Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let the games begin!!!

     And thus, the event season has started: the hustle and bustle of packing and unpacking and braiding and washing and loading and unloading...it seems endless and tiresome and yet, we eventers LIVE for it!  Buck was right after all when he told me that as soon as I arrived in Florida, the show season would help jump start my drive to compete once more!  He couldn't have been more right; perhaps that's the reason I am paying him the big bucks (no pun intended)!!!
     Although my horses and I have had a late start in arriving to Ocala in mid February, their performances in the past two shows demonstrated otherwise.  I had a week to prepare for our first show, Ocala Horse Trials, where both Alex and Seajack would be competing at Preliminary, and Fancy would do her first recognized event at the Beginning Novice level.  All three showed to be old pros in the game by placing in each of their classes.  Alex was 2nd, Seaj 3rd, and Fancy a respectable 6th in her BN division, which seems to be the most competitive and populated of the divisions.  Everyone performed impeccably, especially for only having been granted a week for preparation.  I was extremely proud to say the least.
     The next show on the schedule was the Advanced One Day held at Rocking Horse.  Although I would not be competing there this year (as I have the past five years in a row), I wanted to go to show support for my coach, Buck Davidson, who was riding six horses, which I believe should be officially added to the Guinness Book of World Records!!!  I was happy to lend a helping hand and once again be in a "grooming" position which were reminiscent of the days when I tirelessly worked for Stephen Bradley and Phillip Dutton.  There is something about caring for those horses that give their heart to you that I cherish most;  it's a feeling unsurmountable in comparison in my opinion.  
     The same weekend was the last leg of the Florida circuit marathon of events which would again be concluded at Rocking Horse Stables.  I had Alex entered in the Intermediate in addition to Seajack, which would be a first for him at the level.  Fancy also moved up to Novice level following her superb performance at Ocala.  I was also pleased to have the support from not only my steadfast groom, Jennifer Curley, but a surprise visit and lengthy drive by my mom and Yvette (Fancy's owner) definitely were what the doctor ordered.  With the horses and crew in tow, we were poised for a fantastic weekend!  And what a weekend it was!  Alex was his normal self and proved to be a gentleman in the dressage ring, and although a bit sluggish, pinned second in the class.  He is a constant project for me as his capricious attitude sometimes makes my decision whether to wear small or large spurs a difficult one.  Seajack was also a star!  After much thought about his lower frame, Buck and I decided that I should try and ride him in the double bridle to see if it aided me in teaching Seaj more self-carriage.  Indeed it was a success, as he scored a 39 in his first intermediate test!  Fancy was also lovely as she performed a spot-on test which placed her 6th out of twenty nine in the large and extremely competitive Novice Horse class.  Next up was the show jumping:  All three were fantastic adding zero penalties to their dressage scores and boosting their placements in their class to first, seventh, and fifth.  Cross country was equally educational as it was entertaining.  Alex proved to be an old shoe at the sport as he carried me around the course to win his class.  Seajack was very behaved and although had one refusal at the first water, he came away with a vast amount of experience as well as our first qualification towards our spring two star endeavour.  Fancy was also very good and although she was green at a few elements on the course, I was very proud in how far she has come so fast.  
     With that, the never-ending week of shows has come to a screeching halt.  The horses are back to relaxing in their stalls, enjoying endless hay and multiple bouts of grain and their riders and grooms soaking up the Florida sun and sleeping in thirty minutes later.  However, next week will be a different scene as the barn will back to the chaotic order in which we have all come to love and expect.  Next week I will be preparing for Rocking Horse Spring Horse Trials, where Alex and Seajack will once again tackle the intermediate course and Fancy the training level.  And now, as I finish writing this blog, all I can do is think, "Let the games begin!" Until next time, heels down, shoulders back, and HAVE FUN!!!  See ya!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

2009...A New Beginning...in more ways than one...

     Wow, it has certainly been a while since I have last posted a blog and I certainly have a vast amount of experiences and surprises in which to pass onto my audience.  First and foremost, I want to wish all of you a happy new year.  My new year started off great as Crow's Ear Farm was blessed with the arrival of "Calling All Comets," born on January 21, 2009.  Although he is quite small and cuddly, Comet has an endless amount of energy and can be quite a handful for his "surrogate" parents, both mom and myself.  Despite his haughty demeanor and lack of manners in the barnyard, I cant help but daydream about what this little colt will grow up to be.  All I can do is think about the future that lay in store for him as he blazes around the fields with his beautiful mother, Paula's Accolades, alongside.

     When the year began, my plans for Florida were a bit hazy as my finances were still in question.  However, always looking on the bright side, I began to leg my boys up with slow (and sometimes tedious) trot sets, which occurred as frequently as the weather allowed.  At the end of January, the funds were raised and the boys and I were poised to head down south to the sunshine state.  In addition, a dear friend of my mother's and myself, Yvette Shrewsbury, decided that she would like for me to ride her mare, Little Sorrow (aka "Fancy") for the winter to see if she has a career in becoming an event horse.  After a long day of packing with one of my best friend's and student, Jessica Bowen, and the rest of the Crow's Ear gang, both mom and I were set and eager to shove off to the warm weather.  On February 6, we did just that.  With mom heading up the caravan with three horses in tow, and me following closely behind in my car, we made great time in arriving to Buck Davidson Stables in just under fourteen hours.  The horses were ecstatic to see solid ground and gleefully cantered around in their pastures and rolled in the sand to celebrate their arrival to their new winter home.  Everyone settled in beautifully and within two days, jumping lessons were underway with my coach Buck, as my mom joyously clapped after each of my rounds.  I can't tell you how great it feels to be back down here in Ocala, to be doing what I love most, and to be alongside the people I respect most and who share the my same passion for riding and horses.  

     Tomorrow is the first show of the season for me and boy is it a packed one for the Crow's Ear team.  This weekend I will ride all three of the horses at the Ocala Horse Trials:  Alex is doing prelim, Seajack is doing prelim, and Fancy is doing her first recognized show ever at the beginning novice level.  I am quite excited and will be sure to update you guys as the weekend closes.  Until then, heels down, shoulders back, and kick on!!!