Sunday, April 28, 2013

Whoa there!

To be honest, there has been so many times that I could easily have written a new post but I didn't. No excuses..I have run out of them now!

The 2012/2012 Florida winter season was a sheer whirlwind. So much was done, as in riding/working/visiting/spectating/competing....the list is as long as my hair at this stage.

I left off after the Palm Beach leg of the World Dressage Masters that was held at the end of January. It is from here on that I really had a mind blowing time!!

I spent most of February riding LC and any other horse I was told to! LC was getting better and more confident as time went on. We even took her off the farm and hacked her down the loop to another arena to work her in. It was amazing to feel how confident she has become since she first came to Foster Meadow.

And then the best part...

I was told I was to compete and so off I went and joined both USEF and USDF

I am deemed here as a professional (since I earn my living from horses) so I have to compete as one. Not that I care!

Under USEF and USDF with each level there are max 3 tests. As in Training Level Test 1,2 and 3. No more. Each one progressively more complex aiming towards the next level. In opposition to BD tests which have like 20million tests in each level.

Here is the breakdown of each level and which level is equivilant to BD ones:

USA                                                  IRE/UK

Training                                             Prelim
First                                                  Novice
Second                                              Elementary
Third                                                 Adv.Medium
Fourth                                               Advanced
PSG                                                  PSG
Inter I                                               Inter I
Inter II                                              Inter II
GP                                                    GP

You can see that they don't have an equivilant to Medium. There is a big jump in the levels here from Second to Third.

Here is a link where you can read each test from Training to Fourth. I am a big fan of the US' way of doing these tests. All progressive, all reviewed at the exact same time so no unnecessary confusion just as you start your test!

Pam wanted LC at a show a 5 min hack from our base in FL so we didn't have the worry of trailering in. All the better for LC anyway to be able to hack to and from a show. The norm here is that a horse does one test a day, of course it is allowed to do more, but it rare.

We entered for the Welcome Back to White Fences I for Training Level Test 3 on the friday and First Level Test 1 on the saturday, so at least she still gets her normal day off (sunday). It is a great show ground, three competition arenas, two warm ups (one with mirrors) and a large lunging arena. Lunging IS permitted at shows here in the USA provided you do it in the assigned places. Again another good idea, more so for the young horses who have never been exposed to a show before etc. Mind you, this show grounds are deemed as the "small showgrounds' in White Fences, but the show I was entered in with LC was the size of our Summer Nationals in Cavan. It was over the course of 3 days, with a schooling day on the Thursday. Go big or go home, right?!

Oh Wait!

The tues before our debut, Pam said I had to ride LC in a demo for a web based company called:

I'm sorry but you have to be a subscriber to the website to watch all the online clinics. And of course I am not!

So of course, not only was I going to get to compete that week I also got my internet debut lol. So it was really just a lesson from Pam with the founder of videotaping it. Pam used LC for anyone to know and understand what a typical 5yo in training should be doing and what is expected of that age. It was over 30degrees celsius that day. And it was late in the afternoon. I will never forget it! It was the best session I had on LC to that date. I was so syked for the show.

The show went great. She went around, did her job and did what was asked of her. Which is a seriously far cry from where she was at when we first got to FL. We placed 2nd on the first day with a 73%! The second day was not so good, she was long and flat, tired and tight! But still managed a 65.3% at a higher level. Pam was delighted, she now knows what LC is like at a show. And I was delighted to have shown in America!!

Above is the video of the first day :)

At the beginning of March I ended up riding a clients horse a few times a week. He is a 14.1hh Lusitano stallion bred in Mexico called Tome. He trains the GP  but has shown successfully at PSG. His owner Wick is fabulous and a seriously great rider.

One lesson, Pam made me ride out all the canter and trot tour from the PSG. Sure I thought this was brilliant! I am getting to ride a sportscar of a pony AND do some cool stuff too. Turns out she was testing me as I got told a week later that I was going to compete Tome at a show the end of March. Nearly wet myself! I loved riding Tome, he taught me so much... canter pirouettes, piaffe, spanish walk, how to ride my corners and half passes better.

He truly is a great horse. I am now bitten by the pony bug, its an addiction...I have a problem!!!

We were entered for the Welcome Back to White Fences II for Fourth 2 and Fourth 3. We won our first class on a 66% and we were placed in the second on a 62% :) It was my debut at that level and I am still shell shocked.

Video of our winning test

I was so sad when we had to leave Florida and I could not ride Tome anymore! I had such a blast of a season and I feel so lucky to have been given a chance. This past Florida season was by far the best, we knew what it was all about this time. We met loads of new people, went out socialising more, rode more, saw more...the list is endless! (Plus I won't rub it in what with all the fun and sun we had) :)

We soon after had to pack up the barn and think about the drive up north. I stayed behind again this year to get the horses on the shipper and close up the barn. Shauna and Ali left a few days earlier to get the NH place all set up and ready. Had a really bad drive back up north, stuck in traffic all through Georgia and some of South Carolina. Instead of being on the road 13 hours, I was on the road 16 for the first day. Got a few hours sleep and was on the road by 6.30am the following morning and made it back to Foster Meadow by 8pm. You have no idea how happy I was to see my little bed!! I was not happy to be back in the cold though :(

                                            X marks the spot in Georgia

So I must love ye all and leave ye all, we have clients moving in today (YAY! This place is too quiet without them all) My dearest Philip is coming back to me for another summer of torture (he really hates to see me) but I am actually happy to see him and his owner Kelly back. She really is great. And Jen is moving here from Florida for the summer with her Grand Prix horse Vito. Can't wait to see her too!!


One last thing.... I am hitting Eire hard in a few weeks for a holiday! I will hopefully be back on my Irish number (087-9136900) so text me, I could be anywhere so maybe we can meet up! (p.s. mine's a pint)


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