Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Yes, I’m going to do it – I’m going to bring up that Valentine’s Day conundrum currently infiltrating countless relationships across the globe (shameless hyperbole, I know, but I’m getting into the spirit of the day).

How long into a relationship is long enough before you break out the ‘L’ word?

I’ve been very much declaring my ‘like’ for my new pony for the past three months, prefaced with ‘despite everything’: ‘Despite everything, I really like him’ (accompanied by a rueful grin, but with an unmistakable sparkle in my eye). It just felt a little early for those three small – yet mighty – words.

It only took the briefest mention that my boy might benefit from a short time-out at my trainer’s barn (to work on all the stuff I like him despite), which is thirty minutes further from me than he is usually, for me to tearfully turn to a pile of mush and declare my total and unequivocal love for the little guy. ‘But I love him and he’ll be so far away’ (sob). (I guess I’m not a long-distance relationship kinda gal.)

As it turns out, committing myself emotionally has given our training journey an unexpected boost as I’m now unconditionally invested in our future together, because of – not despite – everything. Hurrah for love!

In all seriousness, spending time with a trainer that’s right for you and your horse is something that, if it’s available to you, shouldn’t be overlooked, no matter how experienced you are or wherever you are in your equestrian journey, as top eventer Andrew Hoy acknowledges (above) – he’s been working with fellow legend Capt. Mark Phillips for more than four decades. I’ll wrap this up with some sage advice from a wise colleague during my meltdown this week: Find a trainer you trust implicitly and then trust the process. And, of course, go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Jumping Branch Farm H.T. (Aiken, SC)[Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ocala Winter I (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ram Tap H.T. (Fresno, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Portuguese Spring Tour (Mata do Duque) (Feb 17 – 20 and Feb 28 – Mar 3) [Timetable] [Entries] [Scoring] [Portuguese Eventing Association Facebook Page] [More Info]

Wednesday News and Reading

It’s just one week until the 2024 Ocala Horse Properties USEA YEH Symposium – a great opportunity to learn everything you need to know about young event horse prospects. From educational sessions covering confirmation, training, jumping and galloping, and masterclasses from some of the best in the biz, the schedule is jam-packed – and there’s the chance to attend a complimentary behind-the-scenes tour of the World Equestrian Center. Find out what’s going on at the symposium here and register to attend here.

Steffen Peters is back in the saddle following a health scare and is looking towards Paris and another #ravehorse performance. Taking dressage viral in Tokyo, Suppenkasper has been hitting the ring at HITS Del Mar Dressage Opener CDI in California with German-born U.S. rider Steffen Peters, just two months after Steffen spent time in hospital due to blood clots in his left leg and lungs, which doctors believe was caused by too many hours traveling by air. He’s putting that behind him though as he focuses on Olympic qualification, and will hopefully be bringing the party to the Paris dressage competition in the summer.

When is a horse too much horse? So this is an article that feels like it was written just for me right now. To be honest, if I was an outsider looking at me and my horse (and of the judgy temperament, hey, we’re all human), I would probably be of the opinion that I’ve over-horsed myself. But you can’t know the whole story or see the bigger picture from the outside. This horse game is basically a huge – and incredibly steep – learning curve, that peaks and troughs and plateaus and sends you round in circles and up-side-down. I’ve found that I’m learning just as much about myself as I am about my horse. “Sometimes we end up with the horse that we actually need”, and sometimes that’s a whole lotta horse.

Using mindful pauses can totally change the experience your horse has when doing something new or scary. Horse trainer Warwick Schiller explains his ‘Watch-And-Pause’ method when saddling up, sharing the signs of tension we need to watch out for and how to tell when the horse’s focus has changed, allowing us to continue with the task at hand. Warrick is currently racing across the Patagonian wilderness as he navigates the Gaucho Derby – keep up with the latest race news here.

And finally, skijoring in Salt Lake City. Bringing this – kinda crazy – extreme sport to an urban environment is no mean feat, and included moving 60 trucks of snow from Solitude Mountain Resort into the city. The organizers believe it’s the most metropolitan destination that the sport has taken place in. In case you’re wondering, skijoring involves a horse and rider pulling a skier – think waterskiing, but the boat’s a horse and the water’s snow. Because, why not?

Sponsor Corner

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Video Break

Here’s a little joy / fun / downright weirdness to help you through hump day – a throwback to the other Horse Inspection that happened at the wonder that is Les 5 Etoiles de Pau.

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