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We Are Flying Solo

September 9, 2012

A Sneak Peak At A Horse Trial High

Thank you to all of you who sent good juju our way this weekend!!

First off, CONGRATULATIONS to our friend Sue (owner of beautiful farm where we meet David in VA) and her mare, Grace, who finished 3rd in Grace's first Prelim!!!!!  AHHHH!

If you checked the live scores, you might have thought disaster occurred, as our number was, ummmm, not exactly spectacular.  Or even average.  Good thing I am not one of those nutty competitive people or I would have quit several years ago.

But you know what?  It was a fantastic weekend for TFS.  One of the reasons I love eventing is that the judging is relatively objective, but that also means that the judges only see a snapshot of you and your score does not reflect where you are or how far you've come in your journey with your partner.  That is why I ride for me, to find holes in my training, to improve upon my last attempt and of course, to RIDE THE XC COURSE, DUH, WHY DO YOU THINK WE PUT UP WITH ALL THIS OTHER CRAP??!  Ahem.

Why was it so great?  Well, full story with pictures and video (yes, I remembered to actually TURN ON the helmet cam) are on the way after much uploading, but I'll give you a hint:

I got to ride this horse (photos by High Time Photography) --

September 7, 2012

How To Stalk Us, I Mean, Check On Us

It's late, bridles are sort of clean, pads are sort of washed (hey, I've been busy), the trailer is sort of mostly packed, the horse is DEFINITELY clean.  The truck still needs diesel and my bag is half empty, but, well, I guess it'll do.

What you really want:

Unicorn Ride Times:    Dressage -- 12:52 pm               XC -- 4:00 pm (sheesh)

Stadium for Novice is supposed to occur sometime around lunchtime on Sunday.

LIVE SCORING!  Click it.  Unless I screwed up.  Then don't look.

Want to stalk someone else?  RIDE TIMES!

Deep breath -- the fall season officially begins and Away Again is ready to take it away.  Again.  You know?  You know.  I know.

September 6, 2012

Red Alert: An Opportunity For You!

For those of you who are not Facebook subscribers to TFS (for shame!), I wanted to let you east coasters know that September 15th, you can come and have a lesson with our amazing David O., jumping coach extraordinaire.  He will be in southern VA at the most beautiful farm owned by a friend.  You too, can be epic in the arena!

Please contact me if you are interested!  I cannot make it up this time and the owner needs spots filled!

You can do a stadium, XC, or dressage lesson and David is phenomenal at them all, focused on bringing out the best in your horse, which he magically succeeds at any time.  He also (besides being wonderfully patient with my dorkiness and very kind) teaches to your level, no matter what that is -- a Prelim horse went before me, I rode Novice, and a young horse who had only ever jumped a couple tiny x-rails went after me.  There is never any judging or denigration, only encouragement and improvement under his awesome eye.

Again, for details, contact me through email link on the sidebar -- you won't regret it, if you can make it!!

August 31, 2012

An Anniversary? Seriously?

It's hard to believe but nearly a year ago, magic happened and a classy chestnut gelding found his way from Delaware to Southern Pines to me.

It's taken me almost that long to learn how to ride him properly; he is so different from my burly Appendix boy.  He has made me a better rider and I hope that I have made him a stronger, more comfortable horse.  As we tackle Five Points next weekend, he will be back in the sandhills where the fabulous Suzanne and Allie of CANTER MA got him restarted, only now, baby's got a whole new look.

After 12 months of conditioning and training and trying and failing and trying again and oh there was that whole bone scan thing and then there is the ever present rider handicap, one OTTB went from sexy to S.E.X.Y. 

September 8, 2011 -- Away Again steps off my trailer into a new life:

October 16, 2011 -- One month later, bathed clean and ready to learn:

April 28, 2012 -- It's springtime, don't make fun of my weird shedding, mom!  The first day at the new farm:

August 31, 2012 -- I'm too sexy for dressage, check out mah neck (and I have not learned to pose yet from my brother and my mom is terrible at this when trying to hold the rope and her cell phone at the same time):

August 29, 2012

Three Feet Closer To Heaven

My physiology betrayed me as my heart beat faster, watching the ring crew raise the poles to 3'.  Logically, Encore and I have lessoned well at this height and even with Solo, we cleared 3'3", although not without significant effort.

We had already run the 2'6" class at Mach 10, Encore bombing around the course as if everything was simply a coloured speedbump.  Even with his rider getting so hopelessly lost that I had to stop after jump four and stare around at the numbers to figure out what to do next.  On the plus side, it provided both spectators, judge, and rider with a good giggle. 

Note:  do not stand at a jumper show all morning and watch alternating courses back and forth.  You will only confuse yourself.  Be grateful that we have only one course in eventing.

Encore had warmed up well, despite working BY HIMSELF, isolated behind the barn in the dressage arena.  I focused on David's counterbending exercises to supple him and the challenge was like a charm, keeping his mind on his feet, rather than everything else.

I trotted cautiously in when it was my turn to jump our course.  The judge blew the whistle and I barely breathed my aids, expecting Encore to explode back into rocket power.

Then he looked at the first jump, we rebalanced, he found his rhythm, and proceeded to perform a phenomenal display of athleticism -- he never rushed, his jumps were careful and correct, and despite more rider navigational derps requiring last minute swerves, he even jumped diagnoally from the base to keep it between the standards without any fuss at all.  I think everyone heard me yell, "THANK YOU, GOOD SAVE!" over the last skinny -- about 4' wide, which I almost overshot except for Encore's quick and honest effort to do his job properly.

Thrilled is an understatement.  It appears that at 3', he finally comes into his own.  The jumps are big enough to earn a little respect and attention.  And guess what?  If you keep your leg on, EVEN IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR HORSE IS MOVING FAST, and you ride his hind end to the jump with a soft and balanced hand, a good rhythm, and you keep your eyes ahead of you.....IT FREAKING WORKS EVERY TIME.  Wow.  How much money did it cost me before my body finally managed to pull that off?

First rule of Horse Club:  never add up expense of Horse Club.

The single rail we dropped was entirely my fault -- I tried to half halt too close to the fence, causing Encore to tag the rail with his hind feet.  The last three strides in front of the jump belong to him, as David says, and I should have simply added leg and left well enough alone. 

In summary:  THE UNICORN IS A ROCK STAR.  And I can't wait till Five Points....