WFR Newsletter
July / August 2005

Month in Review

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 MaKenna and 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.

Members Corner

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 Jeromin, 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.

Lessons Learned

(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 much better!)

Details and Deadlines

Just a few reminders:

Please drive SLOWLY on our newly leveled road so we don’t get potholes!

‘ Tis the season for fungus, so keep watch and wash your pads FREQUENTLY!

Thank God for all the rain, but remember to keep applying the HOOF OIL!

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 TIGHT!

Upcoming Events

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.

Birthdays

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!

Quote for the Month

“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

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