Lauren Kieffer and Snooze Alarm PTR: Chapter 3

In our latest guest blog, Lauren writes about her performance last weekend at Pine Top.  One of the characteristics that makes Lauren one of our country’s brightest rising stars is her ability to objectively analyze her performance as a rider.  Hearing some of the A&B listers out there talk, or reading their blogs, makes me think that they might have better results if, every once in a while, they started looking for answers rather than excuses.  Thanks for writing Lauren, and thank you for reading.

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From Lauren:

Well this weekend was one of those weekends that the first thing I wanted to do when I got home that night was hole up with my friend Jim Beam and pout, but before I got too far into my glass of bourbon and coke I needed to evaluate my weekend and get over myself because I’m pretty lucky to have made it home with a sound self and sound horses. 

So the first thing I looked at was my dressage performances. They were all pretty mediocre and the biggest problem was that my horses weren’t half halting well enough in the ring, so now that I’m home I need to spend a lot of time in the ring and work on my horses half halting from my seat and waiting in the corners so that when I get to the show and they are tense or excited by the atmosphere I have that tool to work with. One good thing about Snooze’s test was that although I didn’t have that tool when I needed it, the quality of his gaits in his lateral work was better than it was in the fall last year so I know I’ve gone in the right direction with that. 
Next was the show jumping, Snooze was very good and overall all the horses were quite good, only having one rail between the five of them. (Note to self- look into becoming a showjumper: better hours, no riding in unsavory weather, more money…. Hmmm) 
And last but not least, the cross country. Snooze was a wild man, especially to the gallop fences, although quite rideable and attentive in the combinations. I ended up with a lot of time penalties though because I had to spend a long time bringing him back after galloping because he was so strong. I’m going to have to experiment with bits over the next few weeks but I’m thinking I will switch him from his full cheek twisted snaffle to a three ring and see if he is more responsive to the added leverage. 
Overall, my performance at Pine Top was pretty mediocre but things could always be worse and one of the best things you can do after a rough weekend is use it as an opportunity to look back and see what you need to work on and go home and fix things so you can come back out and give it a better try next time around. 
Snooze’s next event will be the Advanced at Poplar Place Horse Trials in three weeks so I have lots of time to practice and school for a better performance, although Snooze may take some convincing because I’m pretty sure he thinks his performance was perfectly fine, clearly his modifications to the dressage test deserved extra points and if I had just let him run as fast as he wanted we would have finished WELL inside of the time on cross country, but lucky for me Snooze can’t talk. 
Let’s make sure we keep the riders that had bad falls this weekend in our thoughts and prayers for speedy recoveries and quick returns. And the Maggot and I will talk to ya’ll again soon!

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