Dappir Ridge Road to the Makeover: Summer Update

With The Makeover being just over a month away, we are all busy preparing our OTTBs for their final outings, and polishing up areas that need improvement. Kelly Giunta and Robbie Jones are headed to the AEC’s to contest the Novice- wish them luck! Kiki Osbourne and Shake and Spin have been attending some local schooling shows and clinics to prepare for their big debut as dressage queens at The Makeover. Adriana Nannini and Wicked Soprano plan to compete in both eventing and showjumping disciplines at The Makeover, and have competed in several schooling shows in preparation. 

Unfortunately, Alex Austin and Crafty Oak’s Run will not be accompanying us to The Makeover due to technical issues. While this is disappointing for all of us, she and her big boy “Ronin” will continue to forge ahead with their alternate fall plans.  

We have one additional member of the Dappir Ridge cohort that will be attending The Makeover with us. Our friend and teammate, Anna White, with her 4 year old Indiana-bred gelding, Black Spartacus (aka “Zeus”), will be contesting the eventing and show jumping disciplines. Anna is a longtime student of Kiki’s, and has brought along several OTTBs over the years. She purchased Black Spartacus sight-unseen last October through Amy Paulus. 

Anna has had an interesting summer season; she actually broke her arm in a freak accident at the May Daze Horse Trials, which derailed her summer competition plans. With Anna out of commission, Zeus headed to Brieanna Litten for some “cowboy camp”, followed by a stay at Adriana Nannini’s place. Adriana was lucky enough to get the ride on Zeus for a few weeks and take him to a jumper show. Once Anna’s arm healed, she was quickly back in business, and if you saw them now, you would think that they never missed a beat. Zeus is a fancy, sporty, brave little guy that is sure to shine at The Makeover.

Anna White with Black Spartacus at the May Daze Horse Trials. (Notice the vetrap around her broken right arm!) Photo courtesy of Kate Mumbauer.

Adriana Nannini 

Since our last blog post, Wicked Soprano (“Raven”)  has reached several milestones. She competed successfully in her first event at War Horse June at the Carolina Horse Park, followed by a move-up to Beginner Novice at their July event thereafter. In July and August, Raven attended several other shows and outings, including a couple of jumper shows at Plain Dealing Farm, and a Beginner Novice combined test at the Virginia Horse Center.

You may remember me mentioning Raven’s trailering problem in our last post. Well, her trailering woes got worse before they got better! At the end of June, she gouged her hind leg to the bone while banging around in the trailer. The laceration required stitches and multiple rounds of SMZs to heal. Luckily, there is no residual damage other than an unsightly cosmetic scar. 

One additional factor that occasionally throws a wrench in our plans is Raven’s affinity for ripping her shoes off. She only wears front shoes, but is constantly ripping the shoe off of her clubby right foot, which, as a result, has been reduced to a sad little nub. My wonderful, patient farrier, Chris, probably wants to kill me by this point after all the time he has put in patching and gluing her foot back together. 

I have been bringing Raven to schooling shows and lessons regularly; she typically travels somewhere in the trailer 1-2 times per week, and I’m pleased to say that she is becoming less and less claustrophobic in the trailer as time goes by. We also have been hacking a few times per week, and incorporating some gentle walking up and down hills into her routine. On the flat, Kiki helped me figure out the “magic button” to get Raven to track straight, and that has helped immensely with our flatwork. 

Raven’s spicy demeanor makes dressage our bogey phase; she tries very hard to hold it together in the dressage ring, but the tension usually gets the better of her. Because of that, I think it will be some time before we are able to be competitive in the dressage phase, but that’s ok. If she takes a little longer, that’s fine with me, because I think she’s worth the wait! 

Raven earns her oats in the jumping phases. She’s enthusiastic, honest and super careful. I’m having so much fun bringing her along- she’s my little fireball! She’s like riding a feather that’s propelled by rocket fuel! Riding her is an absolute blast. 

We plan to attend another schooling event or two between now and the Makeover, and also hope to school cross-country a couple of times to make sure that phase is solid. Now that The Makeover is a little more than a month away, it is becoming very real and very exciting for all of us! Cross your fingers for us that everything goes somewhat according to plan! 🙂

Wicked Soprano is such a pretty girl! Photo courtesy of Adriana Nannini.

Adriana Nannini with Wicked Soprano at the Virginia Horse Center. Photo courtesy of Ashley Balazs.

Adriana Nannini and Wicked Soprano schooling over fences. Photo courtesy of Kiki Osbourne.

Wicked Soprano’s bone-deep laceration and her sad little glued-together club foot. Photos courtesy of Adriana Nannini.

Dr. Kelly Giunta, VMD

Robbie Jones and I have had a busy summer! We started out at War Horse in June, followed by the Maryland Horse Trials in July, and a few local dressage and hunter/jumper shows in the months of July and August, where we took home some blue ribbons! We even went on a safari stuffed animal hunt!  

We have been taking a lot of lessons and have made big improvements in our dressage and jumping. We are qualified for the AECs and are heading to Kentucky next week!  

Robbie has been in bar shoes all summer and his feet have been really good- except for a new problem that arose a few weeks ago. How many of you are familiar with a shoe boil? Or the fashionable boot that helps prevent it?  The boot looks like a donut- and it must taste like one also because Robbie ate his ☹!

Kelly Giunta with Robbie Jones practicing their jumper skills. Photo courtesy of Kelly Giunta.

Kelly Giunta and Robbie Jones are dressage queens! Photo courtesy of Kelly Giunta.

Kelly Giunta and Robbie Jones are ready to contest the AEC’s! Photo courtesy of Kelly Giunta.

Robbie ate his boil boot! Photo courtesy of Kelly Giunta.

Alex Austin 

Crafty Oak’s Run (“Rōnin”) has been getting out a bit more and participating in between random bumps and minor setbacks. He still has limited awareness of his very large size, and likes to pester his pasture mates into playing with him, which has resulted in a few more weeks off than expected. But thankfully, there’s been nothing major! 

We were entered in the War Horse June event at the Carolina Horse Park, but had to scratch due to a bump from playing in turnout that turned into a big leg. He did make it to War Horse in July, and really grew up a lot from that experience. It was a lot of atmosphere, which at times Rōnin handled very well, although he was overwhelmed by the busy show jump warmup and the sound of people dumping ice in coolers. He decided bolting sideways was a good plan of escape from that situation! However, despite those reactions to the atmosphere, Rōnin managed to jump around clear and stay in the dressage ring, which landed us in an unexpected 5th place. 

In August, we went to Loch Moy’s Twilight Eventing where he put in a dressage test that showed a lot of growth and balance! Also in August, we went to the Thoroughbred Heritage Show at the Virginia Horse Center, where we contested the Beginner Novice Combined Test. Rōnin jumped clear, and had his lowest dressage score yet, earning himself a 2nd place finish!

Sadly, due to a technical error, Rōnin will not be attending the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover, but we’re trying to put lots on the schedule for him to get out and have more experiences, and we will be cheering everyone on from the home front!

Alex Austin with Crafty Oak’s Run at the Carolina Horse Park. Photo courtesy of Kiki Osbourne.

Alex Austin and Crafty Oak’s Run practicing jumping through a grid! Photo courtesy of Kiki Osbourne.

Alex Austin with Crafty Oak’s Run doing their dressage test at the Virginia Horse Center. Photo courtesy of Ashley Balazs.

Alex Austin and “Ronin” are ready for cross-country! Photo courtesy of Adriana Nannini.

Kiki Osbourne, Our Fearless Leader

Shake and Spin (aka, “Frijole”, or “Ole”) has been a busy young horse the past few months. I one hundred percent believe that three year olds need to be three year olds and not be overtrained, overworked or overstressed. However, I do think they can go and experience lots of new and different things while not having too much pressure put on them. 

So, first on my agenda was to take Ole to some local farms, and just do a light dressage lesson with some clinicians that came to our area. Ole was in for the whole experience, from loading by himself in the 2-horse trailer, and traveling there solo. Other than a few goodbye whinnies to his barn buddies, he had no issues whatsoever and everyone there loved him!  

We did the same thing a few days later, but at our other farm, Chapel Springs, for another dressage day. Again, successful. Now, when I talk about being successful in the ring, I mean we mostly went where we planned to go at mostly the correct gaits. 

After “dressage week”, Ole had about 3 weeks of just hacking. We went out solo, with others, crossed rivers (he thought that was fun), climbed hills, and experienced all the new sights that we could.

I then decided, since Ole’s primary discipline at the RRP is dressage, I should take him to see a real dressage ring! Off to the CDCTA twilight dressage show at Great Meadow. It was super hot, so Ole may have just decided it would be best to go with the flow. But, he was amazing. He didn’t spook inside or outside the arena.

Fast forward to a week later. I took Ole to a clinic with Tik Maynard and Andrea Waldo. Tik specializes in breaking and training young horses as well as competing in Eventing, so I figured, of all the things that were appropriate for a 3 year old, this was it.  Day One we spent on ground work in the arena, which is hugely beneficial for any horse. I know I’m a bit biased, but Ole was pretty smart and caught on easily to what we were asking of him. Tik took over the halter once or twice, which was nice to watch. 

Day Two of the clinic,  we went to a cross-country course and I taught Ole about the finer art of cross-country schooling…mostly walking things like the ditch, water and banks. We did trot a few very small logs, and he was pretty proud of himself!

Lastly, Ole made his debut appearance at Virginia Horse Center for the Thoroughbred Heritage show. Unfortunately, his rider (me!) ran out of time to get him to the pleasure division as planned. But, honestly, just to be there in the stall for a night and be around the hustle of a show was a good learning experience for him.  I was able to ride him all around the facility, and of course, he was lovely. He took it all in and seemed to really enjoy it. 

Ole is such a pleasure to be around and take places. I consider myself super lucky to have him.  I’m really looking forward to showing him off at The Makeover this fall.

Shake and Spin. Photo courtesy of Kiki Osbourne.

Kiki Osbourne with Shake and Spin strutting their stuff at their first show together. Photo courtesy of Kiki Osbourne.

Shake and Spin. Photo courtesy of Kiki Osbourne.

Go Thoroughbreds and Go Eventing!