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Highs and Lows

Jan 31 2013
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As an equestrian, you become very familiar with the highs and lows that come with being around horses.  You can be on top of the world one minute, and hit rock bottom the very next.  I experienced my own highs and lows over the 2012 show season.  The low points weigh heavily on my mind and in my heart, but getting a chance to celebrate the highs make it all worthwhile in the end.

On a high note, here is a list of Year End Awards that Owen and I received for the 2012 show season.  Reminding myself of the highs keeps me motivated as I prepare for the 2013 season (despite my exorbitant work schedule and the frigid weather).  I am so proud of the partnership I formed with Owen last year and I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association
2012 High Point Divisional Award, Amateur Novice Horse Trials, Fourth Place

MESDA Year End Award

United States Eventing Association
Eventing Silver Medal Program, Beginner Novice Level Award

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It’s Never Too Early to Prepare

Jan 25 2013
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In 7 weeks, Owen and I will be heading to Aiken, South Carolina to join Team CEO for a week of training to kick off the 2013 Eventing season in style.  I am beyond excited, so I have started preparing for the trip.  It’s never too early to prepare, right?

Last Saturday, it was 60+ degrees in St. Louis!  After riding dressage in the indoor, I decided to give Owen a much needed bath.

Here’s picture of Owen after his bath in his robe. (Sorry for the poor quality iPhone pictures.)

Bath Time

Early Sunday morning, my friend Lei helped me body clip Owen.  It took about 3 hours to clip his entire body except for his legs, a saddle patch on his back, and his ears.  He is very ticklish, so clipping his belly, sides, and flanks was very time consuming.  (We are going to clip his ears when he is a little “sleepy” later on in the week.)

Clipping Owen

After clipping Owen, I tacked him up including a quarter sheet to keep him warm while we road outside in the 20 degree weather.  Here’s a picture of Owen ready for our ride.

Workout Ready

Owen may not appreciate his new hairdo while it is 20-30 degrees in St. Louis, but he will love it when he is in Aiken where it will be 60-70 degrees!  He will also love it when we compete in a jumper schooling show on February 2-3 in a heated indoor complex in Lake Saint Louis.

Besides clipping Owen, there are several other things on my “to do” list to prepare for Aiken:

- Spring vet check and shots for Owen (scheduled for March 2nd)
- Annual dental work for Owen (tentatively March 9th) 
- Farrier shoeing for Owen (scheduled for March 14th)
- Trailer Maintenance (should be completed on January 26th)
- Truck Maintenance (tentatively scheduled for early March)
- Point Two Air Vest Maintenance (should be completed by February 1st)
- Purchase 2 new sets of bell boots (should be completed by February 9th)

Everyone at Team CEO has been posting Aiken trip pictures on Facebook from previous years.  Megan has also been telling us about all the cool things she is planning for us to do.  I can’t wait!  This is going to be the trip of a lifetime! 

Winter will be over before I know it

Jan 13 2013
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On Friday I had a thought…winter will be over before I know it.

In 9 weeks, Owen and I will be trailering to Aiken, South Carolina to spend the week training with Team CEO.

Aiken Sign

In 12 weeks, Owen and I will be trailering to Lexington, Kentucky to compete at Spring Bay Horse Trials.  The first of several Horse Trials I hope to attend in 2013.

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I contested the Beginner Novice level at this event in 2011 and 2012.  In 2013, I believe Owen and I will be ready to start the season out at Novice.  For the first time I feel like I haven’t lost a lot of ground throughout the winter.  Owen and I are happily cantering around 3’-3’3” courses in the indoor, and we are practicing Novice and Training level dressage movements with ease.  I feel a lot further along in our training and fitness levels in January 2013 than I did in April/May of 2012.  I owe a lot to my wonderful boarding barn which has a safe facility for us to train throughout the winter.  I also owe a lot to my friend Lara who has been riding Owen for me during the week when I’ve been busy at work.

Yes, winter will be over before I know it, but I will be ready for Spring!

Pretty Awesome Day

Jan 10 2013
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On Monday morning, I checked my phone and found an email from work.  The subject line read “You have won a TGP North America People Developer award!”  At first I thought the email was sent to me by mistake.  Out of tens of thousands of TGP employees in North America, certainly they did not choose me to win a prestigious award?

I decided not to think too much about the work email as I headed to Chesterfield Mall to meet my mother and my mother-in-law-to-be to begin planning my wedding.  I am very lucky to have both of these amazing women in my life.

Here is a picture of me and my mom that was taken in 2011.

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After lunch, I headed to the barn to ride my horse.  I walked out to the pasture and found him snoozing in the sun. (The sun is deceiving.  It was really 20 degrees and windy, hence Owen’s winter attire.)  I tacked him up and jumped him around a set of 4 jumps in the indoor including white barrels, a green wall, a square oxer, and a vertical with the AstroTurf draped over it.  Slowly, Owen is beginning to accept the AstroTurf as a fact of life, but this skill is not show-ready yet.  We still have 3 more weeks to practice before attending a jumper schooling show February 1-2 at the impressive National Equestrian Center in Lake Saint Louis.  They usually have a green roll top setup as one of their jumps in the hunter ring.  That will be a good opportunity to test this skill in a show environment.

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After riding, I returned home to find a postcard that had been delivered in the mail.  The postcard read: “Congratulations.  You have won a MSEDA Year End Award!”  I couldn’t believe it.  This is the first year end award I have ever received for riding.  I do not even know what the award is for, but my friends at Team CEO said that they would go to the banquet, pick up the award, and mail it to me.  I can’t wait to see it!

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Between the year end eventing award, the award from work, getting to spend time with my mom and future mother-in-law, and getting to ride Owen, I would say that I had a pretty awesome day.  Here’s to many more awesome days in 2013.  :-)

Icing on the Cake

Dec 22 2012
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2012 was a very exciting year for me.  I gained invaluable experience at work in my first year as a Senior Manager, I spent 4 months living and working at a thriving Eventing barn in Lexington, I learned a ton about myself, my riding, and my horse, and now I’m back at work in St. Louis taking my career to the next level.

So what could be better than that, you might ask?  The icing on the cake came during the second weekend in December in Vancouver, B.C.  My boyfriend and I were in Canada to attend an annual holiday party for the company with which he works.  On Friday, we visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park to see all of the holiday lights.  On Saturday, we spent the crisp, sunny morning driving along the coast, riding the cable car at Grouse Mountain, and hiking at Shannon Falls Provincial Park to see the waterfall. 

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At a scenic overlook point by the waterfall, my boyfriend got down on one knee, pulled a ring out of his pocket, and asked me to marry him.  Of course, I said yes!  Nathan and I have been dating for 15 months and I knew that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. 

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Nathan, Abby (my dog), Cassie (his cat), and I are one big happy family living in my townhouse in Illinois.  We are excited to plan a destination wedding in Riviera Maya, Mexico for August 2013.  We also hope to have a reception in St. Louis in September 2013 to celebrate with our friends and family.

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I have a 25+ mile drive into St. Louis every day to work long hours at my client site Monday-Friday.  That makes it hard for me to see Owen during the week, but I make sure to carve out time for him on the weekends to trail ride, practice dressage, school gymnastics in the indoor, or jump around the practice jumps in the pastures.  I am very lucky to have a large support system at Avalon Farm with people who help watch over Owen and take care of him for me when I am gone.

What’s Next:  In addition to planning my wedding and honeymoon, and I also planning to take time off work to head to Aiken, South Carolina in March with Team CEO Eventing for an intense week of training to kick off the 2013 season on the right hoof.  I can’t wait to see my KY friends and their horses again! 

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