Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Home IS where the heart is!

In between flying back and forth to Northern California to visit mom, prep Guppy and Seajack for their upcoming summer show season, teach lessons to my awesomely eager students, and scrub the thirty inches of mud off Al’s coat that he has managed to accumulate, well, let’s just say that since my last post, this girl has been busy!
After my post Rolex blues slowly began to wear off, my focus shifted to the upcoming summer season of events. Since I have spent so much time focused on Al this past spring, now that he’s enjoying his lavishly green pasture and is one hundred pounds heavier, the second group of steeds get to fill the four horse trailer (and simultaneously empty my wallet).
Last week I flew out to Sacramento, CA where I primarily went to visit my mom and see her newly established Crow’s Ear West in Georgetown. As we made the hour long drive from the airport to the farm, I couldn't help but notice the sprawling and capricious nature of the topography in Northern California. The highway took us through endless valleys and curved through intimidating mountains sprinkled with pines and furs alike. I took a long sigh of relief when my eyes rested on the all-too-familiar American River. Man it felt great to be back home! Mom always did say that “home is where the heart is.” Never until both my parents lived on the opposite coast as I, did those words ring so darn true.
As we pulled into mom’s driveway, I was ecstatic to see some old friends and some new. The ponies and Solar and Eric greeted me with whinnies and nickers and of course, Ivy, Huey, and that darn Chalupa dog (inside joke) joyously barked and trotted around the hot pink tracker to see their new visitor! Of course, before I did ANYTHING I ran into the house to let IT out of the cage, much to my mom’s and Mr. B’s dismay. At the sound of my voice, Milly sprang to life and flew directly to my head, where she stayed until I spooked her away so that I could go greet all of mom’s ponies and get a tour of the new barn!
After the tour and the meet and greets, it was time to get down to the real business. Now, for most people, their vacations are spent lounging and enjoying the time they spend AWAY from their job. As a horse person, however, a vacation wouldn't be a vacation without the smell of hay and grain, filling the water troughs, and of course, going on some SERIOUS trail rides!
Since mom lives near the Tevis Cup trail head, you had better believe the land is both beautiful and extremely unforgiving. Mom and I set out on our horses (she was on her mare Paula, and I on the four year old TB that had just come off the race track recently...ahem) and began to juggle the unrelenting terrain. To my surprise, Lyle never tired and seemed to gain confidence and power as the ride went on. Unfortunately, after about and hour and a half into our adventure, Lyle overstepped and lost a shoe, causing us to navigate our way back to the nearest road, and making his poor rider schlepp the whole way back, horse in hand...hey, I needed the workout anyway!
While in California, I also made time to teach some of the local pony clubbers in a show jumping and cross country clinic which was hosted in Shingle Springs near my old house in Latrobe and at the infamous Rod Hiskins fabulous facility, Eventful Acres. Let me tell you how much fun I had with those girls...not only could they ride very well, they equally matched their ability to ride with their enthusiasm to learn. As a coach and a student simultaneously, I can’t express how much it means to have eager and talented students with motivation and drive. It’s nice to go home after a long day of teaching knowing that your students held onto your every word and that as soon as I return back west, improvements will have been made! Teaching these kids helps me improve as a rider and as a coach. If I can use an analogy or show them on an aid on their horse in order to help them understand a point I’m trying to get across, then my mission is accomplished. Helping them simply helps me as both a trainer and a rider, and who could ask for anything more? Talk about a symbiotic relationship!!!
The flight home from CA was a long and tedious one. Trips always seem longer when you’re leaving half your heart behind. From my two amazing parents, to my grandparents and my cousins and my aunt and my uncle, to my wonderful dogs and horses, and of course my Milly...a six hour long plane ride felt like eternity. Mom’s move back west has certainly been hard on both of us, but I try to keep a positive outlook by reminding myself that things are always temporary and constantly changing. Like my grandpa always reminds me, “the sooner you leave, the sooner you can come back.” Wise words from a very wise man...
Since then, my time has been filled with pulling manes, doing trot sets, ample hill work, and some grid work. Sprinkle in a few circles and extensions and there goes most of the week for my riding schedule. I am still beaming from my ride at Rolex and keep a close eye over my boy even though he’s happily on vacation. Come June 1st, I will slowly start to implement a few hacks and trail rides to get the “boy wonder” back into action and geared up for the fall. First up in the three rounds of shows for the summer season? Seneca Valley; where I will be riding: Seajack OP, Barracuda, OP, and Seven’s Wild, TH. Until then, heels down, shoulders back, and take a long deep breath...an exhilarating ride awaits!


If anyone is interested in hosting a clinic, please contact me at LaineyEA@aol.com (please have a minimum of 12-15 students interested)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Post-Rolex Blues

So, it's been nearly a week and a half since my dream of crossing through those finish flags materialized. Last week all I was thinking was how to ride a double clear show jumping round; this week, well, I am not really thinking at all. I must admit that since Rolex has finished, the let down from all of the nerves, excitement, course walking, HORSE walking, and hauling back and forth on I-64, has been nothing short of traumatizing. I have grown accustomed to waking up at 6:30 on the dot, headed to the barn, loading Al in the trailer, traveling to a lesson or a gallop or a trot set, icing him down, riding the other boys, grooming Al again, working out in the gym, eating, showering, then heading to bed to start the whole process over again. It's your basic eventing barn hustle and bustle BEFORE the big three day. Now that that big three day is OVER, well, I guess I am having the post-Rolex blues. For a while I fed my addiction of four stars by constantly logging onto eventingnation.com to see the newest happenings at Badminton; but that too, ended too soon! I must congratulate Paul Tapner on his fabulous win...I fell in love with his horse INONOTHING, simply because the name is so cool...and of course the thing can JUMP!
On the contrary, Alex is very happy to be on a much-needed vacation although I have to admit that after going without one brush over his coat or tail since the Sunday of our clear SJ round, he is (was) embarrassingly dirty. So, I eagerly jumped at the opportunity to give Al a good long bath, much to his dismay.
Since returning home I have been prepping Guppy, Bob, and Seaj for their upcoming June events...poor guys, they went from having a lovely week-long vacation, to full steam ahead!!! I have managed to enjoy some hour long trail rides on Banjo which is always a pleasure; that little paint knows no boundaries...where there's a stream, we cross it, a forrest, we weed through it...there is nothing he can't do!
Well, there you have it...just a quick update for you guys! Aside from heading to the gym or to the barn, there really isn't anything else new with my life. Oh the life of an event rider!
I did, in fact, teach a great clinic in Maidens, VA at No Worries Farm which ran from 8am until 7pm. I was extremely impressed with the rider's skills and of course, the talented horse flesh that my eyes feasted upon! I can't wait until we do another on the 31st of July! I am also headed out to northern CA to visit my mom in mid-May where I will be doing an informal clinic with the local pony clubbers which I am eagerly looking forward to! Until next time, leg on, shoulders back, and ENJOY THE RIDE! See ya around!