I am pleased to introduce our 5th and perhaps final guest rider/blogger for the Spring, Carrie Meehan and the fantastic Blue Devil. Carrie and “Duke” won the T3DE at Waredaca last fall, and give us the perspective of very talented rising pair in our sport. For those of you keeping score at home, our other four bloggers are the Rolex-targeting Holly Hudspeth and Lauren Kieffer, FHI Champ Hannah Burnett, and the Canadian sensation taking England by storm Lindsay Pearce. Their posts will start to space out a bit over the next few weeks, and we hope they will provide a welcome first-hand perspective, from many angles, on our great sport. Go eventing.
Well the time has finally come for my first entry! So I suppose I should introduce myself and my horse. My name is Carrie Meehan, I’m 20 years old, and I live in Charlottesville, Virginia. ‘Blue Devil’ aka Duke and I started our partnership the summer of ’09 and after a rocky start, we started to click and things just seemed to fall into place after that. Duke has been a wonderful teacher for me and it never ceases to amaze me how smart he is. He will be 16 years old this year, but you would never know it if I didn’t tell you. For example, the recent snowfall in central Virginia has left many melting snow piles along the road. Duke must take the time to observe (and spook) at every one of them as we pass. I keep trying to convince him that those big Advanced level tables he’s jumped with Emily are much scarier. Speaking of, Emily Beshear is my trainer and the one who has made Duke into what he is today (though I can’t forget Jeff Beshear who also played a big role and took Duke through the Intermediate level). I owe so much of my success to her and all the time and encouragement she has given to me.
So these last few weeks since Christmas break have been pretty low-key. I must say ‘going back to basics’ has been the theme of my training schedule. Since Duke had a light program during the holiday break, we spent an entire week doing nothing but walking and trotting on the roads. Duke has a history of weak stifles, so Emily encouraged me to ‘nip it in the bud’ and not let it become a problem later down the road this season, especially with an older horse like Duke. Knowing this type of work will pay off in the long run makes it worth it, even though the same roads can get pretty boring after a couple days haha! Though I must say, I have also joined Duke in the conditioning process by going to a gym a couple times a week.
Once we finally got back into the arena, it was time to pick apart my position! Emily says I have a habit of sitting too far back on my seat bones and gripping with my thighs. So here comes many days of no stirrups! But I know all of this fine-tuning will make all the difference in the long run. When it comes to jumping, we have started back doing poles on the ground. Before you laugh, don’t underestimate the difficulty of it, especially when you’re working on nothing but the smallest of details. All of this is done in my jumping position, so that adds more difficulty. I can’t feel too bad for making Duke work hard anymore because I’m working just as hard (though he doesn’t seem convinced).
We started jumping this past week, and Duke definitely isn’t holding back his excitement! Needless to say I think I may start lifting heavier weights at the gym. I can’t wait for the ground to dry up from all this rain we’ve been having so we can go out trotting on the hills. I’ve been planning out my spring season the past couple days, and it’s crazy to think my first event is in just a little over a month! Where has time gone? I’m starting to hear that clock ticking, so that means it’s time to get down to business! Southern Pines will be here before we know it. But then again, knowing it’s getting closer gets me amped up every time I ride. I must say, I can’t wait to get back out there and compete. Not to mention, going cross-country with Duke has to be one of the most amazing feelings on Earth. He’s one in a million that’s for sure. Well, I think that’s all for now, but until next time, happy riding!