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Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event Weekend

Apr 30 2012
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This weekend I attended the Rolex 4 star competition as a spectator for the first time in 6 or 7 years!  A lot has changed in the last decade or so – the location and layout of the trade fair is different, the dressage test is a lot more challenging, the endurance phase of the event is now ridden in a short format, and the cross country course is much more technical.  Rolex had a record number of entries this year and most of the riders were trying to impress the selection committee to earn a spot on their countries’ Olympic team later this year in London.  (FYI – Eventing is one of 3 equestrian sports that take place during the summer Olympics)

Friday: I drove to the Kentucky Horse Park and accidently ended up parking in the vendor parking lot super close to the entrance of the trade fair.  (Score!)  On Megan’s advice, I headed straight to the Devoucoux saddle vendor and had their US rep fit me for a new jumping saddle.  It turns out that I needed an 18” seat (their saddles run small to size) and a 1A flap (forward for my long femur, but regular length for my short to average overall leg length).  I was lucky that they had a used Chiberta jumping saddle that was in my size and in my price range!  (Double score!)  After my saddle purchase, I wandered around to all the other trade fair booths to “window shop” before heading to the bleachers and watching 12 dressage rides.  Allison Springer’s test on her horse Arthur was by far the most impressive ride I got to watch.

New (used) saddle. My first time riding in a mono flap saddle.

Devoucoux 1

Saturday: I got up in the morning and headed to the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP).  This time, instead of heading straight to Rolex, I stopped by the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center where they retrain and find new homes for retired racehorses.  I got to watch Megan show 3 horses to potential adopters which involved mostly free lounging the horses in the arena.  After that, we headed to the other side of the Park to watch cross country were we got to see almost all of the 54 horses take a turn on what turned out to be a very difficult course.  On our way back to our car, my friends and I were offered free tickets to the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup later that evening.  We grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back to the KHP to watch 12 freestyle reining performances.  Horse, horses, and more horses!

Hanging out in front of the KHP Grandstands waiting for stadium jumping to begin.

Kelly 2

Sunday: My friend and I headed back to the trade fair one more time before going to watch the Rolex horses and riders in the final phase of the 3 day weekend – stadium jumping.  At the Stubben tent, I purchased a 26” brown leather girth to go with my new mono flap saddle for $5!  Then we headed over to the SmartPak tent to visit with the Point Two reps and try out the latest technology in riding safety – air jackets!  The rep even offered to blow me up in the vest as a demo.

William Fox-Pitt riding Parklane Hawk, winners of the event.

William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk 2

What a great, 3 day horse weekend to start of my summer on the right hoof…I mean foot.  Winking smile

Eastward bound!

Apr 29 2012
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Thursday morning (my Birthday!!) I hooked up the truck and trailer, gave Owen a quick bath, loaded the last of our equipment and we were on our way.  After a 5 1/2 hour drive East on I-64 (and one time zone change) Owen and I arrived safe and sound at Team CEO in Georgetown, KY. 

Old pictures of the truck and trailer (Sorry, I’m still new to blogging.  I need to learn to take pictures throughout the day.)

IMG_0124  IMG_0413

Upon arrival, I put Owen in a stall so that he could drink water, munch on hay, and relax.  Then I spent some time unloading my tack into my tack locker and my clothes into my new bedroom.  This summer, I will be living with 2 other girls in a 3 bedroom apartment that is attached to the barn.  It is amazing to know that I will be sleeping 50 yards from my horse every night! 

Tack lockers are wonderful.  I highly recommend them to all boarding and lesson barns.  (Ugh – I’ll try to remember to take a picture during the day to share with you.)

After I was all settled in, a group of us headed to a local Mexican restaurant to celebrate the start of my new adventure!  I must say that things are off to a very good start.  A huge thanks to Megan Moore for giving me this opportunity.

It's only 13.1 miles, right?

Apr 18 2012
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Back in December, I decided to start running as a way to get in shape for my upcoming horse show season.  Initially I liked the idea that running was a relatively free and flexible way for me to exercise - just grab a pair of running shoes and hit the pavement.  I quickly began to realize that long distance running was an entire subculture in it's own right.  I had a lot to learn about shoes, clothes, nutrition, hydration, training techniques, injury prevention, and gear (belts, watches, HR monitors).

Since I'm a "list" person, I created a spreadsheet to document my training plan and track my progress.  The plan consisted of 17 weeks of training in which I would run a total of 200 miles - starting with 2 mile runs and progressively increasing my distance until I was ready to conquer 13.1 miles.  By week 2, I was in a lot of pain during my 3 mile runs. After visits to the chiropractor and the podiatrist I was able to find the right combination of running shoes, orthotics, NSAIDs, and cold therapy which would allow me to continue to run.

I entered several races throughout the winter to keep me on track with training - Chiro-Med Winter Luau 5K in January, Run for Chocolate 5K in February, and the Little Rock 10K in March.  The week after running the 10K successfully, I officially registered for the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon in April.

Waving to Friends at Mile 10     

Race Day:  In the blink of an eye, 17 weeks had gone by and I was ready to run my first half marathon.  The morning of April 15, I got dressed, laced up my shoes, packed my gear, and headed for the starting corrals.  The race began promptly at 7:00 am and off we went!  Miles 1-5 went by quickly and without any problems.  During miles 6-10 I got really tired and the St. Louis heat and humidity added to my fatigue, but I kept going.  Miles 10-13 my muscles were screaming in pain, but I managed to jog/shuffle/limp through the finish line and was awarded a finisher’s medal!

Long distance running is great and I can appreciate how addictive it can be; however, I think I’ll stick to 5Ks and 10Ks (or riding horses!) in the future.

Spring Bay Horse Trials

Apr 09 2012
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This past weekend I packed up the truck and trailer and headed to Lexington, KY for my first horse show of the 2012 season!  Since this was our first show in 6 months, I decided to enter Owen and I in the Beginner Novice division. 

Friday: We arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park Friday afternoon without any problems.  I setup Owen's stall, checked in at the show office, took Owen out for a quick ride to stretch his legs, fed him dinner, walked both the show jumping and cross country courses on foot, and finally braided Owen's mane before heading to the hotel for a few hours of sleep.

Saturday: I spent the morning helping and watching my friends compete their horses.  Owen and I were scheduled to do our dressage test and our show jumping round in the afternoon. 

Dressage: I was fairly pleased with our dressage test  - Owen was round, forward, and responsive.  He was a little "naughty" in the left lead canter departure and circle (yes, the judge actually wrote that on our test), but for the most part it was a decent test with mostly 7's which scored us in the 30's.  My goal for the 2012 season to is eventually score in the 20's!  The biggest thing I need to work on with Megan is my position - I tend to ride dressage in my "hunt seat" with my shoulders tipped forward which is a bad habit I need to fix.



Show Jumping: I was also happy with our show jumping round.  Owen marched right up to fence #1 with confidence and continued around the course to finish with a double clean round.  What a good boy!  In this phase, I need to work on keeping Owen from getting quick and diving around the course, cutting corners and leaning on his inside shoulder.  If I could adjust my position to sit up after each jump, that would help Owen tremendously.  Fixing this before we move up the levels is very important.



Sunday: In the morning we packed up the truck and trailer and headed over to Masterson Station Park where the cross country phase was held.  I walked my course one last time and spent the morning helping and watching friends compete. 

Cross Country: I tacked up Owen and headed down to the XC warm up area about 45 minutes before my scheduled ride time.  When I got there, Megan was helping another Team CEO rider and horse.  Megan graciously helped me with my warm up and walked us to the start box.  The countdown began....5, 4, 3, 2, 1....and off we went!  Owen was great - he flew around the first 8 fences with confidence and listened to me when I asked him to slow down or balance in front of the small (to him) fences.  We crossed the road which ran through the middle of our course and headed to fence #9 when Owen decided to slam on the breaks.  I was caught off guard since we were still 10+ strides out from the small vertical wall, but I quickly gathered my thoughts and began a flurry of kicking, circling, and growling to get Owen to move forward and over the fence.  After our "discussion", we continued to ride fences #10-16 with the same grace as the first 8.  After my ride, I found Megan at the show office and she recommended a strategy to work through the "balking" issue with Owen.  Unfortunately, this seems to be an issue I created sometime in 2011 and it is following us into the 2012 show season.  But I have faith that I can work through it with Megan's help before my next show at the end of May!  My goal for 2012 is no more refusals!

Another member of my family

Apr 09 2012
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In 2007 I welcomed a new member to my family...Abby, the German Shepherd Dog.  Abby and I spent our first few years together training in obedience, rally, tracking, sheep herding, and agility in between horse shows.  Abby loves spending hours with me at the barn in the evenings and on weekends visiting with the horses.  Unfortunately, Abby wont be making the trip to Lexington with me this summer.  Instead, she will be spending 4 months with my wonderful and supportive boyfriend, Nathan, living life as a city dog in downtown St. Louis. I will miss my pup very much!

 

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