Monday, March 22, 2010

My final Florida weekend was March 12-14 at Rocking Horse Spring Horse Trials. I rode Slim Jim training level and Ashmore's Sioux beginner novice. Both horses totally rocked, but to be chronological: Thursday, the weather held for long enough for me to ride Finn, Sioux and Jim, but then as Scott Langton arrived to do the prepurchase exam on the (then) potential new guy, the skies opened up. New guy, whom I have bestowed with the show name Meritage in honor of his very blended heritage, and the barn name Tag, got to stand in the aisle a lot as we waited for lightning to stop, then hoped for rain to stop. We ended up not finishing the flexions or under saddle evaluations, but x-rays were clean and we agreed we would be surprised if physical exam was not also, so I have a new horse. He went with us on Sunday to walk around at Rocking Horse and the wonderful folks at Xpress Foto gave him his own photo shoot: Once I buy some pics, I'll post one on the blog home page. Meanwhile, Friday was only a bit drizzly. I did dressage and SJ on Slim Jim and he was a star. Were it not for my error, I would have gotten a 33.5, but I was happy with both of us. Then back home and a ride on Sioux preparing for Saturday and time to hit Full Circle Yoga one last time for the season. Saturday, Slim Jim xc in the morning and being a total bozo, I buried him to a jump even he couldn't get us out of and popped off landing on my feet standing on the jump. He stood quietly and we walked back in, an
ignominious end to that attempt, but I still really enjoyed him. Sioux did dressage and SJ and was great in both, tied for 7th place at the end of the day. Saturday evening took me back to my last visit at the Cheesecake Factory. Heard that Mary had her baby and had a lovely evening. Sunday was xc on Sioux. She totally rocked and (unlike Hilda :) ) I managed to navigate the course with no speed faults. Hilda ended up 6th on Godsend in the Preliminary and 3rd on Cracker in the OBN. I was right behind her in the OBN, with a 4th. So sad to have the season end. Monday, I headed out and drove as far as Petersburg, VA, where I stayed once more at the Walker-House bed and breakfast. It was lovely once again. Then drove home Tuesday. I parked my car at Maripeg's house where it would be safe full of stuff, which it was other than the minor taillight smashing incident (quickly repaired by Maripeg's dent guy - apparently, he has had some good business in the Bruder driveway). Work at CMTP the remainder of the week and then a really, really first weekend of spring. I took lessons Saturday and Sunday at in the new Radnor location and it was great. I got to ride Mimi, a lovely mare in to become an event horse and eventually be sold. She is fabulous. Sunday, we reinstated the adult jumping and champagne lesson, which we plan to keep on the schedule going forward.

Meanwhile, Hilda and Extravagance finished 5th at Poplar. The Michigan gang had a great time at Southern Pines running over Jeff and Tremaine's great new courses. The only sad note was that Missy's Critical Decision injured himself, although I hear the prognosis is good. Missy will be heading home next week with Tag, so stay tuned for more green pony updates.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

running, yoga, a little riding

The Florida part of the weekend started late due to an NIH SBIR study section in DC on Thursday and Friday. There were a lot of grants to review. The good part was that we got to stay at the Hotel Palomar in Dupont Circle, a very nice Kimpton Hotel. The bad part was that there were a lot of grants to review (which isn’t really fair as many of them were quite interesting and the study section is a great group). During the day, I checked in on Red Hills Live Scores, for the dressage outcomes. Friday evening, I headed down to Orlando, arriving fairly late, so going straight to the condo and sleep. Saturday morning, I started the day with some work and then yoga at Full Circle. It was a really beautiful day, bright sunny and promising to be genuinely warm. After yoga, off to Disney’s ESPN Sports Complex for the Disney Princess Half Marathon expo, Got my number, goodie bag etc and then headed to Ashmore. I heard from Hilda that she decided not to run Extravagance, so would be home on Sunday, leaving me looking forward to lessons and meeting the trial pony that she was kind enough to pick up for me, since he was conveniently near Red Hills. Saturday evening back to the usual spot at the bar at the Cheesecake Factory for a light dinner, then early to bed because Sunday morning was very early. No, that isn’t even correct. Sunday morning was still night. I got up at 3:10 am and I’m pretty sure that more people consider that hour Saturday night than consider it Sunday morning. Put on cute pink running skirt (it is the Princess Half Marathon after all), other gear and headed off to Epcot. The start line stuff went smoothly, but it was pretty chilly (38 degrees and damp). After an hour of milling around, using the porta-potties, and standing in the corral, I was seriously shivering when our start gun (accompanied by lovely pink fireworks) went off, but figured, “running now – I’ll warm up” Well, not so much. At mile 3, my toes were still cold. At mile 6, my fingers were still blue, although by then, the sun was working on coming out. Didn’t toss the throwaway sweater until mile 10, but really enjoyed miles 8-12 of the run. Apparently, the “alternate exercise training for the half marathon program” is working out ok because I ran a reverse split and finished in my pretty usual time frame feeling quite fine. Headed back to Winter Park, had a shower, bagel and tea and then back to Full Circle for a lovely yoga class. It is true that savasana at the end of class was not relaxation or meditation in the yogic sense, but rather a very nice nap. Then off to the barn where shortly after I arrived, so did Hilda and the trial pony. He is a cute little bay package and a lovely mover. He is a total mix including Trakehner, Thoroughbred, Paint, Russian Warmblood, and Dutch Warmblood. He also needs a name as I don’t like the one he came with. Considering Perfect Mix for a show name, but then need a barn name. Alternately Tres Melange for show name, Trey for barn name or Pick a Mix for show name, Pico for barn name. I also like the idea of Meritage (wine) for the show name, but can’t figure out the barn name to go with it (Vino?). All suggestions gladly accepted. Need to get him named by Thursday as he is getting vetted then and want to put a name on the coggins. After he got to hang out in the pasture for about 30 minutes with Extravagance (and let me just say, they were really cute together. I hope Extravagance is imparting all kinds of Advanced Event Horse wisdom to the new kid), I tacked him up and put him on the lunge. He was very quiet despite a jumping lesson going on in the arena, so I hopped on. No worries, other than pretty much total lack of steering or a clue, but he remained quiet and we were able to walk and trot around the arena, trot over 3 poles on the ground and pop over a tiny vertical, all with no concerns (and no steering). He remained quiet and easy throughout. I’m looking forward to playing with him this coming weekend, sadly the last Florida weekend of the season.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Derby take 2

I am late to blog this week, but had quite a good weekend. It started with uncertainty about the trip as there was another storm forecast. My flight was cancelled and I was rescheduled twice, but did make it down in the end. Once there, it was a laid back and enjoyable weekend. Hilda was up in Georgia for Pine Top, where she and Extravagance had a good run preparatory for Red Hills. Susie and Isabella ended up with a ribbon and I heard reports that Isabella jumped like a million bucks. Thoughts and jingles to those recovering from falls at Pine Top. There were several over the weekend. Meanwhile, in Florida, it was Derby Time again. I rode both Slim Jim and Godsend novice over Morgan Rowsell’s fun derby course. The weather was a bit not fun, cold and rainy, but both horses jumped brilliantly and politely around the course. I was a bit slow on each as it was my first time ever riding Godsend cross-country and I also elected to trot into the water as it was a drop and too cold to want to risk a “splash landing” Genny Christianson rode the Carpenter horses, Cracker and Tribute at the beginner novice level and was 2nd with Tribute. Dominique accompanied us to help and it was great having another pair of competent hands along, as we loaded and unloaded and transferred tack, all while trying to stay vaguely dry (no success there). We finished up and headed out just after 2 in the afternoon, with me thinking I could probably make it to 4:30 yoga, but no such luck as the Ashmore truck decided it was having a little issue. It coasted to a dead stop on the ramp between State Road 19 and State Road 441 in Eustis. I managed to get it off to the side and the Eustis police showed up in short order, so all was safe. Calls went in to AAA and we tried to reach service at the Ford dealership just down the road, but ended up rescued by a good Samaritan passer-by who happened to be a service advisor at an alternate Ford dealership, who was able to show us how to get the truck restarted by bypassing the starter system. Off we set again and all was good until the corner of Keene road, where we had the same occurrence, but this time only a matter of minutes to get it restarted. Got back to Ashmore not much worse for the wear although everything was soaked. By this point, the sun came out and it was quite a pleasant afternoon to play with Finn and then head for dinner. Sunday, I had the fun of giving Dominique and Jackie a lesson. We did a bit of flat work and a bit of jumping. There was a fair bit of two-point work and I think both felt a bit tortured, but they did a great job with Sioux and Slim Jim (really buy this horse, he is the best). I then headed for the airport for a drama free flight home. Only 2 weeks left.