend of October.

What I'm really excited about is I still haven't gotten this mare to ride her best. With 4 weeks between now and Championships I know that I can get Vienna going much better and I know that we will be competitive in the Open Division.

A big thank you to Deb Reinhart for allowing me the opportunity to train and show this mare.
To Wendy Meyers for coming up and coaching me before each ride. Also to my parents, Alanna, Sharon, Nancy, Norma, Roxanne, Cindy, Claudio, and Adrianna for coming up to cheer us on. The support is greatly appreciated!