Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Totally cool

So cool. Our young friend Charlotte, a lovely rider in her own right, made this video of Hilda Donahue to help support her WEG aspirations. Teenagers are so technically talented!

Monday, January 25, 2010

In which we tour farms and more

A short trip to Florida this week as there was no competition, but enhanced by a visit from Cathy Henderson. Cathy came down to do the ICP clinic that was held in Ocala (which it turned out Hilda was doing as well) and then stayed to hang out at Ashmore for a couple of days. After successfully dealing with the “possessed” Garmin GPS system, Cathy arrived in Winter Park and settled into the townhouse. Friday morning, I got up very early and headed off in the pouring rain for yoga at Winter Park Health and Fitness. By the time class was over, the rain had thankfully stopped. Off we went to Ocala to see Iron Springs South and Amy Lacey. Cathy gave Amy a lesson on a lovely young mare and we got a tour of the property. Beautiful place, especially the varnished wood ceiling with recessed can lights in the stallion barn
From there, we headed back to Ashmore, but change of plans, ended up going over to HighLife (, another breeding facility, where we watched Hilda ride several sales horses and Cathy took a look at some stallions that would be high on the list were she to do any breeding. Then back to Ashmore, where we had a jumping lesson. Cathy rode Vinny and I rode Isabelle. We jumped in several of the fields and got to do exercises to improve our eye, steering and sense of pace. Then, following hurried showers at Ashmore – isn’t it lovely that there is a full bath there- we went off to dinner with the Carpenters. They had very kindly included us in their invitation to Hilda and AndrĂ© at the last minute. We had dinner at the Bella Collina clubhouse where Todd indulged my preference for Shiraz and the mushroom soup was incredibly good. We made some plans for Grace to make some forays into eventing, starting with the Rocking Horse Derby and then the Intro level at Ocala. No doubt, she will totally show me up. Pumpkin cake and Earl Grey tea for dessert, total Seema food. Saturday morning, I ran the Seasons 52 (a restaurant) 5.2 kilometer run in Winter Park. Very nice, although the brick roads were a bit odd to run on. Then off to Ashmore again. In the morning, Cathy had another lesson on Vinny, while I worked with Finn on the lunge line, convincing him that all those odd things are, in fact, jumps. It worked very well with the possible exception of the down bank, which still leaves him concerned. Then we had a flat lesson. I got to watch Cathy ride Finn and I rode Isabelle. Both were very good. Another quick shower and off to the airport and home. Last night, Henry had my birthday dinner and we went deep into the wine cellar, complimented by wonderful Henry food and sneak peeks at the football games throughout. Go Saints.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting the groove (and/or getting it back)

Just finished the first weekend of the year in Florida. Nice warm weather (not like last weekend, when I was glad enough that I wasn't eventing in the sleet at the horse park). Headed off to dinner on Thursday evening, only to discover that Urban Flats is closed. Very sad. Did dinner at the bar at the Cheesecake Factory, which has a large menu and great bartenders, but too crowded. Will be searching for alternatives. Lessons on both Isabelle (dressage) and Finn (combo lesson). Finn has settled well into Ashmore life and Isabelle might prefer not to be back to work, but is very lovely. Friday Finn got to go off to the jump field with Extravagance as a lead horse. He was very good over the alligator, scary though it is and jumped through little cavalletti. Next, we decided he might try stepping off the little bank. He stood at the edge unable to figure out what to do even when Extravagance gave him a lead a couple times. Then finally, he gathered his courage and *leaped* really, Hilda estimated a good 20 foot from the bank landing. Jumping Isabelle was anticlimatic and I jumped the biggest fence I have been over since August 2008 on Keebler. Saturday was the event. Prior to the event, we had some delays with horse loading. Finn was a star, getting on the four horse trailer, hanging out for a bit, then getting unloaded from the four horse trailer, walking over and hopping on the 2 horse despite a grouchy Isabelle in the other slot. Off we went (running late) to the show, arriving 2 minutes before Finn's scheduled dressage time - oops!! Alice (organizer/owner at Rocking Horse) being a truly wonderful person (which any one who knows her is already aware of), gave us a later time that would allow me to only get on Finn once. Checked the stadium course, (literally) ran around the xc and then got on him for dressage and he was very good (ended up with a 36.5, despite an error on my part). Grabbed a drink, shortened stirrups, added vest and armband and off to SJ, where we had a clean round (this being the first time I had ever jumped more than about 5 fences in a row on him). It was quite smooth and easy. Then off to xc. The first fence on course was a log and Finn clearly had no idea what it was doing there. We were eliminated, but he jumped it on the 4th try and in the wonderful spirit of the schooling event, they let us go on and he totally got it as we went along (though he was sure there were alligators under fence 7 and the final fence - go here to xpress foto and we had a stop at the scary boathouse at 8, but he was rideable, quiet and, I think, off to a great start. I finished with him about an hour and a quarter after getting on. Switched tack onto Isabelle, went out and they were calling my number for dressage. Who needs warm-up? Luckily not Isabelle, who put in a nicely consistent test (didn't score well as she needed more impulsion and suppleness - easier to get with warmup). I then headed out to cross-country with Grace Carpenter, Samantha and Debbie and walked (in an abbreviated fashion) Isabelle's course. Headed back, hopped back on, did SJ and then XC and other than the little buck when I hit her coming out of the start box ("what, I have this, you do *not* need to hit me"), she was spot perfect and I had great fun. She finished up in 6th place overall, though we zoomed off before I fetched her ribbon. Everyone else did well also. Extravagance scored better on his CIC*** test than on the advanced test. Quizz and Sioux both got dressage ribbons and Dutch won his jumping class. It is so great to be back in Florida and back to eventing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Finn went xc schooling with Hilda

He went to rocking horse and was a good boy. Grown up Isabelle gave him a lead over most things and he went through the water, jumped his first ditch (Hilda said he jumped it every time like a Rolex ditch, never quite trusted in no alligators), and several other fences. He is now signed up to do dressage and SJ at the RH schooling show and school XC with me there and then do his first event at Ocala 2. I head down with my car this week. Yeah!