Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas!

I'm such a lucky girl!!

After an already fabulous christmas, my dad and I headed up to the BIG Dover in Plaistow, NH, to exchange the breeches I got him and to get some horsey gifts for me for the coming year. We came back with quite a haul!! I got:

some practical things...






Some beautiful things...





And some really special things!




I'm so excited for the coming year!!

In other very exciting news, I WENT FOR A RIDE TODAY! It was just a bareback ride around the park on Dually, but it was awesome!! Just don't tell my doctor I'm out riding after three weeks instead of six... =D

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reflections on 2009 and Goals for 2010

I've been reading the Chronicle Forums a lot over the past few days, enjoying people's accounts of 2009 and their hopes and wishes for 2010. Even though part of me really dislikes the offseason because it's just so darn fun being in the thick of things when the season is on, in other ways this time of year is the most exciting of all. The whole year is open, little squares of the calendar are just itching to get filled, and I can start making lists and dreaming big. Why not? =)

First off, here are a review of my goals that I laid out at the beginning of 2009:

- clear show jumping round at Intermediate
- consistent clears with few time penalties on cross-country at Intermediate
- ribbon at an FEI event!

well... none of those things happened! Intermediate show jumping remained, alas, poor Dually's and my nemesis, and I have been frustrated to learn that since moving on to Ringo I still cling onto many of the bad nerves and habits I picked up from those bad rounds. It's something that I believe I can overcome (show jumping was once my favorite phase of eventing!), but it will definitely be a constant part of 2010. Dually and I also only made it around one Intermediate xc this year, though what a blast we did have at that one! It was a true testament to this horse's remarkable heart and genuineness and I can't be more thankful for having such a saint take me around my first two intermediates these past two years. And for the last goal... it's hard to ribbon at an event you don't enter! With the horse shuffle that took place in the summer, I never did end up getting out to an FEI event in 2009.

On paper, it would look like it was a pretty unfulfilling year. On the contrary, however, I really was tickled with how the year went, and came away from it all profoundly in awe of the love that the universe has sent my way. My career with Dually didn't have a fairytale ending per se, but I couldn't have been more pleased with how he felt and how he tried for me all year. This is a horse that truly owes me nothing, and I owe him everything; I feel lucky every time I get to be around him.

I am continually astounded by the great fortune by which Ringo has come into my life. He is so fabulous and I feel so unworthy. He is generous, talented, knowledgeable, quirky, and strange . . . just my kind of guy. I'm really excited for what the next year holds.

And of course there is Kiki. I still don't know Kiki well yet, but I can say with confidence that I'm already her biggest fan. I'm really delighted at the opportunity to get to know her better in the coming year.

SO--

goals. Here are mine for 2010:

- go Intermediate on Ringo
- jump an Intermediate show jumping round without crashing/melting down/wanting to die
-preferably, jump at least one clear round
- figure out the bitting issue on xc and in the show jumping
- FODS at an event
- Get to a spring FEI event
- jump clear at said event
- ride a relaxed, accurate, expressive Intermediate test
- score in the 20s for HT, 50s FEI
- finish on a score under 50 at Intermediate
- go to Young Riders

- get to know Kiki
- compete Kiki
- jump around a Novice clear by the end of the summer

- everyone stays healthy and sound!
- figure out what I want to do with the next few years of my life... ugh.

It's going to be a busy year!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Photos!

Here are (in some cases very long overdue) photos of my two lovely boys from this year. I'm such a lucky girl to have such lovely partners in my life.

May Galway With Dually (OI):


Dually trying his absolute guts out through the triple... never his strong suit at Intermediate!



Serious good boy pats



Looking like a real Intermediate horse!



The handsomest

. . .

My last event with Dually ever at The Event at Rebecca Farm in July (CCI* w/):


looking so fancy... belying the ROBBING that was going on in the judge's booth!!



Trying to leg yield...



I can't ever thank this horse enough.

. . .

September Twin Rivers with Ringo (OP):


Baller.

. . .

November Galway with Ringo (OP):



Such a cute little jumper!





lifesaver.

. . .

In other news, I'm starting to try to get back into a shape a bit after my multiple weeks of convalescence, mostly by taking long walks through the snow around my house! Conditioning the New England way =) I'm getting super itchy to get back on a horse again and am eagerly anticipating getting back to California to get the new season underway!

Friday, December 11, 2009

100th Post, and excitement!

I'm officially done with school! I completed my last final last night at 10pm and am now officially home free, ready to start my nine months of riding and living the dream. I'm still pretty sad that I'll be spending the first five weeks of those nine months hobbling around with no horses whatsoever, but it's also not as if I was going to be logging a HUGE amount of time in the saddle this month even without getting injured. Now I'll have a better excuse to veg on the couch all holiday! =)

I also can't believe that I've reached this blog's 100th post. I'm very excited for the coming year, where I plan to use this blog a lot more frequently to keep a log of my adventures. Roll on 2010!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Serious Bummer

Well the past two days have not gone completely according to plan, to say the least! After surviving some serious rodeo antics from one of the school horses on Tuesday and enjoying a seriously high energy ride ride (with minor bronco action) from Ringo on Wednesday morning, I was really feeling ready to be done with fresh winter horses. Well, my good friend Calisto had other plans, and I ended up in the dirt on Wednesday afternoon after he corkscrewed and dropped his shoulder after a fence. Thanks man!! I ended up landing very hard on my back and tore a ligament in my lower back in addition to some big contusions and muscular strain. The prognosis: 6 to 8 weeks off of riding!! Fortunately Gina has agreed to take Ringo early, so he'll go down this weekend and stay in training with her until I can start riding again in mid to late January, but I'm still so bummed I don't know what to do with myself. I've been feeling so good with my riding and am really frustrated to have to be sidelined for so long now. I know that this is part of horses, and part of me recognizes that if such an accident had to happen, this was the time (right in the holidays where I won't be doing much riding anyway) . . . but still. I'm feeling pretty low.


Calisto just seconds before he decided the ride was over . . . bastard.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Few Last Photos from Home

Well I'm back in California, after a mere 11 hours on the road. Phew! It's going to be a photo finish the end out this quarter well, but I'm currently feeling tentatively up to the task (if I can stay healthy! I haven't gotten my voice back yet from the beach).

In the meantime, I've got just a few photos from my last day on the farm. Suzi Gornall came out to the farm to teach today; I didn't ride with her but most of the other folks at the barn did. It was a real treat to get to see her again.

Photos courtesy of Mom:


Finny, our "guest dog" who comes for all major holidays when his family travels



Daisy!! Looking as cute as ever



B'AGAN! The Bagel Boy is back after six years away from the farm! So happy to have him home.




Dually being AWESOME - Papa has done such a good job with him.





David even came out to watch!





Ky, one of our homebreds, is back on the farm after a few years absence as well. Yay Kyou!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Now THAT was fun!

Today Papa and I had a bit of a change of pace... we went to the beach! I rode Dually and Papa rode Paddy, so it felt very nostalgic of the old days. The weather was bright and sunny but, as we realized when we got to the last service road before the beach and saw cattails on the roadside lying on their sides, insanely windy! It was even windier on the beach itself, with 25mph sustained winds and up to 40mph gusts. The wind was so much that there was actually a knee-high river of loose sand whipping over the firm low tide sand that we were riding over. It was surreal and incredibly gorgeous.

We rode about three miles south along the tide line at the walk and trot, marveling at the rivers of sand and playing in and out of the surf. The wind was on our back on the way down, so everything went pretty peachily, despite Dually and Paddy's suspicions of the surf line. We did a little canter with the wind at our backs before turning around and heading back up. What a difference! We galloped most of the way home, and it was probably one of the most intense and exhilarating gallops I've ever been on. The wind was so intense that I felt like I was getting blown backwards and had to hang onto the neck strap for dear life just to stay in two point! Dually was awesome, digging in and pushing harder than ever; it really proved his class. It's hard to tell how fast we were actually going (probably not that fast!) but it certainly felt like we were breaking the land speed record. We pulled up three miles later wind-blown, salt-rimed, peppered with spray, and ecstatic. It was probably one of the most fun single rides I've ever been on. What good boys!

It's hard to believe that my week at home is nearly over. It's been so fun! Fortunately, I'll be back in just two (incredibly busy!) weeks. And soon Kiki-liki will be down in Massachusetts too!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Home on the Farm!

It's so good to be home! I had a an awesome bareback ride on the dude today despite the rain and wind, thanks to my new carhartt overalls =). It's so great to feel Dually feeling so well; he and Pa are going to have a great winter and spring!



Daisy and Pa heading down to the barn



Lookin' classy.



Burr Mohawk haha







Conformation shot



awww





Happy boy =)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

RIding Kiki!

Yesterday Papa and I headed up to Pirouette Farm in Norwich, VT to take some lessons from Jane Hamlin. Papa took Dually and went first so I could watch a while before grabbing Kiki. It was the first time I'd seen them go together and I couldn't be more pleased; they both looked so happy, Dad rode great, and Dually was perfect. I'm so delighted for them.

I got on Kiki next. It was a very busy day on the farm and Kiki found it all VERY VERY EXCITING. I think Jane was pretty mortified because she's been quite good lately but came out with a bee in her bonnet and spent the first half of the lesson tucking her butt and jigging around the arena. I had a blast though and spent the entire lesson beaming from ear to ear. Kiki did eventually settle down a bit and we had some nice trot and canter work by the end of the ride.

The plan is to come back in December and ride Kiki a few more times under Jane's supervision before taking her back down to the farm. So excited!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ringo on the Mend

Well Ringo's cellulitis is pretty much all cleared up - phew! He's got one more day of antibiotics but in general his leg is looking great. We went for a nice long hand walk and graze today with just a minimum of snorting, prancing, and Arabian tail-flagging. I'm super tempted to get on and go for a tack walk tomorrow because it will be my last chance to ride him until December as I'm going home for Thanksgiving, but I'm still tentative.

But in a related note, I'M GOING HOME!! I haven't been home since June and couldn't be more excited. I'll be visiting David in NYC over the weekend and then coming home home on Monday. I can't wait to see the ponies, Wiley, and especially Dually! It's been one of our longest periods apart since I've owned him. =)!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Health Update

Well the season is winding down, and Ringo and I have been enjoying some nice low key time to strengthen our bond and continue to work on the ever elusive dressage. Things were going swimmingly until Ringo was unlucky enough to come down with a bad flare up of cellulitis in response to his (BEAUTIFUL) clip job that he got a week ago. Sooo he's on stall rest until I leave for Thanksgiving break... where he'll be on limited outings because I won't be there. So basically he's getting over two weeks off - booo. So bummed.

The most important thing is, of course, Ringo's health, and fortunately he seems happy and on the mend at the moment. I'm just sad I won't be riding him next until December!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stanford's IDA Debut!

This season has been really exciting for me because for the first time ever, Stanford has fielded a team and started competing in Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) shows - hooray! IDA runs alot like English and Western IHSA, where the emphasis is on catch riding horses that you've never sat on before. Fortunately, IDA takes a much saner line than IHSA, and allows a 10 minute warmup before the test-- with a coach! SWEET.

This weekend we went to Cal Poly for our first ever IDA show, with just 6 riders (compared to Cal Poly, who had over 20): me at First Level, Jaslyn and Fallon at Upper Training, Theo and Kat B at Lower Training, and Michelle at Intro. The team was me, Jaslyn, Theo, and Michelle, with Fallon and Kat riding as individuals. Given that we barely understood what the format was, and that people like Jaslyn had only ridden in a dressage saddle 3 times ever before coming down, our expectations were pretty low. Our mission was "to live."


Looking REALLY PUMPED after our 3am wake up to get to Cal Poly by 7:30



Jaslyn models the (possibly Maoist?) boot polishing kit shortly after our arrival


Well, mission accomplished, and then some! I had to start the day off in First level, the highest level IDA offers. I was really delighted that I got an awesome draw for my first time out, a big fuzzy bear named Dancer who actually had really lovely gaits and who had apparently been trained through 4th level before being donated to Cal Poly. Fallon added the small caveat, though, that she had drawn him for the flat for the IHSA show a few weeks earlier... and he had tried to buck her off. Sweet. Fortunately he seemed to have no inclination for bucking whatsoever on Sunday, and was in fact very steady and lazy. It was awesome to get to warm up, because I really felt like I started clicking with what he needed about 3 minutes in (which in IHSA would have been those crucial "first impressions!"). We went in and laid down a very steady test in a nice outline, with just one rather large blip where he swapped out in his right lead medium canter and then was pretty insistent in not picking the right one back up again. However, he had done the xact same thing in the previous test, so I hoped the judge would be a little forgiving.


Getting to WARM UP! I love this sport haha



Pretty pony!



Ready for domination =)



The extent of my "medium trot" . . . notice the desperate spurring going on haha



Free walk: 9, baby.



The one bobble of the test... me trying, unsuccessfully, to convince my horse that I do NOT want him to swap out in the medium canter. Whoops.



Right lead reestablished



Phew! Fait Accompli!

At the end of the test I was huffing and puffing from trying to get him forward (event horses don't need a lot of leg!!) but very pleased. The judge said to me as I thanked her, "You got to show off your riding on that one" which I took as a compliment... and I think it was as I ended up winning the class by 7.7%! I got a 9 (on my free walk - YES) and four 8s - I was delighted! Stanford Dressage had debuted in style!

The next rider in the ring was Fallon in Upper Training and her first dressage test ever. She also drew well with a horse that reminded us all alot of a chestnut version of her own horse Flash. They had a really good test until a styrofoam cup blew through the arena and basically right between her horses legs, which he (understandably) took serious offense to. The judge was very kind though and let her redo that part of the test without penalty, and she ended up getting a 62% and eventual 3rd place.


Fallon and her chestnut version of Flash =)

Jaslyn was next, in both her first dressage test ever and her third time in a dressage saddle ever. She also lucked out on the draws and got a cute little horse named Pilot that suited her really well; they had a lovely steady test and ended up with a 63% for 2nd place.



Jazzy and Pilot

Kat Blair, our grad student team member (another great IDA rule: grad students are allowed!), was our fearless leader for Lower Training. She got what had really been the only horse in warmup that we didn't want to pull, a little grey western quarter horse that was being warmup ridden by a girl in rowel spurs. Not exactly an ideal dressage mount. Kat rode wonderfully though and really got the best out of him, and they ended up putting in an excellent steady round. With a 59%, they eventually ended up 4th in the biggest division of the show.


Working it on the western horse



Yay!! Kat's first IDA show is a big success!

Theo was our other Lower Training rider, who unfortunately really got the bad draw of the day. Her little Andalusian cross was super cute but really difficult in the bridle, tossing his head up and down and refusing to stay steady even though Theo was riding him as correctly as she could given his antics. She put in an awesome test with the mount she was given, though going off course at the end hurt her score. She ended up with a 56% for 8th place.


Theo's pony looking very cute and innocent against the lovely backdrop of the mountains around San Luis.



Theo produces the best that her horse can do!




Finally, at the end of a very long day (starting for us at 3am to get to Cal Poly in time!), Michelle rounded out the entire show as the last Intro rider. Michelle may have never shown before, but she really knows her stuff and put in an Intro test that could have been lovelier. She ended with a 66% and won her class by a landslide!


Trying not to get blown away while Michelle gets ready for her test.



Michelle rocking it on Sure Lina.

At the end of the day, our team members ended up finishing 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 1st in their respective divisions; in IDA one team score is dropped and only the best three are counted, so we had a pretty unbeatable combo of 1st, 2nd, and 1st! Indeed, we won handily, and Michelle and I got reserve high point and high point rider of the day, respectively. What an awesome way to start!


Stanford goes 1-2-3 in First and Upper Training.



The whole show, plus Michelle's winning Intro mount Sure Lina.



Stanford Dressage!!



Two blues and a high point in one show! Victory is sweeeet.



Unfortunately because the region is so small, the next IDA show isn't until February. I'm kind of hooked and can't wait for the next one!
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