Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Midsouth, and a Fond Farewell to 2012

Midsouth was our final show for the 2012 season, and although Zahra and I were poised to have our best showing of the season, it was not meant to be. Dressage, I was horribly late to warm-up. After less than ten minutes, we did our first canter circling the ring before we entered. The test was tense, we go the wrong lead at first try going both directions, but I still actually had quite a bit to be proud of! Zahra is a high strung four year old. She has boundless energy and enthusiasm. So the fact that she could just march into that ring with no warm up and go to work is still pretty impressive! Nothing fazes this horse, and I think with a little more discipline she'll be unstoppable in the sand box!

Show Jumping was not all I could have hoped for either. We flattened going into fence two and pulled a rail, then pilot error between fence 4&5 put us on a rotten line to have fence 5 down as well. I need to work this winter on slowing my emotions down in the show jumping ring, and supporting with my elbow to keep her from flattening. Ledges, here we come?

But thankfully, no one events for dressage or show jumping. Cross country is what its all about, and we completely smoked that!! This girl knows her job, and she loves it! Check out the helmet cam on our youtube page. Ears forward the whole way round! I wanted to push her a bit faster this ride, and she did it easily, coming back to me nicely before fences and accelerating away from them. At Otter we had 0.4 of a time penalty. This time we were just 2 seconds away from too fast!! A few jumps I really set her up to, while others I let her choose her own spot (to varying degrees of success). I think its important she learn now how to take care of herself out there!

Eric Dierks coached me over the weekend, and it was fabulous getting his professional eye on us, giving us good things to work on for the winter. His knowledge and guidance has completely shaped all aspect of my riding, and imbued in me the passion for correct and methodical training. It's never been about winning for me, only about getting the best ride I could, and that drive comes from his early guidance. So when Eric said he agreed with me that Z could move up to Training next year, I was thrilled!!! She's mastered the basics. Time to up the ante!

See you in 2013!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

First Kim Severson Clinic

Organizer: (noun) Person who must be everything to everyone.
(c) Shorthorse Studios
How many clinics have I been to over the years? That's probably a scary number. But this clinic was different. This time I was the organizer. I wasn't the host, because the lovely Cindy Bonamarte graciously offered her wonderful facility, Geneva Equestrian, to us. And I wasn't the financial backer. Thankfully WDCTA was there with the capital to pay for all the fees while checks were cashed. Nope, all I had to do was gather all the pieces of intel, make sure everyone gave me all the things I needed, and then run around like a chicken with my head cut off to make sure Kim was where she needed to be, when she needed to be there, with appropriate beverage in hand, and that all the rails were in their cups!

When I started the process of getting the clinic together, I promised the Southwest Chapter that I would NOT need any volunteers!! This phenomenal group of women work themselves to the bone bringing in the best opportunities for riders in our local dressage community, and they seemed a little leery of stretching themselves too thin. But have no fear! I promised. We eventers do clinics a little differently! Thankfully, my group of riders and auditors did not disappoint me, and there was more than enough support to get it all done. Especially grateful to Cindy and her barn crew for getting jumps where they needed to be, organizing dinner Saturday night and even buying the riders lunch on Saturday! And of course, this clinic would not have come to be without the tireless support of  Donna Thomas, Mary Hanneman, Caryn Vesperman, Angela Genin, and DeAnn Howard (and really everyone else too!). Thank you so much for holding my hand through all the in's and out's of clinic organization and always remaining upbeat despite my constant barrage of questions!!
How I passed the time, waiting for Kim's flight to get in...

There were no shortages of bumps in the road-- like Kim's flight nearly getting cancelled Friday night due to a faulty airplane part, but finally making it into O'Hare by midnight. The farm was a full hour and a half away, so we went to bed just as Phillip Dutton started off cross country at the Boekelo Nations Cup in the Netherlands. Neither of us waited up to see how he did (just as well, since unfortunately he popped off at the Coffin). Her flight out luckily was uneventful-- a work colleague flying out of O'Hare that night was taken in to the basement because of a tornado threat!

Yes, it rained a bit. But the horses were super!
(c) ShortHorse Studios
Although we avoided any tornadoes the weather over the weekend was not terribly cooperative either. We were constantly under threat for a huge storm; Madison got pounded by rain, Chicago got pounded by rain, but right in the middle, Lake Geneva thankfully never got anything more than a steady drizzle. Both days we pondered, would we ride outside or inside? But both days we toughed it out, and people used studs they never even knew they had, buried at the bottom of their stud kits! We broke up the bigger groups so that people had less time to stand out in the rain, and I was very grateful to all the riders who were happy to "go with the flow."

Kim's teaching style was wonderful! She understands that there is no "one size fits all" approach to horses, and was willing to engage in a conversation with every rider. Each rider had their own goals to achieve during the lessons, and Kim made sure they succeeded. She was very easy going, easy to talk to, but also very firm about what she wanted you to do. Everyone I spoke to had wonderful things to say about how she changed their riding for the better. For me personally, it was realizing that my horse is running around with her nose in her chest, and that I need to get her up before the jump, and stay stronger in my core on the landing so she doesn't land and buck. I'm glad winter is coming since it should take me about that long to fix the problem!!

Head's up, Zahra!!
(c) ShortHorse Studios
On the whole, I think Kim impressed all of us very much, but also, I think we all made a good impression on her, so she will be back!! She commented on how nice it was to see so many riders so well mounted-- everyone had the right horse for what they wanted to do. We'll be working out the final dates in the next month or two, but keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about a clinic in the Madison area for early April. And next time, I'm getting someone ELSE to coordinate meals!

Dressage Horse for Sale!

Since much of my readership is of the dressage persuasion, I told Kim I would let everyone know about her wonderful dressage horse she has for sale! A good friend of the family (*ahem* sister from another mister), Cynthia Weldon, has spoken to me about this horse before and what a wonderful dressage horse he is, so I can confidently say that he really IS all he's cracked up to be!

Photo courtesy Kim Severson Eventing
Chopin is a 10 year old Hanoverian shown through 4th level, with a 3rd level championship last year. He's currently working on his piaffe and passage, and tempi changes. He is talented enough for a professional/YR, but steady enough for an AA (he lives at an eventing barn! Nothing can spook this horse!!) If you're interested, I encourage you to check him out here: (horse's name is Fantasy Impromptu/Chopin). Kim said to feel free to ask Gerd Zuther about the horse during his upcoming clinic at Touchstone Farm Nov 2-4, as he knows the horse well!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Otter Creek Photos

Just a selection for your viewing enjoyment! All photos (c)Xpress Foto