It’s late but I’m not sleepy. I’m
still beaming with pride thinking of how absolutely wonderful “my
kids” rode tonight. 30 parents, grandparents, and siblings
gathered at the barn despite the downpour (we were all so happy
for the rain, we couldn’t complain!). Hope,
Elizabeth, Jordan, Jamison, Sicily, and Rachel, were joined by
Sierra Stanley for WFR’s First Annual Summer Camp, and
ended camp by showing off their riding skills on Charisma (who
was an angel, bless her heart). Besides riding, the girls learned
all the parts of the horse and tack, helped feed, groom and give
baths to the horses, and muck stalls. We also swam, watched horsey
movies and videos, had story time and yummie snacks each day,
and a sleep-over Friday night. Be sure to watch for more on the
camp in the next newsletter’s Lessons
Learned, when the
girls will share their views.
The last six weeks have been busy
with shows and clinics. June 4th, Charisma
and I came home from
Cedar Trace with 2 blue ribbons
at Second Level and another qualifying score for championships
with a Freestyle score of 68%!
On the 24th and 25th, Charisma and I traveled
north to the beautiful Paragon Farms (The “mansion” I
first caught sight of turned out to be the barn, and even their
paddocks are on
the sprinkler system!) for a clinic with Lyndon. We worked on
half–pass at trot and canter and collecting the canter
for pirouettes. Mary
and Olivia were first again after dressage,
and had only one little bobble in stadium (Mary is painting stripes
on poles this week!), but
went clean cross-country to come in 4th. Congrats to everyone
on their exceptional riding!
I have 2 bits of great news. Dressage
Today has decided to print the Breed
Tour article and I am
happy to announce that I have
accepted a position on the HDS Board
as the Professional (Trainers) Advisor.
We have some new faces around the barn this last
month. Josie Bucco is helping Teddie take care of Keeper as she
is traveling so much, and now that he is looking so great, will
start taking him out on trail rides. Gracen also has some new
folks taking care of him in A2’s absence. Andreas
an upper level rider from Canada, accompanied by his wife, Magdalen
Celestino, has been riding on Fridays whenever he is in town,
and Erica Siverson, a talented rider, will be jumping and perhaps
eventing our boy.
(Thanks to Mira for sharing with
us this month.)
It had been a long while since
I had been riding, so when I started riding again with Ms.
Adair I had only my recollections
of “how to ride” but no longer my “seat.” First
thing I was reminded of is that there are all sorts of body signals
that I’m supposed to be using to communicate with the horse.
So, I couldn’t just sit tall and look good on top of the
horse to create the desired movements. I had to start again with
all the basics.
The first and the most important
thing I worked on was trying to maintain a good posture. “Sit square!” or “Stay
centered” were my constant reminders from Ms. Adair whenever
my body started leaning to one side, or my head tilted to the
inside. I had to remember to keep my back straight and my shoulders
square, but stay relaxed from the waist down, and line up my
shoulder, hip and heel. When I’m not centered, my aids
are not effective and require a much greater physical effort
on my part to make anything happen. As a result, Julienne lets
me know her displeasure directly by throwing her head up. I learned
that when I’m balanced, Julienne is more balanced, my aids
are more refined and she becomes more responsive. I also learned
that the lower leg’s purpose is the application of aids.
Ms. Adair explained that if I kick, nudge, or squeeze my leg
for prolonged periods it will make the horse less responsive
to the leg’s aids. My list to remember does not stop here….”Keep
your outside elbow back!” and “Keep your hands still,” or “Soft
hands, soft hands” shout Ms. Adair. All those reminders
so I can maintain soft contact with Julienne. My hands are what
communicate through the reins. I know that I should keep my hand
aids as minimal as possible and use my seat more to guide Julienne,
but I have a ways to go on that yet.
In the end, I realized that
having a good “seat” is
the most powerful aid in riding. I can turn Julienne easily if
I just sit properly. Of course, it is easier said than done.
So, I keep working on remembering more of those things on my
list each time I ride. (and Ms. Adair says I’m getting
Just a few reminders:
Please drive SLOWLY on our
newly leveled road so we don’t
Tis the season for fungus, so keep watch and wash your pads FREQUENTLY!
God for all the rain, but remember to keep applying the HOOF
Make sure the washrack is CLEAN before you use
the water and CLEAN the drain afterward.
Fight mold! Take home
any tack you are not using, and keep the office door SHUT
Charisma and I will be going up to clinic
with Lyndon July 18th and 19th (but I will be back for
lessons) and again on August 15th and
16th (when I will be staying overnight). We will also
be going to the Windy Knoll Show on
the 24th and I leave for vacation the next day and won’t
be back until the 8th.
Happy Birthday to Matt
McKenna on July 13th, Sarah on the 22nd, and my son Joseph, on the 24th. We are very glad
you all were born!
“Pulling on the inside rein without any outside
rein means the head is just going back and forth. You need an
outside rein to make an honest connection, because without it
you might get the horse round, but he won’t be balanced.” -
Pan American gold medalist Jan Ebeling