Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Count Down is On!!

Attending the LA Winter Dressage Show on Saturday at the LA Equestrian Center to watch the Grand Prix class has definitely got me excited to start show season. I’m starting to feel the pressure to be ready for our first show which is just around the corner.

I spent time this weekend reviewing the tests I will be riding at Thermal and starting to visualize how to ride each horse in their respective test. In our lessons with Shannon, we have already been riding though parts of the tests with each of the horses. This week and next before we leave to the show we will start to string together movements in the tests as well as run through the tests in their entirety. With all three horses, it is important they are familiar with the tests as they gain confidence in not being surprised by the next movement.

Several of the riders at Arroyo are already well into their show season. It has been good to watch the preparations of each rider and horse for their upcoming shows.  The barn is full of great competition riders who are always striving for those 8s, 9s and 10s.

Looking forward to the week ahead!!


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Today was the perfect start to the weekend!! Great horses, beautiful weather, new shoes for the horses and finished early!!

I expected to have tired horses today but they all felt great. It’s good to know that their fitness is improving to handle five days of hard work and they still come out happy and energetic to do their job on Friday. Shannon is away at the show so I worked them all by myself and practiced everything we worked on in our lessons this week. Day off for the horses tomorrow.

I plan to head up to Burbank tomorrow afternoon after the gym and tending to the horses at Arroyo to watch Shannon and Ody ride their Grand Prix test. They are the last ride of the day so it will fit in well to my day. I’m looking forward to seeing Shannon compete for the first time!!

Off to the movie tonight with a few girls from the barn…..Happy Friday!!


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Dressage Bootcamp

I think I would consider the last weeks since arriving in California a dressage bootcamp for all four of us. The horses and I are working hard to make the final push to get ready for the start of show season.

I had a lesson on Freddie on Tuesday and she was a star!! We worked on the canter work from the PSG and it felt fantastic. The half passes and pirouettes are coming along nicely. The flying changes have been the most challenging for her so my goal is to make her completely honest and correct in the connection as we school the changes. They are starting to become much more reliable. William had a lesson on Monday where he was expected to behave like a big boy even though it was Monday, a little chillier weather and there were several horses having lots of fun in the paddocks nearby. During today’s lesson, he showed Shannon and I how much he had learned and was such a good boy.  He catches on so quickly!!

Lance has been all business this week during his lesson and is trying so hard to figure out the work from the Grand Prix. This week’s big excitement was Steffen taking a turn in the saddle on him today. It was great to see him go, as I’ve been the only one in the saddle for a year and a half. Steffen provided me some helpful suggestions on riding Lance. He also confirmed that we are 100% on the mark with what we are working on and the necessary progression. Pretty Cool!!!

Lance taking a morning nap before bootcamp.....

Shannon is heading to LA for another show tomorrow morning so I’ll have a few days to work on my own. Good luck to Shannon and Ody!!


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From here and there…

As we prepare to head to our first show, the progress Lindsey and Shannon are making is “just what the doctor ordered”. 

With all three horses at FEI level it is a lot of work, a lot of responsiblity and requires a lot of management.  A big thank you from all of us to Shannon for her expertise, committment and good spirits that is so cherished on this part of our journey.  We are very grateful to be at Arroyo and working with Shannon each day.  This is a journey of stride by stride, day by day and keeping our goals in sight.  Thank you again to Shannon for everything. 

Linds and I touch base at the end of most days and I am really excited about getting back to California and getting up to speed on each horse in real time!  Our first show is in Thermal Feb 10 -13 then our first CDI in LA Feb 23 -27.  I’m then back in Alberta for a while before heading back for the Del Mar CDI.  My eco footprint will not be very good this spring…lots of flights back and forth, but make sense at many levels around here!  So we’ll have photos back on the blog very soon…my camera is charged and ready to go!

Out to move some snow around… 


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The Basics

Wow!!  We had a great week o f lessons with Shannon.

The horses have made such progress in a short period of time building on the work that Vickie and I had done at home. I am constantly reminded that it is all about the basics. If those are clear and understood by both the horse and rider all the movements become much easier.

This week our focus on all three horses has been ensuring that the inside leg to outside rein connection is confirmed and consistent in all aspects of the work. I have a whole new understanding and feel of the concept and what to expect of the horses. When the horses are clearly off the inside leg to the outside rein the work changes from good to exceptional.  And we like exceptional!!!

The horses had a massage on Thursday with Shannon’s therapist, Rick.  Only minor adjustments were needed as Maria takes such great care of them every two weeks at home. The horses definitely enjoyed their treatment after the increase in work the last two weeks!!

Day off for the horses on Saturday but not for me….I have a personal training session Saturday morning at LA Fitness. Hope I can walk on Sunday!!



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Gotta Love this Weather!!

We are having an amazing week of weather here in California…now I really get why everyone wants to move to California. I think there was about a 50C difference in temperature between San Diego and Edmonton on Monday.  Wow!!!

Congratulations to Shannon on a great show with her Grand Prix horse, Odyssey at Thermal this past weekend. This was their first show together in over a year and they definitely were successful. Way to go Shannon!!

On Monday and Tuesday, I had four super lessons with Shannon. The horses have completely settled in and recovered from the trip and are already making great progress in the work. William is learning to trot like a big boy with a little bit of help from Shannon on the ground. Not only is the trot improving but the work transfers right into the canter. I’m pretty sure he is the cutest stallion around!! Freddie and I are fine tuning all the Prix St. Georges work for our first show in February. She is becoming a great partner to work with and allowing me to access more of her body every day.  This is a big step for an alpha mare like Freddie!! Lance is everyone’s favourite at Arroyo. Not only is he spectacular to watch work but because he is so loveable he makes friends quickly everywhere he goes. I keep reminding everyone that I know how lucky I am to ride him!!

Looking forward to the rest of the week!!


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Top Ten Reasons Why We Miss Vickie…..

10.  The near empty carpool lane is begging for the BMW to use it during the agonizing gridlock morning traffic.

9.  I overheard the waiter and the bartender at Jake’s discussing why I drink wine all alone at their restaurant every sunset.

8.  Self portraits with the IPHONE are not really useful training tools like Vickie’s 40 frames per second camera.  

7.  The horses are missing their extra treats.  

6.  California hay bales are a two-girl job.

5.  Other TJ Maxx shoppers look at me weird when I sneak up behind them and ask “isn’t this cute?”

4.  Her Costco card.   I ate all my favourite food in the motorhome already.  

3.  I lose sleep at night wondering what might breakdown in the motorhome.

2.  The two coach collaboration between Vickie and Shannon ensures I get the most from each lesson.

And, the number one reason why we miss Vickie….

1.  For her never ending enthusiasm, passion and energy for this amazing journey we are on!!

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A Light Day

I arrived at the barn this morning to find three very tired horses, so it was a light day for all. A little bit of work and lots of walking. At Arroyo there are some great, safe paths and a large sand jumper ring to walk the horses, which they all enjoy. I made it back in time to the RV park for the first time this week to put on my runners and take a quick walk along the beach as the sun was setting. The RV is a short, 3 minute walk to the beach. A great way to end the day!!  Tomorrow is back to more intense work for the horses. Good luck to Shannon and the rest of the Arroyo bunch at Thermal this weekend!!

William getting ready to work.


Freddie having an afternoon nap.


Afternoon walk along the beach.....


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Today was homework day. A day to practice and fine tune all the stuff we have been working on in the lessons for the last few days. The horses were super and are definitely quick learners….now I just have to keep up with them!! The weather is great in San Diego this week, high 60’s today and into the 70’s for the rest of the week (sorry to those of you in Alberta!!). The horses need to adjust to the heat but we are not complaining…showers for everyone today!

I think we have tired them out a bit with the long trailer ride, heat and hard work…only rolling and walking today in the turnouts.

Only Freddie prefers eating the hay compared to the dirt!!! Smart girl!!!

Lance soaking up the sun.....


William...."There must be green grass in here somewhere??"


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So another great day yesterday!

Lindsey rode Lance and Fred with Shannon.

We have been really working on getting Lance to understand the nuances of staying off the inside leg and totally committed to staying to the outside rein.  Shannon and Linds worked his pirouettes and piaffe/passage really emphasizing the inside leg/outside rein theme.  Fred was the same theme and convincing her to stay honest to the connection within the work.  Worked some passage as well with her as well.  As always, it’s the basics that make the work right.  As the work gets more difficult, the basics need to be impeccable.  Fine tuning the basics for the horse and for the rider.

Lindsey worked William without Shannon.  He’s such a smart cookie, he really got the lesson from the day before and let Lindsey know…”I got it, I got it!”  Smart little man!!

Everyone from Arroyo is headed to the show in Thermal today.  Lindsey may be able to get a lesson from Shannon this am before they hit the road.  It’ll be quite quiet around there the rest of this week…she’ll have the pick of any of the arenas to work!!!  We’re not going to this Thermal show but our show season will start with the Thermal show Feb 9 -13.

Barb Holmes visited Lindsey for the morning rides.  She and Jeff and Jessica are having fun in Disneyland this week and Barb did a little side trip to sit in the sun and watch dressage at Arroyo.  Lucky girl!!!  So nice to have friends from home visit while we’re away!

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