Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Syncing Up

Hannah and I have been a team for about 1 month now and are really becoming in sync with each other.  We are speaking each other's language, can anticipate each other, and have figured out what the other wants and likes.

Our first week together was spent hand-walking as she recovered from some NQR-ness. Then we got to know each other under saddle doing flatwork. Right away we included ground poles, which she really likes. Then we started hopping over very small cross-rails. This past weekend we stepped it up to "real" jumps in the 2' - 2'3" neighborhood and had several excellent rides.

"Real" jumps.

We even did that skinny in the middle.

Our trainer reminded me that Hannah has basically had one rider from birth and its great that we are getting along so well.

Hannah is a very willing horse and likes to go to work, but she expects her rider to do her fair share. Her former rider is very experienced, so the pressure is on for me to keep a good position, be clear and subtle with my aids, and work on my strength and fitness.

Hannah prefers arena work to trail rides or hacks around the property, but she's a good sport overall. This week we've started adding trot and canter work on some wide, long stretches of trail. So far so good.

We are picking out some small local shows to go to. Its nice to start to make some new goals. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Rolex Recap for West Coasters

This past weekend was the famous Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event and our West Coast competitors performed impressively!

James Alliston was the highest placed west coaster, finishing in 15th place aboard Parker. They added just 2 stadium rails to their dressage score, as they were one of only a handful of pairs to go double-clean on cross-country. Unfortunately, James and Tivoli were eliminated on cross countryat jump 18.

Maya Black and Doesn't Play Fair impressively finished 22nd for their first 4* competition. Check out their "Rolex Rookie" profile article on Eventing Nation. They are from Washington and "Cody" is a 10-year old bay Holsteiner gelding. Check out Maya & Cody's Website.

Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against finished 24th in their first 4* competition. Bunnie is one of the nicest people I've met and she has done an amazing job with Ecko. Check out this feature video interview:

Anna Collier and Gleaming Road finished in 32nd place, adding only time faults in cross country and 4 rails in stadium to their dressage score.

Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato finished 35th. This was Capato's first 4* and Jordan expertly got him through each phase. I'm sure this team is going to continue to impress.

Robert Meyerhoff and Dunlavin's Token finished 37th. Bobby and Token have some great photos on their FB page.

Considering that basically half of the starting competitors were eliminated, retired, or withdrawn, it is wonderful we had so many west coasters complete this penultimate American competition. Of course we had some west coasters who left some dandelions at Rolex.

Barb Crabo and Eveready were eliminated on cross country at fence 4 due to rider fall. Both seem to be okay.

John Michael Durr and Esprit de la Danse were eliminated on cross country due to 3 disobediences, the last one occurring at fence 16. Check out this "Rolex Rookies" feature article on Eventing Nation for more about JM and Dani.

Gina Miles and SVR Ron were eliminated on cross country due to 3 disobediences, the last one at fence 23, the Normandy Bank, which Gina said was a technical error on her Facebook page.

Mackenna Shea and Landioso were eliminated on cross country at fence 21 due to rider fall. She reported on facebook that both she and her horse are sound.

Jolie Wentworth and Goodknight retired on cross country after their second refusal, which took place at jump 13.

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill by Night were eliminated on cross country at jump 18. She withdrew HHS Cooley before the competition due to an injury sustained at the Fork HT a few weeks ago.

Emilee Libby withdrew Nonsensical before the competition.

Maddy Mazola withdrew Mojito before the competition.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Snuggles and cross-rails

Hannah and I have been getting to know each other over the past few weeks. She likes to snuggle and earnestly thinks she should get a cookie every minute or so.

She quickly got my husband wrapped around her little hoof. 

She's round and soft from her extended time off and slow rehab. She needs some muscle development and overall fitness work.

I've been riding her several days a week. I'm having a surprisingly hard time adapting to riding a made horse. I need to get rid of my overly defensive leg position and stop carrying so much tension. 

We've been doing mostly flatwork but have added in ground poles and some tiny cross-rails. She gets bored easily, so if I don't keep things interesting she gets a little sassy. I've been doing pattern work and circle of doom exercise, but am on the hunt for good exercises. Please feel free to link/share some in the comments!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Officially Rehomed

It is bittersweet that I report Bohemian has officially been rehomed. He is with an upper level eventing rider and trainer in the greater San Francisco area. Happily his new human seems very excited about him, and I'm so grateful that he's with someone on the west coast so I can keep tabs on him as he hopefully goes on to have a successful career.

I am blessed that the rehoming process was completely managed by the adoption organization I got him through. They don't advertise horses or adopt out to the public like many OTTB organizations. Instead they have a network of top-level trainers, and you have to know someone in that network to be able to adopt one of the horses. Because of the network, there's a built-in safety net for horses like Bohemian who don't work out for their original adopter. And they certainly did a better job than I could have done rehoming or selling him on my own.  

On his way to his new human, he first went to Galway Downs to be tried out by a different upper level rider and trainer (that didn't work out). While there, the facility hosted a Thoroughbred show and the adoption organization's leader took Hemie into a showmanship class and won first place!

Bohemian may not be mine anymore, but he'll always be mine in my heart. I plan on keeping tabs on him, and providing an additional layer of safety should he ever need a home in the future. I'm excited for his new opportunity with a better rider, and sincerely wish them both the best for their new partnership!

Good luck Hemie! I love you!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

West Coast Riders at Rolex!

We are fast approaching the 2015 Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event - the only 4-star eventing competition in the western hemisphere. Top riders and horses in the sport will be competing, some all the way from Europe and Australia!

I have many favorite riders and horses from all over the world that I'll be cheering on, but wanted to give a special highlight to those from the west coast. As of today, we have *13* riders from the west coast out of 88 total entrants.  Here's a list of west coast riders, with some Rolex facts thrown in!

James Alliston
From San Ramon, California
Representing Great Britain
Aboard 2 horses: Tivoli, a 2000 chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding; and Parker, a 2002 bay Thoroughbred (TB) gelding.
James Alliston Eventing website

Anna Collier
From Woodland, Washington
Representing the USA
Aboard Gleaming Road, a 2004 Chestnut TB gelding.
Anna Collier Eventing website

Barbara Crabo
From Scottsdale, Arizona
Representing the USA
Aboard Eveready, a 1999 dark bay Sweding Warmblood gelding.
Four Peak's Farm / Barb Crabo Eventing website

John Michael Durr
From Castro Valley, California
Representing the USA
Aboard Espris De La Danse, a 2004 dark bay Canadian Sport Horse mare.
Redwood Empire Sport Horses website

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp
From Rancho Santa Fe, California (but based out of the UK)
Representing the USA
Aboard 2 horses: HHS Cooley, a 2004 grey Irish Sport Horse gelding; and Fernhill By Night, a 2003 dark bay Irish Sport Horse gelding.
Liz Halliday website

Emilee Libby
From Temecula, California
Representing the USA
Aboard Nonsensical, a 2003 chestnut TB gelding.
Emilee Libby Eventing's Facebook Page

Jordan Linstedt
From Redmond, Washington.
Representing the USA
Aboard Revitavet Capato, a 2003 bay Hanoverian gelding.
Jordan Linstedt Eventing website

Maddy Mazzola
From Oakland, California
Representing the USA.
Aboard Mojito, a 2001 grey Argentinian/Warmblood cross gelding.
Article by EN on Maddy & Mojito

Robert Meyerhoff
From Davenport, California.
Representing the USA.
Aboard Dunlavin's Token, a 2000 bay Silla Argentino gelding.
Meyerhoff Show Horses website

Gina Miles
From Templeton, California.
Representing the USA
Aboard SVR Ron, a 2000 black Silla Uruguay gelding.
Gold Medal Equestrian website

Bunnie Sexton
From Santa Ynez, California
Representing the USA
Aboard Rise Against, a 1999 bay TB gelding.
Shepherd Ranch Eventing's Facebook page

Mackenna Shea
From Tacoma, Washington
Representing the USA
Aboard Landioso, a 2002 bay Bavarian warmblood gelding.
Mackenna Shea Eventing website

Jolie Wentworth
From Crockett, California
Representing the USA
Aboard Goodknight, a 2002 bay Canadian sport horse gelding.
Kismet Farms website

As of today, one west coast entrant has withdrawn due to horse injury:

Jennifer McFall
From Wilton, California.
Representing the USA.
Aboard High Times, a 2004 black Holsteiner gelding.
Dragonfire Farm website

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Horse Shopping List

Thanks to those who commented on my last post, discussing factors to consider when horse shopping.  I've come up with my list of priorities for my next equine partner:

  • Good brain/sane.
  • Trained in jumping such that the horse is straightforward and suitable for an amateur who is far from a perfect rider. Dressage training is a bonus.
  • Price within my budget.
  • Compatible personality.
  • Willing attitude/good work ethic. 
  • Goals - to learn on and have fun on, and be able to compete at local shows within the next 6 months at BN level (or equivalent levels in other disciplines), and compete at larger shows within 12 months.

  • Age - under 20, over 4. 
  • Height & conformation - over 15 hands, not completely downhill or backwards built.
  • Show experience - a bonus.
  • Health, Soundness, Injuries & Vet Check - strongly prefer horse in overall good health, without special medical issues that require lifelong care. 
  • Vices, Feed, Stable Management - prefer easy keeper with no vices of course.
  • Reputation or referral by friends or trainers - good recommendation strongly considered.
  • Feet - want to avoid horrible feet.

Don't Care About
  • Breed & Breeding - I enjoy learning about horses' breeding, but its not a factor for me in selecting a partner this time.
  • Attractiveness - honestly its a rare horse I find unattractive.
  • Name - a good name is a bonus.
  • Je ne sais quois/X-factor - don't care right now.
  • Ground manners - a bonus, but I'm confident in being able to install this if needed.
  • Registered - preferred for ease of researching the horse only.