Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jumperland Day 2 + Blenhiem!!

The ponies continue to improve up at HITS in Saugraties, NY. I can't overstate how great it is to be able to concentrate purely on jumping. In the three days here, we're jumping half a season of jumping rounds if we were eventing. Tribute and Hughie jumped much better today. We made a few minor adjustments that went a long way.

RO had his first day of jumping today, and jumped like a star. He finished 4th of 31 on the FarmVet $1000 level 5 speed class. He's heading back tomorrow for the 5's and 6's.

Tomorrow night we'll have a full report and hopefully some videos.

The second very exciting bit of news that came my direction today was from the USEF. Sara send me a text mid afternoon stating that I have received a grant to fly over to Blenheim this fall for the CCI***! This is very exciting, and hopefully will set us up very well for a potential shot at Rolex in the spring. I have to keep reminding myself that they are both a long way away, and still have a lot of skills to refine before being super competitive, but it's not a bad start!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stuart, Stone Gate Farm eventing camp and of course Bandit

Following Sock's hunter derby (video below) Tuesday we quickly entered eventing mode. Both he and RO went over to my parent's place to jump some XC. This was Running Order's first run back since the Jersey CCI*** in May. Socks was pretty damn good schooling, he's very brave and quick on his feet. Of course I was still a bit nervous, as you always are when moving up a level, but he was prepared so he was good to go!

Socks's Hunter Derby

We arrived up at Stuart on wed night following our XC schooling, packing and riding. Coincidentally, this was the start of the massive heat wave. Nothing better than sweat pouring down your face as your unpacking the trailer. Luckily for the horses, we have fans in the trailer, but of course you still have to feel bad for them.

Dressage went well on Thursday, Leo finished his XC in the afternoon. Leo has been getting better and better over the past few months. I was very happy with him, especially considering he's 4 and this was his 3rd Novice and 4th event ever.

Leo's Stuart Video

Friday was the last day for Leo, and the start for the big guys. All of the horses went well. The show jumping at Stuart is always great for the younger horses being that they have the sponsors tent, banners as well as gazebo for judges. Leo did have one rail, the lack of attention span caught up with us. I don't think it ever registered that the jump was there until it was too late.

The other highlight of the day was keeping the counter canter in Sock's first prelim. Not only did he keep it, but he managed to get a 28! Pretty impressive.

We spent all afternoon on Friday walking the courses. They were, as expected, on the difficult side. Not only is it a function of the jumps, but also the terrain. Unlike any other event we go to through the year, the steep terrain gives Derek a bundle of options for blind landings etc.

XC started bright and early with Socks. He was excellent, I can't say enough about him. He never stops impressing, he jumped around with ease. He's very quick on his feet, and very brave. We had a few green moments, but really can't expect more!

Sock's XC

Sock's XC Helmet Cam with Commentary

Running Order jumped around as if it were child's play. It was a great course for him, challenging, but the perfect prep for Millbrook and Blenheim. Tribute and the others jumped around very well also.

Sunday was SJ day for everyone aside from Leo. They all jumped well. The video of the day goes to Running Order who finished 2nd in the CIC**. Socks finished 8th, and Leo 6th.

Running Order's SJ

We drove back following the event. I was able to ride at the barn all day Monday, then caught a flight out to Ohio to Stone Gate Farm for their first annual Eventing Camp. I along with Eric Dirks taught Tues through Thursday. The clinic was great fun, it was a great group of people. As always I end up learning a great deal in the process.

Jackie Smith should also be commended for her job organizing the clinic. Without a doubt, I'll be back next year! I have to say, Bandit stole the show! Bandit was a rescued raccoon who was approx 12 weeks old, and pretty damn cute.

Bandit Smith

Bandit Smith the Raccoon and Bear the lab

We're off of eventing for the week and on to show jumping. I'm jumping at the USET on Tuesday with Anne Kursinski then on to HITS in Saugraties Wed-Fri. We'll be back eventing on Sunday for the NJ horse trials.


Monday, July 18, 2011

All new guided prelim tour courtesy of Socks

You might enjoy was the brain child of Brian O'Connor. Filmed on Socks the same one that did the derby on Tuesday, whose video is listed a few entries below. He finished 8th on a pretty damn hard first prelim! I've got to say it was much harder than I would have expected. I'm generally not a big talker on course, I now know why. I was panting like a dog in the summer sun.

Socks is owned by Wendy and Fred Luce, he finished up 8th here:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hunter time continues...

I had another exciting day today. We left the barn early this morning making our way to Briarwood for my and Sock's first hunter derby. In hindsight, upon arrival we should have headed straight to the secretary's office, but we went down to walk the course. Unfortunately, entering late we were placed 2nd in the order of 40. I know I'm partial, but I think he got robbed!! Socks was impressive, he never ceases to surprise me how easily he adapts to whatever situation we stick him in, especially considering he's 6 this year and just started competing in Aiken this spring. Overall he jumped very well, he didn't have the best 2nd jump. I also should have stuck studs in being that the outside portion of the course was quite slippery, making for a tentative effort, but like I said he jumped very well otherwise.

When we left he was 2pts out of making the cut for the handy round. Such is life, we'll be back again.

Now the tricky part comes in...Over the past 2 weeks, I've spent nearly every day working on his changes. I've got to say they came off quite well, however, Socks is headed to Stuart this weekend for his first prelim. For all of those aware of the Prelim test, we have to do a counter canter across the short side of the ring. So, needless to say, we'll be working on counter canter until Friday's dressage. Fingers crossed!!

I'm heading over to Anne Kursinski's tomorrow with Tribute for a jumping lesson. I've been looking forward to the opportunity to take him over to AK's for a while now, we've finally matched up our schedules.

Mid afternoon we'll be heading up to Stuart. Running Order will be in the CIC** for his first run back following Jersey. Tribute and one other in the training, Socks in the prelim and Leo in the novice.

Check back for more...

Sock's Video:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The First Edition of My Chronicle Connection Column

Kat who is the editor at the Chronicle asked if I'd be interested in writing a periodic column. Of course I jumped at the chance. Although wiring an open ended piece was significantly more difficult than I thought it would be! So click over an let me know what you think.

Direct Chronicle Connection Link - Click Here


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Leo @ NJHP and Sock's Hunter Style...

Leo was pretty damn good yesterday. This was his 3rd event, and his second novice. He wasn't exactly thrilled with the pvc dressage ring. Every time the sand would hit it he'd spook off the rail. He held it together reasonably well coming away with a 33 in 4th out of 20. Show Jumping was next, he jumped very well. Much better than any of the previous times off the property. While he looked at a number of them, he still remembered where his feet were. All expect for one remained standing at the end. I couldn't be upset with him, especially considering his level of experience and the fact that he's a 17.3h 4 yr old! XC was very good, he's going to be a great horse in the future. He's very easy on himself, and has a great gallop. He almost needs bigger jumps to pay attention. I think we'll do a few more novices then on to training! He managed to finish up 6th at the end of the day.

Sunday rolls around. Conor and I went galloping with Running Order and the Prodigy. The radar didn't look too good, but I figured we'll give it a shot. I haven't melted in the rain yet. On our second time up the hill the lightning came a bit too close for comfort! So we decided that they were fit enough for today.

Following a quick change of clothes. Socks and I headed over to Jen Bauersachs' place for a hunter lesson. We're entered in a Hunter Derby not this Tuesday, but next. Jen was great, in that I knew nothing. I needed to know everything from what should I wear, to the tack that should be used, to common etiquette...the list goes on. Below was our last course, simulating the second round. Still have to clean the changes up a bit, but overall I was very pleased. It's really a great opportunity to get a taste of all disciplines, there's always something to learn.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finally perfecting this video!

It's an arduous and amusing process, but I've finally arrived at what is, for now, the final cut of our syndicate video. I'm very OCD, so I'm sure small changes will continue indefinitely. Usually, I can pick things up the first time around, and be more than happy with the results. Unfortunately, for this video, this has not been the case. I wanted to convey more of what it takes to keep this team firing, and how exciting it really is to see the horses progress over time.

On the technical side, fix some lighting issues etc. We also had some fun jumping the camera. The final cuts appear in the opening sequence. Running Order was elected, on his first jump back from Jersey, to demonstrate for us. I've got to say, not often do you have such motivation not to miss your distance. The last thing you want it to have a 4x4 go crashing down onto your camera. It's really is not all it's cracked up to take a look and enjoy!

It has been posted on youtube and is embedded in the bio page on the site.


PS we do have an event tomorrow. Leo or Lysander mentioned in the video is heading to NJ horse trials tomorrow for his 3rd novice. I'll make sure to post an update afterwards...