Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Victor returns to the show ring in a week!

  • Victor has been back in action since November of last year, if you've been following his saga he has been laid up from a quarter crack for over a year. It was a really difficult decision to make, he was going fantastic (when he was sound)...even broke 70% as a 7 year old in the PSG. But in the end I had to let him rest and heal, overall his long-term soundness was more important than getting another show in.

  • So his first show back is our Idaho Festival Dressage show May 7-8, he will be showing PSG and the Developing Horse tests (since he's 9 now, he's still eligible). He's ironically enough competing against Majek, who has just jumped forward in his abilities since the CA shows. Both are competing in the same tests, will be interesting to see who comes out on top...obnoxious (Majek) versus showman (Victor)?? Flashy but out of practice (Victor) versus flashy but green (Majek)?? Monkey will be sitting this one out, resting up for later shows. I also have a bunch of great clients going to this show, so I will be busy!!

  • I have also signed up for the Woodside CDI* in mid May. Call me a glutton for punishment, I decided I really wanted to do another LONG drive to CA this year (13 hours via mapquest). I will be taking Monkey again (do the PSG/I-1 one more time in the CDI) as well as Victor (PSG in CDI, to get out, and Developing Horse) and Bolero (get that young horse out and about some more!). I used to live about 10 minutes from the Horse Park at Woodside (on Stanford campus), so I guess I can reminisce on my college years (or not). ;)

  • I hope to keep the blog updated while I'm in CA.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back home after Rancho Murieta CDI

  • I had some trouble during my time at the Rancho Murieta CDI last week getting network access, so I was unable to update my blog during that time. The weather was a little less exciting at Rancho Murieta for a few days; I'm NEVER happy to go to California and have it be freezing cold. I went from 100+ degrees at Burbank the week earlier to 32 at night one night in Rancho Murieta. Brrr!! I was walking around in my down coat complaining to anyone who would listen.

  • Escorial was again super at this show, I had a bit of a slow start in the PSG with only 63.8. He decided to show off his one-time changes, which have become really easy for him. So he did them in the 4s and even the right pirouette (I mean, really, how do you do that???). Expensive mistakes that really dropped my score. One judge, however, loved him and had him at 66% even with those mistakes, including an 8 on gaits and several 8s in the trot tour. The I-1 was much better, very clean and precise ride to score 65.8 and end up 6th in that huge I-1 class (28? or so horses). The classes were competitive, with many good combinations, but no real standouts (no one scored into the 70s in the CDI all weekend).

  • The I-1 freestyle went very well again, I was less nervous this time around, so I felt like I rode much better. I had some mistakes in the 3s, but otherwise a very clean ride to score 67.5 and place 3rd. Two judges had me at 68, one at 69, but the two side judges were less impressed which dropped my score down.

  • Charismatique was really solid this show, and starting to get over his relative inexperience at the PSG level. In both open PSG classes he scored 63% with a couple little mistakes. He was absolutely fantastic in the Developing Horse class in terms of his self-carriage and power, but had several big mistakes (missed a change between the pirouettes and I couldn't get it, so had to walk and regroup, cantered down centerline after the first halt, several mistakes in the 3s, then like an idiot I went off course). But still very happy with 61.5 from the CDI judges and 1st in the class (only 3 in it). The trot work was almost straight 7s from the CDI panel.

  • Bolero's first test was another spooky mess, then I got an error for doing a transition too early. So another disappointing 61. I finally got pissed about only getting 61s on this talented horse, so warmed up with much more determination for the next test. He was much more settled and on the aids that time around, and even when he did look, came right back. So he finally lived up to his ability, scoring 70.8 and winning the open Training level test 3.

  • The trip home was long (as usual) but very uneventful. Mom again drove home with me (thanks Mom!!). So I'm back home in Boise. Now a (very) short break before I start gearing up for the next show, a High Performance qualifier the first weekend in May here in the Boise area. I have several students going to this show, and Victor will be making his return to the show arena at PSG/Developing Horse level. Charismatique will also be attending (showing the same level), Escorial gets a much deserved break before he starts working on the I-2 again.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I-1 Freestyle Debut at Festival of the Horse!!

Today I rode my first EVER freestyle at the CDI Burbank; I've never ridden one at any level at any show before. :) It was ambitious, and given another chance, not something I would do again! I was pretty nervous today, more so than normal, and unfortunately that affected my ride. I had a couple of pretty significant mistakes in my test, Monkey got stuck in the first canter pirouette and walked for a stride or two (which garnered me 4s from the judges--a very, very expensive mistake on a co-efficient movement), and then I had a counting error in the 3s (which gave me 5s all around from the judges). I was pretty disappointed, although I really should not have been, given my inexperience with riding freestyles. It was just a little too much pressure for me today. I finished with a good score of 67.1, which was great given the mistakes. I wanted higher, but to quote a great philosopher, you don't always get what you want. :) I finished 6th, but 3rd through 6th was very tightly contested, with all 4 scores between 67.1 and 67.8. The bungled pirouette was indeed very expensive from the perspective of placings! I had to follow Steffen on his WunderKind Weltino's Magic in the draw, which didn't help matters any. He won the class (again), I don't remember the score but I'm sure it was high. On the plus side, I made the mistakes early on in my test, but was able to put things together again and ride a very clean ride afterwards. In the past a few mistakes like that in the beginning would have sent me spiraling downwards, but I was able to focus on the future and keep riding like everything was working well. So that was great! I'd also like to give a big shout-out to another Northwest trainer Jessica Wisdom, who placed 3rd in the I-1 freestyle with her Welsh stallion Cardi. GOOD JOB JESS!!! Onto the Rancho Murieta CDI!! I leave tomorrow morning for Sacramento, hopefully it will go as well as Burbank.

Wrapping things up at the Festival of the Horse

  • Escorial was a super-star again Saturday down here at the Festival of the Horse, placing 6th (I got a ribbon!!) out of 30 (?) horses in the CDI Intermediare 1. I was able to bump my score up a few notches to finish 67.8 percent behind Steffen Peters (on his 2 horses), Jan Ebeling (on his 2 horses), and Guenter Seidel. Canadian judge Cara Witham had me at over 69%, in front of one of Jan's horses and just .3 behind his other horse. I was thrilled with my ride and placing! Even more fun was that the order of go went Guenter, Jan (on Sandrina), Steffen (on Pallas), then me. So I got to warm up with the three of them before my test. I told everyone they just warmed the judges up for me. :) I don't find it that intimidating to warm up with them, they are actually very good about watching out for other riders in the arena. But I must say, you definitely sit up a little straighter and make your horse trot a much bigger and slower.

  • The top 4 horses in the Intermediare scored over 70%, Steffen was a slacker and won the class with only a 77% on Weltino's Magic. I mean, seriously! He needs to try a little harder.

  • My two young horses weren't quite as solid yesterday, the Equidome (the large indoor) was very intimidating for Bolero. I think it is partially all the people walking around up above him and the loudspeaker. He spooked through his entire test and spun around at one point at some imaginary monster, I think I scored a 61. It was a bummer, but everyone on young horses seems to have trouble in there. Outside he was totally fine. Today was much better, he was still tense and spooky and threw in an unscripted flying lead change at one point, but felt more ridable and settled.

  • Charismatique had more trouble in the PSG, a few mistakes to finish 58%. I rode the Developing Test this morning, and in some ways he was much better. Unfortunately I blew both pirouettes and he was pretty fussy at times in the canter work to finish on a disappointing 56% in that class. Oh well, just have more work to do.

  • They also had a High Performance Rider meeting with Anne Gribbons and Eva Soloman (of the USEF) Saturday afternoon that I attended, all the heavy-hitters were there but otherwise the attendance was surprisingly low. Most of the issues they discussed were out of the realm of most High Performance Riders (they discussed the location of the Pan-Am Games, hotels in London, qualifying for Aachen, among other things), but they also talked about looking to increase the depth of the combinations and improving the communication network between the USEF coaches and new talent. Obviously, if new talent don't attend meetings like this, they never find out about possible opportunities to move forward in the sport. Anne also bemoaned the "atrocious" Juniors around the country (evidently the Young Riders are pretty good, but the quality of the Juniors is not). Evidently one FEI Junior rode one section of her canter work entirely on the wrong lead this weekend, much to the dismay of the CDI judging panel. Yikes!!

  • More later, I ride my first ever freestyle on Escorial this afternoon at 1:45pm, right after Steffen on Weltino's Magic. Hopefully he'll get the judges good and warmed up for me. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Successful first day at the Festival of the Horse!

  • The FEI jog started this morning at 6:45am (bright and early!) and the CDI FEI PSG started at 8:30am or so. Monkey drew 7th to go, which meant I had to be up at some god-awful time in the AM to braid him and make sure he looked presentable enough for the FEI panel (not to mention myself). Monk's ride time for the PSG was 9:24am. Majek also had his first PSG ride at 8:27am, so I had two horses to get prepared! It was kind of an insane morning, but in some ways better to get everything over as it got quite warm again (probably almost 90 degrees again today).

  • Majek's first ever PSG went absolutely super. No mistakes, pretty up and active, could always be a little bit longer/looser in the neck and more uphill but overall I was very happy. Scored 63+% but didn't place in a very large and competitive open PSG class. But very, very happy with how well it went for his first PSG.

  • After Majek was Monkey, who warmed up super and also had a great PSG. I had one little silly mistake in the 3's, but otherwise a very solid test to score 64.8 and place 7th out of 27 horses in the CDI. The class was super competitive, with first place going to Steffen Peters with his new phenomenon Weltino's Magic (scoring 75+%), second going to Guenter Seidel with around 72%, and the next 4 placings being taken by Steffen's second horse, Jan Ebeling (on two different horses) and Mette Rosencranz.

  • I was a little disappointed with my score, mostly because I scored almost 67% from the European judge, 66.5 from the Canadian judge, and only 61 from the U.S. judge. But in general I was very happy to score and place as well as I did!

  • I rounded out the day riding the young horse Bolero, who did a pretty good albeit entertaining Training level test. By his ride time (after 2pm), it was already hot again, and he was pretty quiet in the outdoor warm-up (I didn't lunge him before I rode, thank goodness). But he perked up in the indoor arena, which is set down in a hole and has bleachers all around it. The people walking around impressed him and he was pretty spooky through his entire test. I had a heck of a time getting him into the corners or on the long side because he was looking at everything. :) He was good, he did his job, and for his first test with his relative inexperience it went pretty well. He scored 66% (he is capable of SO much more), with an 8 on gaits and several 8s in the test.

  • I watched some of the rides (in between caring for the horses), and there were some good ones. I unfortunately didn't get to see Steffen's 75% ride, I would have loved to see that one. The GP was good, although the real heavy-hitters weren't in it (no Ravel). Guenter rode U2 (the horse that bucked him off last year) and had a nice test with some fantastic moments, punctuated by some big spooks. I believe Jan Ebeling won the GP with Ralfalca, he had a very nice ride.

  • The weather is supposed to cool down this weekend, which would be a nice change. I love warmer weather, but this was too much too soon! I can't believe I'm complaining about being too hot!!