Monday, March 29, 2010

show results

I'm still extremely exhausted from this weekend, so I'm not going to go into much more detail than this:

Friday - I sucked. I waited around all day to show, and with each hour, I got more and more nervous. I was 4th or 5th in all of my rounds (out of, like, 6 competitors) because I managed to forget to breathe regularly. I did better in my last class of the day, my first medal round, but overall, I still count it as pretty pathetic.

Saturday - Much better. I only rode in two classes, rounding out my hunter division, but I got a 3rd and 4th in those. More importantly, I felt a LOT better. AND (hee hee) I got to wear my new show outfit, the much-anticipated pinkish-orange show shirt and dark brown coat! (is it sad when your clothes are the highlight of your day? defense: I work in retail.)

Sunday - One of my best show days to date! I got 2nds in my first two equitation rounds, then a 3rd. I actually WON my eq class on the flat (which Sarah said was "lovely") and wound up reserve champs for the Pre-Adult Equitation division! Then we won our Hillcrest Mini Medal round! I almost cried when they announced that. Given how I'd started the weekend, I did NOT think I'd be able to pull it together that well on Sunday.

Keenan was absolutely fantastic all weekend. He takes such good care of me and is such a team player. I honestly think that's why we did so horribly on Friday - he's more than capable of doing things on his own, but he hates it. And a grumpy horse is not a winning horse. The cutest thing about the weekend was Keenan realizing that he doesn't just have a "mom" but a real family. I know it sounds silly, but there was one time this weekend when Keenan was fretting and fidgeting a little at the back gate and I motioned to Nathan up in the stands and mouthed "he needs you." Sure enough, once that spoiled little prince of a horse had two people to dote on him, he was relaxed as can be.

So to sum up, great horse, great people, great show, great weekend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010



Not that it was a thing of tremendous beauty, mind you, but it was still amazing! Actually, today at the barn was overall just fabulous. Gave Keenan a bath so now he's all sparkly and white, had a great ride on Rapper and then such a fulfilling lesson! I swear, every Wednesday out there is better than the last. I feel like on Tuesdays, sometimes Thursdays and Fridays, I'm always so rushed. On Wednesdays, I literally can take all the time in the world to get things done.

I am really enjoying Rapper lately, too. Since we brought him to TREC back in October, he's continued to improve. He's such a happy and stable horse now. Granted, he still has his nuerotic moments (who doesn't?) but in general, he's come so far. Take today: we walked, trotted and cantered around, like usual, and after a very thorough warm-up he just suddenly dropped his head, settled into a frame and stretched out into an absolutely lovely trot. Then I decided to make things a little more interesting. We trotted over some ground poles, picked up a canter and came around and cantered over one more. Then I rode him up the driveway and back without a single issue! I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but Rapper was a real mess before we moved him. He still has a long way to go, but he approaches new things with a curious attitude instead of being afraid. So exciting.

Obviously the highlight of the day was jumping 3'. It was just Kristine and I riding tonight and Kristine is jumping 3'6" with her horse Q. I wondered briefly if Sarah might have me move up and do something a little closer to Kristine's level, but I didn't think about it too long - better to focus on what I'm doing NOW, I've found. But sure enough, after we'd done some exercises and a couple courses, Sarah had me add in a line of two 3' jumps - a vertical and an oxer. The first couple of times didn't go so smoothly - I got too distracted by the height, I wasn't prepared for Keenan's extra effort over the fence and my heels popped up, and I didn't allow him to go forward enough in the last stride before the fence. But I fixed all those things, and my third time was fantastic! I'm glad to still be jumping 2'6" - I didn't get a full season in that division last year (I started off in Long Stirrup, which is 2') so I'm happy to get that this year.

Finally, I just want to commemorate my two wonderful horsies, both of whom have birthdays this month! Rapper turned 16 on March 8th and Keenan turns 13 tomorrow! Happy Birthday to my wonderful boys!!

AAF Kaset, Rapper's paternal grandsire. He was foaled in 1980 and won a world championship in 1984.

Keenan and Katherine winning up a storm! Hopefully that will be us this year!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

getting stronger...slowly but surely's not as easy to get in shape when you're 25. I mean, compared to when you're in your teens. I'm not saying I'm old or anything but dang...these last couple of weeks of "No Stirrup Tuesday" lessons have been KILLER. I've pretty much got sitting trots and collected canters with no stirrups down, but Sarah's patented warm-up includes posting to a "nice forward trot" WITH NO STIRRUPS. Her new mantra is "Pain is just weakness leaving the body!" Yesterday started off really tough but mostly because I lack the coordination to post without stirrups, have a connection with Keenan at a forward gait, maintain an outside bend and keep his hindquarters from drifting and putting his body on a diagonal. My body was screaming "I can't do this!" But I learned last week that Sarah doesn't take "I can't" for an answer. She knows how badly I want to succeed and she knows I'm capable. The feeling of elation and accomplishment yesterday when I finally started to put it all together made the moments of frustration worth it. Now I just have to have that "no nonsense" attitude right from the beginning. Which I'll work on right after I go rewrap my ice pack.

PS: check out this video for this year's Rolex - CAN'T WAIT!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

46 days

I know, I know, how many posts am I going to write about our upcoming Kentucky trip? I can't help it, I'm excited! Three years is too long to go without visiting your favorite place in the world. I found myself watching that movie Dreamer last night just for the scenes at Keeneland and Ashford Stud. Sometimes I wonder if the magic would wear off if I were to live and work there full time...somehow, I don't think so.

Here are a few things I'm most looking forward to...

Rolex is going to be phenomenal, no question about it, but for me, going to the Kentucky Horse Park, visiting my old friend Cigar, watching the races at Keeneland and driving the old roads through the bluegrass is like coming home.