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Greater Dayton Horse Trial Wrap Up

May 23 2013
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My name is Kelly and I’m an event-aholic.  Yes, I admit that I am addicted to horse showing!  I love packing up the truck and trailer and hitting the road for 3 days to do nothing but spend time outdoors, living and breathing horses.  It is such a welcome change from my every day routine of sitting at my computer or in business meetings all day. 

I would rather see this….

photo

Than this….

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To date, I have competed in one or more recognized horse trials in 8 different states: MO, IL, KS, IA, TN, KY, IN, OH.  The state of Ohio, and the Greater Dayton HT, did not let me down.  It was a fabulous event – well organized, great footing, neat location, nice people.  As an added bonus, I got to see all of my Kentucky friends from Team CEO as well. What a fun weekend!

Friday: My friend and I got up super early to load the horses and hit the road to Ohio.  The trip from home to Fairborn, OH was only 30 minutes further than the trip I usually take to Lexington, so overall the drive wasn’t too bad.  When we arrived, we were pleased to find that we were stabled with the other Team CEO horses in the permanent barn (instead of the temporary tent stalls).  We were also pleased to find that our hotel accommodations were nicer than our usual horse show digs.  Both Owen and I were going to sleep well on this trip!

GD Stabling

Dressage: My dressage time was scheduled for late Saturday morning.  Warm up was very crowded at this time.  In one space, Training riders were warming up for show jumping.  In a second space, Novice riders were warming up for dressage.  I chose to warm up in a third space which actually contained a few retired cross country fences.  Imagine Owen’s excitement when we were flatting in a field with cross country jumps!  His mind was not focused on dressage at first, but he quickly began to settle and get to work.

Our test was smooth and consistent.  I actually thought our test was going fairly well until the free walk.  Owen started the movement off well, but then surprised me when he took off trotting.  Not “jigging”, but trotting!!  I locked my hips and braced my seat against his forward motion in the hopes that he would settle back into the walk.  No luck!  I had to take up the reins and ask him to transition back to the walk before starting the “medium walk” movement in the corner.  Luckily, we recovered quickly and finished the test.  Silly horse!  That’s what I deserve for teasing him about his lack of impulsion in the walk!

Kelly and Owen–Greater Dayton HT–May 2013–Novice Test B

Show Jumping: The show jumping course looked very fun to ride.  It was straight forward and flowed nicely, but had a couple of tricky spots that caught horses and riders off guard (fence 4 and fence 9A).  Only 5 of the 13 riders in my division jumped double clear, and I was one of them!  Owen was fantastic!  I think it is safe to say that this was my best show jumping round to date.

Megan coaching us in warm up.SJ Warmup 2

Kelly and Owen–Greater Dayton HT–May 2013–Novice Rider B

Cross Country: Similar to show jumping, the cross country course looked very fun and doable with a couple of tricky spots that could catch riders off guard.  Only 6 of the 13 riders in my division finish cross country with no time or jump faults, and I was one of them!  Owen was a super star from start box to finish flags!  We attacked the course effortlessly as a team with an even pace and jumped everything out of stride.  What a rush to feel that kind of partnership come together!  All of our hard work seems to be paying off.

Kelly and Owen–Greater Dayton HT–May 2013–Novice Rider B

Owen and I finished the competition on our dressage score!  Only one other rider in my division also had that accomplishment.   I’m so proud of my horse!

Owen showing off his second place ribbon.Ribbon

What’s Next:  Owen and I have a few weeks at home to brush up on our dressage and practice for the Area IV Novice Championships at Queeny Park Horse Trials in early June. 

Practice: Schooling, Lesson, and Clinic

May 08 2013
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XC Schooling: After jumping a ton of Training level cross country jumps in Aiken (and a few Prelim questions), and breezing around the Novice course at Spring Bay Horse Trials, I was excited to head to Queeny Park on April 13 to go cross country schooling.

We started at the start box, warmed up over jump 1, and then worked our way around the course.  I occasionally jumped a few Novice fences, but mostly focused on the Training jumps.  We sailed over the fort jump, faux corner, real corner, big trakehaner, bank complex, and water complex with ease.  Owen was relaxed, confident, and forward on a soft rein the entire time.  I could not have been more pleased!

SJ Lesson: The next weekend, Owen and I headed to Brody Robertson’s farm for a show jumping lesson.  Owen was jumping great, even kicking up his heels over the jumps for extra effort.  He was a little fresh, but I loved his enthusiasm.

Lesson with Brody Robertson–April 2013

XC Clinic: May 5th I headed back to Queeny Park to participate in a cross country clinic taught by an instructor from the North side of Area IV.  Despite getting several inches of rain throughout the week/weekend/day, the footing held up fairly well.  Nevertheless, we kept the jumping to a minimum so as not to tear up the footing and to save our horses’ legs.  We tried out the bank complex and the water complex and called it a day.  It was definitely my least exciting cross country school for the last year, but it was nice to get out of the indoor and stretch our legs.

Lesson with Camie Stockhausen–May 2013 at Queeny Park

What’s Next: I have one more weekend left of “practice” before heading to Ohio to compete at the Greater Dayton Horse Trials.  I feel more than ready for our next Novice outing, so it is nice to enjoy the ride and not stress about whether or not we are fully qualified or prepared. 

Spring Bay HT 2013 Wrap Up

Apr 27 2013
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I has officially been a year since I started this blog!  It has also officially been a year since Spring Bay HT 2012.  What a difference a year makes.  In 2012, I was hoping that Owen and I could make it through a Beginner Novice event without being eliminated.  In 2013, I was walking the Training level courses and wishing I was competing at Training instead of Novice.

Friday: With 3 friends in the truck and 3 horses in the trailer, the drive from St. Louis to Lexington was was quick and easy.  Once we got to the Kentucky Horse Park, we setup our stalls, picked up our competitor packets, rode, bathed, braided, and fed the horses, walked our cross country courses, ate dinner, and headed to bed.  The weather was perfect – sunny and mild with a light breeze.  We knew it was going to be a great weekend.

Dressage:  Our dressage time was around 11:30 am Saturday morning.  Owen warmed up really well and then we headed into the show ring.  Our test was steady and professional.  I need to work on keeping Owen rounder and deeper into the frame, but otherwise, the test was fairly good.  Also, this was my first time riding Novice Test A at a show, so it didn’t come as naturally as the Novice Test B does for me.

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HT 2013–Novice Test A

Trotting down center line.Dressage 1

Medium walk in the corner.Dressage 5

Show Jumping:  Saturday afternoon it was time for show jumping.  We had to share one warm up arena with both the Beginner Novice and Novice horses so it was very crowded.  Owen was upset about all of the horses running around invading his personal space and getting too close to his “mom”.  We trotted and cantered briefly, jumped 2-3 fences and then waited for our turn near the competition ring.

Our show jumping round was fairly rhythmical and consistent.  Owen was jumping great and was feeling good.  After spending the entire winter jumping in our indoor arena at home, jumping in the large outdoor ring was a big change.  Owen got strong a couple of times, but I remembered to sit up, keep my shoulders back, and not collapse and let him drag me around.

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HY 2013–Novice Rider Division

Getting last minute advice from Megan.SJ 1

Owen does not want to touch a rail.SJ 8

SJ 3

SJ 6

Cross Country:  On Sunday, we packed up the truck and trailer and headed to Masterson Station Park for cross country.  Several Team CEO riders, including Megan, rode the Novice cross country course before I did, so I was able to get detailed advice from them about how the course was riding.  I learned that the course was very “trappy” and that there were lots of opportunities for the horses to get stuck behind the rider’s leg.  That is a problem that Owen and I have had in years past, so I knew I needed to ride the course confidently and somewhat aggressively.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1….have a nice ride!  Out of the start box we went.  Owen and I went flying around the course and had a great time! Everything felt so easy and fun. The only bobble was before jump 10, a narrow brush fence that went from a sunny, open field to a dark tree filled area. Owen propped and seemed to ask “mom, are you sure?”  My prompt answer was “yes!” And off we went.

Owen and I finished the event on our dressage score!!  Better yet, we got to take home a second place ribbon in a big Novice Rider division.  What a way to start the season!

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HT 2013–Novice Cross Country Part 1

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HT 2013–Novice Cross Country Part 2

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HT 2013–Novice Cross Country Part 3

Over the faux ditch and wall.Ditch and Wall 2

What’s Next: Owen and I will be headed to Ohio to compete at the Greater Dayton Horse Trial in mid-May with the rest of the Team CEO group. I have never been there before, so I’m excited to check it out and ride at a new venue.

Aiken 2013: Long Road Home (Day 9)

Mar 25 2013
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On Day 9, we were supposed to spend the morning cross country schooling at Full Gallop Farm, the afternoon at the famous Aiken Steeplechase, then have a formal dinner at The Wilcox.  Unfortunately, it ended up raining in Aiken for 12 hours straight.  Add chilly weather  (30’s and 40’s) to the rain and we did not have weather conducive to a day of outdoor fun. 

In addition to the poor weather in Aiken, we were getting weather reports of a bad snow storm about to hit the Midwest.  So we all packed up our trucks and trailers and decided to cut our trip a day short and head home.

We left the Aiken Complex at 9:00 AM ET and arrived in Lexington, KY at 6:00 PM ET.  I spent 30 minutes moving my stuff from my friend’s rig to my rig while Owen relaxed in a stall and got some water.  Then I left Lexington at 6:40 PM ET and kept driving West to Millstadt, IL and arrived back at my barn at 12:00 AM CT.  That was a LONG day, but it was worth it.  By 10:00 AM the next morning, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana were starting to get hit with a snow storm.  By Monday morning, the St. Louis metro area had 12.5 inches of snow accumulation!

Snow at my house (and my dog Abby playing with her Frisbee).

Snow at House

Snow at the barn (the horse is laying down to roll).

Snow at the Barn

Snow on the roads.

Snow on the Roads

I was very sad our Aiken trip had to end, but I am SO glad Owen and I got home before the snow storm hit. 

Will I go on the Aiken trip again? –  ABSOLUTELY!
Was it worth it? – YES! 
Do I feel more prepared for the 2013 show season? – DEFINITELY!

A huge THANKS to Megan Moore for making this all possible.  She is single-handedly making my dreams come true.  Her patience, generosity, and kindness are unparalleled.  She has spent many hours/months/years helping me to learn more about my horse and myself, break old habits, and become a better rider.   I am incredibly grateful.  To quote Megan, I am forever looking for “that positive, encouraging, non-desperate, confident, I want that-go get that-kind of ride.”

Aiken 2013: Hitchcock Woods (Day 8)

Mar 25 2013
19
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This morning we went on a shopping spree!  We started at the Boots, Bridles & Britches shop where they were having an anniversary sale and everything was 25% off.  Then we headed to the Aiken Saddlery & Supply where they had lots of good tack and barn equipment.  Finally we headed to the Oak Manor Saddlery to look through their consignment tack and wide assortment of show clothes.  It was a miracle I made it through the morning without spending too much money.  :-)

Next we went to lunch at Becky’s On The Corner.  Several people in our group didn’t get to go there on Day 6, so we went there for a second time, which I was more than happy to oblige.  This time I had a root beer, gyro sandwich, and sweet potato fries.

Similar to Day 3, we tacked up the horses and went to Hitchcock Woods to hack the horses.  This time we explored a different section of the 2,000 acre park.  This place is amazing!

Here is a video of Owen and I from our dressage lesson on Day 7 (0:00 – 0:41) and of us jumping a cross country fence at Jumping Branch Farm on Day 6 (0:42 – 0:50) and of Owen and I jumping in Hitchcock Woods on Day 8 (1:16 – 1:33).

Hitchcock Woods, Aiken, SC–March 2013

Jump 2

Jump

Bog downhill brush fence.  This picture doesn’t do the jump justice.  It was a ton of fun!

Large Bush

We also got to ride across the quick sand river twice.  Definitely not something I get to experience every day living in the Midwest.

For dinner we headed to West Side Bowery in downtown Aiken.  The restaurant décor was very pleasant.  I had the best tenderloin medallions topped with fresh crab meet, steamed vegetables, side salad, baked potato, and Riesling wine.  Yum!

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