Monday, January 31, 2011

First Event of the Year

Not that I was eventing. If you want the thoughts of someone who was, read

I was there for a USEF officials' continuing education clinic. Our panelists were Brian Ross, Cindy DePorter and Tremaine Cooper and it was super informative and a lot of fun. The USEA has created a new syllabus, intended to be more interactive and including lots of case studies, fun with "judging" unusual events on SJ videos and a 4 hour walk of the preliminary course with Tremaine Cooper discussing the wide array of things that influence the quality, safety and rideability of a course. I had done the full weekend course design seminar with Tremaine 2 years ago, and it was good to hear from him again and actually hear even more depth about some of his thoughts than I remember from the course design weekend.

I also got to hang out with friends from Michigan, Maryland and Florida, drink some excellent wine and have Birthday Party #2 at With all that, it is possible that the highlight of the weekend was temperatures reaching 70 and my week's long run in shorts and a t-shirt on the West Orange Trail.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

proper birthday storm

Part of my family's lore is snowstorms for my birthday. It started when I was born in a snowstorm (in Madison, WI) major enough, in a city that knows how to deal with storms, that my mom was unable to leave the hospital for an extra couple of days.

Over the years, I had birthday parties canceled (bummer) and birthday parties turn into sleepovers (excellent) as a result of snow. My freshman year in college, I was sad and homesick because I knew there was no chance of snow for my birthday, but all improved when nature obliged with a rip-roaring thunder and lightning pouring rain storm.

Thunder snow last night and more than a foot of snow tops the cake on my birthday this year. And the timing means no party cancellation tonight. Perfect.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trained horses

So, riding the trained dressage horses has been great. They are really nice horses, kind in addition to well-trained, so everything just seems easy. Of course, I am absolutely sure that Jessica is being much less demanding of me than she would be of someone who actually had the first clue about dressage. Still, this winter while Tag has been at his boot camp, I've gotten to ride Feivel (16.2 hand chestnut oldenburg gelding), JD (16 hand pinto Irish Sporthorse gelding, also known as "the pony") and Taldi (big bay Irish Sporthorse gelding). Both JD and Taldi are Carlingford horses, which I would guess are better known as jumping than dressage horses, but I could be wrong (remember than part about not really having the first clue about dressage - double for dressage outside of eventing).

So, I've gotten to do shoulder in (which I had done in the past), half pass at the trot and canter (new to me at the canter), serpentine with a counter canter loop (new to me though it does appear in dressage tests at intermediate eventing I think, or maybe 2*), 4 stride tempi changes (wow!!). And, it has all been hugely fun and has made me think much more precisely about where my aids go (although as far as I can tell, with all of these horses, you basically imagine what you want to have happen and it just magically occurs).

I am looking forward to getting Tag to some dressage shows as well as events this year and to the time when I get to do all these cool tricks on him.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Riding Tag at CMF

I spent the weekend down at Cotton Meadows Farm and had a great time. I was able to ride Tag 4 days in a row, including in the Wolfgang Scherzer clinic and even got in a 9 mile run outdoors (with temperature at 38 degrees, pretty good for this time of year) as well as baking a key lime pie and watching the Packers win the NFC. All good things. Debi took this video of me riding Tag. Given how bad I look, he looks fabulous!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wow, Tag is a dressage horse

I am spending the weekend at Debi Crowley's place, The downside is that it isn't much warmer here than at home (well, maybe a bit - high today is meant to be 38). I rode Tag yesterday after watching Debi ride him. With Debi on him, he looks totally like a dressage horse. Still obviously a bit green, but really moving forward, on the aids and tracking up at both the walk and trot and smooth and rhythmic and mostly on the aids at the canter. I had a lesson on him and he was really good for me too. I am so excited. I will be doing another lesson with Debi this afternoon, then riding him with Wolfgang Scherzer, who is here doing a clinic all weekend, so I'm getting to watch some nice riding as well.

The plan for this afternoon precedes the riding with a 9 mile long run, and I am truly thankful for the temperature difference, as 34 degrees versus 21 degrees (at the time I'm planning to run) will make a pretty big difference.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Favorite Yoga Assist

So, I was walking home from yoga this morning and thinking about differences in teachers and practices. One thought that crossed my mind is the degree to which teachers do hands on adjustments and/or assists. My favorite is where a teacher stands behind me in triangle and helps me fully open the twist. It feels great, but I can't get there by myself. I'm sure this is an allegory for life, but today I was just thinking about yoga

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wait, I can't possibly own 5 horses

I originally posted this on the Chronicle of the horse Forums, so you may have seen it there, but thought it worth publishing here as well.
So, how did this happen:

In Michigan, where board was less expensive and I could work off some of it, I had many horses, but when I moved to Philadelphia I started shedding them and sold all but the competition horse, Gizmo. As of August 2003, 1 horse.

August 2004, sell Gizmo to Veronique St. Maurice who goes on to do great things with him and in November 2004, get To Be Announced, an OTTB from Maple Shade Farm.

September 2006, Tobe injured. Have surgery done, rehab and place in a lease home (I still own him, but he is fully leased)

Dec 2006, buy the spotted menace, Keebler (now I have two).

December 2008, after a successful season at training level, Keebler was sick, recovered, but needed to rehab somewhere with more turnout. Sent him down to Debi Crowley where his rehab could also include lots of turnout.

March 2009, fall in love with and buy another OTTB from Maple Shade Farm, this one a Fingerlakes Finest, Finn (now I have 3).

November 2009, Keebler goes to Lynn in Michigan on lease.
January 2010, realize Finn does not want to be an eventer.

March 2010, leave Finn in Florida with Hilda at Ashmore Equestrian Center to be sold as a hunter, buy Tag, the warmblood muttly pony (bred to drive, but very cute - so now I have 4)

Ride Tag. Crappy economy, no Finn sale.

January 2010, find out that Gizmo now 19 needs a new home, so I buy him (now I have 5). He is leased to one of Cyndi Kurth's students - all is good.

But somehow, I have 5 horses when I really only mean to have one. It is clearly an addiction.