Monday, April 28, 2014

Rolex Motivation...

So this year so far has been a whirl wind... I just got back from Rolex Kentucky 2014 - A great way to really hit the spring season running! Though I have been fortunate to this year again to have had the opportunity to head south not once, but twice already! I headed to Florida for a client and dear friend to pick up her horse, to bring him back up to Illinois to be sold, shopping for other clients, and on my way down, through the ending of Atlanta (also known as the Snowpocalypse), I brought along Red Horse (Millennium Qui) for a week of schooling and coaching. I was able to get in lessons with Jon Holling and Lynn Symansky, both of whom I HUGELY recommend riding in front of at one point or another.

Qui and I out for a "trot" with Guinness... aka a lovely gallop through the FL country side

Jon worked on a lot of grid work with my characteristically unadjustable horse TB. Qui has a 14 ft stride pretty much always, and struggles to keep a 10' bouncy canter together for a period of time. Jon worked a lot on me allowing him to make "educated mistakes" instead of trying to baby him to every distance, because as I always tell my students, we're never perfect. I was going to miss and he had to know how to adjust to that. By the end I was getting a lot more relaxed jumps out of him, ending with a solid training level SJ course that was relaxed and flowing, with a great rhythm. Jon is an excellent clinician, getting the most possible bang for your buck in a short viewing of horse and rider. It's sometimes hard to ride with someone who you're only going to get a brief view of your riding, your horse, and expect to take much home. But I have to say Jon was hugely educational, very encouraging, while challenging and giving me a great bit of homework.

I was able to sit on some lovely sales horses while I'm down there... 
Nothing teaches you more than simply riding anything and everything you can

Lynn had a much more old school feel to her, which I loved. She expected me to hold myself and my green horse to a much higher standard than I had been. So many of us ride our horses like babies, so babies they remain. We focused a lot on pole work, and again, keeping Qui to a more round, correct jump. She kept on me about every transition being accurate, my outside rein being more active, and enforcing correct, straight lines to my fences. No drifting through the turns, which many of us struggle with. Again, HIGHLY recommended, though not for those looking to be coddled.

Marlette "Marley" for his 2nd ride since November. I mean, common. He's so fabulous.

I came home feeling thrilled with my horse and his progress, and ready for an exciting season. I was then fortunate a month later to head down to Aiken, SC for 10 days to show some sale horses at Pine Top HT and Poplar HT, and get some early season cross country in for the youngsters. Good news? I sold all my sale horses that were slated to go! Bad news? I had two competition slots to fill at both horse shows, and no horses to ride for the week!! One of my fabulous owners stepped up and helped me to purchase a lovely young OTTB, Marlette aka Marley, as a new OTTB sales project for myself, and I brought one of the sold horses down to his new owners, as well as one of my clients and her horse for a week of boot camp with us!

Hannah and Youkon :) 

Easily the best part of this trip however, was on my way down to Aiken, I stopped in Springfield, IL where I have a lovely group of students, to surprise one of them with her new OTTB that I had found her that week. Congratulations to Hannah on her new horse :)

Full Gallo's Darth Mal and I on our way to a double clear stadium. What a lovely young horse! 

When I arrived at Full Gallop Farm (what a perfect facility....) in Aiken, and spoke with Lara Anderson (who is just a dream btw!) about my dilemma, she went right to work on finding me a new mount for that weekend! Did I mention I arrived on Friday, and the show started on Saturday morning?? I hoped on one of her LOVELY OTTBs, Full Gallop's Darth Mal, once Friday, had a lovely warm up, jumped a few stadium fences, a few xc fences, and off we went in the morning! I also dragged along poor Marley, who'd not been ridden since September, and did the BN dressage test with him to the tune of a 40! Not bad for a horse that missed his right lead and was a bit confused about the change of scenery! Mal and I had a lovely dressage test in the Novice and jumped around double clear in a big stadium round, and I'm confident would have jumped right around the cross country had it not monsooned the next day! But as eventers, we did do a flat school in the sand at Full gallop all the same ;)

Full Gallop's Kipper! Showing how fabulous he is on my first ride!

Full Gallop's Sundance Kid at Poplar Place!

Marley and I snuggling. I'm obsessed.

Marley proved to be an absolute gem of a young horse, immediately settling into this crazy new life like he'd done it all his whole life. Day 2 I body clipped him sans even a halter, day 3 he hacked the whole cross country course including water, ditches and small banks, Day 4 he started over small fences, day 5 we went on another xc adventure where he did some small logs, all the while never spooking, bucking, leaving anything. He took it all in stride. He's truly one of those special horses with all the pieces in place. This horse is now available for sale, or we are entertaining partnership options to keep him with me. More info on that later. During this time I also rode a few horses for Lara, as she has a string of just outstanding OTTBs at her farm always for sale, as she does a wonderful job of rehoming and retraining them for new careers, and she allowed me to show Full Gallops Sundance Kid at Poplar Place as well! He finished the BN olympics (we had more than half of our division eliminated or RF!!) with just a silly stop on my part. He has since sold to a lovely young lady in TN where he will continue to event! Go OTTBs! Lara and I have since developed a lovely partnership of bringing some of her quality OTTBs back here to the midwest! What a lovely opportunity for me, as well as buyers her in our area to get some of the best sport horse prospects in the country! For our first round, I brought home Full Gallops Kipper! He was one of those horses that within 5 mins on him I was like Lara! This is the one I'm taking! I tried 4 more... he came back with me :) He has since sold to one of my lovely young riders, and will be her event partner for the future! SO thrilled he will stay with me in my program!!

Isn't this what we all hope for when we sell horses??

I then returned home, rejoined the boyfriend, packed up our entire house, and moved in by my poor mother for a month until our apartment in Chicago is ready! Just a few short weeks later, we headed down to Kentucky for Spring Bay HT. I brought Qui (owned by Isabel Turner) down to do the Training, and Sabrina ( my own mare currently leased by one of my clients) for a tune up to do the Novice. Unfortunately, in warm up Qui stung himself a bit and we felt it best to scratch rather than risk any injury, and gladly was trotting soundly down the cement a few hours later, fit and sound a fiddle. Always better safe than sorry however, and he enjoyed the weekend for its environment and had a HUGELY educational school on Sunday over a VERY big Training track, coming away educated, sound and happy. I have not ridden Sabrina regularly since November 2012, and she has been with one of my amateurs safely teaching her the ropes, so she was more or less a catch ride for me! She put in a relax, albeit boring, dressage test for a 37, had a BEAUTIFUL show jump round despite one rail where I lost a bit of my rhythm, and then put in a foot perfect cross country run to finish in the top 10.

Sabrina being her typical perfect self. Huge thanks as always to my wonderful sponsors:
Turning Point Designs, Heritage Gloves, Majyk Equipe, Soybu Clothing, Revitavet, C4 Belts, Genuine Equestrian, and 

Had a few quiet days of showing horses, vettings, ext, then I headed up with Qui and Marley to a jumper show at Silverwood! All three of us needed some more miles in the ring, and no better way to do it! A huge thanks as always to Laura Roseling for her excellent coaching, both the horses and I came away with a brilliant education. Qui jumped around 3 full classes with only one rail through 3'3 with ribbons in every class, and Marley ribboned in both of his classes at 2'9 and 3'! I was just blown away by the young gelding who just a month ago was getting his canter figured out again! What an insanely talented and level headed guy. Truly can't beat that type of brain. His owner and I would love to see him stay in my program to develop him through his potential, and have decided to open up to partnership options! This would be a wonderful, affordable opportunity for someone looking for an educational, fun, and unique way to be involved with an up and coming young professional and hugely talented young horse. You could use it as an opportunity to buy in early to purchase him and keep him in training for a much more affordable rate, while you wait for him to progress to the upper levels, then taking over the reins when he has reached his potential and having a lovely made horse for a much more affordable price. Or you could join in on the fun of a sale horse, and reap the rewards as his training and experience progress, thus increasing his value! Or you could simply enjoy it as a true hands on experience of the development process! Get an up close and personal view of what we do to develop these horses, from our daily schedule, how he's handled at shows, what the upper level shows ride like, the decisions I make for him, personalized course walks, what we do for preparation, his conditioning, a front row seat at our weekly lessons with area professionals, and lessons on Marley himself from me! We have lots of ideas and opportunities for the right person to join us on this fun journey, as well as references from current and previous owners!

Red Horse at the Jumper Show - Love him

Marley showing off how talented he is!

Last, but certainly not least, was a team trip to Rolex Kentucky! We had 10+ people this year, with more already excited to go next year! I was fortunate to be able to volunteer in the D box this year, where I was right among the riders, coaches, and supporters, hearing the cheers and gasps of great rides, and heartbreaking stops and falls. Not much is cooler than standing next to DOC (David O'Connor) and listening to him thinking out loud about each pair, and watching him step right in to help cool off horses. Truly reminds you that it takes a village to do what we do. What a wonderful experience. Can't wait to use so much of what I took away from this weekend in preparation for, you guessed it, another show! (Not before I move back to Chicago on Saturday!) Heading to Lake Geneva mini event on Sunday to get Qui out for a full run, Marley out for his first "event" at Novice, and to school some of my students! The weekend after that I will be down at Hunter Oaks for a Cross Country schooling (text 815-814-5179 to join!), the following weekend Friday we will do a dressage show with Qui and Quinn, Saturday Qui will do the Training CT at Fox River Valley Pony Club mini event, Marley will do the Novice again, and Grace (my lovely Connemara cross sale horse!) will do her first event ever at Beginner Novice! Then we'll head out to Catalpa for a schooling at Catalpa Corners in Iowa City, IA (again, text to join! 815-814-5179) and finish May at IEA in Indiana! Phew! Sounds like a great month ahead for the Gypsy crew!! And we still have 1 possibly 2 slots available for full training/sales horses, but those spots are filling up QUICKLY! Please message me ASAP if you'd like join our team!

Pretty cool.....