Thursday, April 29, 2010


Today was the day. We needed to find out exactly what and/or why Morris and I were forced to veer from our plan at the water jump at the CIC2* at Fair Hill April 15-18 2010. We were having a stellar round right up until the hanging log , #12B, in the middle of the water. From there you were supposed to continue in a straight line up a bank to get out of the water complex, and then one stride later jump a skinny turtle. I know that I was looking at Mr. Turtle, and then I was looking at ears, or a forelock, and then the side of Morris' neck, shortly after landing off of the hanging log. Split second decision was made to circle, regroup, and then attack the turtle. Smart decision though costly....picked up a quick 20 penalty points for crossing my tracks. Rode the rest of the course with out having too much time or energy to contemplate what happened. But have been doing so ever since!
Fast forward to this morning, 0800 at the lovely Gordonsdale cross country schooling course in Berryville, VA Morris and I were lucky enough to be consulting with the one and only Jim Wofford on his take on what probably happened, and more importantly, what I can do to make sure it never happened again!! No more giving up a stupid 20 points on cross country day!! Neither Morris nor myself had been to this facility before so it was a good experience for both of us, some new questions to answer and obstacles to tackle. Jim has a superb eye and an exercise for any and every possible detail that a rider needs to work on. I can say with a smile that Jimmy sent me home with a lot of exercises to practice before I see him again lol. After just a few warm up fences I was cruising around with some different things to think about, all of which were going to help me tackle "Peter's Pond" as they call it at Gordonsdale, and water jumps for the rest of Morris' life!
I am very pleased to report that I did multiple combinations of going in and out of the water, and jumped a hanging log in the middle of the water very similar to that on the course at Fair Hill, all with out even the slightest hiccup that we experienced in competition. Morris was brilliant about how he put his feet down and both of us finished feeling confident about riding the next water in competition (I admit this morning, it was frosty in VA and I was thinking to myself, that water is gonna be COLD! Good thing I never even came close to finding out!)
For those of you that want a little tip on what we talked about and practiced today...the theme of the school was that you have to land at the same pace in which you take off. Sounds like such a simple and straightforward comment to make. After all the technical stuff we work on, drill into our heads, hypothesize and bicker over theory and bits and equipment and, the end of the day, I am going to stay dry and my horse is going to ace all future water jumps if I can land at the same pace in which I took off. So let's kick on and see how it goes tomorrow!

Monday, April 26, 2010


So there is a theme to today's post and it has to do with spring and flowers and all things blooming. Almost took a day off yesterday, almost! Did ride Morris and did dressage and believe me, Morris wishes he could have just spent the day hanging out doing his own thing! I tried to add a little culture to my life and be a little domesticated....went to the National Arboretum and walked thru the azalea path where I kid you not thousands of them were in full bloom. Quite surreal and I think if I lived in the city I would have to go there daily (it was free) and make sure I had enough green in my diet. Check out the picture, yes I know has a bit of a 'tourist' ring to it but they were so beautiful! What you can't see in the picture is that I am sporting a Rolex 2010 3 Day hat (thanks, Linda!) and was doing my share to raise awareness about eventing as our biggest show of the year was just about wrapping up while I was on my nature hike. As I was told, the logo that we all immediately identify with the 4* is getting a face lift next year and I am happy to hold on to this one and keep as a bit of a collector's item.
Back to the N.A., also impressive was the bonsai exhibit, some of those trees have been 'in training' since the 1600s. I can't get an orchid to live two years! Maybe I was inspired, because from there I went with Richard to Homestead Gardens and we bought 2 trees for Arden ha ha ha. I will try to remember to give you an update. Or the next time you are over see for yourself what kind of a green thumb I have. I can guarantee you there will be no bonsai.
So here I am with this short-term fascination for plants and fast forward until I am at the barn working with Freddie. Freddie had the day off, his first day off since he arrived in the US and recovered from his journey, and I wanted him to get outside and have a little grass. And I wanted to pat him and love him since he's the latest and greatest addition to my barn. So we went out together for a hand graze and I learned quite a bit about my new character. I was absolutely laughing at him, he methodically went from yellow dandelion to yellow dandelion and just mowed them down like some sort of dandelion-seeking machine! No leaves, no grass, just the flowers. Maybe they don't have them in New Zealand? Or perhaps they were a delicacy? He was certainly making up for lost time. Or maybe it's a yellow thing after the ladies at the barn discovered that he loves to eat bananas as well?! One thing about all of my ponies, they are each their own person with their own personality. I am so lucky to get to work with such amazing critters, thanks to all of you who have made that possible!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rolex 2010!

Here it is, my very first entry on my very own blog page! I am happy that you all have stumbled into this and I look forward to you coming back in the very near future. Today is a big day in the world of a 3 day eventer....Rolex! Only the toughest event in the US, and today the largest field in the history of Rolex gallops out across the cross country course trying to go clean and inside the time. I caught a glimpse of a few of the questions via pictures and video and while I can't wait to be there myself, I will be the first to admit that Morris (properly referred to as Clifton Jade) and I need some serious work on coffins and obstacles in the water. Hopefully we have our kinks worked out when we gallop out of the start box 2011? Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, actually. Just sent in the paperwork to USEF so that they can officially enter Morris and I for the 2* at Bromont in June. We will have enough work cut out for ourselves there, starting with whether or not Morris wants to walk in his dressage test ha ha ha. I know, not funny, he was excellent at the CIC2* at Fair Hill and is only going to get better and better from here. Glad that all of you are along for the ride with me!