Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dressage at DevonWood a Success!

Just got back from the Dressage at DevonWood show, it was a great show all the way around! Despite the heat (especially on Saturday, uugh!), the horses went very well. The young horse High Regard owned by Ruth Anne Leibman won 3 of his 5 classes at Training and first level, including a high score of 73.333 from judge Hilda Gurney in First level test one. He was very well behaved, although a little impressed by the environment on the first day and spent some time in the warm-up arena leaping around. However he settled down very quickly and went right to work.
Majek (Charismatique) finally broke 70% in Third level for the first time in his career, a feat which earned him the Show Open High Score Award at Third/Fourth level. Majek finally learned how to canter! Who thought that would ever happen??
I also rode the mare Lauralei, owned by Nancy Hamilton, in several classes at Fourth level test 3. She won one class with 65% and was second in another with 66%. She earned an "8" on both the three and four tempis in the last test. Not bad, considering I haven't ridden her in 2 months! Overall she was quite good, although she still has her silly antics about the other horses in the warm-up arena. Nancy calls them her "darts" and although they are still there, they are much more ridable than they used to be. Now she generally goes in some sort of forward direction instead of stopping and spinning and leaping. Much easier to stay in the saddle that way! Nancy has done a super job with her over the past couple of months.
My students Paige and Ashley also had a good show with some good rides at Second level. Furthermore they both make excellent little show slaves. :)
Next up, the Boise River Dressage show this weekend at the Idaho Center...plan on it being a scorcher...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First ever Region 6 Youth Dressage Camp a HUGE success!!

I just got back from the first EVER Region 6 Youth Dressage Overnight Camp, held July 9-11 at Devonwood Equestrian Center. The camp was a huge success!! About 50 kids attended the camp and we had 6 instructors, plus many sponsors and volunteers who helped make the camp a success! Olsen's Tack Shop, F.I.T.S, Mid-Valley Chapter of ODS were just a few of the generous sponsors who made this camp possible.
The original concept behind the camp was to reconnect the "Old Riders" (former members of one of the Junior or Advanced Young Rider teams) with the up-and-coming "Young Riders". We have several younger (20s-30s) professional dressage trainers in the area who can provide experience and instruction to the younger generation. We mainly targeted younger teenagers, and I figured we would mostly get riders between training and second level.
We had a stellar cast of instructors, including Jeremy Steinberg, Jessica Rattner, Kelly Irving-Burris, Natalie Perry, Emma Dye, and myself. All the kids got 2 private lessons on Saturday and Sunday with their assigned instructor, and we had a group schooling session on Friday where several of the kids rode in front of their instructor.
In addition to the lessons/training, we concurrently held lectures. We had a lecture on braiding/grooming, one on goal setting, one on basic horse care with a veterinarian, and one on the training scale and test design. In addition, Friday night we had a demonstration and discussion of the FEI jog. Saturday night we had a great round table discussion with the instructors sharing their experiences with the Junior/Young Rider program.
Food was included in the cost of attending, as well as stabling and some other expenses. We kept the cost low to allow as many kids as possible to attend. The instructors all donated their time to participate as did all the wonderful volunteers! All the kids camped out on the lawn of the vendor area at Devonwood, under the stars! The weather was perfect for camping, although quite hot during the day.
The weekend was really great, as an instructor I was very impressed by how serious and studious the kids were. I honestly expected much more chaos and mayhem, with many teenage girls running screaming all over DevonWood property. Instead, they were disciplined, tidy, polite, listening, and really wanting to learn and change! I was also pleasantly impressed with some of the riders and horses, who were of much higher quality than I expected.
All in all, it was a great weekend. We got excellent feedback from the kids and the instructors for next year, so we can make next year's camp even better. I think this camp is a great way for up-and-coming young riders interested in dressage to find out more about the Jr/YR program, meet other like-minded kids, learn tons, and just have a good time!
A HUGE thanks goes out to Jessica Rattner, for almost single-handedly putting this camp on. I helped her quite a bit by doing many of the documents, lecture notes, coordinating instructors, etc, but she really did the vast majority of the work. I'm so glad we were able to make this camp happen this year!