Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ho Hum Rides, Except for the Great Canters!

So the week after the 2-phase was pretty boring. Nothing really exciting EXCEPT we are still getting that fantastic canter! WHOO!!!! :) I rode here at home a couple of times and had a lesson on Friday 4/24. The lesson was great. We worked on her trot and canter in the beginning. I got a bunch of excellent upwards canter transitions and pretty decent canters. We even went one and a half 20 m. circles around at the left lead canter! It was fantastic! I am very impressed with how well her canter is coming along. My instructor kept telling me last year that we would be so far improved by the fall. Well, when the fall came and went and it felt as though our canter STILL sucked, I was pretty disappointed in myself.

BUT, now that it is only APRIL and our canter is SO fantastic, I am feeling a lot better. She is no longer lugging around on her forehand, nor is she completely strung out. Because we are starting to become balanced and supple in the canter, Dreamy is now able to canter so softly and smoothly. Instead of a NASCAR race, it is like a stroll in the park. And it is SO COMFORTABLE!!! I am just so incredibly happy with my horse. And with myself! I am starting to sit up and stay still in the saddle at the canter. When I improve, she improves, and vice versa.

We also started working at the end on the stretchy trot circle. Now, I have been trying some brief stretchy trot moments here and there in the last two weeks or so, but frankly, I had no idea the best way to teach this movement. I mean, we have no problems stretching to the bit and coming back up. Plus I have ridden it a million times on other horses who have already been trained to do it. But I want to do this right. Judy had me starting on a loose rein in the walk, asking for a few strides of trot (with the reins still loose), and then coming to the walk. The idea is that Dreamy will associate trotting with longer reins with the walk, and not suddenly RUSH when she realizes she has all that freedom! Then I can vary it up a bit and do it the other way around. The only problem is that Judy warned me this is the most boring thing to train EVER. I need to overcome that boredom by NOT rushing through it, which will only make Dreamy rush. I have to just do it over and over and over. Dreamy seems to want to come down, follow the contact, and then all of a sudden she brings her neck up a few inches and goes, "WHOO, NO CONTACT! Let's show 'em the Meadowlands Trot!" She LOOOVES to trot fast. She is a racehorse after all, right?? ;-)

Anyway, things have been good. She had the weekend off, as I was visiting a friend and her STB. (Post on that later). I rode yesterday and tonight. I will ride the rest of the week (I hope) and then give her Friday off. Our Linda Zang clinic is this weekend, so she needs to rest up! :) Hopefully my instructor will be coming to the clinic, so she can see how we do! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pics from the UNH TSAS Combined Test

Here are pics from the combined test.

Enter at A. (Beginner Novice Test A)

Dreamy looks fine, but I am such a HUNT SEAT RIDER! I wish my folks had started me back when I was six in dressage instead of hunt seat. With no stirrups. For at least two years. LOL!

Canter not bad, but I need to SIT UP!

Back to the trot.

Right lead canter is weaker. I am sitting up better but what happened to my reins??

Getting ready to trot up the center line.

Walk. Halt. Salute.

Good mare!

Stadium. A slight hesitation before fence 2. I thought is was a vertical, but looks like an oxer to me!

Fence 5.

Good mare! Fourth out of seven!

And this is my mare just 2 seconds after turning her out at home. She simply CANNOT be clean even for a second!


UNH TSAS Combined Test - April 19, 2009

So somehow I decided back in early March that entering the little 2-phase at UNH was a good plan. And actually we did do pretty well, but in hindsight, it was a pretty crazy goal for someone without an indoor.

Each year, UNH puts on a combined test in April. It is run by the "Equine Competition Class" of the Thompson School of Applied Science aka TSAS. (Basically there is a two year college within UNH called the Thompson School). It is a great warm up for the full event at UNH that is always the first weekend in May. As a UNH student, I rode a wonderful little Morgan mare named Marcy at the UNH TSAS Combined Test back in 2000. I had helped start her and it was her first show ever. We were first after dressage (scoring a ridiculous good 29) and then DUH refusal at the first fence in stadium. Totally my fault, but it bumped us down to FOURTH! I also worked at MANY of the events, both in the spring and fall. I loved riding and showing at UNH and I have always wanted to bring Dreamy down there for the combined test.

So, I was excited to ride. We entered the Modified Beginner Novice level, which is just a step below the regular Beg. Novice. My test was the Beg. Novice Test A and our jumps were to be 18" - 2'3". My dressage time was 1:30 and stadium was 3:46. We did not have to leave until 10AM, so I waited until that morning to bathe her. The night before I clipped her fetlocks, bridle path, and muzzle. I also pulled her mane. (OK I admit, I pulled half of it. It was so cold, I was so not in the mood for this, and Dreamy was PISSED at me.) So I cut the rest of it and made it look "pulled". HORRORS! LOL! Is anyone out there shuddering at the thought?? Yeah, I would normally as well, but it was cold and we were both cranky. Judy was my inspiration for that little move. LOL! ;-)

So the mare looks pretty decent (well, minus the clipper marks on her white fetlock....whoops!) and I bathe her the best I can. For the first bath of the year, on the morning of the show, with cold water, I did the best I could. Luckily the sun was out.

We left ahead of time and actually got there with two hours to spare. It takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to UNH with a horse trailer, but I gave us two hours to travel. It worked out well, as I took Dreamy for a walk around first. Usually we do not have enough time for that, and usually we are showing in places we have shown a million times before. But this was all new. So a nice 20 minute walk was perfect. I had time to eat lunch afterwards, plenty of time to tack her up and get dressed, and then I gave myself 45 minutes to warm up. I knew I did not want to spend too much time warming up this early in the year. Plus it was a good 5 minutes walk to the rings. So I had plenty of time to get her ready to roll.

Only bad thing was that I had ended up riding her the previous three days. Dreamy seems to do best with three days on, one day off. And now that she is getting older, she really does need a day off after two-three rides. I cannot ride her six days and then one day off. And our best show days tend to be the ones where I give her the day off on Saturday. This is not because I wanted to, but because normally my husband would work all day Saturday and I truly had no time to ride. But I found that it worked well for her.

I worked her lightly on Thursday for about 40 minutes, jumped her on Friday, and then had my dressage lesson on Saturday. I figured we would be OK. But she was stiff, mostly to the left. Poor mare. I was cautious about working her too hard before the test but also wanted to make sure she was warmed up and supple. I should have buted her, and thought about it the night before. This is not a rated competition, but still, I hate medicating horses for showing.

Now I will be more careful. :(

Still, we had a nice warm up, with good connected trots. She was relaxed and happy. The warm up ring had millions of riders milling around, and the typical number of crazy people who do not know the etiquette of riding with others. Left shoulder to left shoulder should be taught even if you are taking private lessons!!!! Mostly it is young riders just bombing around on ponies, so I place the blame on instructors. But anyway, Dreamy was relaxed and happy. I waited until the ring cleared a bit to canter. We had about 10 minutes to the test, so I cantered each way and then just walked her around on a loose rein. We picked up the trot right before the rider ahead of me finished, and she was right THERE.

I think the test went well. The ring felt VERY tiny and because she was a little stiff, I had to use a huge opening rein a couple of times. Our left lead canter was good. Just a little head bobble in the beginning and then we got flat going up the long side after the circle. But typical stuff. Right lead not as strong, but I expected that. But I thought our trot was pretty good. Not as much stretch in the walk as I would have liked, but again, the ring is SO tiny! There seemed like there was no space to stretch! This only reaffirms that I need a properly sized RING if I want to do well.

It is a good thing that my USDF dressage tests will be in a standard (large) arena. That gives us MUCH more room! We did our two Training tests at Nationals in NJ in a large arena and they were really good tests. So I like the idea of having a large ring. Bad thing is that any of the horse trials I do this year all have a small arena. In eventing, you really need to score well on dressage. At my tadpole level, the event is won in dressage. Any horse can get over the tiny jumps. Oh well. I am much more concerned about doing well in my USDF tests than my eventing tests anyway.

We ended up with a 47.5 in dressage. This was MUCH lower than I expected. The judge gave us 6s and 7s and then a 5 on one canter (left) and a 4 on the right lead. In the collectives, I got a 5 on rider position (really??) and then we got TWO FOURS.....one on gaits and the other on submission! Now, I do not mind having a tough judge. But this one seemed a a little bit off. I mean, yes her canter is not perfect, but her walk and trot are fine. So a FOUR on gaits???? That is rather harsh. And the four on submission was because she said my horse was not on the bit at the trot. UMMMM.....OK. I really disagree with that, but oh well. I am happy with the test and I KNOW my horse is connected to the bit. I figured we were around 42-43. Again, oh well. It was interesting that many riders were complaining about the judge at the trailers. I heard a rider say how much harder she was than the other judge. So at least I had a point of reference and was able to take the score in stride.

The jumping went fine and we went clean. Dreamy tries so hard. The worst part was that I was not expecting any combinations, seeing as it stated right in the prize list there would not be any, and there was a three stride and a two stride. Um, OK. And because the heights were so spread out, I figured there would be most everything from 18" to two feet, with maybe one or two jumps at max height of 2'3". Instead there was nothing under 2 feet and six of the nine jumps were at MAX HEIGHT! CRAP! For April, I thought that was a bit excessive. I mean, I felt comfortable entering this show for the fact that is was in April. I thought the jumps were more suited for a summer/fall event, NOT a early spring one! But I just sucked it up. The first fence was a huge oxer to a huge three stride panel. And then fence three was a combination, meaning 3A and then 3B (a two stride) with another big vertical and a HUGE oxer. Fence four/six was actually the smallest one, another panel, coming in at two feet. Fence five was a huge fan and then seven was another huge oxer. Eight and nine were large verticals. Dreamy hesitated at jump two (which every other horse but one refused) but went over with leg and a tap of the bat. Then she cracked her back so hard over fence 3B that I went up her neck on the landing. Crap. She is a good mare though. She just slowed down and let me regroup. Luckily fence four was the smallish panel so we were OK.

We ended up in fourth after dressage and stayed there after stadium. Actually we tied with the third place horse, but they broke the tie based on our rider score in the dressage test. Seeing as I scored a five, that was a no brainer. But still, it made me feel good to know we technically did tie for third!

Will I do this again? Probably not, if only because the jumping sort of made me upset. Part of me wants to send a nice but pointed email and part of my says let it go. The hard part is that I have known the organizer/secretary for years (she is a TSAS professor who I really like) and I hate to come across like I have sour grapes. Maybe I *should* have expected the jumps to be maxed out. Oh well.

We had a great day and that is what matters. And who cares about the ribbon when I GOT THAT FABULOUS CANTER THE DAY BEFORE???????? :D

The Good, The Bad, and the OMG-Did-She-Really-Just-Do-That???

I have been a terrible blogger lately. :( I have been SO super busy with teaching and trying to get the mare in shape...and oh yeah, my family! There is just never enough time. I admit that sometimes I even sign onto Blogger and just check the blogs I watch, signing out before I write anything in my OWN blog.


Ah, well. Just because I have not blogged does not mean I have not been doing anything. Quite the contrary! Most of the beginning of April, we had OK rides. Sometimes things were great and other times things were horrid. Like for example, Dreamy seemed to have forgotten how to canter. She was running pell-mell into the canter, totally flying like a crazy racehorse, and not aware of where her feet were. Nice. :( So I gave up on even doing anything but canter departs for a while. And for a few rides she seemed to forget how to TROT calmly after she cantered. I was getting SO discouraged. It felt like everything we had gained by last fall was just totally gone.

So basically I was having crap rides and did not even WANT to post about them. Plus I seriously was busy, so finding time to type was impossible.

I called my fabulous instructor the first weekend in April and begged her to give me a lesson. Bad thing was she was literally about to move her horse back home (she winters at a nearby indoor) that day and her own ring was not ready. I completely understood, of course, but it made me nearly want to have a meltdown. Now, I know I am a good rider, and I know everything works out, but I really felt as though I needed Judy to tell me everything was fine and to stop stressing. My husband can say that to me, but I only actually LISTEN if Judy tells me. LOL! :D

So I backed off and just thought about having fun, not about the combined test I had signed up for on April 19 AND the fact that I was supposed to be this demo rider at a symposium in a few weeks with LINDA ZANG! I was ready to ask Judy to ride her in the symposium for me! LOL! I reminded myself it was only April and who the hell cared what happened at the combined test. I talked myself into a state of calm that pretty much worked. I also reminded myself that I had gone for a few years (OK, maybe seven years.....) without any riding lessons before starting with Judy in May 2008 and always figured things out. (I did taking driving lessons though). I reminded myself that I had started this horse myself and knew her very well. I reminded myself that I am NOT ever going to be one of those riders that is addicted to her instructor and cannot live or breathe without her. OK, so maybe I do love having lessons after so many years without them, but really I know better than allow myself to be dependent. Right?? ;-)

We were still spending 25 minutes of warm up walk/trot and then cantering for just a few minutes, thinking it would be a 40 minute ride. But I THEN would have to spend another 30-40 minutes just calming down from the canter! It was not fun, but staying relaxed helped. I tried REALLY hard not to fight with her. Thankfully I had scheduled a first lesson of the year on April 11.

Our first lesson was pretty good. It made me feel so much better. One of the first things Judy says is, "She looks like a dressage horse!" I think she gained a bit too much weight over the winter, but Judy thought she looked great. That was a nice thing to hear. (Admittedly, I think Dreamy lost a bit too much weight last fall. Not enough to be a health issue, but enough that she looked really "angular" to me. She does "look better" with a bit more weight, especially in her neck. But I digress...)

Anyway, Dreamy loves the footing in Judy's ring, so she went much better than she had been going at home, in our uneven sorta-still-wet-in-spots field "ring". (Can't say that I blame her and yeah, um, still NO ring here at my farm...grrr). So just taking her out and riding her in a real ring was great. Somehow she figured out how to canter again, so that become a non-issue. Still the typical stuff to work on, but at least she was not being an idiot. Judy reminded me to praise her and rub her neck. Not only did it calm her down, it MADE me release that inside rein. And lo and behold we have some self carriage and a relaxed mare. :)

Judy put things in perspective for me (as she always does...) when I was joking during a walk break about the worst thing that could happen. I said the worst thing was that I could fall off, and really that is no big deal. I think we were talking about her canter, and maybe about the combined test. And she countered with, "Well, what is the best thing that could happen?" Hmmm.....that was harder. "She could canter correctly and do what I asked?"

During the week, I worked on lots of leg yielding at the walk before asking for the canter and when she wanted to rush in the trot after the canter, Judy had suggested I do small 10 m. circles. Instead of getting into a fight with her and ending up with a very tight rein and the horse equivalent of a beach ball, I allowed her to go forward, but limited where and how. She had to slow down on the small circle or she would fall over. LOL! And it worked. And I tried really hard to think about the best thing rather than the worst thing. And to expect her to do something when I asked. That is tough, since I am conditioned to think she will NOT do it, usually meaning the canter.

Our lesson on April 18 was incredible. Judy figured we might as well start with our canter work, instead of waiting until halfway through the lesson/ride and then having to spend time "fixing" everything. So we started with some trot which was calm, rhythmic, and connected. Ah, now this is how to ride a dressage horse! The canter was actually really relaxed as well. She did step more into the canter as opposed to the rushing and flinging, so that was nice. It seemed like we were back to where we had left off in the fall! Yay! I just REALLY REALLY REALLY need to SIT UP at the canter! Unfortunately I was taught to canter back when I was about nine years old and it was "Lean forward and pump your seat." Yeah, not dressage and not cool now that I am trying to retrain my body.

Anyway, I then wanted to practice a few movements from my test the next day. I was about to compete at the UNH Thompson School of Applied Science Combined Test in the Modified Beginner Novice division. We had to do Beginner Novice Test A, which I don't like much, except for the trot and canter circles that are right after one another. Anyway, I ended up doing the entire test, which helped, seeing as I have only ridden it once (last summer) and needed to memorize it.

Afterward, we wanted to do one more canter in each direction. So I started to the right (her worst lead) and she was surprisingly good! I worked hard to keep my rein length the same and try to supple her in the canter. Yay! We got a few good strides and changed directions.

Judy kept telling me to lean back, as opposed to sit up. I tell myself to sit up and I am still leaning forward. When I tell myself to lean back, I am actually sitting up straight! LOL! Imagine that! And she also told me before the transition to "expect" her to do it right. That helps because instead of being sort of wishy washy about everything.....well, she might not even do it, so I don't really have to be prepared and sit up.....etc etc....I actually RODE her. And she picked up the most beautiful balanced canter to the left EVER IN HER LIFE! Holy crap! I (think) I was actually pretty straight in the saddle too. She was connected and "there" in the trot, and I was thinking about what a nice trot we had. I sat, asked lightly with my outside leg, GAVE with my inside hand and she dropped her head (instead of raising it a little) and just stepped into this incredible canter.


I wanted to canter forever, and it felt so perfect. It was like the planets aligned. I swear, I don't usually get all weird about things, but this was just unbelievable. All I remember is Judy saying something along the lines of, "Yes that's it!!!! That's IT!!!! ....Now STOP HER! Praise her!"

I totally got all blubbery and teary eyed and wanted to cry. I am such a baby, but to have something THAT perfect on a horse that is NOT supposed to move like that, and who I trained MYSELF (well........I obviously have had a TON of help from Judy, so she deserves credit. And Susanne Hamilton rode her last fall for a few minutes during my clinic lesson and helped begin the connection breakthrough.....LOL), man that was just too awesome! Judy was pretty floored too. We just kept looking at each other, laughing and saying Oh MY GOD! I was in such shock I nearly forgot to praise the mare. Oh good girl! As Judy put it, "I almost want you to do it again, but we will end there." No kidding! I wanted to feel that canter again! :) :) :) And no matter what would happen the following day at our show, nothing would matter compared to having that canter. Now I feel like we have SOMETHING to work with! And it is only April! I cannot even begin to imagine where we might be in October of this year. I cannot even think that far ahead.

Alright, I'll admit it, I cried on the way home. I just could NOT believe it! :D Dreamy is just great.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Riding Routine.....finally?

I was able to ride both days over the weekend, which was good! Of course, the wind was gusting and it was freezing cold, but I knew that if I want to do all of these early shows and clinics, I need to get my pony in shape!

So because of the wind, Dreamy was pretty nuts. Not bad, just REALLY forward. Her trot was crazy huge and too quick....the typical "Meadowlands Trot" as Suzanne from NJ would say. :) I did not even bother to canter. Mostly because the ground was so SOGGY, but also because it did not seem like a great plan.

I gave her Monday off due to the rain and yesterday because I was exhausted and it was cold. I can ride when I am tired, but the cold wind was just too much. It is absolutely FRIGID here right now. It sucks!

Today I had to ride. It was cold but not as windy. My plan right now is to ride 2 days in a row, and then one day off. Later this spring I will up that to 3 days ride, one day off. Dreamy seems to need a day off after three days in a row. She is not the type of horse I can ride for 5-6 days straight and then give a day off. Weird, but it works.

So the footing was much better today. And Dreamy was 1000% times better today than over the weekend. I rode Sunday for 45 mins. (up from 30) and most of it was walking though. Today I did ride for a full 45 mins. both at the walk and trot, with a couple of canters. She was RELAXED and totally soft. Lately she has been CHOMPING her bit like crazy, but not today. Today was more like soft chewing of the bit, with actual foamy lipstick! YAY! She never does that. More on the chomping and my hypothesis later.

We had a nice warm up, after a HUGE spook at the soccer net that had blown in the wind and moved itself to a new spot. That was scary! LOL! I did some leg yielding at the walk, and she did well keeping her body even, rather than leading with her hind end, as she rather do. I focused on keeping her shoulders in line and her body straight. No problems.

I also tried some leg yields at the trot. She had a lot of trouble with this last year, but was blowing me away in her lateral suppleness yielding to the left! WOOO! She is stiffer yielding to the right, but I expect that. I am just pleased that she is leaps and bounds better at the trot leg yields than last year. I also tried to let her out at the trot and see where our stretchy trot circle was. I figured there would be nothing. Well, she surprised me and stretched right down, seeking the bit, and not changing her tempo! YAY!!!! That was pretty fabulous. I did it both ways. She does seem to keep her nose at the vertical and not stretch out as much as I would like, but heck we have a sort of OK stretchy trot circle at least!

We did a few canter departs and they were so-so. I need to SIT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is still not strong in her stifles and back, so I am not expecting miracles in the canter.

She has become much more deliberate to move off my leg, which is great. It used to be last year that a half halt was SO much leg, and I ALWAYS felt like I was squeezing stubborn toothpaste out of its tube. LOL! Lately, I think I am giving too much leg and not enough hand because our half halts make her go into a trot or speed up her trot. Whoops.

But overall I was happy today. She needs more conditioning, but she is coming along well.

And now the chomping....I think the new JP eggbutt french link that I was all excited about buying is actually too fat for her mouth. It does not look that fat, but when I compared it to her regular one (the JP has a curved mouthpiece) I realized that the curvature makes it thicker. She obviously has NOT liked the curve, hence the CHOMPING incessantly, though supposedly it is better for a horse's palate. Yeah, right. She has a very low palate and a small mouth, so there was just too much metal in there. I switched back to her thinner french link, which is a loose ring, and she was PERFECT today. The only reason I went to an eggbutt last year was because the loose ring pinches her mouth. Well, I noticed that it was doing it again today. UGGGGGGG!!! It figures that the one mouthpiece my horse likes, the rings pinch her! Well, at least it rubs the corners of her mouth. Maybe it does not actually pinch/hurt, but it LOOKS like it does.

So I am not sure what I will do. I guess I need to find another (this will make 3) eggbutt with a french link that is THINNER than the two I already own. Oh and I have just 3 loose rings....both single link and french linked. Good grief. I know she hates the single joint and mullen mouth, so I will stay forever with the french link. But I also need an eggbutt ring. AND it needs to be THIN.

Geez, my horse is picky. :p

Too bad we can't just go bitless. Just kidding....I am NOT about to drink THAT Kool-Aid! LOL!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Farewell Brentina

Brentina is a wonderful Grand Prix mare ridden by Debbie MacDonald. The pair has won many awards, but most recently they represented the US in Beijing last fall. Brentina will be retiring in a special ceremony at the World Cup Finals this month. It was hoped she would be able to perform her "Respect" freestyle, but in light of her recent colic surgery, it is unknown whether or not she will be up to it.

Here is an article about her surgery here.

No matter, because you can view her fabulous freestyle here on Youtube. It makes me cry when I watch it. This freestyle is just so perfect for her. It ranks up there with my all time favorite freestyle EVER, Andreas and Matine, which you can see here. I have never seen anything like it, and I doubt I ever will again. Though Brentina comes in a close second.

Farewell Brentina. I hope retirement brings you lots of carrots and lazy snoozes in the sun. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fabulous STBs To Brag About!

The great thing about the internet is that you can get to "know" someone who does not even live near you. I have recently been in touch with a woman from SPHO-FL named Tina who has two OUTSTANDING Standardbred dressage horses, Whiz Bang and Sea the Gray (Luna). These mares are fabulous and very well trained. They are taking the dressage world by storm! One of the mares, Whiz Bang, was the 2007 USDF Training level All Breeds Award champion. You can read about them here and here. and here.

Anyway, here are their most recent accomplishments. This is the actual email Tina sent to me, as I figured it would be more fun to read her reactions than for me to paraphrase everything.

Well, I have fantastic news regarding how our Standardbreds did at The Heidelberg Cup 1 & 2. On Saturday, Luna did her First Level Musical Freestyle Q and received a score of 66.875% and she placed Second.

Whiz did First Level Test 4 Q, and was 6th out of 11 horses with a score of 63.684%, in the comment area, the judge wrote that now is the time to begin adding more collection to get ready to go to Second Level! WOW did that ever make me feel good.

On Sunday Whiz did her First Level Musical Freestyle Q and earned FIRST PLACE with a score of 67.708%. I was crying with joy and jumping up and down in the show office. Whiz actually beat a Warmblood that scored a 74% the day before and she did it in the pouring rain!

Since both Luna & Whiz scored above 65% in their Musical Freestyle Tests, which we went ahead and paid the extra $10 to make them Qualifying tests, they only need one more score above 65% and they will be eligible to go to Regionals!!

Later in the day Luna did a First Level Test 1 and received a 69% for FIRST PLACE! I can tell you that people are beginning to notice that the Standardbreds are getting good scores and blue ribbons. Once I get the pictures off my camera, I hope to get an article off to the USTA to publish on their website, and will let you know if it gets published.

I taped all the rides and will again try to post to U-Tube..I had trouble uploading before, but hope I can figure it out...any hints Elizabeth??

The next show we go to is on May 9-10th and we will be entering both horses in a $1000 Musical Freestyle challenge...so keep your fingers crossed for us.


Congrats to Tina, Heather, and all involved with these two fantastic mares! And lots of carrots and nose kisses to Luna and Whiz! I love having "role models" to look up to! :D

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We were accepted!

I just got a phone call that my mare and I have been accepted to ride with Linda Zang on May 2-3! YEAH!

I applied about a month ago to ride. I knew there was a good chance that I would NOT be chosen, but I figured I might as well apply. It is an "On The Levels" symposium hosted by SMDA. Basically, it is a clinic that you have to apply to ride in, rather than just a normal clinic where you pay your money and get to ride if there is an open spot. Because it is "On The Levels" they only chose two Training level riders, two First level riders, etc. all the way to Grand Prix.

Here is the website: SMDA website
And what they write:

We are very excited to announce to be hosting a Symposium with Linda Zang on May 2 and 3, 2009. Linda Zang of Idlewilde Farm in Davidsonville, Maryland, is one of four "O" FEI Judges in the United States - the highest rating a judge can obtain. She has been an FEI Judge since 1985 and judged the Dressage event at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, World Equestrian Games in Rome and Aachen, and 5 World Cup Finals. She is an incredible clinician with a strong emphasis on correct position and effective aids.

The symposium will be a “On the Levels” format. Participants will be chosen to represent the full range of riders and horses in the Southern Maine community, from Training to FEI. This format will limit the number of participants, but will provide a tremendous educational opportunity for everyone. There will be plenty of room for auditors (including heated viewing area!) at the brand new Spring Creek Farm Facility in Lyman ME.

I am just so excited! Now I want to definitely make sure I schedule a lesson with my instructor Judy this month! :)