Thursday, January 17, 2019

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From Gateway Arch to Kentucky Bluegrass

Sep 27 2013
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One of my dreams has always been to keep my horse at a barn with an upper level event rider/trainer who can help me learn and progress as a rider myself.  Unfortunately, St. Louis is not the place to live to make that dream come true.  After four months as a working student in Kentucky in 2012, I knew that was the place to be.

My wonderful husband graciously agreed to support my dream and move to Kentucky with me.  We contacted both of our companies to gain approval on the transfer.  In true bureaucratic fashion, it took several weeks/months to get the proper approvals….but we did!

Arch View   Arrow    Bluegrass

August was not only an incredibly busy wedding month for us, but a moving month as well.  We visited Kentucky a few times to find a place to live and packed up our house in St. Louis in our spare time.  On Saturday of Labor Day weekend (only a week after our wedding reception!), we loaded a 26 foot U-Haul truck with all of our possessions and headed East convoy-style with the dog, cat, and horse in tow. 

I had a lot of life changes in the past month!  I almost feel like I am having an identify crisis.  Luckily, 10 years of being a consultant has prepared me well for dealing with change.  :-)

  • Last name…Reiter to Rover
  • Home address…Swansea, IL to Georgetown, KY
  • Work location…St. Louis, MO to Cincinnati, OH
  • Client location…St. Louis, MO to Hartford, CT

My new weekly routine…Every Monday morning I get up at 4:30 AM and fly to Hartford to arrive at my client site by 12:00 PM.  I spend 3 nights in a hotel before flying back to Kentucky on Thursday nights, arriving home by 11:00 PM on a good day.  I work from home on Fridays and try to squeeze as much of my home-life and horse-life into a 3 day window as possible. 

Plane       Logos

 

All of our four-legged, furry kids have settled into the new routine well and are excitedly waiting our next adventure!

Cassie  Owen   Abby

Reiter-Rover Wedding Recap

Sep 26 2013
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Warning: This post is not about horses or eventing.  Proceed at your own risk.  :-)

I intentionally took a break from riding for the months of July and August so that I could focus my time and energy on my pending nuptials.  Though I missed it a ton, and experienced horse show withdrawal, I think it was the right choice.  After all, you only get married once, right?

Bed   Heart   Shells and Rings

The majority of July was spent on wedding and reception planning….buying clothes for Mexico, making gift bags, ordering wedding jewelry, getting my wedding dress fitted and altered, picking out the ceremony music, meeting with the reception DJ, selecting cakes, and deciding on reception centerpieces and decorations.  The weeks seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye!

Decorations   Favors   Flowers

On July 28, Nathan and I got to the airport bright and early and traveled South to the Secrets Maroma Beach Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.  We were fortunate enough to be accompanied by 17 of our closest friends and family for a week filled with white sandy beaches, swim up bars, bottomless drinks, amazing food, and good company.  We finished the week with a wedding ceremony on the beach on August 3rd.  With our toes in the sand, we recited our vows, exchanged rings, signed an endless stack of legal documents, and officially became husband and wife.

Toes in the Sand   Ceremony   Hands

On August 4, we left Riviera Maya and traveled by ferry to the nearby island of Cozumel.  Nathan and I spent a week at the Secrets Aura Cozumel Resort for our honeymoon.  Our week was highlighted by snorkeling the reef and swimming with the dolphins.

Resort           

On August 24, Nathan and I celebrated our marriage with family and friends for a formal reception on the St. Louis Gateway Arch Riverboat Becky Thatcher.  It was an amazing event, but it went by so quickly!  I wish I had more time to spend with everyone, especially since we had people travel from all over the country to attend.

Arch  Riverboat

Now that the wedding chaos is over, I can say wholeheartedly that this was my dream wedding.  If I had to do it all over again, I would not change a thing.  

Thank you to all of our friends and family!  Your love and support mean the world to us!

To my husband…thank you for joining me on this crazy adventure called life.  Love you more!

Team CEO Eventing Weekend 2013

Jun 24 2013
95
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The weekend of June 14-16 my friend and I loaded our horses into the trailer and headed to Lexington, KY for the Team CEO Eventing Weekend.  The clinic included 3 days of lessons in dressage, show jumping, and cross country and a bunch of informative guest speakers and helpful demonstrations.  I was able to meet new people, visit with old friends, and immerse myself in the sport of eventing!

Friday: After an easy drive East on I-64, we made it to the farm early in the afternoon and got our horses settled into their stalls.  After unloading and parking the trailer, I tacked up Owen to get ready for our dressage lesson.  Owen was tense and unfocused during the first part of our lesson, but after working at the stretch trot and canter, Owen began to loosen up and get to work. 

Dressage

Megan also had us work on a new exercise with foam balls that allowed us to practice making a distinction between riding a 20 meter circle and riding along the arena railing and into the corners.  Very cool!

Friday night we hung out with the Team CEO gang and had dinner at O’Charley's Restaurant before heading to the hotel for showers and sleep.

Saturday: In the morning, I headed out to the arena to watch the Prelim group show jump.  What an impressive group of horses and riders!  They definitely gave me something to strive for.

Later in the morning I tacked up Owen for our show jumping lesson.  Owen was wonderful!  I had a great time jumping through the exercises that Megan had prepared for us.

Handling the dreaded green roll top without any problems!
Green Roll Top 2

The liverpool jump…with Howard in the background.  :-)
Liverpool 2

Picture perfect over the white gate…
SJ Gate 3

Mastering the barrel exercise…practicing our accuracy to skinny fences.
Barrels 2

After our show jumping lessons, we watched a demonstration on equine massage and listened to a guest speaker discuss grooming techniques.  We also practiced braiding a horse’s mane, wrapping a hoof, wrapping legs, and tying a stock tie.

In the afternoon, clinic participants had the unique opportunity to sit on one of Megan’s horses to learn what it feels like to ride an upper level dressage horse.  In addition to practicing my sitting trot on Houdini while on the longe line, I also got a dressage lesson on Nightfall (son of upper level eventer Windfall).

Nightfall (“Ryan”)
Ryan 1

Saturday night we headed to a local Mexican restaurant to enjoy an early dinner with all of the clinic participants.  Howard generously brought his laptop to dinner so that we could get a preview of the wonderful (and educational) pictures he had taken over the first 2 days of the clinic.

Sunday: Sunday was cross country day!  After feeling how awesome Owen was jumping on Saturday, I was excited to see what we would be able to accomplish on Sunday.  I was not disappointed!  Megan challenged us with cross country exercises including a sunken road, double toothbrush skinnies, brush drop fence, a Novice corner, a Prelim coffin, Novice trakehner, ditch and wall, and more! 

Video of us jumping the Novice Corner and the Prelim Coffin
Owen and Kelly–Team CEO Eventing Weekend–June 16, 2013

Brush fence which dropped into the sunken road.
Brush Fence

Red training level cabin.
Red cabin

Toothbrush #1Toothbrush 7

Toothbrush #2
Toothbrush

What’s Next: I am spending July and August off from horse showing to focus on my upcoming nuptials.  I’m sure I will sneak in a few lessons or cross country schoolings, but my next recognized event will not be until the September/October timeframe. 

Queeny Park HT 2013 Wrap Up

Jun 21 2013
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Queeny Park is a St. Louis County public park located a short 45 minute drive away from my home base.  The park is frequented by dog lovers and horse lovers alike.  Once a year, Queeny Park hosts a USEA recognized Horse Trials including Starter level through Preliminary.  Since this is the only horse trial within 2 hours of St. Louis, I try to support the event by competing or volunteering every year.

This year Owen and I decided to try out the Area IV Novice Championship division.

Dressage: Owen and I had one of our best dressage warm ups to date.  Owen was focused, relaxed through his back, and on the bit despite less than ideal warm up conditions (small, hilly, crowded, grass field).  We performed a fairly good test in front of the judge and, despite Owen spooking through four of the movements, ended up with a score in the 30’s to be in the middle of the Novice Championship division.

Dressage

Owen and Kelly–Queeny Park HT–June 2013–Novice Test B

Cross Country: Owen and I had to get through the first 2-3 fences before hitting our stride and sailing through the rest of the cross country course.  I love the feeling of Owen galloping confidently across the country side sailing over jumps and through the combinations, banks, ditches, and water complex with ease.

Owen and Kelly–Queeny Park HT–June 2013–Novice Championships

Show Jumping: Show jumping didn’t quite go as planned.  Owen warmed up well and we completed jumps 1-5 well, and then we were done.  Owen and I are both happy and health and we will live to show/ride another day. 

What’s Next: Owen and I are head to Lexington, Kentucky the very next weekend to attend the June Adult Eventing Weekend at Team CEO. 

Greater Dayton Horse Trial Wrap Up

May 23 2013
46
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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….

photo

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. 

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