So, how MAD are you at me for not having written in eons? I have to admit, I have been too busy with life itself to post on the blog in the midst of moving from house to house, traveling north to south, prepping the ponies for their spring events, and of course, RIDING. So, here is an update in a nutshell and I promise to be more consistent with the blog posts, especially leading up to Rolex.
So, as you all know, mom finally moved back to the west coast and I remain, even still, on the east coast. I will tell you being apart from my mom for two days let alone over two months has been by far the hardest thing I have had to undergo in life, but hey, they say "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"...I can certainly attest to that.
Since mom relocated our farm, also known as "Crow's Ear West," I have been busy prepping my boys for their upcoming spring season of events. At the top of my list I have my phenomenal, Anthony Patch, aka "Alex" who is in route for Rolex this year. Al successfully competed and placed at Jersey Fresh CCI*** and Fairhill CCI*** in 2009 with the help of Buck, Kim (Severson), and of course, my mom. Second up is The Pilot, "Bob" who is co-owned by Carolyn Jolley, Lady Anna Weir, and myself. Bob is a work in process for me and will be looking to move up to the intermediate level towards the end of the summer. Lastly, I am very excited about Barracuda. "Guppy" is a horse my mom found of the CA racetrack some three years ago...he was supposed to be a re-sale project for mom, but after being around his contagious gregarious attitude and loads of talent, mom generously allotted me the ride this past summer. My dear friend and student, Beth Stinson, has volunteered to babysit Banjo while I am down south and Samantha Silver kindly took Verreaux back in VA while I am away training.
The weather here in Ocala has been unseasonably cold, with incessant rain and temps reaching below freezing at night. The first show of the year for me, Ocala Horse Trials, was Fairhill reincarnated but COLDER!!! I had fell ill earlier in the week and had to be hospitalized so when the weekend finally rolled around for the show, I was so happy that my mom had come down to surprise me for my birthday and help me at the show. I will NEVER forget trotting out to the dressage ring completely soaked to the core, handing my mom the cooler we optimistically placed over the horses, and head straight for the ring, only to exit at "A" with my proud mother clapping, smile from ear to ear, looking like a drenched rat and shivering like a leave on a windy day....let me tell you folks, the Mother of a Lifetime Award surely goes to Valerie Dorice Ashker...
Although Ocala's weather didn't hold up for the weekend, my horses certainly did. Everyone finished their show with ear pricked and energy to spare. I was really looking forward to what the next weekend at Rocking Horse III had in store, as Al was moving up to Intermediate, Bob was entered in the Prelim, and Guppy was trying his first shot at Preliminary. Al, like the consistent champ he is, placed second after dressage and remained there after show jumping. A little glance off on cross country moved us down the placings but taught me a life's lesson never to assume my horse to do anything, especially that early in the season. I softly rode Al to an angled line, and because I was more worried about riding softly than earnestly, Al chose to take the easier route of going around the obstacle...of course that didn't work so well so I turned around and re-represented it to him, to which he happily obliged. Lesson learned...
Bob was a star as he happily cantered around the course to finish third in a very abundant and competitive prelim class. Guppy certainly followed suit to finish clear of jumping penalties, and only a handful of time to finish fifth in his first prelim. I have high hopes for that little gray horse...very high hopes!
So, I guess I just caught everyone up on what a four months had in store in about two paragraphs! I promise to stay more consistent with the blogs to keep you up to date with our progress over the spring season. The opening date for Rolex is tomorrow...now THAT, my friends, is a reality check. For now, my eyes are focused on the first weekend in March, where Al will be competing in his first advanced of the year at Red Hills Horse Trials. Results and updates can be found on www.rhht.org. Until then guys, shoulders back, thumbs up, and kick on! Be in touch soon! Cheers!