Thursday, July 30, 2009



First ride at Stanford.

Jumping around at Gina's.

Dually gives Ringo the eye =)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

On the Upside...


I've been keeping it quiet until everything went through, but Ringmoylan (Ringo) is now safely in California and ready to try out his new job of taking care of me! I couldn't be more excited, and though it is going to be very sad to let Dually go to another rider, I'm delighted that that rider is my papa and I know that they are going to have a wonderful time.

Here is me trying Ringo a few weeks ago:

Rebecca Farm Day Six

Well today was the big day, and I wish I had better news to report. After getting fluids last night Dually seemed fresh and perky this morning and looked and felt and great during his morning hand walk and graze. I was pretty nervous but mostly excited for the task ahead, and my nerves vanished as soon as I got in the tack to head out to Phase A.

We started off Phase A at 8:15 sharp, the first of the three Preliminary Three Day riders. Dually felt very happy and forward and we got in to the end of A two minutes early, as planned. A few circles through the start box, and then we were off on steeplechase! Dually was absolutely perfect. He slipped fairly badly on the grass around the first turn, but I didn't think much of it because he seemed so unfazed by it and kept moving along in a lovely forward rhythm, taking every fence beautifully out of stride (and refusing, as always, to brush through the 4' brush!!). It was so fun! After B we had a quick shoe check and headed out on C; as we got trotting again, he seemed a little wobblier than usual on his front end, but I hoped that it was merely the fairly uneven footing and nothing serious. He otherwise seemed quite relaxed and happy and trotted forward very loosely and freely. Around 2/3 of the way around C, he began to forge on his right side, which I thought was unusual, but showed no other worrisome signs so I decided to continue.

We rolled into the 10 minute box a minute and a half early, and Papa, Gina, and Bec immediately went to work on cooling him off. He came in quite warm but cooled off admirably quickly, and had stopped blowing pretty much altogether after 6 minutes. Papa took him off to jog for the vets, and heartbreakingly he turned up quite sore on his right front. They allowed us to jog him again on the gravel road, as the footing was quite uneven in the box; doing so made it quite obvious that something was bothering him on his right front. It was gut wrenching to see him like that, not only because it was obvious that I wouldn't be continuing with the competition, but that in 6 years of ownership of the dude, I had never seen him so uncomfortable looking. We took off his galloping boots and discovered that the lower of his two big splints (that he has had since he bought him as a 5 year old) had been rubbed raw through the boot, presumably when he slipped on steeplechase, and had become very warm and sore to the touch. This meant that the choice to withdraw was quite easy, though fortunately it seems likely that his injury is fairly cosmetic and could be totally gone even by this evening, fingers crossed.

So, it certainly wasn't the way I had imagined the morning going, but thankfully the time in the 10 minute box allowed us to identify his injury early and thus limit any possible damage. I am quite sad as this was my last competition with Dually before my dad takes over the ride, but couldn't be more pleased with the dude, both over this weekend and over the course of our entire six year partnership. I owe him a lot, and he owes me nothing at all.

The next steps will be, of course, to ensure Dually's comfort and well- being, and then to get him safely back to California before his big flight back to Massachusetts in a little over a week.

Photos from steeplechase:

Rebecca Farm Day Five

Today was a very quiet day, as I had dressage yesterday and cross country tomorrow. Dually got a nice rest for the bulk of the day, going out for a few hand walks during the day and a nice 40 minute hack around the property in the evening but otherwise chilling in his stall out of the heat. I had a lot of odds and ends tasks to finish: Gina and I walked and wheeled the course this morning (I had walked late last night to get familiar with the route and start to plan some strategies) and then walked and wheeled the steeplechase in the afternoon. I had a few last minute things to buy for the ten minute box, including a new cross country watch as mine has gone mysteriously missing... well not so mysteriously, as my trailer looks like a hurricane recently swept through. Its a miracle I can find my saddles in there. We've had that cross country watch since my father started eventing a dozen years ago, so it seemed fairly inevitable that the time for a new one was coming fast. Finally, after some discussions with Gina about Dually's poor drinking over the past few days, which had basically slowed to no drinking at all in the last 24 hours, that we would give the dude some fluids tonight for preventative purposes for tomorrow, even though Dually wasn't showing any obvious signs of dehydration besides some less than ideal capillary refill times on a neck pull test. I couldn't get the nightmare of Young Riders 2007 out of my head, and so felt relieved when we decided to do it. The vet came at about 7:30 and the procedure took about an hour; the dude was super well behaved and I hope it will help him feel his very best for tomorrow. I'm getting super excited!

Gina and Bec both went cross country today. Here are some photos I got of them:

The absurdly gorgeous view of the xc course from atop one of the big mounds.

Gina and Abby

Bec and Telac

Gina and Patrick

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rebecca Farm Day Four

Well today was a long and busy day! Papa and I got to the barn an hour earlier than usual so that we could get Dually feeling loose and looking beautiful in time for our 9:15 jog. I got on him quickly and did a quick trot and canter around the barley field next to the farm (where roads and tracks will be held) and then did some stretchy work on the grass to get him feeling limber, then brought him back to the barn to take his tack off and put the finishing touches on his look. He looked as handsome as I've ever seen him, and we walked down to the jogs feeling like a million bucks. I was the very first horse to jog out, and despite (or perhaps because of =D) a small wardrobe malfunction of the skirt of my wrap dress revealing a rather obscene amount of upper thigh on the trip back down the lane, we passed with flying colors. Phew! Dually has never had a problem at a jog (touch wood), but that doesn't mean that they still aren't some of the most nerve wracking moments at a big event.

We put Dually away for the morning and I got some much needed shut eye before the tour of roads and tracks at 1:30. The tour was very fun; as there are only three of us, we all jammed into one golf cart and toured around. It was really nice to get to know the other two in the competition a little better; they both seem really nice and just as excited as I am - how could you not be? The roads and tracks look very fun and the steeplechase is amazing: out in a huge level field with lovely grass footing. As Robert Kellerhouse, our tour guide of the phases, told us, this was the kind of steeplechase where it was going to be easy to go too fast, because it was going to be just too much fun!

After learning the location of the Phase A and C gates, as well as the kilometer markers on both those phases, Papa and I headed out to watch some dressage before it was my turn to go. We came back a little early to make sure that I could get my top hat to stay on; at Galway last fall it flipped off at the very end of my test, and I really didn't want that to happen again! This time, with the help of creative hair tying, bobby pin usage, and liberal amounts of wig tape, I was pretty confident that that sucker wasn't coming off... but that I might also be giving myself minor brain damage because it was jammed on so tightly. Oh well. We fixed Dually's braids, which he had managed to rub out spectacularly, and then it was time to get on!

By the time I rode jackets had been waived, but I had already decided that I was going to wear my tails come hell or high water. I paid for this decision dearly, sweating straight through my shadbelly by the end of my 40-minute warmup and test. I was fairly certain that if I didn't concentrate hard, I could faint right off my horse at any moment. Fortuantely, this did not happen, and Dually and I managed to produce some of our best work to date! He was very steady and obedient, and I really tried to ride for every point. I did make a few bobbles, but Dually did everything I could ask of him; I couldn't be more proud of the dude. Given that, I was pretty frustrated with my score of 60.4, but still had to remain happy that I had given the best that I could give.

Tomorrow Dually will get a light day and perhaps a little pipe opening gallop in preparation for our 8:15 start on Saturday morning. I can't wait!

Dually and I presenting to the Ground Jury at the jogs this morning.

Relaxing after passing =)

Me going to some extremes to try to get Dually looking perky in a conformation shot; he wasn't that into it.

Warming up.

Heading over to the ring!

First halt-salute.

Dually is excited that the test is over; now he can stick his nose as high into the air as he wants again!

Rebecca Farm Day Three

Today was another quieter day at Rebecca Farm. The competition still hasn't started proper, though we did have the briefing this evening to get things under way. Dually and I had a nice flat lesson in the morning with Gina. I was very excited because I was finally able to produce the quality of canter work for Gina that I've been able to produce when I'm all alone with no one watching me at home. Now to produce that again with not only Gina, but three judges, watching on Thursday!

After the flat school in the morning, Dually had a quiet afternoon while I went out and watched Young Event Horse class and worked on evening out my ridiculously extreme farmer's tan. At 6pm we had the competitors briefing, where we got a few key questions answered (top and tails for the long format three day is a go! Hooray =D). Afterward, the three of us doing the Prelim Classic were asked to stay; we got to meet all of the officials personally, many of whom thanked us for choosing to do the long format. That was a first: to get thanked for simply entering an event! We then discussed times for touring the roads and tracks tomorrow, as they weren't quite prepared by briefing time. The steeplechase fences just got put out this afternoon; I already can't wait to get galloping!

Warming up for our lesson with Gina Miles

practicing on "the surface" with Gina

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rebecca Farm Days One and Two

After two days on the road-- traveling through northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana-- we finally made it safe and sound to the unbelievable, indescribably beautiful place that is Rebecca Farm. People had warned beforehand of this event's grandeur and beauty, but I was still blown away! No photograph or description can really capture how insanely gorgeous it is here. Dually travelled real well, given some of his previous histories, and settled into the temporary stabling like a champ.

On Tuesday, after a light hack out around the property (where Dually discovered his mortal foe: the unmoving pivot irrigator! haha), Papa and I joined up with Gina Miles, her family, and Bec Braitling for a little whitewater rafting up in Glacier National Park! It was a really fun way to spend the afternoon and had us all wondering what we were doing at a horse show all day when we could be relaxing on the Flathead River ;). That afternoon, I jogged Dually out for Gina to see what we'd need to do in the next 36 hours before the real jog on Thursday morning. Fortunately, there were no major issues and Dually got put away with a general gold star for good behavior after two days straight of heavy shipping and no riding. Fingers crossed he can keep up the good attitude, and especially the good eating and drinking!

Here are some photos:

Dually and I posing in front of the amazing grass warmup field!

Practicing our jogs for Thursday.

Heading out with Gina and Bec

Out for a hack on a lovely Montana morning.

Getting the dude ready for his first ride in Montana.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rebecca Farm Prep

I can't believe the summer has gotten so far along already! Dually and I are busily preparing for the first ever Preliminary Classic Three Day Event (a CCI* with steeplechase, but held under national rules) to be held in just over a week (!!) at Rebecca Farm and, barring a few minor glitches in the run- up, are feeling prepped and ready to go. Papa is coming out in a few days to help; it wouldn't be a horse show without him! Dually and I head down to Gina's tomorrow for some last minute prep, then it's on to Montana =).
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