Saturday, June 24, 2006

As promised, today, I will tell you about the Wachovia/Beacon Hill show of last weekend. FYI, some of the local newspapers reported more than five hundred people were in attendance on Sunday. It was really super to see show jumping so well received in my local area!

On Sunday, I was lucky to have the opportunity to participate in the Open Speed Derby on Marga. She loves the grass field and natural jumps so we were able to go extremely fast. It was so much fun! She was awesome.

If anyone would like to watch the Grand Prix from the Wachovia/Beacon Hill Classic, it will be on OLN (Outdoor Life Network). Click on the link to see the schedule!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Part two of my previous entry...

Some of the best, most accomplished equestrians in America have written very informative books on riding, horse care and judging. Bert Denemethy, George Morris, Anne Kursinski and Anna White Mullins, to name a few, have many years of experience in the industry and share a wealth of information. I have found their books to be very informative and helpful in many ways. Several accomplished trainers and professionals, such as George Morris, Greg Best and, my trainer, Frank Madden, hold clinics all around the country. Even if you don't have a horse, you can audit the clinic and watch the lessons. Observing a lesson and witnessing the training techniques used by different professionals can help to improve one's knowledge of riding principles as well as help to improve one's riding skills. Some people learn just as well by observing as by doing, so, with this principle in mind, attending a clinic can be a priceless experience.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tomorrow the Wachovia Jumper Classic at Beacon Hill will begin! It will be a wonderful horse show I'm sure. Some of the best Grand Prix riders in the US will be there. Please come and visit the show if you are nearby! I will give you an updated report later this weekend.

Today, I will post the first part of a two-part entry that will answer a specific question from your comments.

What tips do you have for those of us who don't ride at a top facility?

My two blog entries will address the following topics: getting involved, and reading books and attending clinics. As a junior rider who has been very fortunate to have had some phenomenal riding and training opportunities, I will try to provide some helpful suggestions based on my own experiences and of those professionals I have been privileged to know. Volunteering your time to help at a barn, a local horse show or horse related organization can be a way to learn more about the sport. I've met some high profile equestrians who have become quite successful and started in the business by mucking stalls for a lesson. Through hard work and determination, these individuals have been able to achieve success by following an apprenticeship type method/approach to the industry. Since these individuals did not have a financial jump start, they had to convince the barn mangers, trainers and the like that they wanted it. If you volunteer your time at a horse show or with a horse-related organization, you can meet the local barn owners and/or managers. Getting to know the people involved in the industry in your area, can possibly be a first step into the equestrian world.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

So you get nervous when you go to shows? It happens to everyone, there isn't a rider who hasn't been nervous at least once before walking into the ring. First things first, take a deep breath! If you know you have the ability to execute the course that you are about to jump (even if it is a bit challenging), then what is there to worry about? In order to prevent nerves at the in-gate, I first go over the course in my head from start to finish while keeping in mind what I'm going to do at each jump, or after each jump (For example if you know your horse might drift to the right going to or after jump 5, say to yourself "keep him/her from drifting at jump 5" or "opening left rein".) Another way to help prevent nerves is to know the horse's tendencies as best you can. Learning about what type of jumps the horse spooks at (like walls, liverpools, flowers or shadows around the jump), what side of the mouth the horse is stiff on, if one lead change is harder than the other, and which way he/she cuts, drifts, or swaps his leads, will make you more aware of what to expect when you enter the ring. As riders, we know the course before we enter the ring, but the horses do not. Your horse's tendencies will show up when you're practicing at home (whether flatting or taking a lesson) and in the show ring. From my perspective, knowing these details makes it easier to come up with a plan which can help reduce your nerves. I hope you find these suggestions helpful!

Tomorrow I will be answering some more questions and talking a bit about the upcoming Beacon Hill Classic.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The past couple of weeks have been very tough! As I had mentioned, the "balancing act" between school and riding can be quite a task. I missed a lot of school in order to go to Devon, have a couple of tests to make up, and, to top it off, I have the SAT this weekend, YIKES! The pressure is intense, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The 2006 Devon Horse Show went very well. The way Whimsey behaved in and out of the show ring was another indication that he was back in the game.

The Dixon Oval rides on a fast track because of its size, shape, and footing. For example, you walk a line in what would be seven normal strides in any other sand ring, but then it turns out to ride a little easy in six. Many riders struggled with the first class on Thursday, which was the USET (most shows begin with a less challenging first class). The jumping phase went first which allowed everyone to get a feel for the ring. Devon being such a famous show along with the difficulty of the courses wreaked havoc on some of the young rider's nerves.

Thanks to everyone for their concern on my status after my fall. I almost reached a year without falling off! Let me tell you, I didn't think it would happen at Devon but that's just show jumping. Marga, owned by the Beacon Hill Partners, is one of the most amazing animals I have ever ridden, and the only horse I've been privileged to show for a year at the junior jumper level. The jumps in the classic were high junior jumper height (level 8). I was having one of the best rounds of my life; it was smooth and organized, and she hadn't rubbed a single fence. With three jumps to go, I mismeasured the line and was to blame for the mishap. Although I fell off, I gained the experience of two solid rounds for myself and Marga at the high junior jumper height. It's learning experiences such as these that make me eager and excited to get out there and do it again with the new knowledge I have acquired.