Its been a crazy busy week for me here in Florida. On Wed I went to the USPRE sponsored dinner at the global dressage festival, it was a lot of fun, there was an amazing dinner then a demo of some of the PRE horses in the US, there was several great horses and riders. This new facility is going to be amazing, not only is it well equipment for horses and humans as a showgrounds, but when it is completed it will have an onsite hotel! They have done an amazing job of getting this project underway and I am sure it will get better and better as a facility.
After that myself and most of the dressage crown headed over to the Dressage Under the Stars. It is an FEI costume Kur night. The judging is american idol style, with a technical judge, a creative judge and a celebrity judge so anything can happen. The dressage ring is on grass and under big spot lights. The series runs 8 weeks and the winner of each week gets invited back to the final. The best part is that you can watch it all from the patio at a local bar!
One of the White Fences Trainers Susanne Hamilton was in attendance an won with her pop rock Kur! I did take some video but it will not upload from my phone. Sadly I may be trading in the BB for an iPhone.
On Friday I watched the Grand Prix from 11 am until 5pm, it truly is amazing to watch. Jaqueline Brooks’ mom is a wonderful dressage statistician and has been discussing the finer points of the GP with me, she knows everything about everyone and has been a wonderful person to get to know while watching. And she has a cute puppy named princess that keeps us company. Friday was above 30 all day, a great day for watching, perhaps not so much if you are riding.
Friday night we went out Irish dancing then ended up at an Italian festival that was a full on carnival and rides and cotton candy! I am back in Kansas! So when there is dancers and music everyone started swing dancing at the carnival. Then more dancing last night, I am going to be a dancing machine by the time I leave Florida!
Sunday back to the Grand Prix special for more watching. Ashley, Heather and Todd did an amazing job of their tests and all were in the 70s.
Having So much fun! Wish you were here!
Let me start by saying I am really enjoying my lessons with Susan Jaccoma. Most of you know I am very picky and very protective of my partnership with my horse. I have gone through a lot of trainers unhappy with the results. Welmingh love’s the exercises Sue has presented us and I do as well. There is a lot to take in during a lesson so I will summarize some of the exercises as per your request.
Today we are working on engaging the hind quarters and getting more swing behind.
1) Start in the walk, Half steps, Collected trot, medium trot, collected trot, half steps walk (on the circle)
– I love the engagement as an end result of this exercise
2) Walk piroutte 2 steps to leg yield 2 steps off of the inside leg, canter transition to piroutte
– my horse got stuck in the canter pirouette so we modified it to a volte with 2 steps shoulder in 2 steps shoulder out (medium to refresh the tempo)
3) Leg yield to x then medium in trot
4) Trot haunches in on the circle to collected trot. repeat.
If you have questions please feel free to post them on the Facebook page and I will do my best to answer them. This all sounds so much easier typed!
I want to try to paint a picture of what its really like to be here in Wellington. My horse is located on Hanover Circle . You can check our the google map to see all the stables, although it really doesnt do the Lars peterson horse castle justice. It feels a bit like the old west gone dressage style. Horses have the right of way and there is traffic signs stating that pretty much everywhere. Horses are always being ridden up and down the roads to or from lessons or just on a simple hack. Everybody greets you with a smile and a nod, and perhaps a wave if they feel like dropping a rein and their horse is safe to do so on. It really is a bit surreal, in saying that it is hard to describe. Especially coming from a small dressage world where nobody smiles and nods but is likely more willing to put a knife in your back.
Everything is built to be horse friendly first and people friendly second. I went to the grocery store and a kind lady let me in line in front of her because all I had was carrots and I was wearing my breeches. She said you must have a horse, and smiled in appreciation. The young store clerk noted the 5 lb bag of carrots and stated ” he is one lucky horse” my response was “I am one lucky rider”.
I appreciate every ride on my horse. My coach came back from her ride today and stuck her head in her horses’ stall and said thanks for the fantastic ride today. A novel concept from the local trainers in Alberta and SUCH a refreshing change.
I dont want to bore you with details but trying to paint a picture of the atmosphere here is not an easy task.
I had my first lesson yesterday and although the fundamentals were the same the approach and objective were quite different. Upon giving it some thought I decided I like the approach. Then I rode my horse today, and clearly he liked the approach as well. Not only was he happy to be back at work but in one very easy lesson we have him moving differently through his shoulders! Bring on the Krack C half pass (sideways movement/video link for non horsey people) I have been dying for!
Its hard to believe a week has gone by since my last blog post. I am now officially settled into my new home in Florida. I live 10 minutes from the stable and have a pool. Which is as I am told an essential part of surviving summer in Florida. I have two great roomates. One is a firefighter that owns the house and one is another horsey girl. Here is the new view from my home office =)
I attended a super bowl party at White Fences, I met a lot of great horse people and a few of the trainers from the nieghbourhood. The stalls in the courtyard are attached to the house. Welmingh as per usual had acquired some adoring fans. So we fed him some beer. Which he really took a liking too!
The next several months in Wellington are called the Winter Equestrian Festival There is something going on all the time and on saturday night there is a big event. That you can spend lots of money to go watch, or just watch it streaming on the web. I will have to head down to the event one night but for now I am just trying to find the dressage rings. While I was lost and looking for them on sunday look what I found: Beer Ponies!!!
Everything is so exciting I wish I could jump up and down with excitement. But when you are wandering around alone that just makes you look crazy. So for now I will try to restrain myself.
Stay tuned for a VERY exciting update tomorrow.
Ok well that might not be breaking news for those of you who know I came down here to ride, however the kind of galloping I did tonight is not that what you expected.
While planning this trip in a mad panic I decided to try couch surfing. This is a community of people who have an open notion of hospice around the world. So in my case it allowed me to meet some new people in my new local town. I know from riding in California that horse people are often friendly but very busy and not doing a lot outside the horse community. Not a bad thing, just limiting when you are trying to find new friends in the community.
I have really lucked out. My couch surfing family is super awesome. William and Francine have opened up their home with their children Steve and Christina. They have been very friendly and welcoming so I am fortunate to have met them while I look for a place to live.
Tonight they took me to their Irish dance class. They both teach the class and it was an amazing experience. One of the bolder moves towards the end is called the gallop. Its kind of like a charge of people within close quarters with two couples. Here is a link to the galloping, yes I danced the whole 2o minutes set but the galloping is at about 17 minutes.
I also learned how to ride a scooter today. Christina gave me the scooter tour of the area so I could get the lay of the land.
I did go to the barn today and lunged Welmingh, he was a bit stiff but is starting to settle and did stretch out. I am going to head out to ride tomorrow morning and I am looking at a room for rent very close to the barn within walking distance.
I have been looking downtown but it looks like life in the suburbs for me for the next little while.