Monday, August 29, 2011
Hello All!!! My name is Natalia Gurmankin and I am 22 years old. I have spent the last 3 and a ½ years based in Temecula California working for and riding with Hawley Bennett. I have 3 awesome horses, Tequesteris better known as Tex, Hail and Legate a.k.a Legs. It’s kind of hard to figure out where to start a blog, but I guess I will begin it with a recap of my summer so far because so far it’s been pretty awesome. And also let me start it by saying a huge THANK YOU to the man that makes this dream possible and that is my dad Jay. Without his support I would not be where I am today. Thanks Dad!
On July 14th Hawley and I loaded up the crew and drove 24 hours to the amazing Rebecca Farm! Rebecca Farm never fails to blow it out of the water, leaving no detail unfinished. The courses were beautiful, the footing was perfect and the staff is unbelievable. The event started off with a real bang for me because my boyfriend of 4 years proposed the day after we got there! Tommy is a course builder helps to build most of the courses on the West Coast. We are planning to get married November 17th 2012 ☺. From there great things kept happening, I was doing my first Advanced with Tex and he was a total rock star and made easy work of the cross country and Legs was 3rd in the Training 3 day! To top it off Gin and Juice and Hawley won the 3*** which was so exciting. Needless to say it was a great week for all those involved in Hawley Bennett Eventing and a great trip with great friends. Of course with things going so well, inevitably one bad thing had to happen, so our truck decided it needed new fuel injectors in Utah. However, it was a super convenient “breakdown” if there is such a thing seeing as we had a place to overnight the ponies and luckily I am originally from Utah so my mom came down and took Hawley and I to dinner, and my future in laws Tom and Carol lent us a car to get around town while the truck was getting fixed. We finally got home safe and sound the next day and all of us got some much-needed rest! All in all it was a kick ass trip!
2 weeks later it was off to Woodside, between Hawley and I we were riding 9 horses but with the help of Tessa Beckett, Sarah Braun and Hayley Sullivan things ran super smooth and the horses were all fantastic. Tex was 3rd in the Advanced and Hail was 2nd in the prelim. And Legs jumped so big in Show Jumping I lost my balance and slid off. OOPS!!!!! That will teach me to duck to the left ☺ Ginny ran the combined test and is looking better than ever as we prepare to venture across the pond again for Burghley!!!
This last week Buck came out for a clinic, which are always super fun. The horses all went fantastic and I have lots of homework for the fall as we prepare for the fall 3 days at Woodside and Galway where I hope to be doing my first 3 star on Tex. Hail is aiming for the 2 star and Legs the 1 star. Those are the goals but we’ll see how things go, everyone knows how hard it is to make plans in this world ;)
But for now, I have been busy packing all of Gin and Juices things ☺ Hawley, Ginny, and I fly out Thursday. We will arrive in Amsterdam, and take a Lorry over to Maizey Manor Farm where we will hang with the other Canadians and then off to Burghley we go ☺ Packing is always interesting seeing as you try to fit your entire tackroom into 3 little trunks….IMPOSSIBLE! But I think we have pretty much everything we need and I can’t wait to get over there!!! Go Hawley and Ginny!
Until Next Time!!
It has been a while since my last blog, but a lot has happened since then. Most recently, India McEvoy’s Jumbo’s Jake has made his return to the barn from his break post Rolex, and I am eager and excited to resume training with this delightful animal once again. Last weekend Woodside was a fun event, with Mojo taking second place in the preliminary class; with performances like this past weekend, it gives me hope for great things from this horse in the future. A special thanks to India McEvoy for her stellar training and her ability to work wonders with this talented but sometimes challenging horse. Best of luck to India as she continues riding and competing with Mojo this upcoming fall. Elsewhere at Woodside, the rest of the horses and students performed admirably, although I did take an unscheduled dismount from Tivoli when he pecked on landing in the water. He was going beautifully and I was more surprised than anyone, but luckily my Hit-Air vest kept me afloat. A special thanks to Shane for taking excellent care of Parker whist I was away at the show as well.
Also at Woodside at the competitor’s dinner it was brought to my attention the vast number of California based eventers representing the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico on the list of potential competitors for the Pan Am Games. Brian Sabo and Robert Kellerhouse presented the Pan –Am hopefuls with flowers in acknowledgement of the hardwork and dedication it takes to get to that level of success. I wish the very best of luck to all those making the trip east to the final trial at Richland Park, and I am sure they will represent their respective countries with pride.
The rest of the season will continue on with Twin Rivers in a few weeks, amongst those I will be riding, Jumbo’s Jake and Parker making their comeback post Rolex, as well as Wimbledon making his US Eventing debut in the Young Event Horse Finals, which should be an eye-opening experience for him. The show season will continue to build, culminating with the Galway Downs CCI*** in November.
Until next time,
The photo is of the newly arrived Jumbo’s Jake
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Ok so my horses are going well! My job is going very well, having just signed to a big facility in Fulshear, Texas. Yee-ha! I have changed my plans a bit for the fall; well maybe.... I think I am going to give Will Smith an easy fall season to gain his confidence and strength back. However if he tells me he is ready we may head for the ** in Georgia. But that is not what I am writing about this time, I am going to tell you about how I spend my free time .
Everyone has their thing. Some garden, some paint, or draw, some read books and others facebook or surf the net. I boat! And all the things water entails, water skiing, wakeboarding, then there is scuba diving and fishing. Now as for fishing some people think; a rod a bucket of worms a bobber in a pond, or……….some people think 500 pound marlin of the coast of Panama others might picture a quiet mountain stream with a fly rod in Montana or Wyoming. I think of a center console between 25-36 feet long with twin outboards burning about 25 gallons an hour out in the ocean chasing breaking fish! Or I think shallow water like the Bahamas or Belize sight casting to bonez! To those who don’t know , the short of it is, bonefish are a saltwater fish that basically you stalk/hunt , sneak up on, you cast only when you see them and they accelerate from 0-40 miles an hour!!! like leaving the start box, for a fish.
Then there is scuba diving! If you have never done this …………………why not! It is by far one of the best sightseeing experiences you can have. Once you have been underwater for 20 minutes to about an hour swimming with the fish, you will only then understand why I love it so much. If you go hiking to see a moose, elk or bear or something cool like that you spend all day and hope. When you dive you are with the fish, turtles, sharks, if your real lucky a whale or dolphin. Pretty cool!
I plan two trips a year; one is to Montauk, NY where we chase breaking fish. This trip we leave for the Sunday after fair hill for a few days. Montauk is the end of Long Island New York. I mean the end... as far as you can go. The marina is called Snug Harbor, if there are any Jaws fans out there this is the original harbor of Orca, that’s the boat in the movie. I want to share this with you……… In the bar/restaurant( where they have great sushi by the way ) is a picture of a man ….now get this……standing on a dead whale (no joke) in one hand he has a giant hook with a piece of the whale as bait (by giant it’s about the size of a saddle flap)big! So he is standing on a dead whale with a hook in his hand (are you ready) throwing it into the mouth of a great white shark!!!!! That’s right standing on a dead whale throwing a hook in to the mouth of a great white shark! If you are ever in Montauk you gotta see it. Just to mention it was in the 70’s so not too much animal rights then, but a cool picture none the less.
The other trip is where we (Keli &I) charter a boat in the Caribbean somewhere. This is what I do in my free time plan this trip! This year we are going to Abaco, Bahamas. I start to plan this trip about six months out to save on airfare, get the boat I want and basically keep my sanity. I find that as soon as I start to plan our trip I feel like the corona adds. I look on-line at destinations, boats, power or sail, then at the ones I can actually afford to charter. Then there is the guest list, who do we invite? Arranging where to meet, who’s bringing what (mostly what fishing gear). This year we have chartered a 47 foot power cat with two other couples as I said in the Bahamas. Bonefish capitol of the world, a scuba diving meca, good friends, the food is always great, and oh yeah the rum!
Now you know what I am thinking about when I am not riding!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Well as much as I would like to say my summer ended according to my plan, I am constantly reminded that in fact, it didn’t end according to my plan. Horses can be the most beautiful elegant animals on this plant. They have the power to capture your heart and steal your sole but they are still 1,200 pounds of pure muscle and power.
On July 14, I was washing one of Stephen’s horses off after I had a fantastic ride on him, I went to set the hose down and look to see if his tail needed washing. As soon as I was behind him something must have stung or scared him because he went flying forward and kicked out with both hind feet, nailing me in my left side with full force. Boomer, the horse, is the sweetest horse in Stephen’s barn, so for this to happen is completely out of character. Anyways, long story short I went to the ER room and found out I had a grade 3 spleen injury in not just one but two places. I was then required to stay in the ICU for 3 nights and a regular room for 2 nights. Thank God I did not have to have my spleen removed but it was required that I do no physical activity for 6 weeks.
So after I was out of the hospital we packed up my horses and myself and made the trip back to Lexington where we dropped
the horses off to stay in training and then migrated back to my hometown of Bowling Green where I rested and was allowed to do absolutely nothing. So its been 5 weeks into the 6 weeks and I have just about gone insane from not being on a horse. I am recovering just fine and have done exactly what the doctors have said, for the first time in my life. I will be able to go back into full riding August 24th and then will compete both of my horses at the training level at Ky classic. I am hoping to move Bailey back up to preliminary at Jumpstart and my goal is to run Bourbon in the Hagyard Team Challenge training three day. I wish I had a better story to tell but overall minus the spleen part, I had a absolute blast working for Stephen. He taught me so much in the 6 weeks I was there and I am looking forward to riding and working for him again. Hope to see everyone soon!
Photo of Kate, Bailey and Bourbon courtesy of Team Shamrock