Monthly Archives: April 2011

Won another battle but not the war…yet.

He was better.  Much better.  But not the ridability we need yet so on to ride another test today.  There isn’t an Inter 2 class offered today so if there is a scratch in Inter 1 or PSG we’ll ride whatever class has an opening.  If not we’ll school him during the lunch break and find an empty warmup ring to do a test.

Lance...getting better, starting to think about Lindsey!

Better changes, better ones to come today...

William did great.  Hid first test of the year, first Fourth Level test.  He trucked around the ring, thinking and being a good boy but he backed off a bit and was too tight in the back to really get the job done.  When you are built like Sponge Bob Squarepants a tight back does not help your half passes or pirouettes.  Good try William…he’s ready for today.

Fred is feeling 100% and back to her old self.  She’s driving everyone crazy, banging on her stall, looking for attention.  Good girl Fred!  Glad you’re back!!!!

We got to watch the Grand Prix class yesterday.  Ravel looked marvelous, as always and Odie and Shannon did a wonderful job.  I thought she scored way under her performance, a couple of bobbles in the test but amazingly classic passage/piaffe tour…but such is dressage.

Peter arrived last night and Ivars and Aleks and Neil arrive today.  Freestyles under the lights for this evenings events…Go Shannon, go Steffen.

Sun is coming up…off to feed horses.


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In which Lance is frightened and Lindsey insists…

An early morning ride on William (no test), he was great.  A wonderful afternoon of dressage in the sunshine…Shannon and Odie were awsome!!!  Won the GP class with a 71%.

And then Lance’s test.  First show for him in a year, new level and he is ready!!!  He warmed up great and then went into the ring. He then decided he was too frightened to think about Lindsey and all that half halt stuff.  Lindsey made a very brave decision and schooled him in the test.  So proud of her.  Lance is not spooky or goofy, he could have done this test with only one ear thinking about Linds, been a bit on the muscle and still made a decent mark…but that’s not what he capable of in the ring.  Time to get the job done, Grand Prix is his future.  He is so naturally talented for this work and so totally able to put it together.  As a young GP horse, with so much power, he is going to learn that relying on Lindsey is the safest way to navigate a complicated test in a show setting.  Today is another test for him and another growing up opportunity.

William, schooling in the am.

"I think I'm gettin' this trot thing!"

Shannon and I watching Lance and Linds in the warmup.

A great warmup.

"Half halt, schmalf halt????...I'll meet you in the corner Linds!!!"

"Hey Lance...we only need 11 one tempis in this test!!!" "Hey Linds...let's do ones around the ring"

"I bet ya I could extend right back to the warm up ring...I could...I could..."

Both Lance and William have tests this morning.  Off to feed them all and start the day!!!


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A Fine Warm Up Day at Del Mar National

We had a great warm up day yesterday.  The boys looked great!  William was a bit of a stinker at the beginning of his lesson.  He totally got over himself and went to work and worked hard for the whole lesson.  Good boy…growing up is very important…for everyone involved!!!

We had a bit of a glitch with Lance’s class on Saturday.  The Inter 2 Open class is not available and he was entered into the Inter 2 Adult Amateur/Jr rider class.  Lindsey is not an AA or a Jr so we needed to find another class for him or he would only have one ride for this show.  Not good.  Luckily the show office worked some magic and Lance has a ride in the Inter 2 Open class today!  Yeah!!  Intermediare 2 is the right test for him at this stage of the game and he’ll get to show 2 days this weekend.

Fred is feeling soooo much better…thanks Dr. Paul!!!  She’s actually becoming a bit annoying…she wants to go back to work and enough of this hangin’ out being bored!  Whewww…she’s missing out on showing here but at least she’ll be 100% well to load on the truck for the big trek home.

William LOVES to canter...wheeeeeee.

William, down to business in the Durante Ring.

Starting to trot like a big boy...

Lance in the indoor CDI ring.

Start of half pass left...

Into a line of one tempi changes...

And now some trot work...

"I think I'm getting this Passage thing Linds!!!!"

There were many “goosebump” moments yesterday.  The hard work, good coaching and time spent are all coming together to develop these horses.  Soooo looking forward to today’s rides!!!!

Shannon and Odie schooled in the Del Mar ring after Lance.  Odie looked wonderful.   Every show he gets better and better.  Patience, perseverance and belief in her horse is paying off big time.  Shannon is such a skilled, feeling rider that Odie has blossomed over this season into an amazing GP horse.  Another “goosebump” moment to watch!

Curtis and Barb arrive today.  Peter arrives tomorrow.  Ivars, Aleks and Neil arrive on Saturday.  The transport arrives on Sunday morning.  And then the homeward trek begins…

An early start to another great day…


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A tearful goodbye to Arroyo…

Lance and Linds, working right pirouette. Lovely.

“What a nice young stallion!!!” Good boy William!!
William, cantering through the corner. Baby William is growing up…quite nicely!!!

It was a tough day yesterday.  Our last rides at Arroyo this season and we packed up our gear and moved to the Del Mar show.  We’ll leave for home from the show grounds.  No tears yet…we’re tough girls…so far.

Worked with Shannon with Lance and William.  Holy smoke are we going to miss her…(now there’s an understatement).  We spent some time in each lesson discussing theory and goals for the work with each horse.  We have a plan for each of them and will be working hard when we get home.  Shannon will check on us periodically.  Shannon at FCS this summer will keep us pointed straight to our goal.

Dr Paul looked at Fred on Monday and she has a new prescription.  She’s feeling much better.  Whewww.  We need her feeling well on Sunday morning for the big 44 hour trip home.

The boys look great and now need to get in the ring.

They all have settled into their stalls quietly here at the show grounds.  We’ll have a couple of days to work them here and our first class is Friday morning with both of them.  Fred is going to hang out and cheer them on with lots of hand walking and people watching each day.

Savouring each moment…only 5 days left.


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Yeah, travel day over!!!

Mack "helping" Papa and Uncle Greg install new mats in Lance and William's stalls.

We’re in Del Mar, at the show grounds with the coach…parked, hooked up and loving being so close to Arroyo!  We’re only 15 minutes to the stable (add a couple of minutes for a Pannikin stop!!)

We’ll ride with Shannon today and then head back here to bed stalls and set up the tack room for the show.  If it’s not too late we’ll head back and load the horses and bring them down to the show grounds as well.  It’ll be easy to feed tomorrow!

Last week was very busy at home…spring chores galore!!  But we’re ready!!

Headed to the stable to pet my ponies!!!  Yeah!!!! 🙂 🙂  I’m happy.


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Back in the saddle…again.

So here are the details…

I was diagnosed with a chronic, painful condition 5 or so years ago.  I hate talking about it…I find it boring, I want to move on.  I have a difficult, bothersome condition but I have decided this condition will not define me or my life.  I found I couldn’t ride each day and some days that I did ride, I was not working at full power.  I stepped back from my day-to-day and had a hard look at where I was, what I was doing and what was important in my life.  The long time goal I have had of riding for Canada would have to be tweaked.   I had a superstar of a horse (Lance), a superstar of a working student (Lindsey) and I knew I could still coach most days even when I was not feeling 100%.  There would be a win/win opportunity here for everyone if Lindsey wanted to ride Lance.  And she did.

So I changed hats.  No longer rider/trainer/coach now coach/trainer.  That was 4 yrs ago.  Learning to expand my coaching skills without the kinesthetic feedback of being in the saddle each day was a steep learning curve.  And I’m a better coach for it. 

This winter, thanks to my wonderful husband, we have finally found the drug therapy that has kept me well for many days in a row, several weeks in a row.  So I decided I’d like to try to ride again.  Grace and I headed into the arena to see if all the buttons still worked…it was lovely, very lovely.  And then I again had a major set back so Grace had some time off. 

But everything has now settled down and I’ve had several days again pain-free.  So Grace and I are back in the arena playing with dressage concepts and training theories.  My life is very good and I am very thankful for so many things each day.

Thank you for all your words of encourgement and concern.  It meant so much.



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To say our time in California this year hasn’t gone quite to plan would be a bit of an understatement. Our goal as we prepared to head south in January, was to participate in five shows and get all three of the horses confirmed at the next level. Unfortunately, the horses had other plans for us. Early in our time at Del Mar, we made a team decision to adjust our goals for the duration of the time in California. Training became the priority. In addition to the focus on training and development we found ourselves dealing with some minor equine health issues.

In 2009, Vickie, my Mom and I, along with input from a few others, assembled a plan for each of the three horses through 2012. We thought it was important to sit down together and establish a thorough plan. All of us deeply believe planning is crucial to achieving goals.

To find success with horses (& maybe life in general?) you have to learn adaptability and flexibility to prevent losing sight of your ultimate goals. The early portion of 2011 has proven how steep that learning curve can be. Unwavering, our goal remains to have three quality Grand Prix horses. Each and every day we continue our work towards that goal. By the end of this journey, the work we have done here, with the extra time spent training will pay off….I’m sure of it!!!


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Spring on the farm

The days are warm in the afternoon. 

Everyone fed, turned out, barn cleaned and a full day in the arena with lessons.  Late afternoons are spent cleaning and tidying up what is left around the farm as the snow melts. 

The geese are back and floating around in the pond in Billie’s paddock.  The squirrels in the trees are so noisy they can be heard over the sound of the quad when harrowing the paddocks.  The horses that have lived outdoors all winter look fat and happy to sleep in the sunshine for the afternoons.  There is water in the usual places, a small amount of mud in the fields and the grass is coming up among the slowing melting snow piles.  Spring is wonderful…green, growing, sunny. 

But I’m not taking the snow tires off the quad…


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A great new helmet.

Helmets are the normal headwear around here at FCS.  They have been for a several years.   Just part of the normal routine of pulling on your boots and tightening your girth…do up your helmet and mount up.

Last year in California…not so many helmets (none in the FEI ring).  After CKD’s tragic accident, Shannon and Steffen instituted a new barn rule…helmets on everyone, every ride.  Steffen and Shannon led the change to helmets at CDIs last year.  Following the lead of helmets in the warmup ring, this year so many riders chose to leave their helmets on from warm up ring to show ring even at the CDIs.  Wonderful example from Shannon and Steffen.  A true example of the trickle down effect!

Samsheild is a new, beautiful, light weight helmet from France.  It looks wonderful with tails.

Lindsey and Lance and her new Samsheild helmet.

Gonna be a busy day around here…off to feed some ponies!



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Our Sunday at the stable…

We had a later start to the day…didn’t have to battle traffic on the I5 so it is an easy 1/2 hour from the coach to the barn.

We were at the barn at 8, blankets off, feed made and the first horse on the Vibe Floor ready to ride. Sooooo Fred has a fat front leg…so she now again she looks like Lance from last week…one fat leg, lethargic and not lame…the virus strikes again…or same virus, we’re just not done with it yet.  Lindsey got in the saddle and we moved her around in the arena.  A laboured trot and a short canter later we decided Fred needs some time off to rehab and get well.  She’s 7 to 10 days behind Lance in clearing this virus. So she’s on bed rest, no work and TLC at Arroyo and hopefully she’ll get well soon.  Vibe Floor, hand walking and short turnout for the next couple of weeks should get het back on track.  She’ll have some time to recover before putting her on the truck to send her on the 45 hour trip home.  Poor Fred…get well soon!!!

Lance and William are going strong and we are planning (once again) to enter the Del Mar show.  Hopefully no other surprizes will pop up and we’ll get to show the boys before heading home.  The truck is booked to pick them up from the Del Mar show May 01.

I’m home now so off to make my way around snow piles…


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