Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Hey everyone! I hope you are managing to stay hydrated, it has been really hot and humid there.

I have been really fortunate to not be doing the summer circuit of events - not my favorite thing to do. Regardless of how much the organizer/crew works, footing is hard, the heat is brutal, and the humidity makes you want to take a dip into the water jump. I only entered one event this summer, and retired in the middle of show jumping. It just wasn't my day, and Deacon wasn't feeling too hot either. I think our new competition plan with Deacon is to leave him in the night before, lunge in the morning before shipping, then go to the event. I kept him out the night before, and I think it took too much of an edge off. While I like my horses quiet and respectful, event horses need that "sumthin sumthin" extra. Especially for horses like Deacon, who already like the slower, scenic route, that little extra piece can make you or break you. I am excited to see if I finally have this horse figured out!

I don't want to talk too soon, but it seems like the root of all my problems was in my horses' feet. Their shoes were put on too forward, toes too long, and poor Deacon actually only had the shoe touching his tippy toes and heel. No wonder the poor thing didn't want to jump! We got his feet done right before Maryland Horse Trials II, and since then he has been an absolute star, no more bucking, no more stopping. The big test will be XC schooling at Maryland this Saturday, and Olney on Sunday. His flat work has been absolutely fabulous as well, so I'm steering him full throttle toward the Training Three Day. Willy's tendonitis also stemmed from his poor shoeing - his feet were actually crooked, being shaved down tremendously on the inside, throwing his entire support system off. After his new pedicure, Willy has been a champ. It goes take him a while to get back into the swing of things, but he is finally (mentally) coming around (and doesn't always think in terms of SPEED).

Both horses jumped gymnastics today, and I was really pleased about their progress. Willy is working on his muscle/fitness. Plans are to start him out again at Loudoun at Intermediate, then head to the AECs. Deacon jumped better than ever. I have been really concentrating on allowing him to make some decisions. My problem has always been that I am a complete control freak - I LOVE to get the perfect spot every time. I have been establishing the correct balanced, forward canter - and allowing the horse to figure out footwork.

So all is well on that front, now exciting news! NEW HORSE! A friend of mine is doing a semester in DC, and will be dropping off her horse this Sunday for me to train and compete through the fall. I've had my eyes on this horse for a year now, having first seen her when I taught a clinic up in Ithaca, NY. Her name is Zoe (aka Cover Girl), and her daddy is the famous Windfall. She is quite uptight on the flat, but has tremendous jumping ability. Her owner has done a wonderful job getting her though novice, now it is my job to get her to take the next step up.

Until this weekend!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I believe I win the worst blogger award. After forgetting my password, it has been a long time since I have kept all of you updated on the happenings at DGEventing! I apologize in advance, this seems to be one of the most scattered blogs to date...

First off - the students
DGE students have done wonderfully over the past several months since I have returned home. The teaching/training portion of DGE has been in full swing since I moved back to Baltimore County. I had the privilege of teaching at the LHPC summer camp at Morvan Park (which was an absolute blast), the GSHPC camp (so much fun!), and next week I will be returning to Ithaca, NY to teach a two day clinic for Red jacket PC. Teaching clinics is really fun, but nothing beats having my students come over - there are about 20 students (adults, kids, and teenagers) who are taking regular lessons. In my next post I can give you more specifics as to their accomplishments!

Now to DGE Horse Happenings
Cody - Cody is progressing wonderfully after he re-injured his elbow. My mom has been taking regular lessons with me on him, and boy do they look great! It has been a long road for these two, but they really have formed a solid partnership. We have begun to jump him over little fences, and he seems to be holding up just fine! We are hoping to take him to some schooling shows in late August, and start back into competition mode this fall!
I have also been teaching a lot off of Cody, as he is such an accomplished veteran that he helps both beginners and advanced riders. He knows exactly when a 6 year old is on him, or when I throw the bigger kids on him (when we need to work on their position!). He is such a special pony!

Willy - After brining Willy back from Jersey, I noticed a slight swelling peak up behind both knees. An ultrasound showed that while all ligaments/tendons are fine, he has developed some tendonitis. Unfortunately there is not much that can be done for this except time off. Willy has had the past month off, and we are carefully brining him back to work. He is an incredibly fit pony with very strong opinions, and has been left on his own for a month - you can imagine what we are dealing with!

Deacon - Oh Deacon. We finally got his hip/back pain taken care of, but now we have to deal with the mental repercussions. I've dropped him down to training level to help boost his confidence - but I haven't quite gotten all of the pieces back together. I've taken him to several farms schooling, and he has been wonderful - but it does not seem to translate to the competition arena. Hopefully we can figure out exactly which button to push in the next couple of weeks!

- ok - so that was the recap of what everyone has been doing. Now to get my 2cents (for what it is worth).

This year has been a year of "almost". I "almost" finished Jersey Fresh. I "almost" took Deacon to a one star. I "almost" took Willy advanced. I "almost" made honors at Wake Forest (.01 away). I'm at a crossroads in my life, and these "almost" moments make it that much more uncertain. Right now I am sitting in the boarding station on my roller coaster ride. Do I risk everything, living penniless to follow my passion and pursue a career teaching/training/competing horses? Do I keep horses as a side hobby and follow a "real job"? If so what on earth should I do? Improve my arabic and work for the government? Follow journalism? Steer towards a law degree?

I've spent the past two months thinking about my next move, and still - nothing. Hopefully by the next post I will have at least some direction.

As for the horses, we are aiming Deacon at the Training Level 3-day at Waredaca this fall and Willy at the CCI** Fair Hill International in October. (oh, i hope they are not on the same weekend - reminder to check on that!). Pending Willy's prognosis, a trip down to Georgia for the AECs may be in order. Deacon is qualified for prelim, but I'm not sure he is ready for that challenging of a course. Until next time!

- Courtney