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May Daze Horse Trial Wrap Up

May 30 2012
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This past weekend I competed at the May Daze Horse Trial at the Kentucky Horse Park.  This was my second competition of the 2012 season and my first since starting my time as a working student at Team CEO.  I can tell you that this was by far the best horse show experience – start to finish – that I have had since I started eventing 8 years ago.  Owen was brilliant and I was confident and prepared for every aspect of the weekend.  A huge thanks to Megan Moore, Howard Moore, and the rest of the Team CEO family for all the help and support over the last month.

Friday preparation: As working students, we got to bathe, braid, and clip 9 horses to prepare for the show.  We also spent time packing all of the tack and necessary equipment into 3 different horse trailers (2-horse, 4-horse, and 6-horse trailers).  Near the end of the day, we met up with other Team CEO students and clients to walk the show jumping and cross country courses.  The courses seemed fun and fair and we were all very much looking forward to riding them.  Team CEO ended up having 27 horses in total at the show this weekend!  There were so many people willing to help out by video taping rides, taking pictures, tacking up horses, etc.  It was such a positive atmosphere all weekend!

Dressage: Megan spent time coaching me in the dressage warm up ring Saturday morning and then walked with me over to the competition ring.  Owen had his “game face on” and was very attentive and ready.  We had a very steady and consistent test – my best to date.  I definitely have a few things to work on for the next show, but I was very happy with my ride!  (Things to work on: keeping Owen 1-2 inches higher in the poll, improving the energy in the walk, more roundness in the trot to canter transitions).  Picture courtesy of Howard Moore.

May Daze HT - dressage 3

Show Jumping: Midday on Saturday, Megan coached myself and 4 other Team CEO riders in the show jumping warm up ring to prepare us for our rides.  Owen jumped a few fences and then we were ready to go in the show ring.  My plan for the ride – quality of the canter, straight, and committed.  Success!  Video courtesy of Howard Moore.

Cross Country: The cross country course was a lot of fun to ride.  Owen left the start box and continued over 17 fences and through the finish flags in a steady and consistent rhythm and didn’t bat an eye lash at a single obstacle.  What a good boy!   Video courtesy of Howard Moore.

Results: I ended up earning a 5th place ribbon after dressage (pink), a completion ribbon for finishing the cross country course (red/yellow/blue) and a big red ribbon for ending the event in 2nd place in my division! 

May Daze HT Ribbbons

What’s next: With our recent success at the Beginner Novice level, Owen and I are now ready to move up to the Novice level.  We will be competing at the Kentucky Horse Park again in 4 weeks at the MidSouth Horse Trial.  I can’t wait!

Touristy Weekend

May 21 2012
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I am wrapping up a fun filled weekend by relaxing on the couch in the air conditioned family room.  Here’s a quick recap of what I saw in the great state of Kentucky.  (I apologize for the poor picture quality – these are from my iPhone)

I had a list of horses to ride this weekend and all of them needed lots of flatwork and dressage practice with a couple of trot sets in between.  They were all wonderful to ride.

Late Saturday afternoon I visited the Wild Turkey Distillery and went on an impressive tour of the facility complete with bourbon samples in the tasting room.

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Next up was a stop at Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery where I got to see the gorgeous vineyards and try their award winning Riesling wine and the peach Bellini made with their Vidal Blanc wine.

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Sunday I had just enough time to stop by the Kentucky Horse Park to watch one of the High Hope Steeplechase Races at the Kentucky Horse Park.  Just past the cars you can see the fenced in steeplechase track.  There are also horses and jockeys on the track…but I don’t think you can tell from this picture…I need to remember to bring my real camera to these events.

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Last, but not least, I got a chance to try several great restaurants.  For anyone in the Lexington area, I highly recommend Mi Mexico, Saul Good, The Pub, and Windy Corner Market and Restaurant.

Weekly News from KY

May 13 2012
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Earlier this week, we found four kittens in the tack house outside of the lower barn.  They seem to be about four weeks old and we think that they are all females.  Now we are surveying everyone to come up with names for them.

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On Wednesday, the Kentucky Horse Park had an open cross country schooling day.  The place was packed and Team CEO brought our fair share of horses to school (25 horses to be exact!)  As part of the final set, I was able to ride Owen.  We warmed up by jumping a course of 8 beginner novice / novice fences.  Then we headed to the water complex where we jumped a fun combination – coop, bending line through the water to a big log out, roll back to jump a log that was in the middle of the water.  Next we schooled the coffin complex and finally the sunken road complex.  Everything was solid Training level questions and Owen jumped everything in rhythm and out of stride.  What a good boy!

Squishy is almost 1 month old!  Having broodmare Coral and her foal Squishy (Widespread Wisdom) around the farm makes everyone smile. 

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While Megan is in Ohio competing 6 horses at the Winona Horse Trial this weekend, I am back at the barn making sure that everything is OK and keeping some of the horses fit.  My favorite horse to ride this weekend (beside Owen) is Nemo (Widespread Panic), Megan’s upper level horse who has completed 2 and 3 star competitions in addition to consistently winning at Intermediate.  What a great opportunity!

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View of Owen and his buddies enjoying the day in their pasture.

Pasture

Non-Riding Duties of a WS

May 11 2012
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Fifty percent or more of my time as a working student is devoted to riding and working with horses.  The other part of my time is spent doing a number of tasks that are focused around running and supporting a top eventing barn including…

1. Taking the upper level horses swimming for fitness.  Last week I got to help take Nemo (Widespread Panic) and Ziggy (Spot Treatment) to the Thoroughbred Center to go swimming.  It is a great way for upper level horses to get exercise without adding extra trauma to their legs.

Nemo Swimming       Ziggy Swimming

2. Getting gas for the Mule.

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3. Stopping by the feed store to buy bags of grain to feed the horses.

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4. Holding the horses for various routine, and not so routine, veterinary care.

5. Packing and unpacking the horse trailer.  This week we had to unpack from taking 14+ horses to the Kentucky Horse Park cross country schooling day and re-pack the trailer to take 6 horses to the Winona Horse Trial in Ohio.

6. Doing horse laundry.  On any given day, we can use 10-20 saddle pads, 8-16 polo wraps, and 8-12 standing wraps.

7. Cleaning and organizing tack and equipment.

8. Fixing jumps and jump standards.

Of course I love riding, but I also enjoy all the other stuff too.  So being a working student is a great fit for me!

Meet Owen–Part 2

May 07 2012
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Now that you know a little about Owen’s history, I wanted to share more info about his personality.

On The Ground: Owen has spectacular ground manners.  He will stand for the vet, dentist and farrier (including hot shoeing) with his head lowered and his eyes half closed.  He will stand tied to the outside of the trailer or in the crossties in the barn aisle for hours without making a fuss.  He trailers and clips like a dream.  Owen is an absolute pleasure to be around, but like any horse, he does have his quirks.  Like many thoroughbreds, Owen has very sensitive skin.  In fact, he doesn’t like to be brushed or saddled or have anything touch his skin (sweat, rain, flies).  Owen has deadly aim with his tail which lashes out in annoyance when anything “offensive” touches him.  :-)

DSCN0142           Owen Jumping Barrels

Under Saddle: Owen wears his heart on his sleeve.  He tries very hard to please his rider.  He never gives up and never wants to make any mistakes.  When I ride him, I frequently tell him “good boy” and stroke his neck to reassure him that he is doing what is expected of him.  Owen is definitely not a “packer”.  He expects his rider to be his partner and be there with him every step of the way.  Owen is also a “hot” thoroughbred and will sometimes spook or shy at things that other quieter horses will ignore.  Owen loves to gallop and jump and frequently remembers his steeplechasing days when we are out on cross country.  Owen gets along great with most other mares and geldings, but when he is under saddle, he tends to pin his ears and grind his teeth at other horses warning them to keep their distance from us.  Owen is one of the most athletic horses I’ve ever ridden and is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime horse for me.

Here is Owen’s “before” picture when he arrived at Team CEO this summer.  I also plan to take an “after” picture of him as well in four months.  I bet he will be much more muscular!

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