Thursday, January 17, 2019

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Paul Frazer CT 2015 Recap

Mar 29 2015

I feel like this year is a clean slate for me.  New year, new horse, new show season.  Despite all of my success last year, I couldn’t start the year with the same expectations for this year.  Cullen has never evented before so we get to start from the beginning and do it together.  Paul Frazer CT was our first horse show and also Cullen’s first time at the Kentucky Horse Park.  I had no expectations other than to finish the competition with a positive experience for the both of us. 

On Saturday, I got up before sunrise to head to the barn to wash Cullen’s legs and braid his mane in the 20 degree (“feels like” 12 degree) weather.  It was COLD!  I think the weather in Aiken had me spoiled.  After getting Cullen cleaned up, we loaded and headed over to the horse park.

Dressage: I tacked up Cullen and headed down to dressage.  I trotted and cantered a few circles for warm up and then headed over to the show ring.  We were assigned to ring one which was setup as a large arena converted to a small area with the practice circle at the end.  That gave me the perfect opportunity for Cullen to get used to the white fencing and to get the idea that we were not allowed to jump out of the ring.  :-)  I didn’t need to worry as Cullen was the perfect professional for his first dressage test ever.  He was consistent and obedient which was exactly what I wanted for this point in our training.  We have plenty of time to work on our gaits and transitions throughout this year. 

Show Jumping: Cullen got to relax in the trailer for a couple of hours, and I warmed up by sitting in the truck, before we tacked up for show jumping.  By this time in the day, it had warmed up to a balmy 32 degrees.  :-)  Cullen was a complete gentleman in the warm up area.  Luckily it wasn’t too crowded for his first time in there.  We went down to the show ring for our round and nailed it!  I was so happy with our course!  We had a great pace and rhythm the entire round.  Cullen stepped over all of the fences without batting an eye.  A few times Cullen needed to put in his half step, but we’ll get that smoothed out as we get more practice this year. 

Overall, I was thrilled with our day!  We finished in 7th place out of 15 riders and finished on our dressage score of 39.  And the best part was, it was a blast!  I had so much fun!



What’s Next: Next weekend Cullen and I are headed to Spring Bay Horse Trials where we will compete in a recognized event together for the first time. 

Aiken 2015 Recap

Mar 29 2015

This was my third time going on the Team CEO Aiken training trip and I had an amazing time!  I had 16 days of fun riding Cullen, training with Megan, dining in fabulous restaurants, and hanging out with an amazing group of riders.  Most importantly, this trip allowed Cullen and I to bond and confirmed our relationship as a team.  This was the perfect way to start the 2015 season!  (Photo Credits: Megan M, Cindy K, Nancy K, and Gracie E)

Day 1: My day started early in Kentucky by getting my truck stuck in the ice twice.  Once I got out of the driveway, it was a quick 8 hour drive to Aiken.  After getting Cullen’s stall setup, I had time to hack around the property on Cullen in the 70 degree weather before heading to Maria’s for dinner.


Day 2: Trail ride in Hitchcock Woods then dinner at Casa Bella.


Day 3: Cross country schooling at Jumping Branch Farm then dinner at Aiken Brewery.


Day 4: Show jumping lesson at Paradise Farm, lunch at New Moon, then attended the Aiken Masterclass event.


Day 5: Dressage lesson then dinner at Malia’s.


Day 6: Cross country schooling at Sporting Days Farm then dinner at Tako Sushi.


Day 7: Trail ride in Hitchcock Woods then dinner at Red Pepper.


Day 8: Cross country schooling at Full Gallop then dinner at Maria’s.


Day 9: Trail ride in Hitchcock Woods then dinner at Appizo de Napoli.

Hitchcock 3

Day 10: Cross country schooling at Full Gallop then dinner at Maria’s.


Day 11: Show jumping lesson at Paradise Farm then dinner at The Pizza Joint.


Day 12: Dressage lesson then dinner at Tako Sushi. 

Day 13: Rain Day! Lunch at New Moon, Cinderella at the movies, then dinner at Aiken Brewery.

Day 14: Cross country schooling at Gibbes Farm then dinner at Zorba’s.

Gibbes Suken RoadIMG_4121

Day 15: Glamour shots in the morning, cross country schooling at Paradise Farm then dinner at Mellow Mushroom.


Day 16: We got up early to pack up and drive home.  The 8 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive due to accidents on I-75 in Kentucky, but we made it home safe and sound.  We unloaded and headed to La Antigua for dinner.

What’s Next: Next weekend Cullen and I will compete in our first show – Paul Frazer CT at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Surviving Winter

Feb 28 2015

It has been a long, cold winter.  Over the last few months, I spent time traveling to Hartford, CT and Philadelphia, PA for work and got to experience several Northeastern winter storms firsthand.  Add to that the record snow fall and subzero temps in Kentucky and I can confidently say that I am sick of winter. 

The highlight of my winter is getting to spend time with my horses.  Thanks to the amazing indoor arena at Team CEO, riding after sunset and in inclement weather is possible.

Owen and Cullen showing off their dressage skills.

Owen Dressage Cullen Dressage

Cullen eating (wearing?!?) his warm bran mash dinner and playing in the snow.

Cullen Bran MashCullen Snow

My handsome boy, Cullen.

Cullen StandCullen Jump

In 7 days, Cullen and I are headed south to Aiken, SC for the annual Team CEO Aiken training trip.  I am so excited!  This is my third time going on the trip and my first time going for 2 full weeks.  So what will I do in Aiken for 16 days?

  • Drive 9 hours each way
  • Make 4 trips to Hitchcock Woods
  • Attend 6 cross country schoolings
  • Participate in 2 show jumping practices
  • Compete in 1 CT schooling show
  • Dine at 11 different restaurants for dinner
  • Hang out with 19 amazing riders

I think Cullen is going to love Aiken.  This will be the perfect way for us to continue building a relationship in preparation for the 205 show season, and to escape the cold winter.  :-)

2014: By The Numbers

Jan 02 2015

As 2014 comes to an end, I look back and I am very thankful for the amazing year and all of the opportunities that I had.  This was the first year I was married to my wonderful husband, Nathan; the first year we lived in Kentucky; the first year I traveled full time for work, and the first year I owned two horses.  I have a ton of great memories from 2014 that I will never forget.

I spent most of the year working in Hartford, Connecticut.  I am very thankful for the opportunities and flexibility that my work allows, but I did not appreciate the Northeastern winter.  :-)  Here is my rental car buried in the snow.

Snow in CT

In addition to Connecticut, I also visited Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and California.  Santa Cruz, CA was one of my favorites to visit.

Santa Cruz, CA

I rode 159 days in 2014.  This is amazing considering I spent over 125 nights in a hotel room, far away from horses.

I competed in 7 horse trials and 3 schooling shows and rode in numerous eventing clinics.  Owen and I won the dressage at 6 shows this year and ended up winning 3 horse trials.  Owen then went on to win a fourth horse trial with my friend Andrea in the irons.

Four Wins

After a successful spring at Novice, Owen and I moved up to Training and I completed my first two Training level events which was always a life long dream of mine.

Derbyshire 2014

MSPC 2014

I finished the season as the #1 Adult Rider at Novice in USEA Area VIII.  I was even 2nd on the USEA National Leaderboard for a few weeks this summer. 

This was also the year that I bought my new horse, sight unseen, from Ireland.  Cullen has only been in the US for 3 months, but I am already in love with my new horse and I can’t wait to compete him in 2015.

Cullen 2014

Thank you to all of my friends and family for your love and support in 2014.  Here’s to 2015 being the best year yet!

New Chapter: Getting to Know Cullen

Oct 20 2014

Dayley, Sterling, and Owen (my first 3 horses) were all very influential in helping me become a better horsewoman, rider, and eventer over the last 10 years.  I will forever be grateful to have had them in my life and for the lessons they taught me.  Now I’m excited to start a new chapter in my riding career with my new horse Cullen.

One of the first things that I learned about Cullen is that he is huge!  He is very well put together so his size is deceiving until you get up close to him.  I am starting to realize that none of Owen’s clothing and tack are going to work for Cullen in the long term.  That means it is time to go shopping!!  The first items on the list: oversized halter, 87” sheets and blankets, 6” bit, extra large bell boots, and extra large Woof boots. 

This Amigo XL 87” turnout sheet fits nicely!


The next thing I learned about Cullen is that he enjoys his turnout time.  He loves being outside and is very exuberant and playful when we turn him out with his buddy Riley.  


Cullen is a little impatient and fidgety in his stall and in the cross ties, but that’s not uncommon for young horses.  Cullen loves the barn cats. 


After spending a few days hanging out at Team CEO and getting used to the new routine, it was time to get on Cullen and see how he would behave under saddle.  Here’s a picture of us just moments after climbing into the saddle for the first time.  He was a perfect gentleman for our first ride!

First Ride

I am thrilled that Cullen has taken everything in stride including his first time being cross tied, first mounting block experience, first walk/trot in the outdoor, first canter, first hack around the farm, first time in the indoor, first time over a show jump (he is used to solid jumps).  Cullen is even learning how to do dressage for the first time – trotting on the bit, accepting the bridle, and being balanced on a 20 meter circle. 


Jumping Cullen felt like sitting on a cloud!  So smooth and effortless.  He even changed his lead over the jump.  What a smart boy!


There are only 2 things that Cullen has disliked about his like in the US so far: 1) processed American horse treats and 2) clippers.  Cullen much prefers carrots and apples, but I am slowly getting him to accept packaged horse treats (since they are easier to keep in my tack locker year round).  Cullen was very taken aback by the clippers the first time I showed them to him, but I am confident that with a little bit of work, he will learn that the clippers are an acceptable part of his horse show life.  :-)

What’s Next: Cullen and I will continue to ride at home and take lessons with Megan as often as possible.  Depending on how things go, we may aim to go to a few dressage or jumper schooling shows this winter.

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