Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday and Monday at the WEG's by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


Sunday, we noticed a real change in the temperature here in Kentucky. It was really the first cold morning we have experienced so far this fall, and I think some of the horses were absolutely loving it!

Team Canada had our little team jogup in the morning to make sure that everyone looks the way they should, and it seemed kind of strange to be pulling coolers off horses before they do their trot up. Wasn't it just 100 degrees last week??? I have to say, it was pretty refreshing after our hot last 3 weeks on the road. All the Canadian horses are doing great, and we're feeling good headed in to the competition.

After the jog up, Canada had a dressage ring booked for 2 hours so we each got to head down and have a quick school with David in a 20x60. It was a little ways from the barn, so the hack down was nice for the horses, and then there was plenty of room in the middle of all the arenas to warmup before our 20 minute time slot with Coach. In the afternoon, we had an opportunity to ride them again in one of the arenas that is more in the middle of the action. This was a nice thing to do with the horses because it was a lot busier than our more remote arena in the morning, but it still wasn't so busy that it was a distraction. Sort of trying to ease them into having tons of people on the outside of the arenas. Ollie feels good!!

Monday, we started off with another team jog, but this time we got to use the official jog strip. This was a good thing to do because we get the chance to have the horses see the decorated jog strip, as well as make sure that everything looks great on the actual surface they will be using on Wednesday morning. Some of the European horses were doing jogs and canters around the steeplechase track right beyond the jog strip, and Ollie thought that looked like a great idea. He was very well behaved, but I had a hard time keeping up with him when it came to be his time to jog!!

After our jog, I joined the fun on the steeplechase track, but at a walk. Ollie hasn't had a really good hack out in a while, so this was a great opportunity. It was cold and rainy, so we put the rain sheet on over top of my legs and over his butt and off we went!! Rebecca and I walked around for 45 minutes or so before our loop brought us back to the stables. I think Ollie and Rupert were beyond pleased that they escaped morning dressage. They were even more excited in the afternoon when we went down to our jump school!! A dressage free day.... it was pretty awesome.

Jo Ann Wilson worked on the horses again today and yesterday, and I'm so excited that she is here with us. We have a pretty sound bunch here with us this week, but Jo Ann is going to help us all to look and feel our best through the whole competition!! Very lucky....

Tomorrow is the competitor briefing, the course walk, the official schooling time in the main stadium, AND the dressage ride for Moorlands Totilas. My grandparents on my dads side are Dutch, so I"m thinking about sportin some orange when I go down to try and soak up some of the absolutely indescribable awesomeness that is Edward Gal and Totilas. My expectations of that performance are a little high :)

Thanks for reading, keep in touch


Stephanie

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Opening Day at WEG Day by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


So, welcome to our first real day at the WEG!!! We arrived at the barn this morning at about 8am, and got on pretty much right away for what was supposed to be a quick little ride. We ended up being on our horses for nearly two hours. First of all, we hacked down to the rings in the infield, just to check it out. The footing was really soggy from all the rain we had last night, so it was a good thing we didn't spend 15 minutes going down there with the intent to do a lot of work!! We had to be stewarded across the road and all the way down to the rings, which was kind of nice because we had NO idea where we were going. This was after we had attempted to go hack around the steeplechase course. This didn't work very well because some of the other eventers from different countries were doing gallops this morning.... you can imagine how that turned out. But all was well in the end, we got to our arenas for our schooling times and spent the last 15 minutes or so of our ride doing some flatwork in the final warmup rings we'll be using on Thursday and Friday. Very useful! I'm sure we're not going to be allowed back down there until Wednesday.

This evening was spent at the Opening Ceremonies for the games, which was indescribably cool. I really enjoyed the whole thing. The arena felt incredible filled with all of those people, and to be there with the riders from the other disciplines was great. Its really exciting to just be milling around waiting for the thing to start and seeing all the people I grew up idolizing. You look one way and there's Mary King and William Fox Pitt, and then you look another way and you see Anky, then all of a sudden Mark Todd walks right past you and asks how you're doing. It was a little overwhelming, to be honest. But very very VERY cool.

Tomorrow we will be riding in the infield dressage arenas for a short morning school, and then in the Walnut Ring below the grandstands (also known as the Prince Phillip Games ring for all the Rolex Kentucky attendees) for another school later in the afternoon.

For now, hello comfy bed at the Marriot :) Goodnight!!


Stephanie

Saturday, September 25, 2010

World Equestrian Games-Canada Style Day 1 by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


Today, we left Ocala for our 12 hour trek to Lexington, KY for a little horse show they are having up here. No big deal. !!!!!
The drive up was super, my mom drove the last 8 hours while I on and off napped in the passenger seat. As pretzeled up as I was (I get the whole feet-on-dashboard-knees-above-head attempt at curling up comfortably going on) I actually felt pretty well rested when we arrived at the KHP at 3.

The system for getting horses off the trailer, ID checked, and all the stuff unloaded was actually pretty well done. All our horses were settled into their nicely organized barn within a couple of hours. This is largely thanks to Graeme and Deb for all their work they did in the couple of days before we arrived getting the stalls set up and getting the lay of the land for us.

It kind of seems like the whole transportation thing from the hotel to the park is going to be a little wild, but I think we'll get it sorted out over the next day or 2 and just fall into a system with it. I'm so glad the grooms are just a quick bike ride away from the horses, so its not like I'm going to be worried about Ollie at all!! Our hotel is super, I am so looking forward to crawling into this very comfy looking bed. (It will be a HUGE improvement on the truck seat)

Tomorrow we are going to meet at the barn at 8, plan to get the horses out for a wander and bit of a play two separate times tomorrow, just kind of taking a tour, and then tomorrow evening is the Opening Ceremonies for the whole games. Looking forward to it!! Will be armed with my camera...

Thanks for reading


Stephanie

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday At The Soon To Be Over CET Camp by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


Today was the all important last gallop day for the Canadian horses. Almost everyone had a different strategy for their horse today. Ollie, being half warmblood, did one circuit of the regular gallop at a regular pace, and then did two sets of sprints up the main hill. This was a great last workout for him, and he feels awesome. Dr. Ann Baskett was here for final selection vetting this afternoon, and I don’t think there were any unexpected results from that. Ollie looked super, and was eating and drinking and napping just the way he should be on the day before travel.

I have packed up and cleaned up my little loaner house here at Meredyth South, and send out many many thanks again to Jackie Mars for letting us spend the last 10 days here.

Tomorrow we hit the road at 3 am on the way to Kentucky!!

Thanks everyone for all your interest and support



Stephanie

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday & Wednesday at Camp CET by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch





Tuesday, we had the wonderful opportunity of going down the road to Sharn Wordley and Craig Martin’s farm to do a showjumping school. The footing in their ring (done by Sharn and Craig’s arena company Wordley Martin Equestrian) was amazing, the horses really pinged off of it, and it gave them a great amount of support and cushion. Lucky us!! They have a larger arena than the one here at Jackie Mars’s farm, so we were able to set up some stuff to give us a feel of course riding again. Big thanks to them for having us invade their place for the morning. Also, they are the guys behind PointTwo airvests here in the USA, so we got our team Canada airvests yesterday as well!! They are verrrry pretty.

Today was our last real dressage school before we hit the road. I am pleased to say that Ollie feels great. The level of detail that we are working on within the test is really exciting…. 5 months ago I couldn’t even imagine getting that deep into it. His quality of movement is so much better, but its really up to me to know exactly where and how to get every mark that I can out of that test. So hopefully I can get it all together and nail that test next week!! 8 days!!

The trunks are loaded, except for the stuff we have to use in our gallop tomorrow, and we are having our last Training Camp group dinner tonight at David’s for some final “team bonding” moments before life gets crazy.

Looking forward to it!!



Stephanie

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday at Camp USA with Buck Davidson


Sorry missed a few days...not so good with my blog. Everyone is in good spirits here in Atlanta at Team USA Camp. Reggie is going great with help from Oded in the dressage. I am really focusing on my preperation in the days leading up to my dressage test. I know I go second in the team, which will be Thursday afternoon. I think i will jump him on Wednesday after the jog, ride him in the morning Thursday in the double bridle, then get on for the test with a snaffle about 45 minutes before i go. I have a lot of confidence in my plan and i hope Reggie agrees.

Kathleen Blauth is back helping me after taking time out to have a baby. it is great to have her with me, she worked for me for 5 years. She loves Reggie and puts up with me. We have a great relationship and I feel comfortable knowing i have a great person/groom taking care of my horse.

Andrea has been awesome. She is healing up well. I am lucky to have such a great girlfriend that supports me so much. I am a pain in the neck during these big events, but she is unbelievable and seems to never get fustrated with me. Aaron Vale is coming Wednesday to give me some last second pointers for the show jumping. He is one of my best friends, and a great help to me for the final day.

Just a few more days to stress, then the games begin, everyone is ready! It is very hot and dry here in Atlanta. Kentucky will seem cool no matter what, we can't wait. A big thanks to Carl Bouckaert and his staff for allowing us to use his beautiful facility. They have taken great care of the horses and riders. Sorry it is late and I have a 7:00am dressage lesson with Oded tomorrow. So good night. i will have more tomorrow.

Buck

Monday at Camp CET by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


Today was a bit more of a relaxed day for Ollie and I at camp. After our 7am jog, I had a very nice long walk hack and long and low warm up before my 8:15 lesson started. The lesson was a little quieter, in mostly a deeper frame and just working on installing some of the tools that I’m going to need for my test in 10 days. David mostly just let me carry on and play for the first little while, and then started to help me out with some accuracy stuff within my movements.

After the lesson, I went into town to have the CET crest and flags sewn on to my Shadbelly!! Very exciting… after running some errands we ended back up in the barn packing up our wonderful red trunks! At first, I was a little put off hearing that we had one trunk to put everything into, but after opening up this wonderful trunk and seeing how much stuff really did fit into it… wow!! They are very cool looking, and really functional. I’m so excited to have them. That might be a little thing, but its part of the “team” experience, and its cool to me!!

We had a group dinner at Jen and Kyle Carter’s farm tonight, which provided even more team bonding!! We are going to be one seriously bonded group of people by the time we leave for Kentucky!!

Stay tuned…



Stephanie

Monday, September 20, 2010

Plantation Field International CIC3* Wrap Up by Ashley Kehoe



Hello Everyone!

What an awesome weekend! Plantation really made this a fun event! Plantation Field is really turning into a top class event. I hear Plantation Field did an awesome job keeping the sponsors and owners tent well stocked, even my mother enjoyed a few bloody mary’s before watching me jump! (cracks me up, she gets more nervous watching than I do riding!) And PRO had riders working with the announcer, Ed Holloway, to give this event a real big time feel. One great thing about this venue is that you can see almost all the cross country fences from the top of the hill. On Saturday, The cross country courses looked beautiful, but there were alot of technical eliminations. The hard thing about having different courses for the national and CIC divisions meant there were a few riders that walked the wrong fences! It was a good reminder to make sure I never make that mistake!

Saturday started with prelim cross country, and I had some good practice on my horse, Magic Man. Unfortunately we didn’t get any more rain Friday night, so the ground was still quite hard. Most everyone came in with 10 or more time penalties on the 3* course. For me, I know my horse has a nitrous button, I’m just saving it for the CCI*** at Fair Hill in a few weeks. We had a super cross country round, Eric really listened to me the whole time. I took all the direct routes, and my ride went exactly as planned...except that long spot I saw at the ditch and wall(there’s always something to do better!) Later that evening, after lots of icing and equissageing (vibrating back pad to loosen up muscles) My mom and I stopped by the cocktail party on the way back to the hotel. A HUGE thanks to the Walker family for having such a nice party, and all they do to make the event possible. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay very long, I still haven’t found a way to make my homework do itself…so it was off to the hotel to do some work and get some sleep!

Today was fantastic. Mark Donovan designed a great stadium course on grass footing. Eric passed the jog, and in warm up felt like he was ready for cross country round 2! We had a clear round, which is a career best for us! The scores were all so close our clean round luckily moved us up to 2nd place! I was so excited; we won enough prize money to cover all the entry fees and expenses for the weekend! I’ll be busy with dressage bootcamp the next few weeks. I hope everyone comes out to Fair Hill, it’s the next stop on the PRO Tour Series, and Eric and I are going to give it all we’ve got!

~Ashley

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plantation Field International HT: Day Three by Lee Lee Jones



Today was the last day of Plantation Field International Horse Trials. Since I was finished competing, I came out to the event just to watch. In the CCI one star Nina Ligon and Chai Thai had one rail, but they held the lead and won. For the CCI two star, Lizzie Snow and Pop Star got very lucky with a clean round keeping them in the lead.

After the two star finished, there was a parade of the hounds followed by a shetland pony race, which I got a picture of. After the pony race there was the bare back jumping although Doug Payne turned it into a stripping contest as he was given the option by the announcer to discard his shirt as a way to get back into the competition!. In my opinion, Lillian Heard was the official winner. The picture below is of her jumping her friends horse over the brick wall, which got up to about 5'3. After all the fun the three star show jumping began. Jennie Brannigan who rides with Phillip Dutton had a beautiful round on Cambalda as shown in the picture below. They jumped double and won the division by almost 18 points! Overall this was a great weekend and a lot of fun. I can't wait till next year!

~Lee Lee

Sunday at Camp Canada by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


Today was a bit of a jump day for the Canadian Squad. We have access to a fairly large all weather arena at the top of the property, and David had us set a few exercises in there the other day… All of us were very much looking forward to NOT doing dressage ever since setting the jumps up!! My lesson was at 7am, and to be honest, at 6:50am it was still dark!! Its surprising how much darker it is in the mornings these days… so, as the sun came up we hacked through the fields and eventually up the hill to the jump ring, where we were actually sitting well above the level of the heavy fog/mist that was lifting off the grass. It was very pretty in those few minutes before it was actually daylight.

Yesterday afternoon David spent a fair bit of time at his little workshop building things… We just assumed that he was pissed from a day at the dressage show, and needed to use power tools as an outlet for his emotions, but this morning he unloaded the fruits of his labor. We had two corners set up in the ring, and he made stands for the corner piece, as well as a top for one of the corners to make it feel a little more like a cross country style corner. Quite a handy guy, that DOC.

Every lesson that I saw today started out with a fair bit of flat work, and with my horse I let him go a little lower in his poll and do a lot of work around his hind end. I feel like in the last couple of weeks before a big three day, he kind of loses that Steady Eddie mentality that I’m used to, and starts to get a little stressed out by the dressage. It was a nice change for him today to go lower and I think he got a lot out of the stretchy work… He certainly jumped well!! We just had a few exercises, like a short one stride of verticals, and a little longer one stride of oxers, with bending lines on either side, to practice different types of rides through lines. At the end we did each of the corners and that was that! He was super. I really need more technical practice, but when you only have one upper level horse to jump….. that’s kind of limiting. Especially one that you want to last for several more years! But, we do alright, and he won’t be my only practice pony forever (hopefully).

Tonight is a team outing to a great little place in Ocala called Tony’s. They have sushi and hibachi grills (the ones where they cook right in front of you and do cool things like onion volcanoes… we get a kick out of those kinds of things here at Camp Canada!





Stephanie

Saturday, September 18, 2010

US Team Training Camp by Buck Davidson and Andrea Leatherman


Today we had the option to have a dressage lesson with either Mark Phillips or Oded Shimoni. Since I have been working with Oded for several years and he has been great with Reggie particularly this last year, I opted for the lesson with Oded. The day before Reggie was good, but still just a little tight from the weekend before. Today we really zoned in on finding what kind of warmup would give me the best horse for the test and then worked on specific movements. I feel everything is really getting fine tuned.

AFter watching several more lessons I took a little afternoon break to go golf. It was a great course and I was having a relaxing time until a group of people jumped the fence and attempted to steal my golf partner's golf cart. We leaped in our other golf cart to follow them, really stupid, I realize looking back, and were able to retrieve our golf cart. All that was taken was the other guys phone. Upon returning to the farm we all had to walk the gallop to make sure there were no stones, uneveness, etc. They attempted to make the gallop better by putting a sand/fiber mixture down. It seems like it has helped, but we will only know tomorrow after we run up it. Off to an early night sleep for an even earlier gallop tomorrow.

~Buck

Saturday at Canadian Event Team Training Camp by Stephanie-Rhodes Bosch


We are very lucky that one of our Canadian team selectors also happens to be show organizer extraordinaire at the Florida Horse Park. (and that’s just one of the many full time jobs Jen Holling seems to have!)

Today all 8 of us took a 30 minute road trip down to the park for a dressage schooling show, where we were sort of last minute entries. Thank you very much to everybody involved there for letting us be a part of it! There were about 75 horses in attendance for the warm and humid day of riding, so it wasn’t exactly the kind of electric atmosphere we’re going to be dealing with in 12 or 13 days (!!!!) but it was a change of pace from our quiet little life at Meredyth South. If you read yesterday’s entry, you will know that our horses all galloped yesterday, and if you are an event rider, you know how much fun it is to try to do dressage on the post gallop day….

That being said, I think everyone behaved fairly well. Gin & Juice was a little bit jacked up from yesterdays change of pace, and the grass warm up area probably made it feel a little bit like a cross country day, but I think she kept a lid on it for the most part. The others, though, were feeling maybe just a little tired? I got on Ollie for 15 minutes at about 9:15, and then got on him again at 10:15 for a 10:35 ride time, and then after I did my first test, Jessie did her first test, and I got to go in the ring again. So it was kind of a big morning of dressage, and I don’t really blame him for feeling a little tired in the canter work of his second test.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how today went. Every time I ride through this test, I make some sort of stupid mistake. Like, at the AEC’s I blew my extended trot (my horse’s best movement) and my first test today I did a step of canter in my first trot half pass, and the second test today he did his halt/immobility with his hind legs trailing quite far behind because I didn’t ride the walk enough… So I’m kind of frustrated, because I can do each movement pretty well, it just seems like I can’t really get my act together for the entire test… but I still have some time left to practice and work on my level of focus. I feel very in tune and focused when I ride, but I probably need to spend more time throughout the day going through it all in my head.

So, if you ever wonder what I do during the day when I’m not riding, you can bet for the next 12 days, I’m off wandering around with my IPod on, visualizing my dressage test…. Fun times.. !


~Stephanie

Plantation Field International HT: Day Two by Lee Lee Jones



The cross country went really well today! Cadet and I made it around clear with 8.8 time penalties moving us up to sixth. The first part of the course was all down hill so he got a bit strong. The first combination was a half coffin and I felt like I got a bit ahead of him, but he was so honest. The water was also a bit tricky because the striding was a bit off. It was either a short five, or a forward four between the rails in to the table out. A lot of people were coming to the out on a half stride, which was not very forgiving. When Cadet and I came through we jumped the left side of the rails and then bended right in four strides. It ended up being a little bit long but I just pushed him forward and he was great.

In the one star Nina Ligon with Chai Thai moved up into the lead. Lizzie Snow and Pop Star held the lead in the two star. In the three star Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda moved into the lead after Colin Davidson and Kristen Bond went off course. Overall I think the courses rode really well, but they definitely caused some problems. As for Cadet and I, we are finished but the one star, two star, and three star will jump tomorrow. The picture below is a shot I got on my phone of Amy Borun and Santas Playboy. I also took a really cool photo of a rider going down the drop at the ruins.

~Lee Lee

WEG: Arrivals As The Blog Turns By Ruthie Harbison


So horses have been arriving to the park slowly in batches of 8 or 9. We have been told to expect 48 horses to arrive today so things are stepping up. Most of the endurance horses are here, some dressage horses have arrived and a handful of eventers from Australia and one from NZ. Things are still pretty quiet around the barn with most stalls being empty. The stabling was arranged according to discipline not by country so all of the horses from dressage are together and all the eventing horses are together etc. Security is definitely stepping up now which is causing a bit of havoc as gates that you could use before are now closed and no one seems to know where people are supposed to legally park at this point. We have been forewarned that the parking situation will only continue to worsen. We have had it easy so far being able to park in the stabling area but we have been told that will be no more as of Monday.

I had a little run in with the law while taking my xc photos. Luckily I have been running all summer and made it back to the truck before my pursuers. I am taking this as a sign that I can no longer wander up to the xc jumps and take photos of them now that they are flagged. I think today I will try to see if I can get some photos of the driving hazards - they look amazing!
The great thing about being in the barn is that you meet a lot of very interesting people from different countries. I met Juan Briz from Guatamala the other day. He is grooming for Jaime Mansilla in endurance on the grey mare Candalita. Candalita is of unknown breeding but they believe her to be 1/4 TB, 1/4, Arab, 1/4 QH and something else. She is probably the only horse here competing barefoot and Juan is her trimmer. He says they have been training her in strap on easy boots and she will compete in the 100 mile endurance phase in glue on easyboots. Interesting fact about Canadalita is that she was a loaner horse since the rider's top horse was not old enough to compete here at WEG as he is only 7 and FEI requires the endurance horses to be at least 8.

There has already been heartbreak in the barn for Pedro Pablo from Chile. His endurance horse got his foot caught in its haynet the very first night it was stabled here at the park and fell down and was injured. Luckily the horse will recover, but what terrible luck. All the other riders from the other disciplines have been very sympathetic to his situation as everyone who competes understands that kind of heartbreak with the horses. Unfortunately Chile only sent three endurance horses so now they no longer have a team. Pedro has been a real trooper about it and says he needs a halter with 'shit happens' written on the side of it.

Well this is it for now. I will send more updates as I can but the pictures will keep coming!
Don't forget to post questions for me if you have them.

~Ruthie

Plantation Field CIC Blog by Ashley Kehoe



Hi fellow Eventers!

My name's Ashley Kehoe, and I'm here at Plantation Field competing my horse, Mazetto, in the CIC***. It is great to be back in Pennsylania. I started riding with Radnor Hunt Pony Club not 20 minutes from the event, so this place brings back a lot of memories! I did my first Training level event here only 6 years ago, and now i'm getting a chance to ride the big course! Since 2004 there have been some great changes to the event. Plantation has always been beautiful, but now that the dressage rings are all set on top of the hill, the views are stunning.

The cross country course has a lot of great galloping, and the whole crew here has spent time aggravating the ground on all the hard downhill stretches. It rained a little last night, but the ground is still pretty hard. I'm looking forward to getting a crack at the 3* course, I think there are some good questions. I think the most influential fences on course will be 8a&b, 13ab &14, and the water jump. 8a&b is a winding skinny to a corner in the woods, it will require being very committed to your ride, and having a horse that doesn't mind a good surprise, as the fence is partly obscured by tree branches. 13ab &14 is a tricky combination of angled or turning tables. There is a big table, 7 strides to a hanging log, then either 3 or 4 strides through a gully (In the picture you can see a bit of the hill, but it is actually an old sunken road) then 2 strides to angle out over the last table. I think it will be ridden in a few different ways tomorrow. The jump into water is a long bounce, then 5 strides to a corner on the way out. I competed in the Intermediate here last year with Eric, and really liked how the open fields let you get in a good rhythm. I'm lucky my horse likes to do XC almost as much as I do.

For those of you who haven't heard of Mazetto, aka Eric, let me introduce you. He is a 15yo, 16.3h Cleveland Bay/NZ TB cross. Eric and I have been partners for a year and a half, but i'm still as obsessed with him as the day he walked off the trailer! He has the personality of a princess, a puppy dog, or a trouble maker...depending on the day. He likes to kick the stall wall, or trailer whenever he feels he is not getting enough attention! He knows he's talented, and would jump a house for me if I asked him. He LIVES for cross country, enjoys the show jumping, and tolerates the dressage...somedays. Other days, like today, he reminds me of a naughty kid rushing through his homework to get to recess!

At least the hard part is behind us, bring on the Cross Country!

~Ashley

Friday At Canadian Event Team Training Camp By Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


Today was gallop day at the Canadian Team training camp, and I can say with absolute conviction that I am glad we are in Florida!! The sandy ground has obviously had an easier summer than anywhere else I’ve been the last few months, and the well established grass on the farm here made for some pretty good ground in the back of the property.

We went in shifts of two or three, so that we could all be going at the same time, just the right distance between each of us that David and Dr. Ober could really pay attention to each horse’s workout. The way we did it was to do a bit of a figure eight where we went diagonally up a long hill, and then turned around the “peak”, if you will, and then sprinted up the backside on a much shorter and steeper incline.

I think the Thoroughbreds each did this loop three times, at varying speeds. My horse, who is half Selle Francais and definitely a bit of a bigger guy, did four loops (with a minute walk in between) the last three loops were used to really work the hills and go a little quicker. It was a super workout, and he felt great. He really power walked all the way back to the barn, which is a good judge for this horse for how he is feeling. If he is tired after his gallops, he really slugs it back to the barn, but this morning it was like he was waiting for another set!! Good boy J.

After the galloping and icing and the usual post-gallop routine, Ollie got to go out for a few hours. We are lucky enough to have two Niagara Equissage systems to use throughout our Training Camp and the WEGs, so Ollie enjoyed having the back pad on for twenty minutes later on in the afternoon.

Everyone was pretty happy with the day, and we are very much looking forward to going to a schooling show at the Florida Horse Park in the morning to practice our dressage tests (yet again!!)

Thanks for reading!! And look for tomorrow’s updates (and possibly some video) from the schooling show!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Plantation Field International HT: Day One by Lee Lee Jones


This is my first blog for the Plantation Field International Horse Trials. My name is Lee Lee Jones, I am sixteen years old and a competing member of PRO. My stepdad and coach is Phillip Dutton. This weekend I am riding my six year old gelding, Model Cadet in the junior prelim. Today Cadet and I completed our dressage test as well as our show jumping. Our test was definitely not our best! He switched leads in the counter canter so we ended up getting a 40, which put us in 4th. Then we had two rails in the show jumping, dropping us down to 7th. I was a bit disappointed coming out of the ring because I knew that both of the rails were my fault. But the show jumping did cause a lot of problems for the other competitors! Overall today went really well! Kristin Bond and Are You Ready are in the lead for the three star on a 49.5. In the two star, Lizzie Snow and Pop Star have the lead with a 45.8. And for the one star, Missy Ransehousen and Fantastik are in the lead on a 40.8. Today, I also walked the XC course and it looks pretty good! There are some tough questions like the water, but it should be a lot of fun. The day wrapped up with a really fun barbecue. The main attraction was Kids Grand Prix Jumping Competition. This picture is of me jumping about 3'6! I'm going to be pretty sore tomorrow!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday At Canadian Eventing Training Camp by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


Today was a good day for Canada’s dressage preparations. We had Gunner Ostergaard come to the farm to help us all work on our test for the WEGs. Most of us opted to participate (those who didn’t simply didn’t feel like drilling the movements was appropriate for their horses today) and it was a success for all! The general impression is that we all very much appreciated all of Gunner’s advice, and I personally have to say that I really enjoyed his teaching style and his way of explaining things. None of it was off in left field compared to what David has been telling us, it was just that personal touch and the different emphasis that Gunner put on it that added something new and useful to our homework. I think the plan may be to have him come to some of our Florida training sessions next spring!

Other than that, we had a fairly relaxed day around the farm. Ollie got to be turned out from 6:30-11:30 am and alternated between napping and eating. I’m so grateful that our horses get to enjoy a chill atmosphere for a few days before we head off to the mayhem that will be the WEGs!!



Thanks for reading. Talk to you tomorrow

~Stephanie

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Andrea Leatherman Blogs for Buck Davidson: Day One


Since I got hurt several weeks ago and still cannot ride, I am here in Georgia supporting Buck, hence we will be collaborating on his blog.

It has been extremly hot, and not only that, but very dusty! There was a lot of tension in the air Monday and Tuesday as everyone knew they had showed the selectors everything they could. All everyone could do now was sit and wait. The team was announced yesterday at lunch (which I am sure all of you know by now). Buck would have been very excited to represent the US on any of his horses since he thinks all of them are extremly talented. Reggie (Ballynoecastle RM) was ultimatly picked. This morning Buck's other short listed horses (Titanium and My Boy Bobby), along with the two other horses he had here at AECs, went back to PA. Today was easy. Most of the horses had light days, Reggie included. He just went out for a long walk before it got to hot then lightly lunged. Later tonight, again when its cool, he will be taken out again for a long walk.

All the riders had a chance to pick apart their dressage from the AEC's and find spots where they could raise their score a few more points. Tomorrow the training sessions begin starting at 8:00am and going all day. Oded Shimoni, who has been working with the short listed riders this year is coming in for flat work and of course Mark will be there as well. Only two more weeks!

~Andrea Leatherman

Canadian Team Training Sessions by Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch


Hey everybody, and welcome to your front row seat to the Canadian Training sessions! We are down in sunny Ocala, Florida for 10 days of fine-tuning and final preparations with the help of our Team Advisor David O’Connor and Chef D'Equipe Graeme Thom. After our weekend at the AEC’s in Georgia, the selectors didn’t waste any time letting us know about their decisions. I think it was about 3:30 when they came marching through the barns passing out our envelopes with the Canadian crests in them. I can hardly wait to put mine on my coat!! The horses all had their final treatments from Dr. Ober done by the end of the day on Sunday in plenty of time for a celebratory dinner!!

On Monday afternoon, Ollie and I arrived at Mrs. Mars’ beautiful farm here in Ocala, which is a bit of a home grounds for us, as we have spent the last two winters just across the street. We are both very comfortable here, which probably has as much to do with the amazing facilities as it does with the familiar surroundings. Ollie has a large paddock filled with something he hasn’t seen in a while… green grass!!! Florida is one of the only places that remember what rain is after this hot dry summer, so the ground is nice, and Ollie goes out for a few hours each morning and munches away happily. I’m so grateful that our horses really have a chance to chill out here before the WEG’s and after traveling so much over the last few weeks.

This morning, we had a lighter dressage school with David and I’m about to go out and bring Ollie in so that massage therapist Jo-Ann Wilson can have another look at him before she goes back home to Maine. Jo-Ann will be joining us at the Worlds, which is super, because I really think that she is going to be a big part of our team that will help the horses to go as best as they can.

After that, I think us girls are headed down to the Paddock Park Mall here in Ocala to figure out how best to also score major points for fashion on the jog strip!! Hawley took the reins on that one after the idea of khaki’s and blouses was suggested to us for our jog outfits… I’m sure we won’t be sporting anything over the top, but maybe just a different direction than Khakis. Maybe all of you following the PRO blog will get a preview??

Thanks a lot for reading, I’m excited to be with you guys for the next 17 days!!!

~Stephanie

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Final Day at the AEC's by Sinead Halpin


What a day. I would not want to be in the shoes of the US selectors right now. Three months ago I was not feeling too confident about our American team, but now we have a large group of strong competitive combinations. Unfortunately for the selectors, everyone pretty much has chosen the last few weeks to shine making narrowing down the decision of the four team members, two individuals and two alternates tough. Fortunately for America as a whole, we are going to the WEGs with a strong well prepared team!

I was pleased with Tate today. I was a bit slow to react when I realized jumping into the triple that we were further away from the second oxer than I was anticipating. Tate came down a bit early and had the back rail. It unfortunately was a $1000 rail considering it dropped me to 7th, which was right outside the money. But education is priceless and I will react quicker the next time. Right after show jumping I trotted Tate up for Team Vets, Brendon Furlong and Kathy Cone, and he trotted with flying colors, pretty much securing our grant to Boekelo. I am so excited for the opportunity and am pumped to spend the next few weeks polishing up so we can hopefully show the selectors were wise in choosing us.

In other news, my best friend Rebecca Howard just got told she will be one of the six competing for Canada at WEG. I'm sure everyone remembers, but it doesn't feel too long ago that I was writing my blog from her hospital room after a rotational fall that left her with 16 broken bones and a collapsed lung. So a huge shout out to Rebec for coming back with a vengeance! Speaking of Rebec my favorite story from the weekend: So Rebecca Howard, Steph Rhodes-Boche (also on the Canadian team squad), Dana Cook (Rebec's groom) and I all stayed in a little rented motor home. I got a phone call friday night from Rebec asking me if I had locked the camper which I had not.. On purpose anyway, but anyone who knows me knows sometimes I can get a little distracted;) and I certainly wouldn't put it past myself to accidentally lock it. So Rebec not being one to sit back and be idle (obviously) decided to break in through a window. So with the help of a few girls Rebec got a leg up into the camper,crawled through the window only to find herself standing in someone else's camper!! Ha thankfully no one was in there so out the window she came again and moved 2 motor homes down and walked through our unlocked door!

~Sinead

Packing Up Day at the AECs By Kaylin Medlin


Today was the last day of the AEC's. Alot of people packed up and left yesterday. More are packing and leaving this morning. My family and I will leave for home after we watch some of the Advanced stadium this morning.

This has been such a great experience for me. I'm so glad I was able to come. Every day I learned something new. It's definitely an experience I'll never forget. Being here has helped me realize even more that THIS is exactly what I want to do with my life.

Harley was a good boy all weekend. He was relaxed in his stall and out walking. He definitely conserved his energy for when it mattered most. Right now he's happy to be back at home playing in the pasture with his best friend Gator. Tomorrow he'll be off and we'll resume work on Tuesday. We haven't decided what's next on the schedule yet, but I'm setting my sights on qualifying for the 2011 AEC's.

Chattahoochee Hills is a great place! There's lots of wide open space and it's so pretty there. So much work was done in less than four months since I was there last. I can't wait to see what changes between now and the next time I'm there.

The only things I would like to have different is a ring where people can work their horses outside of warming up, and less dust. There was a field we could ride in, but it would have been great to have a ring available to work in. The staff at Chattahoochee did a good job of wetting everything down often to try and control the dust, but it was still really dusty.

I was able to see some of my favorite riders go this weekend - Susan Beebee, Rebecca Howard, Sinead Halpin and Doug Payne. They all had good rides and I enjoyed watching their different riding styles.

I'm exhausted but still so excited for my experience. I definitely recommend Chattahoochee to anyone.

WEG is coming soon. I just know Rebecca will make the Canadian team. She and Rupie had a great weekend! Go Rebecca and Team Canada!! I'll see you guys in Kentucky and I'll be sure to wear my Canada shirt just for you guys!!

Off to bed. Tuesday begins training again.

~Kaylin

Photo of Advanced division winner, Becky Holder, by Leslie Threlkeld

Final Day of Competition By Kaylin Medlin




Today was so much fun! I was able to watch a few of the Advanced riders on cross country today, and I had stadium jumping this afternoon. It was very hot here in Georgia, and the weather has been very dry. That's really caused some issues with the footing on cross country, but it's also caused the dust to be really bad. I think I'll be cleaning tack for a month after this!

I ended up finishing in thirtieth out of sixty-five starters. I'm very happy with that finish. My only goal was to complete the competition, so finishing in the upper half is just icing on the cake. Our rail in stadium was my fault, not Harley's. I let him barrel down to the last fence in the combination and we dropped a rail. BUT, it's OK. I'm happy with how Harley did this week and I'm excited to have competed at my very first AEC.

I was walking my course while Rebecca was doing cross country, so I didn't get to see her go. She seemed very happy with her round and Rupie was in good spirits after they were finished. I watched some of the other riders do their course today, but didn't get a chance to see as much as I had hoped. I've definitely been kept busy with everything this week. I wish I could get the whole competition on video tape so I can watch everyone's rides.

All in all this has been a great experience for us. I wouldn't change a thing other than having time to watch some of the other riders go, and to have a chance to meet some of the juniors competing.

Tomorrow we pack up to head home. Harley has Monday off and I have to start school finally. My brother and I are homeschooled so we were able to wait to start school until after the AEC's.

On my way home tomorrow, I plan on writing a longer post. There's so much I want to remember and share but I haven't had time to really get my thoughts on paper. I hope you'll read that final post. I'll let you know how Rebecca finishes up too. Thanks for reading so far! I hope you'll log in to read my final post tomorrow. For now, I'm going to B-E-D!

~Kaylin

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cross-Country Day by SInead Halpin


I headed into the barn at 5:30am not because I was riding that early but because I wanted to walk my horse for a while without being concerned with getting in a traffic jam! I must say the first few hours of the day were so enjoyable. The barns were quiet the horses were asleep and it happened to be the perfect quiet needed before a full day off cross-country. My dog and I headed out to walk cross-country around 7:15 to be greeted by most of the American WEG squad doing a gallop in the early morning fog. I know it sounds cheesy but it was such an inspiring sight... Just these amazing horses and riders that have such huge aspirations set for the next few weeks having a secluded gallop before the 600 other competitors arrived. It was pretty cool. Walking the course this am the ground seemed much better so cheers to everyone who sat on a tractor! Some riders were caught with some unsettling rounds more due to heading out of the start box trying to ride slow and almost being a bit passive. At the advanced level it is still important even when planning to "go slow" that a good enough pace is maintained to jump the fences well. Advanced is called that for a reason, you have to be forward, decisive and ride with intent. Today a lot left the start box without at least two of those main ingredients. But I have not talked to one rider that had maybe did not perfect ride that said anything less than what I have just said. Fortunately, or unfortunately I am not sure.. Tate is not as scopy or confident as some of these top horses, he always requires a forward rhythm to feel good about his job.. So where I did not put my foot to the floor in between the fences I did have to set out on a good clip. The fences came up easily for Tate and bar adding up in the water he felt like he skipped around. I was surprised that he was so quick adding only 2 time penalties, but he maintained a forward gallop the whole time so all I can say is ..sweet ;) ... What is pretty amazing is that I'm pretty sure all riders and horses and riders stayed on grounds basically saying no trips to the hospital. I don't know if that because it is a championship event but good on US eventers!! Good day for the sport!! Show jumping looks interesting for tomorrow. Some of the striding is for lack of a technical term .. weird but will figure it out! On to tomorrow! PS. Tate is in 4th!!

A Behind the Scenes Look at WEG by Rutie Harbison


Hi There! This is the first entry of my WEG blog. If you are looking for a blog with lots of details of the actual competition and results this will not be it. My blog will be more of a behind the scenes look at the barns, vendor village and random happenings that I find interesting enough to write about. From my first drive through the park yesterday there appears to be plenty happening so I better get started.

First of all for those who do not know me here is a little background. I am a PRO member (obviously), an upper level rider and trainer based in Florida. I have come to WEG to work for Bit of Britain for the month. I will assume everyone in the US will know what Bit of Britain is but for those unfortunate few that have not spent lots of money there check it out at Bitofbritain.com. Bit of Britain has 2 set ups at WEG, a huge store set up right outside the main stadium and a smaller store located in the barn area to supply the competitors. I will mostly be in the one in the barn area but may help out a bit in the main one as well. As of yesterday the tent for the barn store had still not arrived and the carpet for the vendor village store had not arrived either so we are in a holding pattern waiting to unload a whole lot of equipment. Hopefully that will start today.

My first impressions driving through the horse park on Thursday was that there is a whole lots still to be done. There are work crews and building equipment EVERYWHERE. I mean working on every road, hanging off every building and blocking every intersection. However, I have to say that going back through yesterday I could not believe how much had been accomplished in 24hrs so they appear to be pretty well organized over there and things are moving fast. For those of you who have been to the horse park to compete it will look quite different. The whole parking area by the barns is filled with temporary stabling and various tents for the competitors and grooms. There are new arenas where the xc used to run though to the head of the lake and there are new buildings everywhere. I am going to try and snap some photos today so you can get an idea of what I am talking about.

Well I am signing off for today until more interesting things start to happen. If anyone has any questions for me feel free to post them on the PRO facebook page. I will get them and will answer them as fast as I can. Don't be shy, you can ask me pretty much anything (okay, there may have to be some boundaries!).

Cheers from Lexington,
Ruthie

Friday, September 10, 2010

Advanced Dressage Day By Sinead Halpin


Well this comes a bit late but I have just sat down.... Which seems silly because I am only riding one horse! But somehow that can take up a day. General impression of the day was the top horses all looked pretty good. Scoring (as I'm sure you know if you checked live scoring) was a bit all over the shop. Linda Zang seemed positive and scoring on the higher end and Loris Henry seemed to think we all were a bit sub-par. For those of you who don't know, at a championship competition you have two judges who sit at different places in the arena and both their scores combine to give you your final percentage. Normally these scores are within 2 or 3 points of each other but today we had differences of up to 11 percent! So a bit frustrating when one judge thinks your great and the other thinks not so much so. Anyway such is life! On to tomorrow!! The scores tomorrow again won't probably accurately show the best horse and rider pair, I am discussing just the advanced division, horses going for the WEGs and Boekelo will be doing the best thing they can to prepare there horses for "the next step". I have it on good authority that the Canadians will leave some jumps out that they feel are not necessary for their horses. This will eliminate them from this competition, but they are using the course as schooling for the WEGs. Americans are meant to run the whole course but will go slow in order to save their horses legs. For our top horses protecting them for future team competitions is a priority. That’s not to say that any horses welfare is not important, but the horses at the top have put their time in and are a bit older so if conditions are not as close to perfect as we can make them it’s important to decide if it’s worth saving them for another day. Coming back to my day I was thrilled with Tate. I really feel right now, honestly, he is a strong 3-star horse with the potential to be a great 4-star horse. Last week he proved by winning the Richland Park 2-star he was above that level, and today in a 4-star test he was the best he could be with the education he has and landed himself with a top third result. I was victim to one judge that thought he was great and one that did not (7 point difference), but when watching the video back I definitely saw plenty of room for improvement but a very lovely obedient horse. I was so damn happy to have him in that ring no matter what:)! As for tomorrow I'm a bit undecided in my plan… so stay tuned.

~Sinead

Cross-Country Day!! By Kaylin Medlin


This is a late entry from me, sorry for that. Just got back to the hotel from the competitor's party. It was a lot of fun and it was great seeing everyone there.

Today was cross-country for me. Cross-country is my favorite part of eventing. I sometimes really wish I could just do cross-country and nothing else! Harley was great on course. He spent the morning napping and munching on hay, so when it was time to tack up and head down, he was really ready to go.

Warm-up was great, but today something happened that's never happened to me before. The rider ahead of me had a fall on course, (she and her pony are both OK) so I was held in the start box for a few minutes. I was trying to just concentrate on what I needed to do for my ride, but I could see where she fell and I was a little distracted by that. When it was finally time to go, I put that out of my mind. Once I cleared the fence where she fell, I was no longer thinking about it. I was just concentrating on what was ahead for Harley and I. I made sure to set him up right for each fence and kept a steady pace across the course.

Some people have asked me what it's like to ride a cross-country test. I'm not really sure how to describe it. It's like flying on your horse, but even better than that. Your adrenaline is really going, the scenery is flying past you and all you can hear is breathing from you and your horse. For that five minutes of time, nothing else matters in the world. It's just total freedom to run with your horse like that! I think that's why all eventers really love cross country - they enjoy the freedom.

After cross-country, Harley and I walked back to the barn. Cold hosing, a bucket of water to drink and leg wrapping done, I ran down to watch Rebecca Howard ride Rupie in their test. I thought they looked great! Rupie was a little excited to be coming down centerline and they put in a great showing. I really hope they make the Canadian WEG team! Go Team Canada!!!! (I'm an honorary Canadian for those of you that don't know!!!)

Once Rebecca was done I had a little bit of down time. My family and I went to the Land Rover off road test course and test drove the Land Rovers. It was really cool to ride on that course. Sometimes all you could see was sky! I want to have my own Land Rover someday just so I can drive off road.

A little bit of shopping at some of the vendors and a quick snack, I ran back to the barn to check on Harley and to see if I could help my trainer Susan Beebee with anything. I missed her dressage test on Prowler because I was taking care of Harley. She seemed pleased with their test though. She and Wolf put in a good round of stadium jumping today as well.

The competitor party was a lot of fun. The food was good, but the lines were really long. There was a live band and an auction. We didn't stay too long after we ate, but that's OK. I'm really tired and just want to take a shower and go to bed. Stadium jumping for me tomorrow, but I don't know what time yet. I never look to see where I stand in placings. I think it's more important to set goals for each competition and try to meet those goals. If you do that, then it doesn't matter where you place because you've already won. My only goal for the AECs this year was to complete. So far, so good. I hope to continue having success tomorrow.

All in all this has been a very good experience for me. I'm really enjoying my time here and I'm learning a lot just by watching other people. It's interesting to see how other riders set up their stall fronts, take care of their horses, clean tack, etc. You can really learn a lot by just watching and asking questions. I haven't found an upper level rider who minds answering a question for a kid like me. That makes me happy knowing I can always ask someone who's been where I am now, and get a good answer.

I'm off to bed now. I can't wait to see some of the Advanced riders out on their cross country courses tomorrow. The fences look amazing!!! Someday, Harley and I will be running the Advanced course here. I hope to be able to report to you all then as well.

Goodnight and good luck to all the competitors tomorrow!

~ Kaylin

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dressage Day One by Sinead Halpin


This place is mad!!! Barns, horses, dogs, trailers, campers, tents, RVs, sponsor tents, vendors at every end of the property, mini bikes, golf carts, 4 wheelers and even a bar! Get the picture!! After wondering around the property for a few hours I think I finally have the lay of the land but this property is huge! Everything does seem to be going fairly smoothly. The one thing that maybe was not thought out well was schooling for the horses competing tomorrow, pretty much all fit upper-level horses, was in the middle of a cross country field with training horses galloping around. I saw quite a few that would have rather been in their jumping gear than hanging on in their dressage tack. There were high performance lessons going on all day, and with some competitors you can visibly see the pressure mounting and some are very much putting on a calm front. All in all, the bit of the top horses I saw looked good and they are certainly getting exposed to a big atmosphere here at the AECs. I walked around the advanced track and it looks quite nice. Actually, the lower level courses looked quite challenging where the advanced looks like it will hopefully be a good confident run for horses carrying on to FEI destinations. I saw David O'Connor out on the aerator, so again everyone doing their part to take care of the horses welfare. The advanced dressage tomorrow runs from 8am to 5pm with every top horse in the country taking their turn and it should be quite exciting. Tate takes center stage at 3:06 pm. He was happy to do a bit of work today, but after the long trip we just had an easy ride. I'm excited to be able to spend the morning watching as there is much to be learned! I will try and keep things updated through the day tomorrow and definitely catch up in the evening.

-Sinead

First Ride By Kaylin Medlin


Finally! I get to ride today. It's dressage day for me. I'm very excited and nervous at the same time. Waiting just makes me more anxious and ready to just get my ride done. I'm the only one in our group just riding dressage today. Just listening to everyone else talk about cross country makes me want to go and JUMP the course myself.

I've been pretty busy most of the day. Harley decided he really wanted to be dirty this morning, so I had to give him a quick bath as soon as he was done eating. I can't let him be seen with poop stains all over his body! I've also been pitching in and helping my trainer Susan Beebee get all of her stuff done for her two rides today on Wolf. Their dressage test looked great. I didn't get to see Rebecca ride any of her tests today, but she's in good spirits and said she had good rides.

Waiting till the end of the day to ride dressage has been no fun. I was actually kind of happy to start braiding because I knew that meant I was within an hour of getting on and heading down for my warm-up. Harley was very frisky in his stall. He hates to have his mane braided!

Heading down to warm-up I kept thinking about the things I needed to accomplish in warm-up so that he was set up well for the actual test. I was nervous in warm-up and it was kind of messing up my ride a little, but after the first twenty minutes I was just fine.

My dressage test was fantastic!! I'm quite pleased with our ride. I feel like I was really able to get him put together and I know we put in a great showing. It was definitely a little weird for me riding for two judges, but I just put that out of my mind as soon as I came down centerline.

Everyone is having a great time. Everyone I've spoken to likes Chattahoochee Hills and says they'll come back again. This is a great place for the AEC's to be held for two more years. I love it here!!

Tomorrow is cross country day for me. I'm looking forward to it because that's mine and Harley's favorite. The rides I saw today on cross country looked great. I can't wait to see some of the advanced rides on Saturday.

For now, I'm headed back to the hotel for dinner and a shower. I think I'll go to bed early tonight!

~ Kaylin

Photo courtesy of the USEA

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Travel Day by Kaylin Medlin


Yesterday was a pretty hectic packing day. I didn't leave the barn till 9:00 last night and didn't finish everything at home till 11:30. We ended up leaving the house later than we wanted, which meant leaving the barn a little later than planned.

Harley knew something exciting was happening so like usual when he's excited, he refused to take his Ulcer Guard. After a few minutes of convincing he finally let me give it to him and then put on his shipping boots. He hates those too!

Before getting on the trailer for the long trip, I let him hand graze for a few minutes. I knew once he got on the trailer he would wish he was playing and grazing instead of being cooped up. His idea of a 5 hour, 286 mile, long bumpy car ride is not high on his list of favorite things to do.

Once we arrived at Chattahoochee I got butterflies in my stomach. Coming down the driveway I could see a very large assortment of trucks, trailers and RV's. As far as I could see, trailers. I am guessing the majority of people had already arrived. I took a picture from the hill with my cell phone.

I'm nervous but excited. Prepared and thoughtful. I'm keeping a level head and I'm pampering my horse. Afterall, without my horse partner I wouldn't be here.

Looking forward to the week!

-Kaylin

AEC's OR Bust by Sinead Halpin


So we are on the road!! GPS says we will be arriving at midnight. I hear there have been line-ups at the AEC's venue for up to an hour with trucks and trailers! At midnight, hopefully, there will be less of a crowd. Doug and Holly Payne, Zeppo (my dog), Bacon (Doug’s dog) are all nice and cozy in the truck and with Doug being the driver the most important thing to get our trip started was FOOD! So a slight detour to get bacon, egg and cheese bagels to add to our stash of food that Randy Clover made (Cindy and Randy own Rocket, a lovely horse I have competed a bit this year) we will most likely be a fair bit heavier when we arrive in GA.

I kinda feel like making a sign and putting it in the window that says AEC's, or bust! I'm not sure if it’s because it’s a WEG year, or such a huge display of eventing die-hards at one new fabulous venue, but I have a really excited feeling in my stomach. This is gonna be a "Big Event" on so may levels. As a professional rider, sometimes we get so busy running up and down the countryside eventing every weekend we forget that feeling we maybe had when we went to our first three-day, or when you couldn't sleep because you were excited/nervous about the event the next day. I am kinda getting that feeling now. I'm excited about competing my horse, but I also feel like eventing as a whole is coming together to do some amazing things. The Professional Riders Organization is making huge strides in helping our sport to progress, not only by bringing in money and sponsors, which brings in new people that in turn allows our sport to grow at every level. But PRO is also working on a lot of new ideas. PRO is making a point to have the upper level riders give back by giving free course walks, organizing clinics, and lecture demos that all will really help educate outside spectators and participants in our discipline that might not have access to top professionals. We are having several meetings at AEC’s to continue our progress in these areas. We also want to reach out to some new amateurs and young riders to bring in fresh ideas.

This is also a final selection trial for the US and Canada for WEG, which only adds to the excitement! Just think about the fact that some kids in the BN and Novice divisions will hopefully be inspired by watching the greats this weekend. Those same kids in the future could be here filling the shoes of their idols. Gina Miles got inspired to ride by watching eventing when the Olympic Games was held in Los Angeles! This weekend is also when the selectors will choose which developing riders will get grants to compete in Holland at the Boekelo CCI *** in October. My goal this weekend is to get one of those grants. So all in all a very exciting weekend! Stay tuned !!

P.S. Holly was just snoring in the back with the dogs, but she has just popped up to look at baby (her horse Madeline) in the camera just in time to see her stealing all Tate’s hay!!!

-Sinead

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Road To The AEC's by Kaylin Medlin


Kaylin Medlin, PRO Competing Member
Age 13
Charlotte, NC
Horse: Watch-Me-Now (aka) Harley - 8 year old Morgan/TB cross
Competing in Beginner Novice Junior at the AEC's


Packing day. It's finally here! I have been counting down the days since I found out I qualified and would be competing at the AEC's this year. My excitement has been building and building and I cannot wait to finally arrive at Chattahoochee Hills tomorrow. I wonder how the farm has progressed since I was there in May for the Area III Championships?

My trunk is packed and I'm getting ready to head to the barn to finish packing what I need from there. My tack will be been cleaned and polished and my gray horse Harley will be given a bath and specific instructions not to use ANY poop for pillows tonight. It's a good thing we made a trip to the tack shop today, I'm nearly out of whitening shampoo!

I've been reading all the information coming out about this being the biggest horse trial ever. I think that is amazing! I'm looking forward to being in the middle of all the excitement and to seeing some of my favorite riders there. I wonder how the U.S. and Canadian hopefuls will do? I've never been to a mandatory outing before, so the chance to see it in person is...wow! Indescribable.

Some of my favorite riders I'll be watching this weekend are: Rebecca Howard on Riddle Master, Susan Beebee on Wolf and Prowler, and Will Faudree on Pawlow. Rebecca and Will are short listed for Canada and the U.S. for WEG. I hope they both make it, but Rebecca, I'll be wearing my Canadian t-shirt just for you!

I will keep everyone posted throughout the week from the AEC's. For now, I'm off to triple check my packing list and to ride my pony before we head out at 7am tomorrow. Our drive isn't too bad, just about 5 hours from Charlotte, NC. I can't wait to see everyone and I can't wait to participate in my first, (and hopefully many, MANY more to come) American Eventing Championship!

Kaylin Medlin

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Five Points Show Jumping by Holly Hudspeth


It was another great day at Five Points Horse Trials. Everything went well although time was definitely a factor at all levels of show jumping. The course was laid out to make you practive your turning abilities and many people got caught out taking their time from jump to jump. As Usual the rings were very well maintained throughout the day. While my score didn't count because I was simply doing a combined training, I was very happy with Last Monarch in the show jumping because he posted the only double clear in the advanced. Team Hudspeth looks forward to the next Carolina Horse Park event!

-Holly

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Five Points Cross Country Day by Holly Hudspeth


It was a good day at Five Points. The divisions ran smoothly, and all seven of my students went great. Last Monarch, however,was very upset I didn't let him run XC! I think that was the only reason he got on the trailer. The weather was much cooler today and had a nice breeze, which was a nice change. I saw some of the advanced show jumping course, and in typical Marc Donovan fashion, it looks well laid out and flowing. Show jumping starts tomorrow at 8am with the advanced.

-Holly

Photo of XC Intermediate question.

A Tough Day: XC at Burghley by Michael Pollard




Well, today was not exactly what I had in mind. We woke up this morning, and Will was quite sore with what appeared to be a hot nail. This is unbelievable because this is exactly what happened at Luhmuhlen which forced me to withdraw. As we had more time today and it was not a full abcess, we did have time to float that side of the foot and cushion it enough that it was ok. Went and jumped fences in the warm up and Will felt really good, so we decided to start with the idea that if something didn't go well or if will didn't feel right I would pull up. We started in front of the house at burghley, and jumped one and two. As I was crossing the road to fence three, I heard what sounded like a shoe coming off. Sure enough I saw my cushioned shoe fly off, presumably because it had only a few nails to avoid the soreness. This was rather distracting coming to three, but I tried to put it behind me and at least try to jump the leaf pit. He jumped down well then sort of propped in the second stride. I was still on my line, but the prop just affected the distance. Due to the lack of shoe and the soreness on the foot I decided to pull up after a run out.

I am incredibly disappointed, but I have no excuses. I should have probably pulled around when he did the prop, or sat up more and gotten the job done. I will give it twenty-four hours before deciding what to do now, but I will certainly not be sulking for long. Ultimately, I am really happy that Will is still in good form. See you all back stateside, and I will let you know as soon as I do what might be in the future for us.

More to come - Michael

Friday, September 3, 2010

Five Points Horse Trials at CHP by Holly Hudspeth


Another hot day in Southern Pines! While temps were toasty the Five Points Horse Trials went great today! The Carolina Horse Park ran beginner novice through advanced with dressage going today. Cross-country starts tomorrow and show jumping on Sunday. I came to simply do a combined test with Last Monarch who was super and scored a 34 in the advanced! Will write more about the cross-country tomorrow but all the courses look great!

-Holly

Photo is of the new corner at the water!

Friday: A Good Start by Michael Pollard


Friday: a good start

Well, so far so good. I am really pleased with how Will went in the dressage, and I am happy with his placing for now. I believe there are ways to improve my result in the future, but at his current stage I could not expect to have done significantly better than our effort yesterday, a fifty two. This has landed me just in the top third.

Now, I am excited about tomorrow, but also quite nervous. I believe in my ability and that of my horse, but there is always so much that can happen. At the end of the day no matter what happens, each of us will have learned a lot, I am sure!! I have the plan of going straight at all fences, and I am going to try to move along quickly while still leaving a bit of gas in the tank for the last two minutes. There is no point on the course where you can lose concentration without having repercussions, but I am confident if we can put our best foot forward we can be quite competitive. I am making final preparations for tomorrow now, so I need to run, but I appreciate all the friends that have sent well wishes, and I look forward to giving you all good news soon. More to come...

-Michael

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Burghley - The Trot Up and Thoughts on the XC Course by Michael Pollard


Will passed the vet inspection with flying colors yesterday, and our dressage is this afternoon. I rode him in the main arena following the inspection, and although he got a bit tense in a few moments, I believe he will come out well today. I also walked the cross country several times yesterday, and I think it is certainly big enough! I have walked the course in years past, but as most eventers know it always adds about six inches to every fence when you actually are going to ride. All in all, I feel Will and I are up to the challenge, but really every fence needs to be ridden well. I had the good fortune of going around the course once with Andrew Hoy, who made some interesting points. In particular, he pointed to the ground at every fence and how your line at Burghley can so easily distract you if get caught in the numerous humps and bumps in front of so many of the fences. He also talked about the "art" of using the terrain here, to go around quickly without completely exhausting the horse. I will probably need to walk around at least two more times, but at this point I believe I will plan to go straight at all the major fences. Obviously, this can be adjusted based on how the course is riding and how Will is feeling, but everything looks doable...albeit relentless.

The people here have been incredibly welcoming and Katie and I have met a few new friends. I am really looking forward to Nathalie's arrival this afternoon. I just hope she won't cry when she sees our caravan....it is rather basic. Hope everyone at home is doing well...more to come later!

- Michael

Photo of Caroline Powell 2009 Burghley