Monday, July 25, 2011

For Sale: Falcon

Falcon is elegant and a fancy mover. He is currently schooling 2nd and 3rd Level movements and is just starting changes.

This affectionate horse is suitable for an amateur but not bombproof. Falcon would make a great partner for an amateur or young rider who has a some experience in dressage or hunters/jumpers and is looking for a horse to learn lateral movements and collection. Falcon can be taken out on the trails and also bathes/clips/loads.

Show results from 2010 include scores in the low to mid 70's at Training Level and mid to upper 60's at 1st Level.


Matt Eagan

Saturday, April 23, 2011

CA Recap

I've been back home almost three weeks now. I am starting to feel like I've got everything under control now after being gone for 2 months.

Overall, I was extremely pleased how the trip went. The only part of the training down there that didn't go well was the weather. I missed about 10-12 days of riding at various times in February and March because of the insane amount of rain. One week, we got 5+ inches over a couple day period!

As I wrote in a previous blog I laid out a list of goals to meet. Happily I achieved all of the goals, except for one:

  • Increase Neo's strength and engagement
By far, the biggest improvement was the increase Neo's overall strength. The amount of muscle that Neo put on in the two months was absolutely incredible. His neck saw the largest increase in muscle and Neo now has a solid neck.

With th increase in strength, Neo's engagement of his hindquarters is at his best yet. He is holding himself in a higher degree of self carriage. Because of that, I have had to adjust my riding of him. I'm now basically having to sit and follow Neo's movement, rather than drive him. This is tough for both of us as we are making this adjustment. With it, he is now showing a loftier gait with more float.

  • Continue to polish up the piaffe and passage so that the rhythm becomes more consistent and we have greater elevation
Near the end of February, we brought Neo back out for a short session of piaffe/passage in the afternoons (with a normal lesson in the mornings). Neo really started to show some good float in the passage and we were showing improvement in the transitions in and out of the piaffe. We did this two or three days each week.
  • Continue working on the 1's so that we can get 15 in a row consistently
This was the only goal I was unable to achieve. Each time I had Neo in the right spot in the tempis (4's to 2's) and were ready to tackle the 1's, we had a set back either because the rains came and we had to stop riding for a couple of days; or we were in the week of a show and didn't want to ride the 1's and thus possibly mess up the 2's in the show.

David rode 15 1's on Neo a couple of times with no issues so it's just a matter of me getting them.
  • Work on perfecting the small tour tests so that we have strong showings at The Dressage Affaire and The Festival of the Horse shows
Overall, I was extremely happy with how we rode in the shows. It was my first time in the CDI ring and the experience I got from riding in those classes helped me immensely in how to prepare for any show. In each class, we had either some small bobbles or a mistake or two and those hurt us badly. We presented a picture that belonged in the CDI ring and with cleaning up the bobbles we are right in the thick of it. We'll never contend for a top spot in one of those classes, but we can compete for a top 10-15 spot.
  • Have fun and enjoy the time in California
Without a doubt I had a great time. It was good to see and work with my old friend Amanda Olson and to make a new friend in Sarah Lockman. I'll miss seeing those two everyday.
David Wilson did a phenomenal job with us. By far one of the best instructors I have ever worked with. Not only did I become a more effective rider but his insistence of riding with a quieter feel made a huge difference in my overall riding.
Everyone involved with W Farms welcomed me with open arms and I began to feel at home almost instantly.

I look forward to my next trip down to CA!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Festival Of The Horse CDI 3*

Over the first weekend of April Neo and I competed in our final CDI.

Overall I am happy with how the show went. We showed a horse that showed more collection and engagement compared to the Dressage Affaire 3 weeks prior.

Our Prix St Georges ride had some bobbles in it and I did not ride as good as of a connection as I could. Because of that, Neo opened his mouth up in a few of the movements which obviously hurt us score wise.

Going into the I1 ride, I spent a fair amount of time visualizing riding Neo more uphill and with his back way up. I got that from the get go in the warm up. I also spent a lot of time focusing riding in slow motion so that when I was on the horse my aids wouldn't be rushed or hurried. That too made a huge difference.

In the show ring, I hit a mental block in the trot rhythm where I couldn't find my seat to ride in conjunction with Neo's rhythm. So instead of showing off his best gait, we had some moments of irregularity. I was able to recover in the canter and probably for the first time with Neo our overall canter work was better than our trot work.

In the I1, two of the judges scored us in the 62% range, while the third judge scored us in the 57% range. That low score hurt us badly as it now not only dropped us 3 or 4 spots in the overall rankings, but we missed qualifying for the freestyle by .6%.

Neo's owner, Rebecca Chatfield, and one of my clients, Norma Stein, made the trip down to see the show. Rebecca had not seen Neo in person since we were in CA and she was excited and happy on how Neo looked and rode.

A big thanks to David Wilson for the superb coaching, Sarah Lockman for braiding and general help, and all my friends at W Farms for the support at the show.

I'll post a blog in a few days on my overall CA experience.

Monday, March 28, 2011

One Week Left

Neo and I are heading into our last week here in California.

For the past week or so, we have been inundated with a lot of rain. So much so, we moved Neo and Classy (Alisa Wilson's horse) over to a nearby facility that has a covered arena. This was done to ensure both horses stayed fit and trained for our next show: The Dressage Affaire.

We moved the horses to Brookeside Equestrian Center. The movie "National Velvet" starring Elizabeth Taylor was filmed at this facility. We found that ironic with her death last week.

Neo is starting to reach another level of power and self carriage. I'm excited to see how we show this week as the training sessions lately have been really good. Additionally, Neo's coat is growing into a dark liver chestnut color-one which he has never had before.

Then we'll be leaving a week from today to head back home.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dressage Affaire CDI 3*

We (Neo and I) are starting to feel recovered from our first CDI this past weekend.

Overall, I'm very happy with how Neo went. We got stronger each day of the show and was pleased with how it went. Neo rode better each day and it was a lot of fun really going for it in the freestyle.

We encountered some very stiff competition with a few horses having a legit shot at making the Pan Am Team this year. Additionally, the panel of judges were unmerciful and were not handing out anything-which wasn't a surprise considering the level of this show but that didn't stop any grumbling from the other riders in the stable area. The winning score for both the PSG and the I1 were a high 67 on a horse that was showing Grand Prix last season. To put the scoring in perspective, we scored a high 63% in the freestyle. If I were to ride the same ride at home, it would be about a 70%.

What I got from this show is a better sense of what it takes to ride high performance dressage and then successfully compete at it. Our next CDI is in two weeks. David and I are laying out a plan for us and we'll be in a good spot for when we show at Burbank at the end of the month. I'm confident that you'll see us in the thick of things at that show.

Thank you for all the support and words of encouragement while we have been down here in CA.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Over Due Update

Sorry for the delay in posting an update.

Neo is doing great. We've had some fantastic rides the past week and he is all set up to do well at The Dressage Affaire this weekend.

We trailered in this afternoon. Neo has settled in nicely into his new digs for the weekend. Tomorrow will be the FEI vet check and jog. Neo and I will go through a light school in the competition arena to acclimate to the new environment about mid-day.

Then Friday we will compete in the CDI 3* Prix St Georges; on Saturday the Intermediare I and on Sunday the Intermediare Freestyle.

I'll try my best to keep updates posted on the blog. If I am unable to update via the blog, check my Facebook profile. Or you can follow the scores instantaneously at here.

Thanks for the support.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rain Delay

After two straight weeks of picture perfect weather (sunny and temperatures in the 70's and 80's) we are experiencing a couple days of rain which means no riding for a day or two. This is no big deal in terms of Neo's training. We'll just be doing some hand walking and a lot of stretching and massaging.

We are in a good spot right now in terms of our training. Neo is becoming stronger which in turn means he is now a lot lighter in the bridle and is really showing some expression in his gates.

We are asking bigger/bolder flying changes. Since Neo's changes are almost always straight, the more engaged flying change looks even better. In the canter itself, Neo is more uphill and we are getting truly flowing medium and extended canters.

In the trot, Neo is showing his best gait off even more. We now are getting almost effortless medium trots where all I need is a little leg and then proceed with half halts across the diagonal.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll continue working on getting him lighter and also start incorporating more of the Grand Prix movements.

I'm hoping that we'll be riding either tomorrow or Friday and continue our good work.

Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

First Week In CA

I've been down at W Farms now for about 5 days and I've got to say I have been enjoying the weather immensely. Even though it's been cool in the mornings, the days have been sunny in the 60's and 70's.

I work really well in a routine and the only big adjustment coming down here is adjusting to a new routine and a new program. Everyone here has been really welcoming and I'm starting to feel more at home each day.

Neo trailed down very well. He lost minimal weight and is now at about 80% of his capacity prior to leaving. He's was definitely stiff coming off the trailer and each day he has shown improvement in his body.

I have ridden him lightly for two days and rode with David yesterday for the 1st time. For Neo's first "real" ride he went fairly well. Neo could have been a lighter in the bridle, but we did have a couple of good moments. David likes the horse and said that if we can get everything consistent, getting 7's on each movement in the small tour tests is easily obtainable.

We'll begin in full work this coming week and I'm hoping by Wednesday we'll be schooling the way we were in Seattle the past couple of months. From there, we'll continue to work on strengthening Neo for the CDI's and start schooling more of the Grand Prix movements.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Packed And Ready To Go

As the title says we are ready to go!

We are all packed up and ready to go, minus a few miscellaneous items. We'll be leaving early tomorrow morning.

In terms of training, Neo is in the best possible spot I can have him in. We are ready to take it to the next level in preparation for Grand Prix and polish up the small tour for the CDI shows we'll do in March. Neo's strength and submission are at his best since we've had him. He feels like he can give a lot more.

Our goals for the next two months are:
  • Increase Neo's strength and engagement
  • Continue to polish up the piaffe and passage so that the rhythm becomes more consistent and we have greater elevation
  • Continue working on the 1's so that we can get 15 in a row consistently
  • Work on perfecting the small tour tests so that we have strong showings at The Dressage Affaire and The Festival of the Horse shows
  • Have fun and enjoy the time in California

A big thanks to Neo's owner Rebecca Chatfield for this opportunity and to everyone at W Farms for hosting us down there.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to keep the blog updated more while I'm down there.