Thursday, February 21, 2008


Hello all!
It's been a while since I have posted a blog so there is a lot to catch you up on. First and foremost, the horses have been doing amazing! Here is a list of horses that I currently have with me in Ocala:
1. Frodo Baggins- self explanatory (NZ TB advanced horse)
2. Anthony Patch - TB advanced horse
3. Seajack- my young NZ TB homebred horse who is now a preliminary horse
4. Mazetto (aka Eric)- Advanced Cleveland Bay/NZ TB horse owned by Christine Brennan who has run Badminton and been to Athens for the New Zealand Team
5. Beaubaxtons (aka Corona)-Novice warmblood chestnut mare owned by Marcia Carabell

So, there's the run down of all the ponies I have the pleasure of riding. So, here comes the news. The first show was at the end of Jan where I had Seajack doing one final training level event before his first prelim debut and Corona was doing her first event at the beginning novice level. Both were brilliant. Seajack finished on his dressage score with a respectable third and Corona was foot perfect in her dressage and show jumping tests. A small spook on the cross country was what left her out of the ribbons.
The next event was Rocking Horse 2. There I had Alex going Intermediate, Frodo doing prelim, Seajack doing his first prelim, and two catch rides of Kristin Viellenueve's Footloose and Tommy Star, both of which were entered in training. Alex was a star, scoring a 25 in the dressage and holding his winning status throughout the whole event winning on the lowest score of all intermediate divisions. I was very excited for his success since his next event would be his first Advanced at the Rocking horse one day. Frodo was a star as always and finished on his dressage score of 32 and placed a respectable second. Seajack was perfect in his first prelim and scored a 31 on his dressage test, had a double clean show jump round and only one refusal on xc to give him his first qualifying round for the upcoming CCI* in the spring in Ocala. The two catch rides went very well and Kristin was pleased, which is what we all hope for as riders.
The next event was Ocala 2. There I had Eric doing his first event of the year at prelim, Seajack in prelim, and Corona entered in novice. Corona was perfect in her second show and finished on her dressage score of 26 which was good enough for a tie for the lead which ultimatley we lost and finished second because we werent as close to the optimum time as our counterpart. Eric was very exhuberant in his dressage test, but finished strongly in the last two phases leaving him in ninth. Seajack was a star as usual and had only one rail in SJ and with a clear XC he came home with the white fourth placed ribbon and a second qualification out of four for his upcoming one star.
The next event was held over one day and it was the Advanced horse trials at Rocking Horse where Alex was to complete his first advanced. Alex really surprised me with his maturity and readiness for the level. He placed fourth after dressage with a solid 34 in dressage and had a clear SJ round which shot us up to the top of the leaderboard. However, rider error caused us to lose the lead with one refusal on xc dropping us down to seventh but overall, I was ecstatic with Al's performance. Additionally, we gained another qualification for the CIC*** at Red Hills coming up in mid March.
In the midst of the chaotic show schedule, I also had two winter training list sessions with Frodo. The first was with Laura Kraut and the second with Lauren Hough. Captain Mark Phillips was in attendance at both clinics to watch the progress of each of the riders and horses. In both clinics I took away an immense amount of information, most of it based on my position in the SJ. Both Laura and Lauren really emphasized a need for a low heel, a soft knee, and flexible arms. Additionally, they taught me how to correctly half halt my horse without making him rigid from my seat or my hands. In both clinics, both Frodo and I improved vastly. The first clinic was run over three days where the first two days were show jumping with Laura and the last day was a dressage lesson with Mark. The second clinic was two days long, both show jumping with Lauren. I feel as if the clinics have really helped my performance because they have given me the chance to ride difficult and technical courses, under scrutiny, and under a lot of pressure which is something that I dont feel really until the end of each of the season's. Since the clinics have started, I dont feel as nervous entering the show jumping ring which is something I thought I would never conquer.
The next training session is in two weeks and I am excited to hear that the USOC will be in attendance to watch the riders. The US Olympic Committee is sending over the US Olympic Sports Psychologist, the US Olympic Athelete Nutritionist, and the US Olympic fitness trainer to meet with each of the atheletes to offer advice or aid in our quest to Hong Kong. Needless to say, Ill have them on speed dial!!!!
Before I finish with this blog, I wanted to inform everyone of my new groom who has been a godsend to both my horses and myself. Bronwyn Watts is a Virginia native who has worked for many seasons under Natalie and Michael Pollard. She will be going with me to Rolex and to Hong Kong (if the cards are in our favor). Where you see me at the events, not only will you see my mother, you will see Bronwyn! Keep an eye out for our loud crew!!!! Until next time, keep your heels down, shoulder blades together, and soft hands! See you in the start box!


PS if you would like to read my monthly Rolex blog, go to and click on '2008 event,' and then click on 'featured riders,' and then on my name, 'Laine Ashker'