Friday, May 19, 2006

Thank you, again, for responding to my blog entries! I thought I would answer another question from your comments. Later this week, I will fill you in on my experiences at the Old Salem II horse show.

How old are you and how do you handle going to horse shows, riding at a top level, and going to school?

I am a 17 year old junior at Holmdel High School in Holmdel, NJ. Juggling school and riding can be rather challenging, particularly, when I have to take several tests, complete a great deal of homework, ride at the barn after school and participate in horse shows on the weekends. Hours of sleep are often lost, time with friends and extended family will be often sacrificed and “downtime” can be a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, I absolutely love what I am doing and will do whatever it will take to achieve my goals. Without the support and assistance of my parents, my school district and my trainers, the “balancing act” would be more taxing and a less gratifying experience. I realize how truly fortunate I am to have had many great opportunities and I am very thankful to those who have helped me along the way.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Today, I thought I would answer one of the questions asked of me in your comments. However, before I do, I would like to thank everyone for their responses and warm wishes. I really appreciate it!

What classes are you, Brianne or Chelsea doing at Devon?
The Beacon Hill junior riders will be at the Devon Horse Show riding in the equitation division on Thursday, May 25, and Friday, May 26, 2006. Chelsea, Sloane and I will be there with some of the other riders who were on the Horse Power series. Since Brianne won all the finals, she will only be competing in one class, the USET. She can continue to compete until she has twenty wins (I think she has eighteen). Once a junior has twenty wins, they receive a gold medal.

The Devon Horse Show's junior jumper division is on Friday evening, May 26, and on Saturday, May 27, 2006, there's a class during the day and one in the evening. Chelsea and I will be showing in those classes.

Tomorrow, I will answer another question from the comments. Until then, have a good evening!

This weekend my mom and I went to the first of two horse shows at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, New York. Although several classes were cancelled due to the inclement weather, I still showed from Thursday to Sunday. I was fortunate to catch ride several horses this weekend, something that I appreciate immensely as well as enjoy doing. Every horse is different and presents a new and exciting challenge. I love it!

I'm glad to report that Whimsey crossed another hurdle this past weekend; he was lunged before a class. However, keeping his struggle of the past twenty months in mind, he showed in only one class at the show. Again, I am happy to report he felt and behaved more like the horse I rode in 2004! I know how lucky I am to have another chance to show him again.

Since 1999, I've gone to a horse show with my mom on Mother's Day. I'm blessed to have her love and support. Thanks, mom!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Brianne Goutal and Maria Schaub sign 'Horse Power: Road to the Maclay' posters. © 2006 by Nancy JafferPhoto at right: Brianne Goutal and Maria Schaub sign "Horse Power: Road to the Maclay" posters. © 2006 Nancy Jaffer.

This past weekend was the Garden State horse show, Whimsey's fourth show since 10/04. In order to prepare him for Devon, the plan has been to ride him in the Washington and the USET classes. I mentioned last week how Whimsey was a bit fresh, and his behavior was similar this weekend. It's great to see him feeling better, but it's time to remind him that bucking and playing in the ring are unacceptable. Whimsey absolutely adores his rubber bit; he shows in a rubber pelham and flats in a full cheek rubber snaffle. One of his favorite things to do is to chew on his rubber bit and make a squeaking noise with it. He can be a bit of a character sometimes but that's a big part of why I love him so much. Mostly, he has a very light mouth yet when he is fresh, he tends to get curled up, drag you past the distance, land from the jump with his head down, and then, buck. In the past and while in the groove, Whimsey was low maintenance when it came to his preparation for the show ring. He would to be either worked loose or be lunged for one to two minutes so he could get a few bucks out of his system. Lately, we have not allowed him to do either because he could potentially injure himself again if he was "wild." Since he tolerated the show routine well the last two weeks, the plan will be to let him work loose at home before going to Old Salem I. Additionally, I will ride him in a small port pelham until he has more respect for the bit. Whimsey's tentative show schedule will be Old Salem I, a week off and, then, off to Devon!

Garden State will be especially remembered because one of my good friends, Brianne Goutal, won her first Grand Prix on her horse, Onira (they also won the 2004 USET finals)! Like Brianne and Logan, they have been a pair for awhile, and a truly special union at that! Their superb performance was really exciting to watch, and I'm happy to see them reach a new level of success.

If anyone happens to have questions for me, please leave them in a comment and I will be happy to respond in my next entry.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I'm back at Hunter Farms today to finish catch riding in the Junior Hunter division and to show in some of the equitation classes. Stacia and Krista trained us while Frank stayed back at Beacon Hill giving lessons. I was especially enthusiastic this afternoon because my horse, Whimsey, was entered in two classes. He has only showed sparingly since February after sustaining an injury at Capitol Challenge in 2004. The vet examined him on Wednesday and said he was ready for competition. It was really thrilling to be in the show ring riding him again. Of course, Whimsey was really excited as well and proceeded to buck several times in the first class! I let him gallop around the indoor to help settle him and the second class went very well. I'm thankful for Whimsey's continued recovery, for all who have aided in it and for the opportunity to compete with "my partner" again.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Today, I went to Hunter Farms in Princeton, NJ, to catch ride some horses from Beacon Hill in the Junior Hunters. My mom and I drove through the beautiful and immaculate Princeton University campus before arriving at the show. After getting the horses ready, we warmed up in the indoor to prepare for the first class. For some of the horses, it was their first show since Florida and they seemed to be a little bit "out of the groove". After the second round, we got some of the "kinks" worked out. All in all, it was a good day and the young horses deserve extra credit for being such good boys. Following the ride home, I was hard-pressed to begin my studying as soon as possible. Tomorrow, there will be a few tests to take at school before returning to the show again in the afternoon.