Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Work in progress...
Here is what I have since the infamous vanishing of my last post.

2/25, Monday, Day off- 'School' at Panera, with a cup of coffee of course. Shopping adventure with Rachel and Ally in the afternoon. Yes, I did go shopping and I lasted much longer than normal (for those who dont know I have a shopping allergy  after about 20 minutes I get cranky and can even get physical sicknesses from it. But hey thats probably a good thing :p

2/26, Tuesday, I was lucky enough to work at Michael Barisone's for the day. After taking an unplanned tour of Deer Run, then driving back through Deer Run to go back the way I came only to arrive at White Fences without the gait code and having to call in a few times I got to the stable only an hour and a half late. I worked through my anger towards Siri by helping Michael's working students muck stalls. Then the typical feeding and watering and sweeping. According to the girls at the stable we made really good time so I was able to watch Michael teach some lessons as well as ride. Once my sweeping and tack cleaning skills were up to par, including learning and perfecting the Barisone way to hang a bridle, I was able to take a lesson. Nick the horse chauffeur and Eleni delivered Leo and helped me tack up, thanks guys! My lesson was focused on keeping Leo forward and reaching towards the bit. And when something goes wrong "dont buy into the bullsh**, just sit there and he will figure it out!" 

2/27, Wednesday, lesson with Lendon. I also worked with Cindy on a 'machine' called a biocored. The biocored is a series of adjustable intensity bungee cords with handles that we attached to, in our case, a swing set. The exercises we did use controlled instability to activate muscles, especially those in the core. Working with Cindy also helped to elongate my muscles and the body awareness tests we did helped me to feel where all parts of my body were- this was great for my ride with Lendon. In the evening we had a lecture with Don Later in the stable. Don is an internationally know farrier. His theory on shoeing KISS, keep it simple stupid. Well he didnt exactly say that but he does believe that the simplest shoeing possible is the best shoeing for your horse. 

2/28, Thursday, lesson with Lendon. Lecture with Melanie Taylor an Olympic gold medalist and World Cup winner for Show Jumping, breeder of polo ponies, and a practitioner of Buck Brannaman’s form of natural horsemanship. Melanie told us about her experience at the Olympic as well as her riding career but what she seemed to be the most proud of is the difference that natural horsemanship has made in her work with horses. Some quotes from her talk “Awareness gives you feel. Feel gives you timing. Timing gives you accuracy. Accuracy gives you the ride.” “The measure of a great horseman is one who searches for knowledge in all aspects” “you cant replace a good work ethic, determination, and drive” “Its always better if what you want is the horse’s idea first”

3/1, Friday, instead of having our usual hack day Melanie Taylor offered to teach us in a group jump lesson. After some warm up work with accessing the horse’s individual legs (and therefor their balance) we did cavaletti work on angle lines and bending lines. Then Melanie had us do an excercize in timing and communication. We paired up in groups of two and we would each go down opposite bending lines, meeting in the middle, we started in trot over the ground rails then transition up to canter over the x’s and back through the other way. The goal was to have each of the riders in the group go over the rails and do their transitions at the same exact time. I would have to say that Nick and I were pros J. A huge thank you to Melanie for taking the time to teach us!!
After our lesson we had a lecture/demo with horse handler Phil Silva. Phil taught us the proper way to jog our horses for vet inspections, everything from how to hold the reins to the proper turning technique. Each of us were able to jog our horses in front of ‘vet’ Lendon and ‘coach’ Phil. Other than the need for a little more enthusiasm on Leo’s part our technique was approved, looks like we are all set for our CDI :p (we should probably get through second level first, but hey we are ready when the time comes).

3/2, Saturday, before my ride today Melanie Taylor came out again and did some ground work with Leo (and I). Before she works any of her horses she takes them out in a rope halter with a twelve-foot line and does ten or fifteen minutes of ground work. This is really just a practice in focusing the horse to your aids. Leo really benefitted from this and we went on to have one of our best rides ever! We were able to do much more consistent and drama free lateral work and even did two changes (after the first one each way was clean, after not doing changes for 2 months, we didn’t need any more J. A big thank you to Melanie, you definitely get credit for this amazing ride!
Then part two with Phil on judging conformation. We practice judged a few of the horses and got to hear some of Phil’s stories on his work being a horse handler- if you ever want to hear some cool stories and have a good talk call this guy.

3/3, Sunday, Lesson with Lendon- not as amazing as yesterday but still pretty dang good. I started off with the groundwork again {jumping into the future, I am doing groundwork with him every day before I ride}. Lecture with Lisa Schmidt, “R” judge. She walked us through the process of working up the levels of judging as well as telling us a bit about her own journey.

It is hard to tell from the length of my summaries but if you noticed that the last few days seemed a bit easy that would be because I took some time to hang out with my friend Andrea D who came down from Chicago to visit me. It was a lot of fun to show her around, we went to the beach, had some overly large but delicious mozzarella sticks, went bowling, as well as all kinds of other fun stuff J. Thanks for coming down Andrea-here’s your shout out, sorry it’s so late.

3/4, Monday, today I got a much-needed massage! Sleeping on a pullout and working with the horses for over two months has definitely made me miss my bed back home. I also trailered in one of the new girl’s ponies from a nearby barn. It’s late in the game but the barn is still a happening place. (even on Mondays)

3/5, Tuesday,Today we had the wonderful opportunity to spend the morning at Swedish rider/trainer Tinne Vilhelmsen’s stable. First off her property is gorgeous, her use of Real trees was quite nice (there aren’t many of those down here). Her horses and her riding were unreal. Maureen and I were convinced that they were holograms and everything we were seeing was a lie. Besides TInne’s beautiful seat and hands her use of transitions within movements struck a cord with me. For example on the first horse she worked with she did trot-walk-trot transitions within half pass and shoulder in to calm this horse whom she told us is especially hot. Tinne is a very calm and focused rider, which helps her quite a bit especially because she prefers the hotter horses. One of the other horses she brought out was similar to my guy Leopold in his personality and work ethic. It was awesome to see how she worked with this horse to keep him confident and not get too tense and nervous in the ring. This she said is the type horse she/we have to be the most focused on (I guess that means I’m in store for some quality focus time).
Once we got back to the barn Lendon gave us the opportunity to ride on our own, working with some of the things we saw. I, having watched my horse’s uber fancy twin, chose to take that opportunity and Leo performed well.   

3/6, Wednesday, Lesson with Lendon today. Then lecture with Arlene White in the Lox of the hatchee on horse physiotherapy. She taught us a sort of in stable fitness routine for horse’s, especially those on stall rest. With 30 repetitions per exercise per side she has found an impressive increase in the muscle tone of her horses. After taking us back into the barn to demonstrate these stretches she showed us an exercise band system that she uses with her horses. This system consists of a buckle equipped saddle pad and two large exercise bands, one under the horse’s belly and one behind him. This system has worked well for her and is definitely some food for thought. Then we all went out to buy our 20 lb bags of carrots, I see lots of stretching in the future.

3/7, Thursday, Lesson with Lendon. Lunch and Learn. And lecture with Lauren Sammis on horse sales.

3/8, Friday, After a quick morning gallop along the polo fields with Brittany we had a morning lecture with Bonnie Stetson on horse massage. She has developed a ‘Currassage’ method that she taught us. It is a basic massage using a currycomb that we can do to warm up and stretch out our horse’s muscles before a ride.

More to come, hopefully. Things are heating up as we near the end :( 
Tata for now-

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I had a really nice, detailed, perfect blog post all prepared for you this morning and I was told repeatedly by blogger that it had saved- I made sure- but when I pressed publish it was having problems. So I closed the page to retry and there it went right on into oblivion so until I have another 3 hours to waste (yes that is how long it took me, it was that good) there will not be an update. 
The best way to get into a bad move... have ^ this happen
-urg- Jen

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wait- how do I do this???
I am suffering from a terrible syndrome, let me tell you the symptoms: excessive asleepyness, unfunctionality of brain, inability to form words, sudden violent unconsciousness. I have even made sure that I had spare time in the evening to blog and catch up on work but I have discovered that if I want to be productive I cannot come home if it is past 12pm. So to those of you who frequent wifi hotspots near Wellington prepare to see a lot more of me....
February 10- 24 Condensed Version
2/10 Lesson with Lendon and Anatomy test :/.
2/11 day off- Kayaking, fun times.
2/12 Daniel Martin the Spanish Olympian that rode Kim Boyer's Grandioso in the 2012 London Olympics generously came to teach us at Hampton Green while him and his Spanish teammate Juan Manuel were in town for the USPRE party. I was lucky enough to ride with Dani. His all out attitude and demand for power and energy kind of kicked our butt, which was exactly what we needed. Leo and I both worked really well with Dani and had a great ride. We even got to talk to Dani and Juan about their experience in London. Head over to http://www.topiberian.com/ to check out video footage and articles of Dani and Juan's trip to Wellington (look close and you'll see me in the background :)
2/13 Day two with Dani. Today we tried our best to come into the lesson with all the power that Dani so fervently asked from us. This allowed the focus to be placed more on throughness and expression within movements. Tonight was the USPRE party. From the flamingo dancers to the wonderful catering by Frederic Boyer to the lovely Spanish horses this party immersed you in Spanish culture.
2/14 {Happy Valentines Day! -corny moment here, thanks for the box-o-chocolates mom & dad :)Day three with Dani (I simply cannot believe that I was able to work with Dani for three days!!). These Spanish guys work you hard in your lessons, its all business. By day three Leo and I were pretty beat but we were still producing some of our best rides. Today was even more fine tuning, I had a blast.
2/15 Workout in the barn in the morning followed by a lecture with Jenny van Wieren who oversees USEF High Performance. After that we hung around to show grounds to watch some of the tests. Then a super uber fun hack day in the rain with Allyssia.
2/16 Show season has definitely kicked off- we began the day by supporting some of the WIT gals at their show. Then a lesson with Lendon. paraphrasing here but... "Dont settle, when you really ride for it  it is amazing."
2/17 Despite my light complaining it was nice to finally be cold again. (well 40 degree cold, hey when your in florida the lower temperatures hit you hard). Lesson with Lendon- We worked on solidifying my rein contact and ensuring that I stay balanced and even in both reins throughout the ride. Then later on we had a lecture with Lendon on double bridles.
2/18 Happy Presidents Day! I took a job babysitting for a trainer in the area and got to hang out with an awesome kid hiding from scary bears and driving around with Lightning McQueen and the friendly lions. Breakfast for dinner potluck, PJs mandatory followed by a gym visit. Yup we strutted into the gym in our ducky and Eeore pants.
2/19 Lesson with Koryn Staehling, Courtney King's assistant. She was a lot of fun to work with, and she liked my pony :) We worked on putting together a few of the second level test movements. Afternoon lecture with Betsy Lebelle from Dressage Today on working with the press. We had a mock press conference where three of us were being 'interviewed' at 'young riders'. My story, as assigned by Lendon, was that I placed 2nd after having a traumatic fall in the warmup when my big fancy warmblood got spooked by some girl named Ally's paint (Ally you are getting my imaginary dry cleaning bill :) All fun aside this lecture was really helpful and I hope to get an opportunity to use my newfound press conference skills. 
2/20 Lesson with Lendon. More work on the 2nd level movements, especially canter to walks. They are getting there. Thanks to Katie we were able to get a tour of the Sanctuary at WEF showgrounds. We got to see and even experience some of their therapeutic equipment.  I got to use the Magna Wave on my back and it's 'shock-like' pulses felt great on my sore muscles, the horses must love it. We also got to stand on the vibration plates while the staff told us about their benefit for blood flow and tissue growth. It was a very cool way to spend a few hours. 
2/21 Schooling Show (did you catch on by my last two lessons being on test movements). We rode Second Level 2 and 3. I had never ridden either of these tests and we did quite well scoring a 60+ and 63+ and receiving the title of high point second level for the show! To wrap up the day we did Equilaties with Betsy Steiner- check this out for yourself, its great. Lecture on Chiropractic and massage work for horses then a quick Food Truck Invasion stop and night check with one of the girls. {so I kind of, just a little bit, lost my wallet at food truck but thanks to the kindness of a man named Tom who found it and called my farrier Nacho whose number was inside, who then called me, I was able to get it back. Keep up hope there are some kind people out there}
2/22 Game Day. White Fences take two- this time it was recognized. We had a really nice and rideable Second Level Two test and received a 61+. The best part of the show was having the judge come up to me and compliment my equitation and my "soft" hands!
2/23 One of the troubles that comes with showing your event horse in straight dressage shows is that when it comes time to ride your second test the horse becomes confused. To the horse we do one dressage test then comes cross country. So I decided not to sign up for the show today and take Leo out for a bit of a run, get our cross country fix :) This was a much needed adventure for both of us. 
2/24 Whoops, sorry horse I lied back to dressage. Today we rode Second level test 3 scoring 65.296! Yay!! Qualifying score number one check (ahh). Thank you to everyone who came out to see me and help out. Back at the barn we had a lecture on how to use the Balimo stool. This is a stool that swivels on top which allows you to move your pelvis as if you are on a horse and work on body alignment and use without putting the stress on your horses back. [to be honest you are going to have to look this one up on your own if you want to know more because it confuses me a little]. 
Cha Cha
-- Jenny 

Catching up on some pics...

Its the beach!.. no its just the water hazard.

My froggy buddy!!

The picturesque Hampton Green Farm

Hey bud, how goes.  
South Florida Fair!

Ally's first Steak and Shake experience, I feel so honored **tear, tear**

Take caution when riding the Kick Flip

Global Dressage Forum North America

VIP tent- yes, I'm with Kim Boyer....

no comment ;)

Im on a boat annnd...


I....I...I... I work out!

Schooling show

White Fences take two

Racing cars down Lake Worth- my horsepower is better than yours...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lets see here,
Friday Feb. 8th-
Spent the morning at the beach with a few of the girls, it was a little cloudy but definitely the relaxation that I needed. After an amazing brunch at a cute beach restaurant we headed back to the barn to take the horses out on a hack. Then we hung out with Reed Kesler for a bit, no big deal. [That was a lie, it was AWESOME.] It was fun to talk to her and get her input on the olympic experience, its easy to forget that she is our age and it was cool to see that she really isnt that different (just more awesometastic). After barn chores we finished up the day with our weekly current events talk.
Today Saturday the 9th-
Lesson with Lendon this morning. It was a nice ride, we were able to sort out a few of our problems and hopefully the plan we devised will help straighten them out. After reinvigorating Jamba Juice run I was ready to go, then crashed and took a spontaneous nap (isnt my life interesting? I bet you are glad you are reading this post). Barn chores then back to the crib to do homework.
Its going.....

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Nothing much to report-
The last two days have been light. Lesson with Lendon yesterday and a hack today. A couple of cool lectures... you can tell, the whole barn is a bit wiped.
I am getting into a cool book, yes I do actually read (on occasion), Medusa's Gaze and Vampires Bite: The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan. I am not going to describe it because it will seem weird but if your reaction to a ripple in a pond is "ITS THE LOCH NESS MONSTER" pick this one up, its good.
Thats all I got... Jen

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You wouldn't think that writing a quick little blog post about your day would be that hard. But I swear Florida has got my brain in this time warp deal where the days all blend together and I can't remember whats what or who is where or whats on second and who's on first?!?!? So bear with me while I try to get through this:
January 27th, Sunday- 
Lesson with Courtney. I was super excited for this one because we really made progress and I, of course, was ready to show off. Courtney noticed and complimented us on doing our homework (thanks DHS teachers for that one). Since we had taken care of the basics we were able to work on half pass. Leo was great and with a 'sneaky' leg yield a few strides then half pass then leg yield exercise we were able to make some progress there too. Nice to see that its all there we just need to work on the relaxation and ease of it all (I just made that sound so simple, too bad its not. But hey, thats the fun of it all.)
January 28th, Monday- 
Day off, can I move on... Oh wait- We went to the beach with some other WITtees. Public Service Announcement  wear sunscreen folks. I got the worst sunburn of my life and it was not a good time, especially in full seat riding pants... so take a hint from nike- just do it.  {and I went to zumba, I got schooled by this cute old lady, I need some salsa classes to prepare}
January 29th, Tuesdee-
Jump lesson with Schuyler Riley. Luckily Schuyler is right across the street from Hampton green so after a quick little hack I got to work with her in my jump tack. She was able to quickly establish a plan for the lesson, which focused on the use of my hands and back to keep leo in line and in balance. As riders we have control of the line, pace, and distance, when jumping. But really distance should be the last thing on our minds and pace comes with the correct line. I will confess I'm busy with my hands and that isnt fair to Leo, I am giving him too many cues. So Schuyler had me really thinking about creating a connection to the bit through the back of my shoulder blades instead of my hands, this helped a lot in quieting my hands and making me think about my back aids. 
Pretty much the entire WIT group headed off to the Global Dressage Forum North America but I had to stay back to my jump lesson. So I volunteered to take care of all the horses for dinner chores, I mucked 23 stalls that day- my arms are going to be ripped if I keep that up (and that counts repeats of stalls..) After the barn was spotless I met up with the gals for some dinner and caught a glimpse of the forum.
January 30th, Wednesday- 
In the morning we got to head over and watch Conrad Schumacher teach some lessons. He was amazing to watch, and it was nice to see how personable, and almost sports team coach he was about teaching (sounds weird but there is definitely a difference between your typical sports coach and a riding trainer). Then we headed back to the barn for lessons. I had a really good ride and felt great about the....
January 31th, Thurday-
...Schooling show today. I rode First 3 and got two really nice scores, 69+ and 70+. Main comment was to increase engagement and self carriage for success at second level, nice to hear :) 
February 1st, Friday-
Oh hey its February, how'd that happen... Today we had a fun day in the field, teaching some dressage horses how to jump. It was nice any relaxed and we basically had all the horses tacked and we warmed up our own guys then started handing them off. I got the chance to ride some really fun horses and Leo loved showing them why jumping is the thing to do (almost everyone got on Leo, he was feeling pretty confident by the end of the day). 
Then we had round two on our written training scale test followed by some fitness testing. That was a hefty reminder that this program isnt just riding, its a full body deal. 
February 2nd, Saturday-
Today I had a Lesson with Lendon. But a few days back we had made a deal... if I proved to her that I would ALWAYS ride Leo forward we would try him in a double bridle. One of the other horses got the same treatment and it worked out amazing for her. I mentioned to Lendon that I jump him in an elevator, and use two reins, so she suggested as a nice transition that I do my dressage in that bit. And man did it work. This was probably the best ride I have ever had!!! We had absolutely no problems walk-trot-canter or leg yield half pass. We even started playing with our changes, but all we needed to do was one each way (both clean and pretty :) Ill stop bragging now, even though I dont want to...
February 3rd, Sunday-
Schooling Show today at White fences. Got to trailer over with two other WIT members in a cool horse van, I'm a fan of it. Rode First 3 and got a 71+, I think I might be about set with first level. And did Second 1 getting a 62. It might just be me but the jump from first to second is a little steep. But the only comment was more: more thrust, more engagment, more self carriage and all that really needs is some time and commitment, both of which I have. Plus the added bonus of having Lendon and her crew. 
February 4th, Monday-
Officially one month in, this is insanity (and not like that workout infomercial, the real thing). Day off, it was nice. 
February 5th, Tuesday-
Woah Ive finally made it up to today. Cavaletti lesson with Lendon out in the field. It was fun, we really pushed the envelope with Leo and he handled it really well, being able to distract with the cavalettis was nice. And Leo got a nice pedicure from the farrier, and No the fact the he liked it does not make him any less manly! 
Now take a minute if you need to soak that all in. To be honest I might have made a decent part of that up, but I'm pretty sure its still entertaining. Off to bed for me....
Farewell- Jen

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Today was nice- I was able to break out my jump tack and do some work on a track. Leo was amazing and seemed to love seeing some open spaces. He even let me take him back into the dressage arena at the end and was quite lovely (if I might say so myself). 
After being the photographer extraordinaire for Ally's ride we were able to come back to the condo for a while. We were faced with the difficult question of whether to nap or swim...... so we chose napping by the pool. Hopefully the two hours of baking in the sun, with spf 30 on my arms and tanning oil on my legs (horseback rider problems- we always are wearing riding pants...), will have evened out my solid farmers tan. 
Once dinner chores at the barn were all set we went out to dinner with ma g-ma. Yummy chinese- that hit the spot. Now off to some school work, and maybe finishing the night off with some ice cream and a movie (but more than likely I'll be asleep as soon as I finish this post).
Adios (I'm running out of closers for these things....)