05 April, 2012
Winning, let’s not lie; everyone likes to do it now and again. For some of us it *must* happen every time we compete or we are a mess. But in horses we have many variables. Ourselves, our horses, the weather, health, fitness, money, distractions (peacock next to the dressage ring anyone?). Lots of things out of our control and can impact your competition day and frequency.
As someone who has had to work her whole life to have horses I have ridden many horses that no one else would ride, because that is what was available. There were countless young horses, OTTBs, whatever I could sit on until they were sold or moved. It turned me into a versatile rider, it also showed me I loved to bring a horse to a point where your more average rider can take over the reins. It has also made me the creative instructor I am today. When I look back at my achievements in Pony Club, going to Nationals for jumpers, taking a young TB through prelim as a teenager, helping countless horses that were misunderstood get comfortable in their own skin and find their job in life and more recently competing a list of young horses coming along in the world of eventing, I can look at each record and smile remember the day, the horse and the lesson. Like the very windy Sunday morning when Rocky jumped into the water at Plantation at our first Training and I got very wet. This was before the rule change that once you fell you were done. So I climbed back on and finished, walking by Boyd Martin soaking wet was very high on my embarrassment list at the time, as he was enjoying teasing me about my over jumping horse at the stadium ring only the day before.
Showing can be approached two ways. You can stay at the lower levels trying to perfect everything. Doing lots of local small shows where you know you can win before ever dipping your toe in the ocean that is the “recognized world” or you can put yourself out there compete against the best and learn by watching your competitors warm up and compete . The victory for me is much sweeter to put myself out in the big ocean and see how I float. Because a non-primary color ribbon is not the end of the world.
Last year, Regal’s first show year, we were top 3 every time out with some of my best lifetime dressage scores on a horse that I raised and trained myself. Driving home from the first show (a very large one) I had myself a little happy cry. To know that a product of my style and training was really that good, to people that don’t even know us confirm that was a great feeling. We were first the whole event until we were too fast on XC bumping us to 3rd. I had been tearing around on Spiderman earlier and forgot to slow down J But it didn’t matter and it still doesn’t. Our season was cut a little shorter than I wanted after he outgrew my saddles and we had to wait for his back to get un-sore, but no matter we’ve got new saddles and we are ready for this year.
Some of the winning riders are not always the best teachers and even if you’re not winning doesn’t mean you are inferior to those that are, just at a different place with your horse. Your show record is not a shield to hide behind or your logo that represents you; it’s the marks on a day in your riding history. Chin up, fix it forward, it’s about the journey.
Even Boyd has his days:
04 April, 2012
Well it has been some time since I updated. It’s certainly not due to lack of things to talk about, however I have been very busy with a rapidly expanding horse client base, my own horses and their young horse challenges and just life in general.
Over the past few months we have welcomed several new riders to the Penwick fold, I am looking forward to seeing them develop and the most recent addition of Ceara. We are all looking forward to meeting her adorable pony and her TB gelding Digger at the end of the month when they move to the barn. Penwick is in full force with schooling, course work and smoothing out our dressage tests with the first show of the season in just a few weeks. We have a big show team this year and I am going to have to be extra mindful to make time for myself this season! Amanda has partnered with Noble, a 6-yo unraced TB gelding, who each week just blows us away with his learning. Look out for them at BN this year!
Noble with Amanda
Noble with Deena
Emily has really formed a lovely partnership with Aston , with the help of a hackamore, and I am excited to see them out and about this year.
Irina has finally nailed down how to get the best out of Quest and I am really excited for them to have their first year showing together. Elizabeth (Quest’s owner) is also excited about the season ahead and will take Quest to a BN combined test at the end of the month. They will be hard to beat on their lovely dressage.
Irina helping make bran mash for the ponies
Leyla and Spiderman have been working very hard on their dressage, they will both tell you what a droll it is, but Leyla is seeing the payoffs in stronger more controlled jumping and I think is a believer J They will also debut in their first season together at BN, but Spidey is already telling her to learn quick as he wants to move up!
Leyla saying "I AM RELEASING Chelsea"
Perri and her partner Shadow are making tons of progress. Perri has been learning to teach Shadow to stretch into her hand and he is loving this new style of riding. Perri has also been joining the older girls for jumping and is keeping up easily! Perri heads for her 2nd XC school this weekend and will head to the Pony Club dressage rally at the end of the month. Unfortunately I will miss it as I will be at Rolex with Leigh Ann, Leyla and Elizabeth! Its been years since I have been down there and I cannot wait! I will wait for when it is more official but Decker will have a new lease starting soon. He has been a rock star recently, especially with Amy who has been riding him in the Sunday jumping group.
Regal has been making steady progress and will probably do his first show in May when I return from Switzerland. I hope to end his season this year at training, he can already do all the XC at that level, we just need to smooth out our stadium round. After a lot of careful consideration I will be finding Valor a new home (may have one already that would keep him in the family!) I just don’t have the time to give 2 green horses all they need right now. I am considering replacing him with something more experienced so I will be able to continue to compete two horses this season, which I prefer! Stay tuned for those details.
Last but not least a HUGE thank you to Lindsey, who keeps me sane and the barn running. Not to mention the awesome progress she has been making with the young horses!