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.