Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What the herd looks like as we enter a new year

Thank goodness for Justine Dutton, who helped me sell two more saddles.  Hard to believe, but I only have one saddle left to sell (it's a 17.5 medium dressage saddle).  On the horse front it has been a year of more additions then reductions, so what does the herd look like as we are about to turn the corner into the year of the horse (ummmm, this could be a problem)

Gizmo - Gizmo will be with me in perpetuity.  He continues to hang out with Debbie and Elena in Virginia.  He won't be actively competing this winter, but Lena is looking to get out and about with him in the spring after the birthday of little Sakaly number 2.

Keebler - Keebler is luckier than he realizes, hanging out in Florida and having a teenager of his own.  He is eventing with Cyndi Kurth's student Jordan.  They recently did their first training level event (the schooling three phase at Rocking Horse) and are looking forward to more adventures in the New Year.  I know you are all looking forward to more Keebler guest blogs, so I will try to make sure Cyndi stays on top of it.

Keegan - Keegan just made the trip down to Aiken, where he will be wintering with Sally Cousins.  I shall be lucky enough to visit on weekends starting toward the end of January and am looking forward to the southern competition season, although I'm sure I'll miss the warmer Florida weather.

Finn - is still for sale.  He'll be trying a change of venue, coming up from Florida to Aiken with Caitlin Silliman after the winter training sessions.  Meanwhile, he's still at Ashmore. Contact me or contact Hilda Donahue if you are looking for the perfect horse to win with in the h/j ring.

Solo - Solo is going amazing well.  He has his own little fan club, the number one member being Blaine Henderson who rides Solo when he comes up in between school stuff in Virginia.  Solo has really revealed his love of and talent in the jumper ring and will be offered for sale to someone who can really appreciate him in that venue.  Rachel Gross has done an amazing job with him, although Blaine is much better about taking pictures and video.

Astro - my 4 year old OTTB is staying home for another month before joining Caitlin in Aiken.  He is for sale to the right home, but I'm also happy to have him come down to Aiken and see how he does as an event pony.

and the new pony for the new year, Copper, a lovely WB/QH mare produced by my friend Andria Pooley. Quite the full circle, Andria having bought her first preliminary horse, Guiness from me 10 years ago.

And, my horsey life is made even richer by the ones that I don't own, but am privileged to be part of their programs.  It is fabulous to be part of Caitlin Silliman's team as Remi's sponsor and one of Hoku's syndicate members http://sillimaneventing.com/owners/

I also really enjoy being a part of the Ideal Contini Syndicate. Sally is fabulous about updates and really making her owners feel like part of the team http://sallycousins.com/sce-idealcontinisyndicate.html

I recently became part of Justine Dutton's Jollybo syndicate (another mare). Justine didn't know it, but Jollybo is a Danzig line horse (on her dam's side - her sire is Jumbo).  This made it even more exciting for me to be part of her team http://teamspuk.com/

And finally, I enjoy being part of Kate Chadderton's Cole Club.  Cole is a fabulous upper level OTTB.  I looked at him when he was a green horse off the track and have always felt he was one that "got away" but I'm thrilled that he ended up in Kate's program and that I get to be a member of his fan club https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vB1vd6rxfc

May everyone enjoy their ponies and their riding in the new year and consider buying one of mine!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quick catch up including Keebler News

My horsey time this weekend was at the USEA annual convention.  This year in downtown Cincinnati - not quite up to the standards of the Broadmoor.  I got lucky with my flight times in relation to the weather and had no delays getting in and out - not true for everyone.  There is lots of convention coverage on Eventing Nation so I won't repeat it here.  As always, it was great to see friends, meet more eventers, and get to hear what is and/or might be going on with our sport.  My least favorite innovation - combining the ATCs with the AECs, but since I don't really have intentions to participate in either, my opinion is pretty irrelevant.  I'm hoping that PRO will offer a volunteer award next year (I suggested it and they seemed interested).  It was great seeing Sheri Weber win the PRO owner's award and Kathleen Blauth the PRO groom's award.  The big award ceremony was also great (congrats to Lee Ann Zobbe on her Cornerstone Award, Reed Ayers on the Amateur rider style award, Sally Cousins on being the leading lady rider for the 6th year in a row and all of the others).  I also was once again inspired by David O'Connor's words.

In warmer lands, Jordan and Keebler completed their first Training level event as a team and totally rocked it.  This took place at the Rocking Horse Schooling horse trials on Saturday.  Jordan was in a class that included professional riders and several adults.  She was a bit worried about the dressage during her lesson leading up to it, but Cyndi pointed out that the goal at a move up event is to finish.  They ended up having quite a good test and a score of 38.6, which was better than anything I ever managed at training level on him.  They had one rail in SJ, but that is really easy to do at Rocking Horse as the ring is small and there are plenty of tough turns.  When Keebler moved up to training at XC with me, I was amazing at how it didn't really feel harder.  Apparently, Jordan had the same experience as they ended up clean and fast xc and netted a 6th place ribbon.  Thanks to Jordan's mom, Billie for this great picture of Keebler and Jordan.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Which Letting Go is OK; or It Really Does Take a Village - A Keebler guest blog

Cyndi Kurth was kind enough to send this report of Jordan and Keebler's day at Ocala November 16th to Lynn Cronin and me.  I know Lynn is as thrilled as I am to hear of their progress and the fabulous weekend. We hope you enjoy the guest blog and that there are more to come.

After their great run at Rocking Horse,  Jordan and Keebler had one weekend before the one day recognized HT at Ocala.  The hunt was on to find someone to coach them, as I was announcing.  I was not even sure I would see them at all during the show,  which again brought up our never ending quest to find someone to coach Jordan and Keebler in dressage.  Anyone can coach them for the jumping phases;  it is the dressage which gets tricky.

Jordan has reached the point in her eventing education that she knows what a good dressage score should be, and gets nervous before dressage.  Most people we have found to coach are terrific, but they are used to a 20 minute warm-up for dressage, and Jordan and Keebler need some "settle down" time before going to work.  This time the plan was for some warm up on their own before heading to real warm up with a coach.

Anyway,  Marcea Funk of Market Street Eventing was available.  Marcea teaches once a month at the barn where I board Bitsy.  Of course these lessons are on Sundays, when I am rarely at home.  Nevertheless, I have managed to take 2 lessons over the summer and watch her teaching methods.  She was available, and as a bonus,  Keebler could be stabled with her group so that Jordan familiar faces around her.

We trailered over on a grey and drizzly Friday afternoon.  Keebler loaded well into Emily's trailer,  and we arrived with no trouble to the showgrounds.   The sky was dark and foreboding,  so after settling Keebler in his stall we went to walk XC.  

The Novice course was Very Solid.  There was a 1/2 coffin with a max wide and max deep ditch to a black brush,  a "real" drop with a small log on a bank,   a Very Scary Liverpool to the water, and several combinations.   It was definitely an "end of the year" course,  exactly what I would want as we prepare to move Jordan up to Training at schooling shows.    I knew that whatever the dressage score was, she and Keebler could be confident on XC .

A quick schooling ride in the hard drizzle was next, and  I worried because there were no "bobbles"  or difficulties.   Isn't the dress rehearsal supposed to be difficult?  

We had planned on trimming up Keebler's tail after the ride, as it resembled an addlepated hedgehog on the top.   However, even I am not so stupid as to attempt this in the pouring rain outside a temporary stall which for some reason has the outlet plugs on TOP of one stall with a strange horse inside.Inward sigh and "let it go" lesson for me.

Saturday morning was promising, with no rain as we arrived at the showgrounds.   A quick check on Keebler and then I was off to announce and Jordan was "on her own".   Of course she had my "down to the last minute"  schedule to follow, which does not allow for much free time.  About an hour later, I received panicked texts. "I pulled his mane too short"  and "No one else is braiding"!      After mulling it over ,  I decided that it was better to have a calm Jordan on an unbraided horse than a braided horse with an unsettled Jordan.  Inward sigh and "let it go" lesson for me again

But Something had to be done about That Tail.   Leyna Merrill from Rocking Horse was passing by, and was recruited to help Jordan trim up Keebler's hedgehog tail.   Then I watched as Jordan joined Marcea and her riders to walk the Show Jumping course.  Inward sigh and "let it go" lesson for me again.

The arrival of Jordan's mom Billie, as well as Emily and her dad Scott was comforting, and I went to the jump judge briefing, resisting the urge to go do a quick check of Jordan's warm up with Marcea.   Emily was again doing the role of checking "the list".  I came out of the briefing just in time to see Keebler head to the ring for dressage.  I stood and watched from the corner between H and C, along with 2 "BNT"s  .  Compliments from both on Jordan's equitation and steadiness in her ride.

The test was good.  A few Keebler head tosses to remind us all that he is doing this because he wants to, not because he HAS to,  but Jordan has learned to ignore them and carry on.  When you coach someone from their first cross rail to showing in recognized events,  nothing makes your heart swell with joy more than the rider being able to function "on their own" without you.  That way you know that the knowledge is truly there, not just parroted back to you during a lesson.  

Unbeknownst to me,  Hilda Donahue was watching from a different place, and took a short video to send to Seema.   One of the wonderful things about having Keebler is that those from his past know how much hard work has gone into the dressage phase.  Hilda has been nothing but kind to Jordan when we run into her at events, and for Jordan, the approval of an adult who knows Seema makes her day.

Nancy Russell called me on the radio as I headed to XC;  Jordan and Keebler had a 34.8   Every show has brought a lower dressage score than the previous show.  They were in a 3 way tie for 7th out of 17 after dressage.  I know the 2 riders they were tied with, both experienced adults on nice horses.

I was not able to watch any of Jordan's warm up or show jumping, but Billie texted me that they were double clear.  The 3 way tie still stood, now in 6th.

Jordan and Emily came to see me after SJ,  and they got to see some of the Open Novice riders on XC.  Jordan was really concerned about the down bank,  so we talked again about firmly trotting it. In lessons, we have been making Keebler trot during course work, as well as adjusting strides.  It has been a Learning Curve for both of them - Jordan learning to occasionally be Very Firm on what she wants,  and Keebler accepting that she is now a Partner with him instead of a passenger. 

Jordan also wanted to talk about XC time.   I had picked a time (4:45) for her to finish on;  it was 10 seconds past the Speed Faults (4:35)  and 23 seconds ahead of OT (5:08).     However,  Jordan knew that "closest to optimum time"  breaks a tie.  She wanted to try to get closer to the OT.  We discussed it, and I gave her my blessing with the caveat that her watch might not match up to the Seikos, and that she risked time penalties. No inward sigh this time,  just a "let it go" moment with an acknowledgement that Jordan is learning to be a competitor.

Emily came to sit with me in the truck for XC. By the time Jordan and Keebler got to XC warm up, it was raining steadily.    I could barely see them in warmup, which was about 50 yards away from me.  I could see them periodically, and each fence judge report of "clear" reassured me that they were having a smooth ride.   Only 7 riders out of the 17 in her division had double clear rounds - the rain making some go slowly, and the ditch and the liverpool weeding out others.    The photos (thank you Palmer Photo) from the drop show the story Jordan told after;  she lost her right rein debating whether to give him a tap on the hindquarters, so tapped and held to the left one. 

As they approached the Liverpool,  I could only watch out of the corner of my eye. Jordan had made the decision to canter it,  and we know how Keebler can duck out.  Emily watched for me and "Clear"!  was music to my ears.   Then, they were over the last 3 and finished. 

Jordan's gamble with the time had paid off.  The rain was so hard that Caroline Mandeville had lost one or both contacts during the rain, and so had time penalties.  Robin Barr had also ridden for time,  but Jordan's time was closer.  So a 4th place finish was the icing on the cake!

As always,  this could not happen without the generosity of you two, without Marcea to coach,  Scott to give up his Saturday to bring Emily and trailer Jordan and Keebler home,  Billie to financially support and more importantly attend and cheer her daughter,  Emily to make sure the "grooming bucket" is supplied and to make sure the little things are done - bell boots off for dressage,  numbers on correctly, etc.    To Hilda for her generous comments,  to Jennie Jarnstrom for her constant "I do not know how you are getting this dressage out of that cheeky guy",  to Nancy for making sure stabling was correct as well as calling Jordan's scores to me,  to Marcea's other riders for making Jordan feel welcome...the list goes on!

The PLAN is now to do Training at the Rocking Horse schooling show Dec 7,  hopefully the Poplar schooling show Jan 4,  the Leslie Law clinic in January, and we will pick Rocking Horse or Ocala in Jan and/or Feb.   Recognized will still be at Novice, with an eye at moving up to Training maybe in March. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Check that off the bucket list

After reasonable success at my first 50 miler (http://seema-thefloridachronicles.blogspot.com/2013/03/diagnosis-decisions-discoveries.html), I had decided to try for a second.  Once again, given my cardiovascular limitations, I was looking for something relatively flat with a very generous time limit.  The Wild Sebastian seemed to fill the bill .  And so I put together a training program and I trained, which has been documented here.  I was feeling ready (in truth, much more ready than I felt for the first one).  The week before, we headed to Windurra for another schooling jumper show.  It was a bit of chilly day, but Keegan felt ready to go.  Sadly, I was a little underpowered and that just isn't good on a Marc Donovon course.  If my horse were less good, he would have stopped.  Instead, being the superstar he is, he jumped and I was totally unseated.  In the seconds between realizing that falling was imminent and hitting the ground, it is true that I thought "I had better not get hurt, the 50 is next week."  And while I ended up with an impressive bruise, no real harm done.  The total damage was this bruise (on the inside of my thigh where Keegan clipped me lightly while working hard to not step on me), a mildly strained intracostal muscle, and a very mildly bruised tailbone.  I got back up and with some excellent coaching from Caitlin Silliman redid the course and got it right, which was great fun.  Rachel also rode Solo and he was a star.  Caitlin said several times how cute she thinks he is.  And that boy can really, really jump.  I hit yoga Sunday morning and would like to report, you really need your intracostal muscles for yoga, so it was a pretty modified practice.  I also took Keegan for a lovely hack.  Then back to work, with a couple of easy rides during the week and then Thursday, off to Baltimore for an AJMC editorial board meeting and oncology conference.  I had heard early that morning that Scott Mackler had died and was glad to be able to see Mark Fendrick in Baltimore before he headed up for the funeral.  Scott was an amazing person and beyond inspiring RIP Scott Mackler. The meeting went through Friday, so I flew down Friday evening drove an hour and a half to my hotel, hugely enjoyed outdoor dining on the beach at my hotel's Sand Bar before hitting the sack.  I got up relatively early and headed over to the start.  I put together my drop bag (which would stay at the start/finish line) chatted with folks a bit and then it was time to head out.  I did the first 25 miles with Laura Wild, which made time pass quickly.  Her husband Steve Hammer was one of the researchers associated with the race (doing research on foot injury and physiology) and she is a paralegal.  They live locally to the race, so she was able to tell me a lot about the park and the race history.

The sand made for tough, slow going.  Harder than hills really.  And Laura said it was better because there had been some rain and so there were some bits that were more packed.  Still, when I completed the first loop and stopped to change socks, I was amazed at how much sand was in my shoes and how totally grubby my feet were.  I changed socks and headed out.  It had gotten warm (mid-80s) and there was more sun than in the forecast.  I started feeling less well shortly after starting the second loop.  I knew I needed to eat something.  At aid station 3 (about mile 36), I tried some broth with rice in it, but it came back up pretty quickly.  I decided to go on.  One of the aid station volunteers (I think it may have been Dave Krupski) told me how much he had barfed at badwater (and that he held a 100 mile record, I think he meant for WS, which is why I think he might have been Dave Krupski), and walked me out onto the course telling me I would feel better soon, which I did, but not a whole lot.  At aid station 4, they gave me some baby food stuff and some ginger tea.  I actually napped for 10 minutes and headed out.  I was feeling better so ate a sport bean, leading to my immediately losing everything in my stomach.  Oh well.  By this time, nausea was the least of my worries.  I was getting tired and my feet were starting to hurt.  I kept plodding.  At aid station 5, I was able to keep down a fairly large cup of hot chocolate (approximately mile 43) and another at the return through aid station 3 (mile 45.6).  I didn't even stop at the last aid station, as it was only 1.6 miles from the finish.  I finished and sat down for a few seconds, but basically wanted to get back to the hotel into a shower and bed as soon as possible.  I stripped off once back and realized my feet were totally filthy, but also not in great shape.  Once cleaned up, I realized I had by orders of magnitude, the worst blisters of my life.  But I'd completed another 50 and also upped my maniac level from 1 star to 3 I'm number 2694 and added never entering another event involving sugar sand to the "experience is something you get until just after you need it" list. I got into bed and slept soundly for the 7 hours I had left before getting up for my flight home.  I do want to thank the race organizers.  This is an effort of love for them and they give back by getting kids involved in the outdoors through the Florida Outdoor Center using proceed from the race to help fund participation for kids.  I also really want to thank the folks at the aid stations.  They were great and I wouldn't have been able to finish without them.  A really wonderful story of an aid station volunteer going above and beyond appeared in another blog.  A great race report as well.  Sunday morning, I got up, realized that neither my loafers nor my running shoes were going to happen and just put on socks to get to the car and then into the airport where I went straight to the Crocs shop and bought a pair of crocs.  The flight home was uneventful and after train into the city, then to Wilmington and the short drive home, I spent the rest of the day watching football and eating, as well as hearing that Jordan and Keebler had another success, this time at the Equiventures fall one-day event.  There are photos taken by Palmer Photo that you can sign in and see since I haven't had time to buy one yet to post. They appear to have had a bit more rain than we did.  Cyndi spent Sunday with Ed at his first marathon, where he had an excellent finish.  So, all in all a successful weekend.  I'm going to have some downtime (total downtime until my feet feel better, than non-running downtime for a month or so).  My next endeavor is 108 days of yoga, which I will start sometime in the next week or so.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Eventing rocks at Galway - and the weather didn't hurt

I made plans to go to Galway with the thought of watching/helping Caitlin.  As reported in the last post, that part didn't happen (although Caitlin had a bang up weekend at VAHT), but I had a great time nonetheless.  I ended up volunteering all three days.  Friday was showjumping warmup and in gate from 8-3, Saturday the T3DE jog from 8-9:30 then spectating on the CCI xc.  Sunday, back to the warm-up ring for the Novice and Training cross country, which finished just in time for me to see Hank's (Livingston's) retirement ceremony and the final 10 jump in the CCI***.  It was a typical Marc Donovan course, tough, but rewarding a forward, flowing ride.  Buck had one rail down, but had it in hand to win on Petite Flower.  See the full scores here.  It was great to see Emilee Libby out and finishing 4th.  I remember being very impressed with her riding and demeanor when she won the Markham trophy at Fair Hill in 2006.  She spent a few years away from eventing, but has come back strong.  Her horse is an OTTB who was a winning race horse prior to his eventing career.  Petite Flower is also a TB, one of Bruce Davidson's lovely homebreds.  In addition to volunteering and spectating, I got to meet some people I know through Facebook or COTH and had the opportunity to catch up with Kat Drake, who has finished her PhD in pharmacogenomics and is working in the diagnostics industry in the San Diego area.  Galway had its share of people riding many horses, most notably Tami Smith and Matthew Brown.  The weather was really great all weekend and in addition to volunteering, I had the opportunity to spend time with my Dad, his housemates, and their very handsome dog - Wilson.

Back in the east, VAHT was in full swing.  Sally, Ryan, Caitlin and Kate were all competing.  Sally and Sue finished 2nd in the CIC** while Ryan and Woodstock Bennett won the CCI*. Caitlin was riding some of the youngsters and had a great 3rd place finish on Finn McCoul.  VAHT results are here.  Even closer to home, the Plantation Fall Starter Trial took place on Sunday, complete with many costumes. The Blue Hill contingent was out. David Ziegler finished second on Taja.  Brigitte took her own Harper to his first event ever and finished 5th on their dressage score.  Veronique St. Maurice also rode - one of the TBs that Melissa Stubenberg bailed out of a bad place last winter.  He not only finished third on his dressage score at Novice, he also tolerated his pirate costume with no fuss.  The rest of the results are here.  The event also featured Boyd Martin in what I must assume is his debut as a dressage judge.  He was generous with the scores in the spirit of the starter, but I heard the comments were excellent and informative.  Good on Boyd for helping out while kept out of the saddle (mostly) by the broken arm.

Further south, Jordan and Keebler rode in a competitive open novice division at Rocking Horse.  They finished 5th on their dressage score.  Leslie Law won the class, the 2nd and 4th place riders are both professionals and the 3rd place rider has substantial experience at preliminary, so Jordan should be doubly proud of herself. . Keebler was only a little naughty in the dressage from Cyndi's report and while a little excited jumped very well in both the sj and the xc.  The partnership is really developing well.  I believe their next appearance will be at the Ocala Fall horse trials.

I'm ready to get some riding in this week as well as a bit of running with less than 2 weeks to go until I attempt another 50 miler http://www.wildsebastian100.com/2.html

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ups, downs and a very busy 10 days

I'll start this blog quoting from my facebook timeline where I was excited to post on Sunday afternoon that I ..."successfully completed 3 full marathons, 1 half and a horse trial in the last 22 days."  This blog had a quick blurb on the first marathon and the last post covered the horse trial and the half marathon, so moving ahead.

We're in the final stages of getting our Annual Report completed, so there were photo shoots and editing sessions and graphic design and all kinds of fun stuff to add to the usual work week.  I like this picture of Eric and me.

October 19th, I woke up very early and drove to Dover, DE.  I've never been there before.  I was there to run the Monster Mash marathon, named in honor of "Miles the Monster" who guards the Dover Downs Speedway.  The first mile was around the speedway, the rest out on the roads of Dover.

 I ran alone pretty much the whole way as there were fewer than 400 participants total and only 150 of those running the full marathon.  But the race was well supported, the course was nicely flat and the weather was conducive to running (although for me, way too cold to really appreciate).  I was able to finish nicely, following my now traditional (post-AS diagnosis) strategy of slowly running the first half and essentially walking the second half.  I then headed off to Fair Hill, where things didn't go as smoothly.  None of my boys were able to successfully complete xc day.  Sally had a fall (minor concussion for her and Taz is well) as did Caitlin (no injuries for her or for Remi).  Kate and Cole retired when it was clear they weren't having a good day.  Sinead Halpin also had a fall and has blogged about it Sinead's Fair Hill Blog.  So altogether a rough day.  There was, as always plenty of coverage in Eventing Nation and the full scores are here http://www.evententries.com/livescoring/15424.html.  It was great to see Jan Bynny win the CCI*** and one of the great eventing Connemaras win the CCI**. The latter became even more poignant when I heard later that week that Ard Celtic Art had passed away http://eventingnation.com/home/rip-ardceltic-art.html.

Then off to SMDM in Baltimore where there were 3 very nice dinners.  Henry wine at the Prime Rib and then dinner with restaurant wine at Wit and Wisdom (the Four Seasons restaurant) with Jen Goldsack and Chris McLaughlin and her fiance Cory (it was great to spend some time with them), and finally on Tuesday - my Baltimore favorite Charleston.  SMDM was a great meeting, with lots of opportunities to catch up with colleagues, see great work, and learn new stuff.

Once SMDM wrapped up, after a couple of meetings with other folks in the area, I spent some time volunteering at the Novice and Training 3 Day Event at Waredaca.  I was bit check and dressage steward and then Phase A starter.  As always, it was great to see everyone and to be a part of the long format. Caitlin was planning a regroup with Remi at Galway at this point, so I was trying to help a little with fundraising ideas too and got my plans all arranged to do some volunteering and be able to help Caitlin since Boyd wasn't going to be there (then of course, Boyd broke his arm and we were wondering if he might reroute) - more on this in a moment.

Back to my schedule, after enjoying the kind hospitality of my friend Katherine Rizzo, I got up earlier on Saturday morning than I had needed to since the Monster Mash and headed to BWI to catch a flight (via ORD) to St. Louis.  Not for the World Series, tempting as it would be, but to run the Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis Marathon.  I vegged on Saturday afternoon, then got up Sunday and walked to the start line.  It was another cold (but beautiful) morning, and another good marathon.  I can't push much, but I did finish 17 minutes faster than I had finished the Monster Mash.  When I checked my messages after the marathon, I heard from Jenna that Remi had not travelled well and Caitlin had made the decision to bring him home from Kentucky rather than going on to Galway.  As always, Caitlin put her horse's interest first, which is one of many reasons I am proud to be part of the Silliman Eventing Team http://eventingnation.com/home/remington-xxv-withdrawn-from-galway-downs-cci3.html.  Over the same weekend, team USA was putting in a great showing at Pau, with Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott finishing 4th and Clark Montgomery and Universe 10th.  I think it has been a while since we've had 2 americans in the top ten at a big international event. http://eventingnation.com/home/top-10-memorable-moments-from-pau-final-press-conference.html. Closer to home, Cyndi sent some great video clips of Jordan and Keebler schooling xc and looking fabulous and Caitlin had her first ride on Astro and reports that he is both "so sweet" and "really smart".  Looking forward to his progress.  So all kinds of good news and bad news and happenings and memories crammed into 8 days.  Today I'm back at work, and this looks like a pretty normal week, with no running plans for the weekend as I start the taper and will be volunteering at Galway and visiting my dad.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rain, Radnor, Running and remembering "ruh roh"

I got a text from Missy on Wednesday morning that said, "let's jump today since I don't know how the ring will be with all the rain"  I thought, rain, what rain?  Work has been busy enough that I had fallen behind on my obsessive following of accuweather, but sure enough, rain and lots of it.  So we had a great jump lesson on Wednesday and dressage Thursday and Friday.  more that switching around the lesson schedule, the concern with the rainstorms was that Keegan missed most of his usual turnout for the 72 hours leading up to the event.

Nonetheless, he stepped up and was a star.  He was good in dressage although was not willing to stretch as well as ususal.  We got a score at the high end of his usual range (38-41), but felt there were some things that were better than they had been and some things that are easy to fix (geometry was always the one part of math I didn't like).  As usual, stadium jumping was foot perfect and then we headed off to xc.  The footing held up quite well and Jeff Kibbie and crew had added footing to places that they thought might be a problem.  We headed out with the goal of making time.  The course was a mid-range training - not as challenging as Fair Hill in August, but not soft either.  There were 3 three part combinations.  5A was a coop to 5B bank down and 6 straight ahead a skinny rolltop.  Keegan was careful on the drop down and I didn't close my leg enough so he had to heave himself over 6, which he did fine.  7 was a relatively easy trakhener, 8 was a practice corner, bending line to a brush.  We walked it with a possible 6, but it was a really easy 5 in practice.  Then to an oxer and around to the coffin.  The ditch had a lot of water in it and while Keegan jumped it, there was some serious air involved, but we got it together for the out, then to 3 galloping fences and the a, b, c water.  As always, Keegan trotted into the water.  Galloping through water practice is on the list for the winter.  I looked at my watch and with 3 fences to go, we had 40 seconds left.  Yes!  Until.....
I got completely lost between 16 and 17a/b.  I failed to turn right, galloped past my landmarks, stopped, looked around, saw them behind me, trotted around and headed to the jump.  No problem with the bank up to the log or the final fox fence, but the delay cost time penalties and what would have been a 3rd place finish ended up being a 6th place finish.  Given that he does more than his fair share, Keegan is absolutely not accountable for the map reading and course walking, so he was perfect and I was much less so, but we had a great time and felt like it was a great way to wrap up the northern eventing season.

After getting Keegan put away, I headed home, packed and then drove to the airport to hop on a plane to Providence, RI.  I made a bad hotel choice, but I think all the better choices were booked, so it may not really have been a choice.  In the morning, I drove down to Newport, checked in, wandered around for a couple hours, then completed the United HealthCare half marathon.  It was super scenic, although sufficiently cold and windy that I never shed my extra layer.  It is well-deserving of its reputation as super scenic and we speculated about the prices of many of the houses we saw along the way.  Once I finished, I pretty much headed straight back to the airport and was able to catch a slightly earlier flight than planned after watching some football in the airport.

By the time I got home, the Eagles had won and the late games were underway.  I watched the Patriots - Saints game, which was excellent football despite the undesirable outcome.  Probably good that I wasn't watching that one in the Providence Airport, where I'm sure most of the fans were not of the same opinion of the outcome.

In addition to getting some work done (and the to do list just doesn't seem to get shorter, no matter how many items I cross off), I bought a horse this weekend.  His name is Tin Star and he is an OTTB with a great brain and a totally "Seema look"  Astro jumping for the first time at his prior homeWe will keep his JC name as his USEA name, but needed a barn name and decided to go with Astro.  For those of you who are too young to immediately understand the title, check out the Jetsons.  Astro originated "ruh roh" long before Scooby Doo stole the line (same voice actor played both characters).  Caitlin Silliman is going to help me with Astro and we're looking forward to seeing how he does.  More to follow.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Heat, Hills and humidity combine with single track to kick my butt

I ran (sort of) the Triple Lakes Trail Marathon on Saturday http://triplelakesrace.com/.  Sadly, the high temperature was 88 degrees and it was humid.  The trail was pretty hilly http://triplelakesrace.com/files/2013/08/elevationchart.pdf and I couldn't even make up much time on the downhills, given roots, rocks and fallen leaves.  The good news was that we were in the shade almost the entire race.  It was a great course, well-organized for a smaller race.  It would be nice if there were a few more aid stations and if the mile markers had been closer to correct, especially toward the end of the course. Overall, time goal=fail, gut check=success and I feel well on the way to being ready for the 50 on November 16th.

Monday, August 12, 2013

In which I do all the things

Well, maybe not quite all, but in the last two weeks I've fit in 2 events with Keegan plus volunteering at one and a jumping clinic, a half marathon, the Windurra open house, brunch with Kaiti, the INBRE summer student research presentation, and Brigitte's 20th birthday party - so enough of all the things.  (http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-why-ill-never-be-adult.html - from whence came the "all the things")

Riding - Keegan is amazing.  I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing me say so.  He clocked around the training level at  both Jersey and Fair Hill, slowly in both places because I'm still figuring out the whole breathing while galloping thing for me, but it is getting better.  He also jumped wonderfully in the Dennis Mitchell clinic, both with Rachel Gross and with me.  I'm trying to figure out a fall competition schedule, but there seems to be a lot of travel and work in the way so we'll see what happens.

Running - I had great fun at Riley's Rumble half marathon and highly recommend that anyone in the area check out the mcrrc.org website for other races. This is a super organized and freindly group http://www.mcrrc.org/rileys-rumble

Socializing - following the run, I had brunch with Kaiti.  Yummy, yummy.  She found this super place http://www.blackmarketrestaurant.com/brunch-menu/appetizers/ and both the eggs benedict and the beignets I had for dessert were fabulous.  It was great to see Kaiti, hear a bit about the new house and wedding plans as well as her horses, Crosby and Rob (ummmm, well maybe not in that order).  During the two weeks, we also attended the open house at Windurra https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151803116352628.1073741830.51720717627&type=1, and Brigitte's birthday party at Blue Hill Farm.

Looking forward to more riding, running and time with friends as summer slips into fall.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pinking Out at Cobblestone

I had a wonderful weekend in Michigan volunteering and hanging out at Cobblestone.  A few years ago, with Darlyn Daratony's mom battling breast cancer, Heather Riecker and Caitlin Henderson decided to use the sport we love to raise money to fight a disease we don't.  They have been very successful and the pink just keeps on coming.
Cathy Henderson and Ginger (She Is a Star - for sale) cross country
PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Kibbie

Claire Kezner with a small portion of her fan club
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeanne Anne Wallace

Pinking out cross country
PHOTO from my cell phone

Sporthorse Saddlery helping you with the pink
PHOTO from my cell phone

The Volunteers get into the spirit and spend 10 hours on the cross country course
PHOTO from my cell phone

Rusty inspects the new water
PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Kibbie

 I always love heading out to an event for the weekend and Michigan has the added bonus of my wonderful Cobblestone gang.   I feel like I didn't have nearly enough time to spend with everyone as we all stayed busy with 14 divisions of BN-P horses.  Jenn Merrick-Brooks did her usual wonderful job organizing.  Cricket Killen remains the volunteer coordinator extraordinaire.  Jeff Kibbie's cross country course just keeps getting better and as a bonus, Bonnie made the looooong drive up from Tennessee so I got to see her and meet Rusty, seen here checking out the new water jump at Cobblestone.  

I was cross country control on Saturday, which went very well.  The fence judges did a great job and while the cross country course had an influence, I think most horses and riders had a very positive experience and no ambulances rolled.  It also got a little bit cooler, which was a big help.  Sunday, I scribed for SJ for endless hours from the first preliminary horse shortly after 8 am to the last BN horse shortly after 5:30.  The Stadium course was tough and there were very few clean rounds at the higher levels.  Always tough to jump on grass with terrain issues added.  

In addition to the eventing friends, I spent the weekend with the Fendricks and it was great to have some time with Mark and Jen, hear Daniel practice bassoon and hear about Claire's volleyball schedule.  Wishing her the best of luck at tryouts coming up.  

Meanwhile, local riders were in the tack at Olney, Cococino and Fitch's.  Boyd and Ryan won the OP divisions, Caitlin had an impressive training win on the Juvonen's HH Lancaster and many other Area II riders made the trek north to what is an increasingly fabulous venue there.  I'm looking forward to heading over to Windurra for another round of showjumping tomorrow.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Laid back weekend success

The weekend started Friday with Facebook letting me know that it was National Bourbon Day.  While this prompted my looking for interesting Bourbon cocktails and finding these Food and Wine's Bourbon Cocktails. After an excellent dressage lesson, I headed home to see what plan had developed. In the end, we went old school and just drank the good stuff on its own.  We were able to sit out on the patio, where the weather was lovely.  I managed to enjoy the bourbon, but kept it minimal as Saturday morning, I was getting up at 4:30 a.m. to run a half marathon.  This was the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half marathon in Pennypack Park.  Interestingly, I had never been to Pennypack park, but it is quite nice.  The weather was perfect and most of the race was in the shade. I followed my current modus operandi of slowly running the first half and then walking with brief (downhill) run bits the second half.  Prior to starting the race, I met some interesting folks (always a fun part of racing), including an Australian chap in the process of trying to beat the Guinness world book of records string of 160 marathons in a single year Marathon Man.  I also met several marathon maniacs and half fanatics.  You may remember that I acheived my goal of mania in June 2010 Becoming a Marathon Maniac.  There was quite a representation of the group at this race and someone arranged a group photo that another of the members was kind enough to share.
The race itself was very friendly and well organized, with even the wait for the bus at the end not very long.  Following the run, I headed back to Chester County and had a jumping lesson on Keegan.  My leg seemed to be swinging a bit more than usual, but Missy gave me a pass on that given the proximity to running the half marathon. Everything else went really well.  Keegan is jumping ever better and other than my position, we didn't have to work on much.

Sunday morning, I did yoga to loosen up those muscles and then had another dressage lesson.  This lesson also went well.  I feel like we are making real progress.  I rode in Caitlin's demo Voltaire dressage saddle and while I quite liked it, it didn't put me in quite as good a position as my Antares, so I'm going to stick with what I have (this is good because I really don't need another dressage saddle).  If anyone is looking, still for sale are the following dressage saddles in a 17.5 medium tree:

1) Hastilow Atlanta Dressage - this is an older saddle, but in impeccable condition.  Very good for a TB.  quite deep seat with a narrow twist http://www.hastilowcompetitionsaddles.com/  (this model no longer made, but this are high quality, British saddles).  $1000
2) Hulsebos WB4 http://www.hulsebossaddles-usa.com/dressage.  They do still make this saddle, which sells new for $2600.  Make me an offer above $1600 and it can be yours.
3) E. Jeffries Elite - price new $2400, but there are a lot of these out and about.  You can have this one for $900 OBO
4) Michael Stokes Centaur - lovely dark brown and black.  Fits a solid TB very well.  $900 OBO
And if none of these tickle your fancy, ask me as I know of several Counties, at least one Albion, an older Miller Klimke and others from under $500-$3000.

David Ziegler and Criticial Decision competed at Intermediate down at Seneca, where Sally Cousins and Sharon White were also showing several and the big international event for the weekend was Luhmulhen, which didn't go so well for the US contigent.  Elsewhere, the US Open played much harder than predicted at Merion, the Phillies played poorly and the Heat need to win two to avoid another championship loss on their home court.  We have Phillies tickets tonight.  Hoping it doesn't rain

Thursday, June 13, 2013

In which we get our dressage on

Had a great event at Plantation (prior entry) and know we have a bit to work on xc and quite a bit to work on in the dressage.  While the xc schooling at Plantation was cancelled due to yet more torrential rain (not to mention tornado watches about the time I would have been on course), the dressage schooling show at Blue Goose was still a go.  Thanks to David and Rachel, I got entered at First Level Tests 1 and 2.  USDF dressage tests.  For all you eventers, the First Level Test 1 has many of the same moves as the training level eventing test A including 15 meter canter circles, canter lengthening on the long side, stretchy trot circle, and canter change at the end of the diagonal after trotting at X.  1-2 adds some leg yield and 10 meter half circles  and has a bit more complexity.

I headed out from the office and arrived at show (where the amazing BHF team had already brought my horse and tack).  I spent the first hour wandering around to pay, change, brush Keegan, etc. all while participating (and carefully muting in between speaking) in a work conference call (technology has its advantages).  I got on Keegan once the call concluded and warmed him up with Missy's help (and Jamie's supervision).  The major reminders:

  1. keep his speed steady (neither slower nor quicker) when turning
  2. keep my right hand up when doing downward transitions
  3. Quit with the leaning forward into canter transitions!!!!
  4. Focus on keeping my seatbones connected to the saddle in the canter
  5. soften when he is good (which is more and more common)
I headed over for the 1-1 test and, aside from puddle dodging (really - you're an event horse and you need to avoid small puddles in the arena), he was quite good.  His trot lengthenings still aren't, but he does go forward a bit more and then quietly comes back.  At the end the judge asked me why I chose to do this test.  When I told her it was because of it being close to the training level eventing test, she said she had guessed as much, but for this level in dressage, he needs to be much more engaged and stretched over his topline.  We are working on this.  At least she didn't think he was behind my leg and did compliment his obedience.  Off we went to continue warming up after watching Laura Faulkner's lovely Fenway Park do his test (he has a very nice trot lengthening). We worked in the field by the trailer, practicing some 10 meter half circles, a few straigh steps, then leg yield as well as more trot lengthenings and canter transitions.  Then back into the ring.  By this time, I had been on him for an hour.  Being Keegan, he was cheerful and as willing to go forward as ever.  Apparently, he was also much more engaged and stretched over his back (which was what the judge told me at the end of the test saying it was much better). I tried hard to keep my right hand and shoulders up throughout and think I was a bit better (my rider score did improve).  He also splashed right through the puddle, apparently having decided there were no allligators in it.  Our leg yield right, first transition downward from lengthen to working canter and our second trot lengthening were not so good, but everything else really was - even garnering a couple of 8s, including one for the final halt.  And, wait for it......even with two of our bad scores being x2, we scored a 69.7!!  Pretty much my best score ever (and much better than the 61.4 on the first test.  We scurried back to the trailer to avoid a cloudburst and then watched Brigitte do a very nice test on Margarita before heading back to Blue Hill. 

I love my off the track TB and see longer dressage warm-ups at events in our future.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sometimes you can do it all

Have tropical storm, will event anyway.  Thanks to the dedication of the organizers and the kindness of the landowners as well as the incredibly high quality of the land itself, despite over 3 inches of rain on Friday, Plantation Field Horse Trials got underway on Saturday with a one hour delay to allow drying time. Reports were that the footing was excellent. The delay allowed me to ride Keegan before the event without having to be up at o'dark hundred, love the country house that means I am only 15 minutes from the barn.  Keegan was great and even modeled his Five Star Tack bridle and breastplate (although it was hard to convince him to put his ears up - thanks for the assistance from Dory the dog)
After riding, I headed over to Plantation (conveniently 5 minutes from Blue Hill Farm), where I was the judge for the stadium jumping which went very well.  As always, it is a real pleasure at Plantation, both because of the great courses and getting to see lots of friends and because of the great crew that is always there.  Our in-gate steward (Gabby) isn't pictured, but she was super efficient, leading to us having some waiting time between horses, as there were people who had scratched, not trusing the footing. There were no really interesting stories (well, I'm sure there were many I didn't know about), there were lots of cute ponies, one TE, one RF (no injuries), and quite a few rails, especially at preliminary and training.

At the end of the judging day, I headed off and walked the training level course, which looked great.  The footing was near perfect and the course was very inviting, although the ditch at the half coffin was looking pretty big.  Arrive home at 6:35, quick shower and change and a short drive to dinner with colleagues at 7:00 (yes - we were on time - I'm very practiced at the really quick shower and change drill).

Sunday, I also didn't have to get up too early and headed straight to Blue Hill Farm (well, straight meaning with a stop at Starbucks - not only is the country house 15 minutes from the barn, the wonderful Kennett Square Starbucks is at the 6 minute mark). We got everything ready to head over, the only glitch being that Solo had a slightly warm leg.  Not clear that there was anything major, but of course, he stayed home as we headed off with Keegan and the adorable pony Rue La La (who competed with Rachel Gross in the tack). We arrived a little late, so I grabbed packets and climbed on Keegan (David Ziegler was kind enough to help us on his day off and got Keegan tacked for me while I was getting packets).  Keegan was a bit ADD in the dressage warm-up, but the canter transitions were excellent and there was a bit of medium trot (hard to get more than a bit in the hilly grass field at this stage of training).  He was very obedient in the arena, but not as forward as ideal, so future plans include riding with a whip and near future plans are a dressage show at Blue Goose tomorrow (better learn those real dressage tests - we'll be doing 1st level 1 and 2).

After dressage, we had a brief break then got back on for jumping.  Keegan got little hind studs for the first time as well as the new bit with the fancy Five Star Tack figure-8 bridle.  We use this bit for dressage Keegan's dressage bit and so decided on this bit to give us a little bit of extra "pay attention" cross country Trial cross country bit.  Because we were going straight from stadium to cross country, we decided to use it in the stadium as well and not do a bridle change.  Success!!  In the stadium, it seemed to help with the balancing around the corners and Keegan was jumping really well.  Interesting, he seemed able to get better shoulder rotation (probably because he was staying a bit more uphill between the fences).  The stadium warm-up is on new footing and as it hasn't had a chance to settle yet, we went with the minimum warm up and jumped three fences before heading to the stadium, where he put in a great, clean round.  Then off to cross country, which was really just amazingly fantastic. The bit was perfect.  It totally eliminated the freight train aspect, but did not seem to bother Keegan at all.  He jumped like a superstar.  The only glitch was when I brought him parallel to fence 4 rather than perpendicular (oops!), but once I realized where I was actually supposed to be, we circled around and he popped straight over and luckily, with no timing at the starter, there was no penalty for the time it took to figure out the correct line.  Everything else was great.  He did tiptoe into the water, but then picked up a canter, the half-coffin was no thing as far as he was concerned and I had the best jump I have ever had over the red Weldon's wall jump.  Now we just need to work on getting him a little straighter through the combinations and work on my trusting that I can ask him to go forward on landing to make up a little more time, but for this event, we finished on our dressage score and even got a ribbon - our first eventing ribbon.

I hopped off and with David and Tom Geno's (the adorable Rue La La is from his barn) help, we got Keegan back on the trailer and I headed off to play dressage steward.  I got to see more friends. Rachel and Rue La La took home the fourth place ribbon. Chris Talley had a super day although we probably are allowed to tease him about missing a jump on the novice course, Molly Kinnamon was out with some more small horses/ponies, Dom and Jimmie Schramm were introducing some TBs to the joys of eventing and, in the big news of the day - while Phillip might have been winning at Bromont, the big Dutton news was that Olivia won at Plantation.

And to complete the grand slam as it were, we can add live-score stalking to the weekend's judging, riding, and volunteering activities as I did follow Bromont through the weekend.  There were some tough conditions up there, with probably even more rain than we had here (and it didn't conveniently quit before the event started).  Erin Sylvester won the CCI** on Mettraise, while Will Coleman and Phillip Dutton captured the CCI*** and CIC***.  Sally was 3rd on Tsunami in the CCI***, putting in an impressive clean cross country round.  Kate Chadderton's two OTTBs, Cole and Liberty had great weekends, finishing 11th in the 3-star and 5th in the 2-star.  All the results are here Bromont Scores.  For many, it was a rough weekend, with the footing and difficult weather leading to several falls and stops.  Sally came off of Taz, when he slipped and lost his footing, but she said he was jumping brilliantly to that point.  Ian Roberts also came off and ended up in hospital, missing Waylon's win in the CCI* on Yarrow.  Healing thoughts to Ian for a speedy and complete recovery.

The Phillies lost horribly to the Brewers and the Heat wrapped up the weekend by winning to move the series to a 1-1 tie.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Another jammed packed weekend in the neighborhood

In addition to being Mother's Day weekend, it was a big day for eventing all over.  In the NW, eventing got underway with the NWEC horse trials.  Elsewhere - Galway (California), Mill Creek (Area IV), Winona (Area VIII), King Oaks (Area I), and Windridge (an event I hadn't heard of in NC) were all being contested. I am sure EN will have reporting on some of these.  One of the blogs I follow covered Winona Evans Eventing Winona Blog.  Closer to home, it was both Jersey Fresh and Plantation weekend in Area II.  Caitlin was riding Remi and Sally riding Taz in the CCI** at Jersey.  Caitlin also had Steady Eddie out for his ** debut and Sally was Riding Sue and Wes in the CIC***.  Many other top names in eventing also spent the weekend at Jersey.  "My" boys had fabulous weekends.  Remi finished first adding nothing to his impressive dressage score of 41.  Taz finished 4th in the same division.  Shout outs as well to Erin Sylvester, Sharon White, Jennie Brannigan, Courtney Cooper and all the other winners and competitors Jersey Fresh Results

Meanwhile, on this side of the river, Plantation held a recognized on Saturday and an unrecognized on Sunday.  I rode Keegan on Saturday.  He was very good and the weather held off.  We got our usual 38 in dressage.  Time to start working harder to shave some points off now that all the basics are in place.  He did run off in the cross-country.  Missy suggested more bit and while I don't like it as a first recourse, at this point I'm ready to try as all the installed brakes that work perfectly at all other times seem to fail on course.  Despite picking up time penalties with needing to circle between 11 and 12 - carefully avoiding taking out the photographer (and trotting through the woods where I didn't trust the footing), he jumped brilliantly and I had a super day.  Morgan McCue was 1st and 2nd in the JYOP and Ashley Bruder won the open training, closely followed by Amanda on Gloria Cascarino's Preston.  Susie Beale was second on her own Abengold in one division and on Lesley's Digby in another.  I saw Lesley briefly while I was walking the course, but Keegan and I were on the buzz in buzz out plan, so other than seeing some of the preliminary while I was walking, I didn't see anyone else's rides.  Plantation Results
Meanwhile Rachel took Solo and Laura took Parker to the jumpers at St. Christopher's horse show and Eden Dedrick was kind enought to give Keegan a ride to Plantation in conjunction with walking her course.

That left Eden ready for Sunday and a 4th place finish on her mare Fancy.  Missy showed the most handsomest Bouncer, finishing 2nd on their 25 dressage score. Alex Makowski's Grace became a training level eventer and I'm sure everyone enjoyed the cool, sunny weather, despite the occassionally stiff breeze.  I wasn't there as I was running the Delaware 1/2 marathon down in Wilmington.  The weather was perfect for that as well.  I ran the first 6 miles at my usual pace, then slowed down to take it easy for the final 7.1.  It was a nice course (with more hills than I expected) and a great day.  The finish line festivities were impressive for a smaller race like this.  After grabbing some food, I headed out to the barn and took Keegan for a long hack.  We practiced our speed control while galloping, but as always when not on course, he was quiet and rateable.  I had a lovely hour out and about with him, despite the fairly stiff wind.

The weekend also included a dinner to celebrate Jen's graduation from Penn (leaving her free to join me here, which is very exciting), a great 10th inning Phillies win over Arizona and plenty of playoff hockey and basketball.  Spring is good.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Another Keebler Report from the guest blogger in the South

For those of you who follow the adventures of the spotted menace (although, menace no more from all reports), Cyndi kindly sent this update of his latest adventure.  (I think she got too busy to write up part 2). My comments once again in pink

First, a huge thank you to you both. This horse is simply amazing.  He has been so terrific for Jordan to learn on - so nice to have a horse who knows more than the rider! and once again, so great to hear this

So,  for the show, I went on ahead as the girls had testing 1/2 days at school.    This was the first time they have traveled to a show without me being there to double check everything, and they "passed" with flying colors.  

Keebler came off the trailer like a champ,  and was happily ensconced in his stall as we waited for the farrier (he had lost a shoe at home on Friday am).  

He was a bit antsy for the farrier, but that was because the automatic fly sprayer in the farrier "stall"  kept hitting him on the butt every 20 minutes! That's his story and he's sticking to it 

The girls had about a half hour to just ride before dark, and I sent them out to one of the fields (about 10 acres) to play.   Jordan practiced going forward and bringing Keebler back, and he thought this was a terrifically fun game :)    especially the forward part, no doubt.  There were no courses posted (let me not get crazy again),  and the show jumping course was not even done being BUILT,   but that's another story
We awoke to POURING rain and a severe temp change (it was 90 when they rode on Friday, and we woke to 48degrees!).    The show was delayed a bit (let's not talk about the disorganization because I will go crazy).    Finally it slowed to a drizzle and a mist, and we were told to get to the start box!

Class #1 was the "hunter pace".   Show organizer couldn't tell us how long the course was ("oh, over 3 miles but under 5 miles") or what the pace should be (let's just say meters per minute was not in their vocab we appreciate eventing more every time we go to another type of horse event),   so we just decided to wing it.   We walked (ok,  Keebler LEAPED forward as Jordan mounted but then settled) to the start box (where I argued with the starter because no way in hell was I putting THREE horses in the start box at the same time), and left the start at a walk (Keebler and Bitsy were very concerned about this departure from protocol - silly people, we are supposed to gallop).

Once we found the trail ,   I had Jordan lead at a 250+ mpm trot .   The trail was beautiful - really only wide enough for one horse, under beautiful oak canopies-  and Keebler was a great trail blazer.   I originally had put Keebler in front, Bitsy in middle, and Emily and her pony in the back, but after about 20 "pony running into Bitsy's butt"  episodes,   I put the pony in the middle.   Bitsy was not as pleased, as she had been enjoying the strong trot behind Keebler,  but agreed to be "rated"  so that I could shout encouragement to Emily ahead of us (I love my horse).     We passed a few teams on our way, which worried us a bit, but at this point I didn't care where we placed because we were having such fun!

When we came to open fields, we did a bit of canter, and then back to trot for twisty trails.   Finally, we entered the XC field.   Keebler was of course a star, and Jordan enjoyed the fact that there were several different fences to choose from in addition to the "posted" course.  He was a little wriggly to a few fences, but I think that was the "there are 4 fences here which one?"   Can we jump the bigger one?

I so enjoyed being able to go out with "my girls",  and was so proud of Bitsy for giving Emily and the pony leads over fences. 

 The really funny thing was that the organizer thought the hunter pace was "too long to do twice" (originally I was going to go once with Emily and once with Jordan), and Bitsy and Keebler came back to regular breathing under 5 minutes.  The pony took about 10 minutes. because they have eventers as riders, so are in great shape

So, that is class #1 (which we won, although we didnt know at the time and I still don't know what the optimum time was or how close to it we were!) Yeah!!

Off to do a bit of packing,  stay tuned for round 2 :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

The rest of us

While Badminton and the Kentucky Derby were both happening, many of the rest of us were involved in less famous, but no less rewarding events through the weekend.  My original plans were a trail marathon on Saturday and an easy day Sunday.  That changed multiple times for multiple reasons and my weekend ended up being cross-country schooling on Saturday and volunteering at the starter event at Fair Hill on Sunday.  Both were great fun, if a long way from Rolex and Badminton (in so many ways).

Saturday, Keegan and I went cross country schooling with Eden and her mare Fancy.  Both horses were super good and very brave, jumping everything they were pointed at. The only low point came at the end when Keegan somehow twisted a shoe, tearing some foot and stepping on the clip.  He does seem sound today, so we're hoping all is still in line for Plantation next Saturday.   Meanwhile, the Blue Hill dressage contingent had headed to Morven.  Rachel, David and Mary were all showing there. Dressage continues to lack live scoring so I can only let you know that Topper won both his 4th level tests and 4th level high point (via David's facebook).  Later on Saturday, Jason Racey contested the mini-prix at the Radnor Pony Club Jumper show.  Many others I know were also there, but they too are lacking live scoring, so other than hearing from Jason that he finished 3rd (if I recall correctly), I have no other information.  Saturday finished up with Lesley and Bill's wedding reception in Malvern.  It was a great occasion and great to see Lesley and Bill as well as Jan and Jeremy Beale, Lesley's mom, Susie, Chris, Amanda and Gillian, and Gloria Cascarino.   A really lovely evening.

Sunday, I volunteered as the dressage steward for the Fair Hill Started event (Elementary through Novice levels).  I saw many riders I knew, although many others were spending the weekend at MCTA (more on that to follow here).  As always, lots of nice people, horses and riders learning the ropes, and after a chilly start, we got a nice day.  I saw some of the Cairn O'Mount gang, including Susie and Gillian, Alex Makowski riding 3 or 4, Erin Sylvester, once again coaching fresh from Rolex (we did comment on how much warmer it was last year), and lots of others. My Sunday wrapped up with a dinner at http://www.heirloomdining.com/ and a chance to catch up with Katrina Armstrong on her first two weeks as physician-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital http://www.massgeneral.org/about/newsarticle.aspx?id=3962.

Meanwhile, at MCTA, Sally was winning the Advanced on Joule, Kate the Intermediate on Liberty, Kaiti and Truman gathered the red ribbon, and Caitlin Silliman had a bunch of rides from BN through Preliminary. Even further south was the Southern 8ths, heart of the Carolina Horse Trial and Long Format Event.  One of the Long Formats most dedicated volunteers blogged about it here: http://www.teamflyingsolo.com/. And going south again, the Area 3 championships and horse trials were happening at Poplar Place.  Looks like Andrea Leatherman is back in the tack, which is great to hear.  I know Lynn Cronin was riding at Penny Oaks and saw a couple of great pictures on facebook, but they too lack live scoring.  Maybe we can get a blog from Lynn.

And in Texas, they were holding a CIC*/** along with the horse trials.  They did have live scoring.  Rowdie Adams won the 2* and Heather Morris the 1*

So lots going on in eventing world as the northern season gears up and the southern season finishes up.