Thursday, January 17, 2019

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Cross Country Schooling at Flying Cross

Aug 27 2012
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On August 26, several Team CEO riders drove 75 miles West to Skylight, KY to cross country school at the gorgeous Flying Cross Farm.  Flying Cross hosts a USEA recognized horse trial every September and is known to be one of the most challenging events in Area VIII.  Getting the opportunity to have Megan coach us through all the difficult Training level questions at FCF will be one of my most memorable experiences of the summer.

Owen and I successfully navigated several unique cross country questions – drop into water, skinny brush fence, double up banks, down bank with a roll top, one stride combination, picture frame, full coffin, mound to log, sunken road, and more!  Megan and several other Team CEO riders commented on how much more confident and secure I looked as a rider during this outing versus several weeks ago.  I definitely felt more secure and committed and had a blast as a result! 

Here are more than a few pictures from Sunday.  (These are iPhone pics, so they are not the highest quality).

BarrelsCanoe 2

Brush to WaterDrop Into WaterPicture Frame 2Roll Top Bank 2

Here is a video of Owen and I navigating the Training level one stride combination.

Kelly and Owen - Flying Cross Farm–Training Level One Stride Logs

Summer School Horse Trial Recap

Aug 22 2012
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On August 12, a handful of Team CEO riders took advantage of a local mini trial held at nearby Masterson Station Park.  Riders in the Starter and Beginner Novice divisions were able to compete in all 3 phases of eventing; however, the show also held a Combined Test (dressage and show jumping only) for the Novice and Training divisions. 

Owen and I competed in the Training level division together for the first time ever offsite of Team CEO.  It was a great experience, but I must admit that I was really nervous about show jumping – this was my first time ever jumping a triple combination in competition!

Dressage: Owen was wonderful in dressage warm up.  He has become the utmost professional in dressage – on the bit, engaged, pushing from his hindquarters, and ready to work.  Dressage has become SO much fun to ride!  This was by far our best test to date.  As you can see in the pictures below, Owen has really started to master the “trot lengthening” movement.  Air time!!

IMG_6235

IMG_6230

Show Jumping: Owen warmed up really well for show jumping.  I don’t think he could tell whether he was about to run cross country or show jumping, but either way, he was ready and willing.  (The cross country start box was only a hundred meters or so from the show jumping warm up fences in the same grassy field.)  My goals for this round were to keep a steady, quality canter, be supportive in front of the fences by closing my leg, and make sure to soften my hands and allow Owen to do his job and jump the jumps.  Owen jumped his heart out and didn’t touch a single rail.  I love this horse!

I love that this picture shows how much more secure I am in the saddle and that I can keep my leg position even while jumping – something I couldn’t do before this summer.

Owen SS HT

Here is a video of jumps #1-6 of our round including the triple combination.

Kelly and Owen–Summer School HT–Training Level CT

It’s all in the numbers

Aug 21 2012
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In exactly 2 weeks, I will be loading my stuff into the truck and trailer and heading back to St. Louis.  This “special broadcast” has been amazing, but it will be time for me to return to my “regularly scheduled program.” 

The summer of 2012 has been a great for me – one that I’ll never forget.  As I reflect back on all that I accomplished during my time as a working student at Team CEO, I will never forget the people, the horses, the places, and the experiences. 

Farm

Timeframe: April 26 – Sept 3 (18 1/2 weeks)

Number of horses that I had the opportunity to ride:  28

Ages of horses ridden: 3 to 19 years old (mostly 4 to 8 year olds)

Max number of horses ridden in one day: 6

Number of times on a horse: 261+ (will be over 300 by the time I leave)

Number of times riding cross country: 21

Number of USEA horse trials: 5 (May Daze HT, Midsouth PC HT, Champagne Run HT, River Glen HT, Kentucky Classique HT)

Number of schooling shows: 5 (Georgetown CT, Masterson Dressage Show, YEH Challenge, Summer School CT, Sycamore Ridge Schooling Jumper Show)

Average dressage score in competition: 35

Total number of rails down in competition: 1

Owen yellow verticle

Accomplishments with Owen: consistently going on the bit and coming through, consistently jumping 3’3” courses, confidently schooling Training Level XC, developed medium trot and counter canter

Timeframe for the Young Event Horse Challenge: May 29 – Aug 11 (11 1/2 weeks)

Number of times Fizz was ridden during the YEHC: 23

YEHC 5

Accomplishments with Fizz: grooming, bathing, clipping, braiding, tying, tacking, walk/trot/canter, trotting poles, cross rails, and flower boxes, jacket and umbrella trick

I have really enjoyed writing this blog.  Stay tuned to read about my remaining two weeks in Kentucky and to see how the transition back to the corporate world turns out.

Young Event Horse Challenge Recap

Aug 13 2012
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On May 29th, we took a handful of three year olds out of the back pasture at Team CEO.  They were screaming, shying, running over us, and acting like a group of “teenagers”.  They had burrs in their long manes and tails, fat grass bellies, and whiskers and warts on their muzzles.  Fast forward 2 1/2 months to August 11th where 4 of the 6 horses proved to be broke riding horses and performed successfully at the Young Event Horse Challenge at Team CEO.

I was assigned to work with Femme Fatale (Fizz), a dark bay 2009 filly by Fabuleux (HAN) out of Don’s Lucky Cooky (JC) by French Legionnaire.  She is branded Oldenburg North America.  Fizz is a typical warmblood – “thick skinned” and very laid back.  She is a lovely mover with an amateur friendly attitude.  If she doesn’t work out as an event horse, she will make a very fancy hunter one day!

Fizz and her mom at the Oldenburg NA inspection, Sept 2009.

Fizz Inspection

“Before” pictures.  1) Fizz is on the far left with two of her pasture mates.  2) Fizz bucking in the pasture.  Good thing she didn’t buck like that under saddle!

Youngsters 3buck

I spent time working with Fizz on the ground, in the round pen, and eventually under saddle in the arena.  Fizz quickly learned to be groomed, clipped, tied, and tacked.  I taught Fizz to walk, trot, and canter under saddle.  She learned to move off my leg pressure and stop and turn with rein cues.  Fizz also learned to trot ground poles, cross rails, and flower boxes.  Finally, I had to come up with a trick that would win over the panel of judges.  I worked with Fizz to get her used to a rain coat and an umbrella.  With only 20 rides under saddle, we were ready for the Young Event Horse Challenge competition.

I am so appreciative for the opportunity to work with one of the Team CEO youngsters from the ground up.  I have learned so much about horses and horse training.  I am very sad that my time with Fizz has come to an end, but I know that she will continue on to do great things in the future.  Fizz and the other 3 year olds will be turned back out to pasture for the Fall and Winter to continue growing and maturing.  They will return back to work in the Spring for more training and to begin their careers as event horses.

Here is a few pictures of me working Fizz in the arena in early August.

IMG_0574  IMG_0576

Pictures of Fizz and I at the Young Event Horse Challenge Finals.

Fizz YEHC 3

YEHC 5YEHC 3YEH Challenge

Video of Fizz trotting a cross rail during the YEH Challenge.  What a good girl!

Kelly and Fizz–Young Event Horse Challenge Finals–August 11, 2012

Video of our umbrella trick during the YEH Challenge.  Fizz was such a good sport.  (FYI–all of the adult horses on the farm were terrified of the umbrella, so I had to practice my trick in the arena alone).

Kelly and Fizz–Young Event Horse Challenge–Umbrella Trick

River Glen Summer Horse Trials Recap

Aug 08 2012
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Why is it always easier to write about good news than to write about the bad?  On the one hand, Owen and I were eliminated this weekend by having 5 stops on the cross country course.  On the other hand, I was 90% thrilled with my dressage and show jumping rounds and the other 10% was me making amateur mistakes.  Just like any sport, equestrian eventing definitely has its ups and downs.

Dressage: Owen and I put in a solid test to score a 35.5.  Our trot and canter work is getting more and more consistent as we grow stronger physically and as a team.  We even got three 8’s which may be the most I’ve ever gotten in a dressage test before.  Our big weakness continues to be the walk movements.  I am easily losing 4-10 points on the walk work alone.  I have a plan to work on the walk this week (walk poles, walk/canter transitions, and adding a few taps with the whip).  Fingers crossed that I can convince Owen that walking forward with more march in his step IS important.  He definitely thinks trotting and cantering is more fun and I agree!

Kelly and Owen–River Glen Summer HT–Novice Test B

Show Jumping: Owen and I had a double clear show jumping round.  He is getting more confident and jumping more athletically as my riding position improves.  I’m learning to sit down and to soften my reins to the fences.  Jumps 1-9A were great!  In the final combination, I thought that Owen was going to put in an extra stride and I got left behind at jump 9B.  My horse is a saint for putting up with my mistakes.  :-)

Kelly and Owen–River Glen Summer HT–Novice Show Jumping

Sunday Morning: River Glen is a great event.  The organizers, volunteers, and facilities are wonderful!  They held a wine and cheese welcome party Friday evening, a competitors’ dinner Saturday evening, and had someone playing the bagpipes Sunday morning.  My cross country ride time was 9:00 am, so I started tacking up Owen at 7:45 am right when the bagpipes started playing.  Owen is usually super chill about cross country, but he started getting very worked up and excited.  The best we can tell is that Owen thought the bagpipes were the “call to the post” in horse racing!  I told Owen that he was now too fat to be a race horse and that I was way to heavy to be a jockey.  :-)  After walking him around and hand grazing him for 5-10 minutes, he calmed down and we were ready to focus on cross country again.

Bagpipes

Cross Country: I was super excited to run cross country with Owen.  The course was challenging but fair.  There were tons of terrain questions on the hilly mountainside, several fun combinations, and a few maxed out tables.  We jumped around #1-8 with no problems at all.  Then Owen got “behind my leg” and we had problems at the next few fences.  I ended up leaving the course after trotting Owen through the water jump.  My super awesome trainer Megan suggested that we stay at River Glen until after the event on Sunday in order to school the cross country course.  So Sunday afternoon, I actually got to jump #7-18 in order and finished the course in good form.  I learned to ride more assertively on cross country, and hopefully Owen learned that he has to take me more seriously next time out and that' it’s easier just to jump the jumps the first time!

Here are a few pictures of Megan walking Owen and I out to the cross country course.

Owen 2  Owen 3

What’s Next: Owen and I will be competing at the Summer School Combined Test at Masterson Station Equestrian Park on Sunday, Aug 12.  We will perform Training Test A for the first time in front of a judge, and then complete a Training level show jumping round.  It should be a lot of fun! 

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