Thursday, November 11, 2010
Here are a few videos of Cady's Goldkeeper from the October Maryland Horse Trials. At the event, Keeper and Alicia Daily were 2nd in the competitive Open Novice division, finishing on their dressage score of 30.4. Contact us for more information on Keeper!
Trouble viewing these videos? You can also see them on our Youtube channel.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I cannot say enough, how truly thankful I am to have been able to be a part of this amazing little farm tucked away in Goode, Va. It started with me posting an ad to find a place to ride every now and again while I was in college and it turned out to be so much more. I learned so much while I was working for Alicia and I am so thankful for the time she put into helping me better my riding and for giving me so many opportunities.
Not only did I work for her, but she was so selfless and handed off so many business opportunities to me in order to help me out. We have had so many great times and so many memories from racking our brains trying to find a solution to a problem with a horse to weekend long shows that were so much fun.
Thank you Alicia for being such a great friend and trusting me and encouraging me to go further in what I love to do.
Emily and Josh-you both are incredible at what you do! It was so great getting to know both of you and I wish you guys the best of luck in your future together! It’s not goodbye, but see you later! :) If ever in Charlotte, you will always have a place to stay!
Monday, November 1, 2010
It's one thing to hear someone say that about a horse, but it's another to experience it first hand. On Saturday, October 23rd, I made it through my first Combined Test at Sandstone Farm in Berryville thanks to Tobey, and of course a brilliant and patient coach! (Thanks Em!!)
Needless to say, I was nervous. Memories of my first surf meet came to mind. But this time, I wasn't paddling out on my own. As Tobey and I made our rounds and got acquainted with the venue, I felt at ease. I could relax and concentrate on riding. He, of course, was infinitely more relaxed than I was, which certainly helped me.
So, I think, a 39.5 for my first ever dressage test wasn't too shabby! Especially since 100% of my focus was allocated to trying to remember what to do, when, and where in the arena, and remembering to keep my elbows relaxed, my fingers closed, sit up, and leg, leg, leg! Bottle the energy!
As we exited the arena, I felt like I'd already taken a huge step forward thanks to Tobey's consistent and easy way of going. And he brought the same priceless attitude to show jumping.
Now, I hadn't had the opportunity to string more than 5 or 6 fences together in a ring, ever, before then. There were 9 fences on the course and, like dressage, much of my attention would be focused on remembering the track.
When we stood outside the ring waiting for our round, Tobey turned his head and looked at me as if too say, "This is nothing. Just tell me which ones to jump and I'll do it."
And he did. While I concentrated on keeping my heels down, hands forward, leg on, and head up, he literally stepped over the fences I pointed him at.
Sometimes I liken myself to a four-year-old horse at his first show; I need an experienced, reliable, understanding, and patient partner to help me get the most of the experience, so I can go home feeling like I learned something, and gained a nurtured desire to go do more, and do it better the next time. Which is exactly what Tobey did for me.
A week later, on Halloween Sunday, Tobey took me through my first horse trials experience at Waredaca in Maryland. I'm proud to say we finished on our dressage score, which, surprisingly, was improved from the weekend before at Sandstone.
I say surprisingly because... well let me start from the beginning: My ride time wasn't until 1:20. We left the house around 9:30. It's only an hour and change to get there. "You always want to give yourself as much time as you need rather than getting there and feeling rushed," Emily shared as we pulled out of the drive way.
We ended up burning about 2 hours standing on the side of highway 340 with a flat trailer tire. I'm convinced that had I tried to change the tire myself, we would have missed the show completely, and that would have been the best-case scenario. This is where U.S. Rider came in. They found a great mobile mechanic for us, on a Sunday mind you, who had us back on our why to arrive at Waredaca with about 20 minutes before my ride. Tobey stepped off the trailer ready to go, as if nothing had ever gone wrong.
I, on the other had, was more than nervous. I was downright frazzled. If I could barely relax, how could I expect my horse to relax? Well, he did. Mr. Steady Eddie took me in that arena and put up with my fidgeting. We earned a 37 this time, which I graciously accepted, given the circumstances. But I know we both have so much more potential when everything finally aligns.
I finally relaxed once we entered the stadium. Emily's words of wisdom were, "Go in there, look around, enjoy it. You have plenty of time." And the change in my nerve was palpable. I felt it, Tobey felt it, and we had what felt like a lovely hunter round over a great, flowing 9-fence course.
Now I felt great! I was ready for my first full cross-country experience! The feeling I remember most was when the steward counted down, "three, two, one, go!" and Tobey came forward out of that box so forward and in front of my leg, just waiting for me to tell him where to go and what to jump.
Just passed the half way mark on course, I think I could feel him telling me, "Come on dad, keep up with me!" I admit I could use a little more conditioning myself. But he had enough energy for both of us and finished over the last fence with plenty of run, and a very happy, new eventing-addict.
- Josh Walker
(Left: Kris & Sunny competing at a local horse trial this fall.)
Cross-country went by fast and was perfect and exciting to watch. Woosh in to the water, that was one worry, after the worry of going straight down into the hollow, and then home over a huge trakehner... lots of air time on that one. Stadium was a lovely surprise in being clean and clear. So she moves up two spots with that round and is happy to pin that ribbon over her bed...
Keeper was showing a much more mature shape in her dressage test as I decided to sit all the trot this time, and the judge seemed to like it, too. Cross-country was scheduled for late Saturday, but there was plenty in reserve for that. We hadn't jumped or galloped all week, simply worked on our dressage. So she was ready for a run, and she was tired of the stall, and maybe thought she could find her way home, too. Anyway, she scooted around the course, pretty much dragging me everywhere, not blinking at any of the questions. Then we added a circle at the end because we were so early, even at 400 mpm and big hills to boot. She's finally got that uphill gallop where she is balanced for each jump and can jump them from any distance without much interference from me. It was quite a thrill!
The show jumping was scheduled for last on Sunday, so we did a lot of waiting and waiting, and since it was reverse order of standing, more waiting, more dry mouth, and more visual runthroughs of the course. And then it was over, we were clean and I couldn't remember anything about the round. Yeah and whew! We even got a cool neck ribbon, saddle pad, and a victory lap.
We're busily preparing for the Virginia HT-- last minute travel food, silver polish, chiropractic adjustments. Keeper is getting lots of napping time in, and the flax seed is finally producing a shine and dapple. We decided to simply do light dressage workouts and save the jumping for the show. I've lowered my stirrups, hoping it'll encourage me to sit taller and keep my shoulders back. I'm very excited that she is in the championship division for Area 2.
We enjoyed a clinic with Jimmy Wofford at Sunrise Farm last week. We was adamant that we would "get' our distances, even though Keeper was hanging behind my leg. We achieved our goals and finished well on a "sloppy track"... and he told a story of a fellow saying , "if you want to have your horse jump like a pony, you have to ride like a child!" So I guess my elbows etc got the job done. He's very respectful of Connemaras and their crosses. After my last clinic on Mikey, he said, "that's a nice toy you have there."My good friend and rider Kristen Laluna is leaving me for greener pastures in Charlotte after this show. I will be lonely without her. She rode my guys all winter while I was injured, and she learned how to drive the rig so she could get me home from Md, and graciously gave me my horses back as I recovered my legs. This weekend she'll give Dawn's Sunrise his first recognized Training run. Sunny used to be my ride, but OTTBs are a bit much for me in my advanced years. He belongs to Steve and Billie Bryant, and needs a home. Got my fingers crossed.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
When we arrived at the show, I discovered I only had an hour or so in between my dressage and show jumping... a bit close for comfort, but that's okay since the cross-country course was right across from our trailer spot, and I practically knew the course by heart since I'd ridden it so many times. Plus, I'd be home in time for an afternoon nap and Sunday football!
Even though it was an unrecognized event, there was still a good deal of atmosphere, but Tobey dealt with it like a champ, being much more interested in checking out the fine grazing around our trailer. I knew Tobey was pretty fit, but we hadn't done much schooling on the flat in the past few weeks since I'd been travelling so much, so I wasn't sure how he was going to be in the warm-up. Turns out, I needn't have worried, because he was calm, cool, collected, and very focused...don't you love 6-year-olds?
During the warm-up, I was able to really get him jazzed up a bit and get him swinging along nicely with lots of energy. Luckily, this energy carried over into our test, and I was so, so pleased with how he performed. We picked up lots of 8s, and our only silly moment was when he stopped to poop in front of the judge's box, and I gave him a thump! I was tickled to find out we'd gotten a 30.4, and am very, very optimistic about his future. Who knew Tobey was such a DQ?
One thing I noticed was how many people didn't bother to braid for the horse trials. I got a record low number of braids (7!) on Tobey at 6AM in the freezing darkness that morning, but they were nice and neat, and I thought he looked very well turned out, especially with his lovely clip job and fall dapples. I always like to think that I might get a few brownie points if I go the extra mile and really do a good job with our turn-out...or maybe that's just my inner Pony Clubber speaking.
After the test, I scrambled out of boots, and into my running shoes to go out and walk/jog the cross-country course. True to form, the course looked fabulous and very inviting. In fact, I was actually eyeballing the Training course thinking that looked within our grasp! I'll have to keep that in mind for next spring. The course was very similar to the spring Novice (recognized) event, and looked like it would be a fun little walk (canter) in the park.
Josh was kind enough to get Tobey ready for show jumping while I checked out my course, and I hopped on and headed down to warm-up to pop over a few jumps, knowing he wouldn't need much warm-up after such a brief period between show jumping and dressage.
The warm-up at events can always be a little hectic, especially at the lower levels where there are many newer competitors who aren't always sure of the rules and etiquette, but we survived and he felt good...albeit a little on the lazy side. I knew I'd really have to wake him up when we headed into the ring, especially since it was quite warm (close to 80), and he still felt a little bit sleepy.
Tobey felt quite good once we got in the ring and I took him for a big gallop around the outside to get him coming forward. The course was lovely - very flowing and had a couple of nice combinations. Unfortunately, I didn't wake him up quite enough, and we had a silly rail at the first combination. I blame myself since we cut the corner a bit, and plus I didn't really have him up in front of my leg. Other than that mistake, we had a good round. I think I know where to go from here - jumper shows! I love how quiet and safe Tobey feels, but he needs to learn that when he goes into the ring, it's time to GO! I think some good schooling shows this winter will do the trick.
After the show jumping, we trotted straight over to cross-country. Finally, Tobey seemed awake! Off we went at a casual pace, and hopped easily over the first few. A little too easily - I was thinking, wow, this doesn't seem challenging at all! We're lucky enough to get to go through two water combinations, and he galloped right in - no water issues with this guy. Over ditches and up and down banks, he was pretty much on auto-pilot the whole time. Just point and shoot! He's gotten much more "rateable" the past few months, and I really feel like I can let him cruise around on his own pace, and then sit up, give a little half halt, and prepare for each jump a few strides out. Love these ponies! I was also suffering from an annoying eye infection, so I was forced to wear some (outdated) glasses instead of my usual contact lenses....it was a little nerve-wracking having water splash up on my face and glasses through the water jump, and then trying to wipe it off before the next jump... oh well!
All in all, I was very, very pleased with how Tobey did this past weekend - especially in the dressage phase. I'm still kicking myself for the rail, because without it we would've won...but what're you going to do? Anyway, we still got a good ribbon, and I couldn't have been happier. At this point, I'm convinced that anyone can ride this pony - advanced or beginner, and have a blast. He's honest, safe, fit, healthy, and getting better and better... it's fun to see how much he's grown up in the past few years, and I'm feeling very hopeful about his future.
Also, we saw our good friends Larry & Michelle Robbins at the event with their talented young RID stallion Kilronan's Glenstone, who's in training at Phyllis Dawson's amazing facility at Windchase. The Robbins are very active in the Irish Draught community, and we've been happy to get to know them and their wonderful Irish horses during the past few years. This was "Stoney's" first real event, and of course he ended up tied for first in the Beginner Novice division.
Thanks to Josh for the amazing photos! And a huge thanks for being a helpful groom/driver, especially since he got home late Saturday night from photographing at Fair Hill CCI**/*** up in Maryland.
Next weekend, Josh will be taking Tobey in a combined test at Sandstone Farm, a great little event just a few miles down the road. And hopefully on Sunday we'll head back over to Loch Moy Farm for Josh to school the cross-country course before his first "real" event on Halloween. Busy weeks ahead!
By the way, I'll be posting more photos of Tobey on our Cady O'Daly Facebook Fan Page - check 'em out!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
We're just home from a Virginia Horse Trial schooling show at Sunrise Farm. My young four year old Hokie-- aka Cady O'Daly Class Clown came in second on a 31.0 dressage score. The silly guy just wasn't too sure about the huge purple mums at dressage entrance-- and kept on eyeing them, but somehow succeeded in keeping his mind in the game. He got a nice 8 on his movement--that is encouraging.
Stadium jumping was very pleasant and well in hand on the side of the hill. His form improves with his interest, since it is so easy for him.
Cross-country was interesting as he dropped out of the air onto a very wide log and rail-- only to be met with a big whack by me. He cantered on down to the gate into the water field and hated every minute--as i said yesyoudo...yesyoudo... until he finally did... and off we went again with a whack whack... so for some reason, he went right on into the water. Funny guy. The rest of the ride was a blast, and he finished 30 sec under the time. Good boy!
Beholden ("BB"), who's currently being leased in northern Virginia, had a great outing with the Snickersville Hounds. "A beautiful day for hunting yesterday! Beholden was a perfect lady!" said Marilyn Davis, who's enjoying BB.
Looking for a smaller-sized, but fancy, foxhunter? Check out 15.2hand BB!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
This past weekend we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous fall weather this weekend, brush the stink bugs off our saddle pads, and take the geldings on a little field trip over to a fantastic local cross-country schooling facility in Berryville called Gordonsdale. This hidden gem has jumps from itty bitty logs to Preliminary tables and combinations, and is the perfect place to take youngsters on their first outing, or gear up your seasoned partner for an upcoming event. The privately-owned facility is perfectly manicured, and the footing is fantastic, especially considering the dry weather we've had lately, which has taken its toll on many of the venues in our area.
Josh rode Tobey in preparation for Josh's upcoming first horse trial in a few weeks, and Tobey is proving to be a very steady and encouraging partner for him. Tobey was foot-perfect during the entire school, boldly but safely tackling all of the obstacles asked of him: water jumps, banks, logs, and anything else in front of him. If all goes according to plan, he and Josh will be participating in the unrecognized Waredaca Horse Trials on Halloween.
Marco is my little protege, and I have high hopes for this young gelding...he's only three years old, but he's well over 15.2, and has fantastic bone, long legs, and incredible movement. I don't plan to sell this one for a long time! In fact, I think he'd make a fantastic Prelim packer one day, or even a fieldmaster's hunt horse.
Baby Marco had competed (and won) at the USEA Future Event Horse show at Green Hill Park (Salem, VA) earlier this summer, but had never been ridden off the farm, but with his quiet and thoughtful demeanor, I knew he'd take our field trip all in stride. And he did. I was a little nervous since there were a few trailers already at Gordonsdale, which could make for a bit of commotion, but both boys were excellent, and we finished tacking up and mounted without a fuss.
Marco had the chance to sniff and explore the cross-country jumps, and seemed to shrug his little grey shoulders and say, "Meh, no biggy!" My main goal for this outing was to have him behave on a field trip, and perhaps check out a few beginner cross-country questions, like water jumps. Of course, he exceeded all my expectations, gingerly stepping (and then later heartily trotting) through the murky water jump, thoroughly investigating tire jumps, and easily stepping off of baby-sized banks. What a trooper - I'm so excited about this young gelding, and can't wait to see how he progresses throughout the winter. Perhaps I'll even think about competing in some Young Event Horse classes?
I was able to squeeze into the unrecognized horse trial at Loch Moy Farm this weekend, so I'm excited to finally get back on the cross-country course with Tobey again. We schooled at the Virginia Horse Center a few weeks ago, and he felt stronger and much more mature than he had in the spring, so I'll be interested to see how the event goes. Thanks to Mom for keeping Tobey fit and happy for me - as well as clipping him! Meanwhile, Josh will be travelling up to Elkton, Maryland to cover the Fair Hill CCI**/*** and the Young Event Horse Championships, so be sure to check out the great photos on USEventing.com!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Cady O'Daly Farm had a great outing at the Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland this weekend. Homebred mare Cady's Goldkeeper and Alicia took home second place in the competitive Open Novice division to finish on their dressage score of 30.4. Keeper was a champ, clinching a solid, steady dressage test, and was one of only a handful of horses in her division to post a double-clear in show jumping and cross-country. Keeper is currently for sale - check out her page! She and Alicia are headed to the Virginia Horse Trials in Lexington, Virginia in a few weeks.
Kris LaLuna gave Steve and Billie Bryant's Dawn's Sunrise an excellent ride in the Open Novice division as well. 'Sunny' earned a 35.7 in dressage (even though he was a little spooked by the judge's hut!), had a silly rail in show jumping, and a foot-perfect cross-country trip. Sunny's also for sale - check out his page! Kris and Sunny will have their Training debut at the upcoming Virginia Horse Trials.
Check out more photos from this weekend here on Facebook!