Thursday, January 17, 2019

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Random Thoughts from STL

Sep 19 2012
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“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

Inspiration: I think the quote above has been my motto for the entire summer.  It is really easy to find an excuse for just about anything, but it takes a lot of courage to step up and make something happen. 

Step 1: Determine what it is that you want
Step 2: Figure out what it will take to get it
Step 3: Make it happen

Believe it or not, Step 1 can be just as hard as Steps 2 and 3.  My other motto would be “don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.”  If you never ask, the answer will always be “no”.  If you ask, then you have at least a chance of a positive response.

Modeling Debut: A friend of mine asked Owen and I to model in a photo shoot for Horse Illustrated magazine a few months ago.  Apparently we were not horrible models since we actually made the cut!  The 2013 annual edition “Your New Horse” has been released and is being sold in stores throughout the US.

The cover of the magazine looks like this:

Magazine Cover

Pictures of Owen and I can be found in an article on horse nutrition. 

IMG_0594  IMG_0595

From Lexington to St. Louis

Sep 17 2012
35
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Yes, that’s right.  I am writing this blog entry from St. Louis.  Once Owen and I completed the Kentucky Classique Horse Trial Labor Day weekend, I packed up my truck and trailer and headed back home.

A lot has happened over the last 2 weeks since I’ve been back…. 

Owen’s Transition: Prior to moving to Kentucky, Owen spent 14 months living at an amazing boarding stable, Avalon, which is 30 minutes from my house.  Transitioning Owen back to Avalon was fairly minimal….he is happy to be back in his old stall and turned out with familiar friends.  I am lucky to have a full service facility to take care of all of Owen’s needs while I am at work - feeding hay and grain twice a day, stall cleaning daily, watering daily, 12+ hours of turnout on grass pasture per day, etc.  I am also fortunate to have great training facilities at my disposal – round pen, outdoor sand arena, outdoor grass arena, large indoor arena, full set of show jumps, a handful of cross country jumps (more to come soon), and 85+ acres for trail riding and conditioning.  The biggest difference for Owen will be that I now only ride him 2-4 times a week instead of 6+ times a week.  Another big difference is that I wont have a professional (Megan) to help me 6 days a week. 

Here is a picture of a group of people trail riding at Avalon.

Avalon

Living Situation: My boyfriend, his cat, and my dog all lived in a loft apartment in St. Louis City this summer while I lived with three female roommates in the 3 bedroom apartment at the barn in Kentucky.  Now my boyfriend, cat, dog, and I are all moving into my 2 bedroom townhouse in the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.  We planned it so that we would have the entire month of September to make the move, but time is going by fast.  Moving is such a pain, but I can already tell that this transition is a big positive step in the right direction for my life.

Here is a picture of my townhome when it was first built several years ago.

Townhome

Work Situation: I was able to work from home for the first 6 days that I was back.  This greatly reduced my level of stress and helped me transition back to my desk job with ease.  Last Wednesday was my first day back at a client site.  Going to work at a large Financial Services firm is definitely different than working at an Eventing barn.  Differences include:

1. Applying make up instead of sun screen every morning
2. Wearing heels instead of paddock boots, and a business suit instead of breeches
3. Commuting in rush hour traffic for 40 minutes instead of walking out the front door from the apartment to the barn
4. Carrying around a purse and a laptop bag instead of a saddle and a riding helmet
5. Listening to the hum of computers and fluorescent lights instead of horses rattling their buckets and whinnying

On top of all of this, I have been fighting a summer cold for the last week.  I’m on day 11 of being sick, but I’m definitely getting better.

All in all, I am thrilled to be back at home, with friends and family, and back at work.  I love my job and I enjoy being with my co-workers and clients every day.  I love my family, friends, horse and dog and enjoy spending time with them in the evenings and on the weekends.  Sounds like a winning situation to me!

Kentucky Classique Horse Trials Recap

Sep 11 2012
34
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The Kentucky Classique Horse Trial is held Labor Day weekend every year.  I attended this event 6 years ago and I will always remember it as the hardest Novice event I have ever competed in.  The 2012 event lived up to the memory I have from 2006, but Owen and I were ready for the challenge!

Dressage: Megan was busy coaching riders going cross country late Saturday morning, so Owen and I were on our own for dressage warm up.  Luckily, the huge breakthroughs we made in dressage in the month of August stuck with us and we were able to warm up and perform our test without any major mishaps.  Our test was consistent and fluid for a score of 34.  My Novice division ended up being VERY competitive, with all 14 riders scoring 40 or less on their dressage tests, so I ended up tied for 5th after this phase (as opposed to other division where a score of 34 would have put me in 1st).

Cross Country: As I mentioned earlier, the cross country course for Novice ended up being fairly tough.  There were not very many jumps that were maximum height and width (in my opinion), but there were plenty of technical questions that could catch a less experienced horse and rider off guard.  Owen and I finished the course double clean (no jumping or time penalties) and were now in 6th place.

Picture of Owen and I galloping through the Rolex Head of the Lake.  There were three water crossings on this course.  Good thing Owen likes water!

Water 1

After this event, Megan commented to me that I always seem to have one bad jump in every course I ride in competition, both show jumping and cross country.  Well, she is right!  Looking back, I can almost always find one jump that I go over in an exceptionally ugly fashion.  I don’t know if this is the curse of being an amateur rider or what.  Luckily, my horse is super forgiving and doesn’t hold my mistakes against me.  Watch my cross country video and see if you can find the ugly jump.  Overall, the course was so much fun to ride!

Kelly and Owen–Kentucky Classique HT–Novice–September 2012

Show Jumping: The show jumping course looked harmless enough, but tons of rails were coming down in all levels of competition on Sunday.  Over half of the riders in my division alone had one rail down, myself included.  Owen and I finished the event in 7th place.  I felt like our round was confident and forward without being out of control.  Owen is such an extremely careful jumper that he likes to set himself up by placing his feet at the base of the fences before jumping.  This makes it hard for me to keep a consistent rhythm throughout the course, but we will keep working on it. 

Red JumpShow Jumping

Kelly and Owen–Novice–Kentucky Classique HT–September 2012

Looking Ahead: For now, I’m back in St. Louis working at my corporate job fulltime and riding Owen in the evenings and on weekends.  It is important for us to stay tuned up for our last two events of the season – Jump Start Horse Trials and Hagyard Midsouth Team Challenge Horse Trial in September and October, respectively.

Cross Country Schooling at Flying Cross

Aug 27 2012
31
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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
33
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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

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