Well, we are into April and as I like to say, time is a ticking! Rolex is around the corner and I coud not be more excited. Last Monarch has been very consistent this spring, placing 5th at Southern Pines and 4th at The Fork. One of my biggest challenges with Stewie is the dressage, because what makes him good in the jumping phases makes my circles tough! Although I did not win the dressage at both horse trials, we received a score of 35 twice. He also had solid cross country rounds and jumped 2 double clears. I will take that! So now what?
In crunch time people tend to get a bit nervous about fixing all that is broken. I know because I have seen it and done it! The fact is, you cannot train your horse up in 3 weeks, or put much fitness on. So what I am going to do is practice my dressage test, maintain Stewie’s fitness level, and get a few jump lessons with Harold Chopping until meeting up with P. Duddy and Silva Martin in Kentucky. Ashley Kriegel and Kaylie O’Neil, Stewie’s personal assistants, have him looking the best he has ever looked! They deserve a huge thanks for all their hard work and having the most unfortunate task of dealing with me everyday for the past month! (I think my husband appreciates it too) I want to thank Jason Sharer for the many hours spent making sure Stewie has the best Nike’s in town. Good farriers and vets are so important and riders cannot do without them!
I will catch up before I leave for Rolex, and cannot wait to ride there again. It has been 5 years since I last left the Rolex start box. And the feeling of competing again on a horse I not only own, but brought up the levels is beyond words. While I will never predict how Stewie and I will do, one thing is for certain. I will be the proudest mom cantering up centerline. Go Stewie!!!
I cannot beleive it is already March and next month is April! This spring is flying by and I feel Rolex is right around the corner. Last Monarch is on track despite his clumsy mother Pine Top weekend. Let me start out by wishing Jan and Rebecca a speedy and full recovery. They are in my thoughts, and I wish comfort to their families as well. After pulling into Pine Top and unloading, I fell off my ladder hanging a tack hook. I wish I could say I was riding a bad ass bull named Yellowjacket, but no. It was a fall off a 2 ft ladder. Anyway, with a bummed wrist and a few profanities I called Boyd Martin Thursday afternoon to ride my horses. Although he had never ridden either horse, he said yes. I debated for 2 seconds on wether to drop them down a level and decided no. Boyd rides great and has an accent, of course he can do it.
Boyd spent Saturday getting to know Last Monarch and Cold Harbor, in the dressage ring and on the show jumping course. So I knew Sunday’s cross country rounds would be brilliant. I mean, Boyd already rode them twice for crying out loud, and he did not disappoint. Both horses put in flawless cross counrty rounds. Stewie was 6th in the advanced and Bo was 3rd in the intermediate horse.
We have been back home and I am riding again. It was a bit hard to watch for the weekend, so I am happy to be in the saddle! One thing I noticed with Stewie on the flat is I really need to keep lengthing his neck out. He gets tight easy and it was beneficial to see what I feel. As for the jumping, I believe I am on track. My plan is to get a few more dressage lessons with Silva Martin and jump schools with P Duddy. My gallops have increased to 3 seven minute sets, and I will add a bit of speed work soon. In less than 2 weeks I will be competing both horses at SPHT II, then it is off to The Fork. I think my biggest plan for now is to keep Stewie’s fitness going and work on the flatwork. I am proud of how far he has come and cannot wait for the next 2 months! Will catch up soon.
Well, like everyone else on the planet we have had terrible weather in North Carolina. So last Monday, Ashley Kriegal, Kate Fitzgerlad and I decided to go to Aiken for 5 days before Pine Top. It was the first time we were able to xc school, and Last Monarch was a total train wreck! He thinks it is so funny to run off with me after every jump, and me, not so much. I ventured over to P. Duddy’s (Phillip’s) for jump lessons on Stewie and a new ride, Cold Harbor. Both horses jumped great and it is always good to see everyone again. I also had a dressage lesson with Boyd’s bride Silva which was AMAZING! She rode Stewie and I saw a trot on him I have never seen before. Silva had Stewie going better than I ever have, and while I felt like an idiot, I cannot wait until the next lesson! After 5 great days it was off to Pine Top.
The first show of the spring season is always a bit touch and go, and when you add 5 inches of snow, it becomes comical. I have to say Pine Top Farm did the most fantastic job with everything. I never thought the show would run as well as it did! While a bit stressful for the organizers and volunteers, it was however, one of the most beautiful Saturday mornings I have seen. Check out hoofclix.com to see what I am talking about. Anyway, Last Monarch was great. He tends to be quite a handful, especially early on in the season! But despite a few spins, leaps, and rears, he finished 2nd in the OI on his dressage score of 33.6. Because Ashley was riding (and won the prelim rider division) Kaylie O’Neal and Erin Sheets came to help out. While I tried to prepare them for dealing with the little monster at a competition, we all had a good laugh at the end of the weekend about how ridiculous Stewie is! Cold Harbor won his prelim division and is the total opposite of Stewie. I tell his owner Dana Diemer all the time he is “dreamy” compared to the wild man.
With the first show successfully completed, we are nowhome and will head back to Pine Top in 2 weeks. Both horses will move up a level, and like everyone else, I am hoping for better weather. Thanks to Chuck (my driver, chef, and cheerleader), Ashley, Kaylie, Cali, Erin, Dana, and Laura who made the weekend what is was. Will catch up in 2 weeks!
*John Note: If you are interested in taking a clinic with Holly, she will be at Equiventure Farm in Rougemont, NC March 5-7, see Holly’s site for more info. She will also be at Showman Farm in MI March 27-28, see the Area 8 website for more info. Holly will also be teaching at the Area 8 young rider camp in June, in which Holly has worked with riders such as Lauren Kieffer, Hannah Burnett, and even yours truly, but don’t hold that against Holly. Also, be sure to check out Holly’s Chapter 1 for a comment appearance by Holly’s Hollybell’s mom.