Thursday, January 17, 2019

My Blog



Dec 14 2013

2013 was a huge year for me.  My most memorable moment was getting married to my wonderful husband.    The second greatest experience was relocating to Georgetown, Kentucky and getting settled into our new home.  Amongst the chaos, I was able to attend a handful of horse trials and earn a couple of awards:

  • Earned the Silver Medal Award at Novice
  • Earned the Blue Ribbon Award at Novice
  • Ranked 3rd Adult Amateur at Novice in Area VIII
  • Qualified for the Area IV Championships at Novice
  • Qualified for the Area VIII Championships at Novice
  • Qualified for the America Eventing Championships (AECs) at Novice

I am not a super competitive person by nature, but I am very competitive with myself.  This means that the bar will be raised and I will be working harder than ever to achieve even better results in 2014.  I know Owen and I are up to the challenge, especially now that we are based at Team CEO Eventing fulltime.

Consistency is my biggest enemy as an adult amateur.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was able to ride Owen 12 days in a row.  Once December started, I was back to work fulltime and went over 2 weeks straight without seeing my horse.  The lack of consistency in my riding, training and fitness also results in a lack of consistency in my performance at shows – 2nd place in a huge division one weekend, eliminated on cross country the next.  Unfortunately, until I win the lottery and become independently wealthy, consistency will remain to be a challenge.

This winter, Owen and I will be working on our jumping technique.  We will continue to strengthen our partnership as we work to gain confidence jumping around larger courses. 

Pictures from a recent lesson at Team CEO.

Lesson 1 Lesson 2

What’s Next: Owen and I will head to Aiken, South Carolina to train with the rest of the Team CEO gang in March to prepare for the 2014 show season.  We will compete April – October in recognized horse trials with the hope of qualifying for the Training Level 3 Day competition at Midsouth Horse Trials in the Fall.

October Happenings

Oct 27 2013

Owen and I had a busy October.  We finished the 2013 show season with back to back  horse outings for 6 weekends straight.  This blog post covers the last 3 weekends.  I’m sad to see the season come to an end, but I’m determined to spend the winter working hard so that I can start the 2014 season stronger than ever!

Cross Country Schooling: On Saturday, October 12, Megan took a handful of students over the Masterson Station Park to go cross country schooling.  After warming up over some of the Novice jumps, Owen and I got to jump a handful of Training and Prelim obstacles.  We had an amazing time and felt very well prepared for our big move up to Training the following weekend.

Roll Top Prelim Oxer

Ditch Water Drop


Team Challenge HT: For many, Team Challenge Horse Trials in late October is the highlight of the season.  Unfortunately, this continues to be an unlucky event for me. 

Owen started out performing a very respectable dressage test on Saturday morning. 

After dressage, it proceeded to rain for 5 hours straight at the Horse Park. This left the footing for cross country super sloppy for my afternoon ride time. Between my nervousness about the tough Training course, and Owen’s apprehension about the footing, we were not in sync on course and decided to retire and try again another day.  

 Right Lead Canter Halt

Owen and Kelly - Training Test B - Team Challenge HT 2013

As part of the Team CEO Happy Holidays team, Owen and I dressed up as St. Patrick’s Day for our cross country round. 

St Pat's Front St Pat's Rear

St Pat's Gallop

Octoberfest CT
: As our final show for 2013, I entered Owen in a Training Combined Test (dressage and show jumping only, no cross country phase).  I was super happy with our dressage test.  This was our third time performing Training Test B in front of a judge.  There are still several things for us to work on, but I feel like we get a little better every time we perform this test.

Owen and Kelly - Training Test B - Octoberfest HT 2013

For show jumping, Owen and I were not in sync and made several errors early in our round.  We will spend the next 5 months practicing 3’3”+ courses so that we don’t make the same mistakes next year.   Show jumping is usually our best phase, so I think we will get back on track quickly.

Blue Verticle   Purple Oxer

What’s next: Owen and I will spend November-February riding at Team CEO and taking  lessons with Megan.  In March 2014, we plan to go on the annual Team CEO Aiken trip.

Team CEO Eventing Weekend: October 2013

Oct 09 2013

Megan hosts several eventing clinics at Team CEO throughout the year.  I attended the clinic in June and had a fabulous time and the clinic this past weekend exceeded my expectations as well. 

Friday: Megan setup what looked like an easy hunter course in the jumper ring.  I quickly learned that looks can be deceiving!  We had a forward 5 stride double line on one side of the ring and a holding 1 stride to 1 stride triple combination on the other.  In addition, there was an airy vertical set on the diagonal line with a long galloping approach.  All of these situations combined set us up to send the rails flying if we didn’t properly prepare our horses on the short sides of the arena. 

Oxer 2 1269737_10151935890952112_651482266_o

Now that Owen and I have started jumping bigger courses (3’3” to 3’7”), it is essential for me to become more influential in our rides and help him navigate the courses for success.  Owen was wonderful during our lesson and with Megan’s guidance we ended by sailing over a 3’7” oxer with ease.



Saturday: On Saturday we headed out to the front field to school cross country.  Megan had a bunch of new jumps and challenging combinations setup for us.  Owen and I rose to the challenge and confidently jumped around.  This was our best cross country school to date!

1390558_10151858371072092_1719173482_n Owen Ditch and Wall

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Video includes: Tooth brush, sunken road, to tooth brush; log bounce; 2 different ditch and wall jumps.

Sunday: Many of the Team CEO riders are preparing for Novice, Training, or Preliminary Level long format competitions for Fall 2013 or Spring 2014.  After listening to several educational presentations over the Saturday and Sunday lunch breaks, I have decided to aim for a Training Level 3 Day competition for Fall 2014.  This means that Owen and I will have to successfully complete 4 or more regular Training Level horse trials between now and then to qualify for the long format event.  We will also need to prepare for the steeplechase phase of the long format event. 

Megan was fabulous and setup a full steeplechase course for clinic participants to practice on Sunday.  Owen, as a professional steeplechaser in his former career, was in his element and LOVED the steeplechase track and we had a blast! 

902542_10151939847542112_139605633_o  906740_10151939848192112_1379052797_o

What’s Next:  Next weekend I will flat Owen twice and jump him once as a final prep for the Team Challenge HT the following weekend.

Cross Country Video Cam – Jump Start HT Novice Course

Oct 05 2013

Have you ever wondered what it is like to gallop a horse for 5 minutes across the country?  Well now you can get a taste of the action!  I was fortunate enough to borrow my friend’s helmet cam over the weekend so that I could capture all of the fun of running the Novice course at Jump Start Horse Trials 2013.  I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I did!


For readers who are unfamiliar with eventing, here is a play by play of what you will see in the video:

  • I turned the camera on when the timer gave me the 90 second warning
  • I walked Owen through the start box twice for practice so that he wouldn’t spook when it was time to enter the start box for real
  • I started my watch when the timer gave me the 5 second warning
  • Jumps 1 (log) and 2 rode well.  I clucked at Owen to jump 3 (faux corner) to keep him focused.
  • Jumps 4, 5, 6 rode well.  Jump 7A & B was a 2 stride double combination.
  • Jumps 8 and 9 rode well.
  • After jump 9 I started looking left to the ditch
  • I clucked to Owen over the ditch to keep him focused.  You can see his ears flicker back to me.
  • I checked my watch between jumps 10 and 11 to make sure I was doing good on time
  • Jump 12 was a down bank, then a sharp right to the red ramp.  This is a challenging combination at Novice, but I thought it rode super well.
  • Jump 14 (grey roll top) rode well, then we cantered through the water (jump 15)
  • Jumps 16 rode well (brown duck blind).  Then I checked my watch and noticed that we were up on time and were at risk of getting speed faults.  You can see how I half halt Owen and slow down our gallop to a show jumping canter for the last few jumps.
  • Jump 17 (grey table) rode well, then I circled to take up time before jumping the final jump and going through the finish flags
  • I stopped my watch and gave Owen a few pats before turning off the camera

Jump Start HT 2013 Wrap Up

Oct 03 2013

The last weekend in September was a very special one for me - I bought a new trailer, competed in the Jump Start HT accompanied by husband and my Team CEO family, and earned my move up from Novice to Training!

Friday: The weather for the weekend was gorgeous!  I could not wish for better horse show weather.  On Friday, I spent the first half of the day at work, then I headed over to the trailer dealership to pick up my new (to me) trailer. 

I found that with vehicles it is best to start small, used, and cheap and work my way up.  I bought my first truck and trailer in 2007.  I upgraded my truck in 2010 and was finally able to upgrade my trailer this year in 2013.  I am hoping that this rig can keep Owen and I traveling comfortably and in style for the next 10 years or so.  :-)


After getting the trailer, I headed to the Kentucky Horse Park to pick up my competitor’s packet and walk the Novice show jumping and cross country courses.  Both courses looked very small and easy to me.  In fact, I caught myself wishing that I could try to ride some of the Training and Prelim questions instead.  That’s a huge accomplishment for me considering I am normally a big chicken when it comes to that kind of thing. 

Dressage:  My dressage test was scheduled for late Saturday morning.  Owen and I had a great warm up and an equally great test - I was super happy with both!  Apparently, the judge was not overly thrilled with our test, but I think Owen will become fancier and flashier once he is a little fitter and works more through his back in dressage.  We were tied for 10th after dressage with a score of 38.


Cross Country:  Owen was very relaxed and happy walking out to the cross country warm up Saturday afternoon.  Since we only had an hour off from dressage, we didn’t need much of a warm up before heading out on cross country.  As we approached the start box, I could tell this was going to be an exception round.  From start box to finish flags, Owen continued to be confident and adjustable.  He made the round seem flawless and easy.  What an incredible horse!  We finished double clear which moved us into 7th place.

Show Jumping:  Our show jumping ride time was early Sunday afternoon.  I was able to sleep in my own bed at home, get up at 9:00, head to the barn at 10:00, and trailer over to the show at 11:00.  Living so close to the Kentucky Horse Park is amazing!

Owen is typically nervous in the small show jumping warm up area with all of the other horses running around, but he was great this weekend.  One of his old pasture mates, Sarge, from St. Louis and one of his new pasture mates, Riddle, from Lexington were both in the warm up with him, so maybe that helped.  :-) 

Owen and I had a great show jumping round.  Tons of rails were coming down all day, but Owen sailed over all of the jumps with plenty of room to spare to finish double clear which moved us up to 3rd place!

I am thrilled with my horse!  He was happy, confident, and relaxed all weekend.  He did every single thing I asked of him without hesitation. There is nothing better than riding a horse who loves his job!  Our partnership continues to grow stronger and stronger.   We proudly accepted our 3rd place ribbon…and got the nod from Megan that we are ready to run our first Training Level Horse Trial! 

Orange Jump  Ribbon 4

What’s Next: Next weekend we will attend the Team CEO Eventing Clinic Weekend which will focus on dressage, steeplechase, cross country, and show jumping.  This will be the perfect prep for our first Training Level Horse Trial later in the month.

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