Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Tates fine first.. But I thought this pic accurately shows what many of us obsessive eventers find common practice.. Tate as you know has had some sore feet so anytime I gallop or jump we ice his left front and ankle ( bc sometimes his ankle gets a little sore from compensating)...Chrissy and I know any soreness anywhere not addressed could cause a greater injury later so we ice as a preventative measure.. I had a great jump lesson with anne k today. I wasn't happy with my riding in the show jumping at the AEC's I felt tate was a bit green jumping the bigger fences but I felt I lost my balance in the air a bit which didn't help tate handle the fences. I started my lesson explaining this to anne and told her to please focus on my position and let's see if we can get this sorted. She noticed when we got a bit close to the fences I sometimes put my hands close together and on his neck which in turn limited what tate could do with his neck and tilted me forward again slightly hindering tates jump. Tater is very light and sensitive and this little move of mine could cost us a rail which is the difference between winning and losing. I am so lucky between O'Connors, Mark and Anne I have a group of trainers that I can openly talk to and work through problems to improve... So here is me on a tues night icing and watching the video of my lesson so I have a visual as well as a feeling. Special thxs to chrissy who is doing the video ( which is so boring to do!) and finishing up the barn late while I'm sitting in the stall with tate..We(professionals) could not do what we do without a strong team!
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Sunday, September 26, 2010


Tate sharing his field with the chickens!
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Lets get it started!

I keep looking at the calender and thinking its missing a week.. but its not Boekelo is nearly here! Yesterday afternooon Captain Mark Philips(our team coach) Sara Ike(Director of Eventing), Paul Wegand(Flight organizer), Doug Payne, Will Faudree, Tiana Coudrey and I all got on a call to actually discuss the details of our trip. I think that was when I realized wow we are actually doing this thing! I have tickets booked for Tate, Chrissy and I for Oct. 9. Will F and Mark Philips are headed to NJ on Oct 5. We will get a few final lessons from Mark at Hart Farm before we all pile our gear and horses into the trailer and head to the Airport sat. am. The horses will fly together with DVM Sara Gold and Wills groom Nat( she is the most experienced groom) on a KLM flight. Sara Ike, Chrissy, Will, Doug and I will fly on a continental flight which will land a few hours before the horses so we can pick up the car and then meet the horses upon arrival. Tiana is flying from the west coast and will arrive a few hours before us all. Mark has arranged a transport to come pick us up from the airport on the morning of the 10th ( my birthday!) to ship us all to the actual event.
Tate is on good form. We have taken it easy since the AEC's and he is back in the pool due to running on the hard ground. He was a bit foot sore but seems to be feeling much better. I had a great jump school this morning. Sunday morning I am headed over to Marilyn Paynes ( before she heads to Kentucky to judge the WEG's) and she will work through the 3* test with me. I did this before richland and had chrissy sit next to her and video. I ride through the test and she judges it( i can hear on the video) and then we work through it movement by movement to hopefully improve the score. Then i can obsess and watch the video over and over until I feel I am over prepared!:) .. it will also give me something to do on the 8 hour flight. I think Tate's win at Richland was greatly due to Marilyn's specific advise on how to properly ride the test. I plan on having a jump with Anne Kurskinski next week then after the lessons with Mark I think we will be set to represent well!
On a side note huge exciting news is a new partnership between myself,Brendan and Wendy Furlong. They have just purchased a horse called Classical King which they originally bred. They have decided to place the horse with me so we can see how far King will go in the sport. He has competed through the training level and we all have high expectations. I am truly flattered that Brendon and Wendy believe in me enough to give me a chance to campaign their horse. King arrives to NJ next week so stay tuned Ill take pictures.
As we get closer to take off day I will update this blog daily!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Zep and bacon asleep we are ment to arrive home at 5:00 am !
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Final Wrap Up

What a day. I would not want to be in the selectors shoes right now. 3 months ago I was not feeling to confident about our american team but now we have a large group of strong competitive combinations. Unfortunately for the selectors everyone pretty much has chosen the last few weeks to shine making narrowing down the decision of the 4 team members,2 individuals and 2 alternates tough. Fortunately for America as a whole we are going to the WEGs with a strong well prepared team!
I was pleased with Tate today. I was a bit slow to react when I realized jumping into the triple that we were further away from the second oxer than I was anticipating. Tate came down a bit early and had the back rail. It unfortunate was a $1000 rail considering it dropped me to 7th which was right outside the money. But education is priceless and I will react quicker the next time. Right after show jumping I trotted Tate up for Team Vets Brendon Furlong and Kathy Cone and he trotted with flying colors, pretty much securing our grant to Boekelo. I am so excited for the opportunity and am pumped to spend the next few weeks polishing up so we can hopefully show the selectors were wise in the selection of us.

In other news my best friend Rebecca Howard just got told she will be one of the 6 competing for Canada at WEG's. I'm sure everyone remembers but it doesn't feel to long ago I was writing my blog from her hospital room after a rotational fall that left her with 16 broken bones and a collapsed lung. So a huge shout out to rebec for coming back with a vengeance! Speaking of Rebec my favorite story from the weekend : So rebecca howard,steph roads boch (also on canadian team squad), dana cook(reb groom) and I all stayed in a little rented motor home. I got a phone call friday night from rebec asking me if I had locked the camper which I had not.. On purpose anyway but anyone who knows me knows sometimes I can get a little distracted;) and I certainly wouldn't put it past myself to accidentally lock it. So rebec not being one to sit back and be idle(obviously) decided to break in through a window. So with the help of a few girls rebec got a leg up into the camper,crawled through the window only to find herself standing in someone else's camper!! Ha thankfully no one was in there so out the window she came again and moved 2 motor homes down and walked through our unlocked door!

So onto the WEGs and Boekelo for this gang! Go Eventing!
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The final day begins!

I must take back my comments on the sj course being "weird" some of the distances got moved around and when I walked this am I found the striding to be much more reasonable. I do think the track is tough. They are generous with ground lines but the bending lines and verticals make it a course that "ideal plans" will be made but in the ring some split decions will probably come into play .. So instinct will be important and its hard to practice that. Advanced starts at 8:45 so stay tuned xx
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cross country day


Cross country day!

I headed into the barn at 5:30am not because I was riding that early but bc I wanted to walk my horse for a while without being concerned with getting in a traffic jam! I must say the first few hours of the day were so enjoyable. The barns were quiet the horses were asleep and it happened to be the perfect quiet needed before a full day off cross country. My dog and I headed out to walk cross country around 7:15 to be greeted by most of the american WEGs squad doing a gallop in the early morning fog. I know it sounds cheesy but it was such a inspiring site... Just these amazing horses and riders that have such huge aspirations set for the next few weeks having a secluded gallop before the 600 other competitors arrived. It was pretty cool. Walking the course this am the ground seemed much better so cheers to everyone who sat on a tractor! Some riders were caught with some unsettling rounds more due to heading out trying to ride slow and almost being a bit passive. At the advanced level it is still important even when planning to "go slow" that a good enough pace is maintained to jump the fences well. Advanced is called that for a reason, you have to be forward, decisive and ride with intent. Today a lot left the start box with the intent of protecting their horses by going slow but ended up being less positive then necessary. But I have not talked to one rider that had maybe a not perfect ride that said anything less than what I have just said. Fortunately or unfortunately,I am not sure.. Tate is not as scopy or confident as some of these top horses, he always requires a forward rhythm to feel good about his job.. So where I did not put my foot to the floor in between the fences I did have to set out on a good clip. The fences came up easily for tate and bar adding up in the water he felt like he skipped around. I was surprised that he was so quick adding only 2 time penalties, but he maintained a forward gallop the whole time so all I can say is ..sweet ;) ... What is pretty amazing is that I'm pretty sure all riders and horses and riders stayed on grounds basically saying no trips to the hospital. I don't know if that because it is a championship event but good on us eventers!! Good day for the sport!! Show jumping looks interesting for tomorrow.. Some of the striding is for lack of a technical term .. Weird but will figure it out! On to tomorrow! Ps tate is in 4th!! SH
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Me, doug and Bacon ( doug paynes dog), flyin front seat on the mini bike headed to a PRO autograph signing
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Phillip Evi and Jenny galloping phils 3 WEG contenders
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Dressage day

Well this comes a bit late but I have just sat down.... Which seems silly because I am only riding one horse! But somehow that can take up a day. General impression of the day was the top horses all looked pretty good. Scoring( as I'm sure you know if you checked live scoring) was a bit all over the shop. Linda Zang seemed positive and scoring on the higher end and Loris Henry seemed to think we all were a bit sub-par. For those of you who don't know at a championship competition you have two judges who sit at different places in the arena and both their scores combine to give you your final percentage. Normally these scores are within 2 or 3 points of each other but today we had differences of up to 11 percent! So a bit frustrating when one judge thinks your great and the other thinks not so much so. Anyway such is life! On to tomorrow!! The scores tomorrow again won't probably accurately show the best horse and rider pair( I am discussing just the advanced division) horses going for the WEGs and Boekelo will be doing the best thing they can to prepare there horses for "the next step" . I have it on good authority canadians will leave some jumps out that they feel are not necessary for their horses. This will eliminate them from this competition but they are using the course as schooling for the WEGs. Americans are ment to run the whole course but will go slow in order to save their horses legs. For our top horses protecting them for future team competions is a priority. Not to say that any horses welfare is not important but the horses at the top have put their time in and are a bit older so if conditions are not as close to perfect as we can make them its important to decide if its worth saving them for another day. Coming back to my day I was thrilled with Tate. I really feel right now honestly he is a strong 3 star horse with the potential to be a great 4 star horse. Last week he proved by winning richland 2 star he was above that level and today in a 4 star test he was the best he could be with the education he has and landed himself with a top third result. I was victim to one judge that thought he was great and one that did not ( 7 point difference) but when watching the video back I definitely saw plenty of room for improvement but a very lovely obedient horse. I was so damn happy to have him in that ring not matter what:)! As for tomorrow I'm a bit undecided in my plan.. So stay tuned ;) xx
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Steven Bradley put in a good test really positive forward canter work.
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The crowd out for dressage.. Allison is winning right now with a fantastic test I think she is on a 30. Boyd just put in a really nice test with Remington.. Just missed the last change and didn't nail the last halt... Other than that pretty flawless.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010


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1st day of dressage

This place is mad!!! Barns,horses,dogs,trailers,campers,tents RVs, sponsor tents, Vendors at every end of the property,mini bikes,golf carts, 4 wheelers and even a bar! Get the picture!! After wondering around the property for a few hours I think I finally have the lay of the land but this property is huge! Everything does seem to be going fairly smoothly. The one thing that maybe was not thought out was schooling for the horses competing tomorrow(pretty much all fit upper-level horses) was in the middle of a cross country field with training horses galloping around. I saw quite a few that would have rather been in there jumping gear than hanging on in there dressage tack. There were high performance lessons going on all day and some competitors you can visibly see the pressure mounting and some are very much putting on a calm front. All in all the bit of the top horses I saw looked good and they are certainly getting exposed to a big atmosphere here at the AECs. I walked around the advanced track and it looks quite nice. Actually the lower level courses looked quite challenging where the advanced looks like it will hopefully be a good confident run for horses carrying on to FEI destinations. I saw David O'Connor out on the aerator so again everyone doing their part to take care of the horses welfare. The advanced dressage tomorrow runs from 8am to 5pm with every top horse in the country taking there turn,should be quite exciting. Tate takes center stage at 3:06. He was happy to do a bit of work today but after the long trip we just had an easy ride. I'm excited to be able to spend the morning watching..much to be learned! I will try and keep thing updated through the day tomorrow and def. Catch up in the evening. SH x
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Baby stealing Tates hay!!

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Tight quarters!

The journey begins!

So we are on the road!! GPS says we will be arriving at midnight. I hear there have been line ups at the AEC's venue for up to an hour with trucks and trailers! At midnight hopefully there will be less of a crowd. Doug,Holly,Zeppo(my dog),Bacon(dougs dog) are all nice and cozy in the truck and with doug being the driver the most important thing to get our trip started was FOOD! So a slight detour to get bacon,egg and cheese bagels to add to our stash of food that Randy Clover ( Cindy and Randy own Rocket a lovely horse I have competed a bit this year) made we will most likely be a fair bit heavier when we arrive in GA. I kinda feel like making a sign and putting it in the window that says AEC's or bust! I'm not sure if because its a WEG year or such a huge display of Eventing die hards at one new fabulous venue but I have a really excited feeling in my stomach. This is gonna be a "Big Event" on so may levels. As a Professional Rider sometimes we get so busy running up and down the countryside eventing every weekend we forget that feeling we maybe had when we went to our first 3 day or where you couldn't sleep bc you were excited/nervous about the next day event. I am kinda getting that feeling now. I'm excited about competing my horse but I also feel like eventing as a whole is coming together to do some amazing things. The Professional Riders Organization is making huge strides in progressing our sport not only by bringing in money/sponsors, which brings in outside people, which in turn allows our sport to grow at every level. But PRO is also working on a lot of new ideas. PRO is making a point to have the upper level riders giving back by giving free course walks, organizing clinics, lecture demos that all will really help educate outside spectators and participants in our discipline that maybe don't have access to top professionals. We are having several meetings at AECs to further our progress in these areas as well as hopefully reaching out to some new amateurs and young riders to bring in new ideas. With this also being a final selection trial for USA and Canada for WEGs adds to the excitement! Just think that some kids in the BN and Novice divisions will hopefully be inspired by watching the greats this weekend. Those same kids in the future could be here filling the shoes of there idols. This weekend is also where the selectors will choose which developing riders will get grants to compete in Holland at Boekelo CCI *** in October. My goal this weekend is to get one of those grants. So all in all a very exciting weekend! Stay tuned !! Ps holly was just snoring in the back with the dogs but she has just popped up to look at baby(Madeline her horse) in the camera just in time to see her stealing all tates hay!!!
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Tomorrow tate and I are heading to GA to compete at the American Eventing Championships. Word on the street is that there are around 700 entries which is incredible and makes the statement our sport is as strong as ever! Unfortunately unless you live in Atlanta most of us are in for a pretty long trek. Doug Payne, Holly Payne and I are car pooling for the 15 hour drive. A few good stories came from our last adventure together when we all went to Rolex together(those stories are for a whole other blog post!). Anyway I'm excited for the weekend and tate feels great. All the advanced competitors are riding 4 star test B which is pretty tough but it is the final trial for WEG selection so its gotta be a true test! I will keep blogging through the week so stay tuned! X
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