Well, fall has arrived and boy has she come too quick for my liking. With the arrival of autumn comes the beautiful leaf color changes, comfortable afternoons, and trick-or-treating but also it comes with frigid nights, a hectic show schdule, and increasingly shortened daylight!!! I love the fall dont get me wrong, but sometimes I feel as if there is not enough daylight or weekdays for my busy schedule.
Since we've been back from Hong Kong, all the horses are in full gear for their fall seasons, including Alex. A week after I returned home from China and England, poor Seajack and Frodo were rushed into their work schedules and shoved into the trailer to head for another show in northern VA, Loudoun HT. Thankfully, they werent totally out of shape as a good friend and student of mine, Lynn Cruiser, was kind enough to hack them out a few times while I was away. Even though I felt a little unprepared for the show, the boys were true gentlemen bringing home both a second and eighth placed ribbon. Not too shabby for only having been in work for little more than a week!!!
Following Loudoun, I had two weeks to prepare for the Area 2 Championships where all three of my horses were competing. Poor Alex thought he should deserve a nice break after being away for so long but I told him, that he will get a break when he behaves himself in all THREE disciplines. All three of them ceased to amazing me at Five Points HT. Although I thought all three were slighted on their dressage marks, they still were able to perform at their best bringing home a fifth in the advanced division, second in the intermediate, and ninth in the training level. What's more, none of my horses touched a single rail on show jumping day which really made me thrilled!!! Finally, some of the hard work is beginning to pay off...hopefully I havent spoken too soon!
With Fairhill in the horizon, I have been hard pressed to push Frodo to get the collection and extension work in the dressage that I know he can demonstrate. With help from Kim Severson, I believe we are getting somewhere...Also, with help from Derek Reed in the show jumping as well as the Deep Run schooling jumper shows, Frodo and I have both made vast improvements on the phase we have the most difficulty mastering...now, I sort of look forward to the show jumping phase with Frodo...sort of! Nevertheless, Fairhill is approaching and approaching in a rapid manner. My goal, in its antipaction, is not to overreact and to make sure Frodo peak's at Fairhill and not elsewhere as my mother so avidly reminds me. This sport can be so stressful on the riders but moreso for our equine comrades as they have no control over how much they are being pushed and too often hide their emotions until the big day comes along. It's our responsibility as riders and horselovers, to keep a watchful eye over our friends and if it means one less dressage school and one more trail ride then so be it. I have a newfound respect for horses like Jamie who were in the sport so long and never blinked an eye no matter how tough the going became.
So, onward and upward...with Morven Park coming up this weekend, I plan to run Frodo in just the combined test to be able to school in the dressage and show jumping rings once more before the big day. With a little hope and faith, and a lot of hard work...you might just be seeing a little black horse gallop his way into the eyes of the Olympic selectors. Keep your fingers crossed that luck will always be on our side....stay tuned!