Monday, June 28, 2010

Thank GOODNESS we are Not all Royalty!

There has been allot going on in my head since my last blog. First I must address something that plagues me and just about every rider out there, no matter what their sport. I have been lucky enough to have been competing a great horse named Vintage Trial. He is for sale and was sent to me because his owner is going to college and the family needs to sell him. He is an amazing horse. He is good on the flat, a very scopey jumper, and bold on the cross country. However this past weekend his score did not show how great of a jumper he really is. This is due to me not riding him to the best of my ability.

I must admit that I do struggle with my show jumping, however I know that my mistakes are just that, mistakes. There is no catastrophic issues that I have, no mental breakdowns, no drastic bad habits, just simply mistakes. However when my mistakes reared their ugly head this weekend, poor Vinny was unable to fix them for me. This is the hard part for me and most riders out there. The feeling that you let your horse down. That feeling when you come out of the ring and you know that what just happened was the result of your horse listening to you and you telling him or her the wrong thing. It makes that area in the bottom of your stomach just cramp up and at that moment you just wish you could wiggle your nose like Samantha off of Bewitched and poof be gone! For me it is not so much that others were watching, while it is embarrassing, it is more about the communication with your horse. The fact that you train so hard, you push you and your horse to keep getting better, and at the moment when you want to show how great your horse is and how hard you have been working...and your silly mistakes cause your horse to look bad. I must say Vinny shook his head when I pulled up after show jumping and I gave him a pat, said thank you and I'm sorry all in the same breathe. Of course Vinny went out of XC and rocked it! The footing was rather hard and therefore I did not push him...he is such a fun horse and I wish I could just buy him myself and keep riding him. He is so much fun and talented.

We all have bad days right. I mean look at Prince Harry falling off at a charity polo least when we make a silly mistake it is not on ALL the news shows out there. Could you imagine if every little mistake you made was broadcast all over the place. I think that the only thing worse than having it broadcast all over the place to the masses, is to keep letting it get broadcast in your head. It is no secret that Vaunted and I do struggle in show jumping. While he is not the most careful horse in the world, I am not the most confident in the show jump ring. I spoke with my future boss, (in 3days) Will Coleman, this weekend and he told me to stop trying so hard and stop being so hard on myself. We chatted about it and I know what I did and could tell him immediately what I did, he said you know how to ride and you ride well so just do it. That is allot easier said than done. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I understand that everyone has bad days and everyone makes silly mistakes, however, how do you take that mistake and learn from it without harping on it. I believe that being honest with yourself, not making any excuses, and facing the issue head on and calling a spade a spade is the best way. Therefore, since Vinny is for sale, when people ask me why at this one show he had rails when he has not had rails in his past at all, I will say it was my fault. I plan on really just changing me, not the horse in the future training. I like to think that really there is no bad horse just a poor communication with a horse.

If Prince Harry can pick himself up with a smile so can the rest of us! I am very excited about my joining forces with such a show jumping king as Will. We have been working on getting a few things off the ground together. We would love to have more students and working students in the barn. With my ability to teach younger students and adult amateurs and Will's extensive ability to get allot out of the horses, we believe that our collaboration will be a force to be reckoned with! I am also looking forward to being able to help him with the young horses and getting the basics on the youngsters. I will be sure to share any and all help that I we eventers have to stick together! In the meantime, I'm just thankful that when I fall off my front door steps, you don't see it on Good Morning America...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Virginia HT, Rubicon, and Cha-Cha-Changes

Summer is here! It has been so hot that you could fry an egg off of the show jumps! I love it. I must admit that I do enjoy the heat, the more I sweat, the more productive I feel. Vaunted on the other hand is not happy with me right now. He is full blown wild. He is usually this very reserved and quiet horse in the barn that just minds his own business, does not run around in the paddock, makes no fuss kind of a guy. Well not right now! He is talking to everyone, making a fuss, and trying to be a race horse again out in the paddock! He is going to give me ulcers...but it does make me happy to see that he is ready to actually start doing something other than just walking. I do miss competing him very much. I have never had to give him any real time off and I have to say that it really is not that much fun. However, I know it will be fun when we get to go out on that first course together again! We have been having working students arriving by the truck load this past week. It is very fun to have people that are excited about learning and respect the horses. I do enjoy teaching and showing everyone all the ins and outs of the sport. This means not just from the horses back, but when the vet shows up, the farrier, braiding, trimming up, packing for a show, the whole 9 yards! However, when you have so many people that things get done in like point 2 seconds, we have to come up with other things to do. So we gardened! (I do not think that is the correct way to say that, but seeing as how I could not have less of a green thumb, it seemed appropriate). I also have been able to get away for a bit with all this extra help and I was able to go back to my parents house for a day. My family, the Adams Family, has an Alpaca Farm. Their farm name is Empty Pockets Alpaca Farm. I have never actually seen an Alpaca before but they sure do look funny.

I have been very lucky to have 2 other horses to compete this summer. Isbond, a very promising young horse of Bonnie's, and Vintage Trial, a SUPER nice sale horse that I have in. Izzy is a young horse that Bonnie got off the track about 2 years ago and has proven to be the kind of horse that needs the slow and correct starting method. He is such a great horse but is rather large and a bit strong sometimes so while I am sure that you will see him in those big time arena's one day, it may just take a little bit. Vinny on the other hand is so much fun to have! He was sent to me via a friend, Jane Murray, to be sold as the owner's kid is going to college. Vinny is very easy to ride and loves his job. I have just started to get his name out there so I am sure that once he is seen he will go fast. Horses like Vinny make you really love the sport and all it's components.

Speaking of components of of them is the wonderful 4 and 5 am starts for the horse shows! I took Vinny and Izzy to VA HT the other week and we are just located about an hour or so away so we shipped in both days. I was the lucky one that got to see 5am on both days! Then the monsoon happened on XC. Poor Vinny, he needed that hat that had the little windshield wipers on it!! The place that they chose to hold the show jumping was a bit was rather small and went right to the edge of the ring so you could see the drop off. Both horses were OK with it though. Vinny had a cheap rail and Izzy is just a bit of a spook so the arena was a bit tough for him. Non-the-less I was happy to be back at a competition on a horse! This past weekend we headed out to 4am! Rubicon is the event in the fall that everyone enters because, well, your still in the eventing season but you are almost ready for a break, and then at the last minute you scratch because all you want to do on the weekend is sleep and eat! So up until this weekend I have never actually been to Rubicon, I have entered Rubicon, but never actually been. It was a very nice event. They ran ahead of schedule and everything went rather smoothly. However, I did not know about this "VIP Parking" thing. I guess that there is this list that is on the fence as you drive in and you if you are on the list then you get to park at the front of the field by the water...well usually, I always check the list but this time I did not... and I was on the list!! It was like we were in the some fancy city trying to get into a snazzy bar. As for the event itself, Izzy was much better in the show jumping and just had 2 down due to his greenness. The cross country was a good test of where he was. He was very good at all the fences and was more than happy to jump everything but was just a bit strong in between. Bonnie is going to ride him at Surefire on a couple of weeks and I am sure that she will be able to make him look amazing! Vinny was a STAR. He is going to go prelim at Surefire and hopefully move on to a new home and teach someone how to go out there and have fun! Vinny ended up 3rd in the training.

I do have a bit of rather large news to share. On July 1, I will be working as Will Coleman's assistant trainer. I was helping Will out with his horses Twizzle and Nevile when he was broken after The Fork and he offered me a job. I feel as though it will produce many new opportunities for me and will allow me to continue to grow as a rider in a strong competitive enviroment. Will has so much to offer the eventing community and he is looking for me to help spread the word. We are looking to expand the teaching and coaching program. I strongly feel that between the two of us we will be able to cover any and all needs of students. From his strong show jumping background and my versatility with the horses we will be able to help everyone! I am excited at the possibility of being able to teach more and do a bit more riding. For me personally, I do feel that Will is going to bring a new spin on my riding. He is not like others that I have worked for as he does have the strong show jumping back ground that will make my thought process a bit sharper. As for Vaunted he is going to stay living at Bonnie's for a bit until he is back in full blown work. He is happy here and I will continue to live at Bonnie's so I can take care of him. I am going to be bringing Vinny over with me as well as the little mare Pixie. I am hoping to be able to sell both of them soon. Pixie is doing well and jumping around little courses as well as going in and out of water and up and down little banks. Bonnie has been very supportive of this move for me. While I was not looking for a job when Coleman approached me, I could not turn down the possibility for growth. I always say that in any position you stand to learn something and I know that this will be no different. Will and I are both very eager and excited to get going not only with more teaching and coaching but also getting horses in on training at all levels. We both share a focused and determined passion for making the best out of every situation. I also have a great respect for how much he cares for his horses. He made a decision not go to Germany with his four star horse Twizzle because of a small irregularity, that to many professionals would be nothing. However to Will, it is everything as he does not want to ask his horse to do something that may be 100% successful. I can relate. So if you are interested in lessons, coaching, or just stopping by to check us out at Tivoli Farm in Gordonsville VA, give me a call! As someone who listens to her gut professionally, I have a good feeling about this. Until next time, drink lots of water!

This is a sign that the farm manager put up because taxi drivers were driving through our farm becuase they said their GPS took them that way. If you look closely the bottom of the sign says, "GPS is wrong".