Thursday, January 31, 2013

Carry on

It's the end of January, and I'm looking at some fairly sweeping changes that have been brewing for sometime. A lot of them are welcomed and many of them are of the house keeping variety.

I've kept most quiet on the subject because until things are signed and delivered, I really don't think that they're final. It's nothing against people, it's just what I've come to know about the horse world, nothing is ever final until ink is dry and the horse is in your hands.  But with details that are falling rapidly in to place things can be announced.

I'm forming a new venture that focuses on the horsey portion of my life.

This does not mean I'm backing away from the clinics or turning pro, it's just a way to keep the goals and finances aligned correctly. It's something that's been coming down the pike for sometime.

My main horse-related income is still derived from the clinics and organization, but this is a nice supplement to increasing saddle time, funding future investments and campaigning horses at FEI.

Speaking of FEI, things are changing there too.

Secondly, I recently came into an agreement with another rider to take on one of her FEI horses. Kobe is a huge departure from what I'm currently on (17 hands, grey, gelding) but he's a very capable individual who is confirmed small tour and the majority of the GP elements. Not the fanciest but really a great card. He's a fantastic schoolmaster, and really pushes buttons. I've bought stock in old lady shampoo and I officially look like a midget.

The big aim this year is to be qualified for the Dressage at Devon CDI*** at the small tour.

As exciting as this is, this is incredibly daunting. It's a steep learning curve that doesn't forgive, but to go where I want to go, I have to go there. This also means campaigning two FEI horses plus the roster of lower level horses while maintaining the normal job, the clinics and actively training. 

Finally, there's the pipeline. Two breedings are in the works. One in Canada, a KWPN, and one out of Reba via ET. Both present excellent futures as world class competitive FEI mounts (knowing my luck I'll have another jumper!).

So... that bigger trailer...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I say goobye, you say hello

I bred Sincere roughly three years ago to be my upper level prospect for when Sinari stepped down.

I almost got what I asked for.

His dam wasn't my favorite, in fact she was a little difficult and could be very opinionated about life, but she was an excellent broodmare, and was the herd mother of the group keeping everyone in line and teaching all the foals some strict ground rules. Sincere was one of the best she's produced to date. She's now working with an old friend in Michigan who loves her to pieces and is having her own life.

His sire was Dutch and jumper bred through his sire's side, but performed and placed at the USEF Young Horse Finals when it was here in Kentucky a number of years ago. I originally thought he was a gelding because he was really just that professional about his career. He was bay and had the right talent in the right places. His damline was very strong. He retired out way too early due to his owner not having money to campaign him.

I bought the breeding not really knowing where this cross would lead, but felt it would lead to something good, even though I was yelled and degraded repeatedly not to cross the two and throughout the pregnancy by a former friend and a employer.

It is with some satisfaction that I'll say, I think he turned out just fine and my craps shoot ended up a well played gamble. The GOV was interested at one point to have him as a pony stallion candidate, which gives me a nice ego boost to have this particular pairing go well.

I've watched him for three years grow up from a gangly little foal that could canter up and down hills with abandon to a nice young horse that I'm really proud to say: I created him, he's a product of my program, my decisions and my efforts.

While there are parts, selfish parts, of me that want to keep him, that want my rider to bring him to the one star level to be by his side when he finished a round or a course, I know I can't do it. I know fiscally it would be very hard, and secondly it would be unfair. Not to him, but to my own goals. To the others that are coming up, and the others who have yet to make their place with me.

He loves his job and will be very good at it with time. The person who purchased him adores him, and thinks the world of him. He will do me proud being a happy go getter and I'll always be his first fan and cheerleader.I couldn't be happier with the home he's going to. I can honestly say I got the best of both worlds.

So today is the day where I say not really a goodbye, but bon chance as he loads into the trailer for his new life and goes down the road. I already miss him, but I know he's started his own grand adventure, and I can't wait to see the next part of it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bring the action

By the end of November, I was pretty much mentally floating away to Margaritaville. No horse shows in sight, and the thought of hitching up to go anywhere was pretty much met with cold sweat and that queasy feeling that if I did this one more time, my head might just explode.

A few weeks off, a few successful clinics hither and yon, time home with the herd and my family and developing a plan of attack for 2013 put us back into the game.  I'm ready.

The horses are rocking right along with prep, I'm becoming happier with each one of them and I can't wait to come out to the season.

Sincere takes home the gold star, not only does this 3.5 year old know his job, he does it with a lot of enthusiasm. He jumps small fences, he has a green lead change, he hacks alone, he loads, he's safe for the AA and flashy enough for the Pro. He goes to strange arenas and does just about everything. He loves his job and there's not a single 'no' in him.

Sinari is equally on good terms, schooling piaffe, passage and pir's. Her trot work is the strong point at the moment with the best mediums I've ever felt and the pir's are becoming rideable. It will take me a year to solidify the pi/pa and finish her one's. I've been insisting on straighter changes, simply because I don't want to leave points on the table on  what is one of her highlights. She's coming back strong and I need to find a schooling show to take her to so she can click into getting back into show mode.

In the meantime we had to re-clip. She grew about a solid couple of inches of hair when she was let down after the BLM's. Normally I don't mind fuzzy, but since things are gearing in quickly and the European sport that ironically doesn't like hair, the fluff had to be defluffed. Spent a rainy Sunday afternoon doing this, I now sport a bear suit and have a naked pony. 

Reba is working consistently as well. She is progressing nicely. Her topline is returning and she's gained more muscle. She's still not 100 percent focused on her job and I still think though she's a few months out from actual showing.

So with a trip coming up quickly I made the decision for her to stay out of the Wellington fishbowl and in training up in Kentucky. It kinda dissapoints me simply because I wanted her to go in front of a few people and she is Florida quality. But, I also know I want her to show and reflect her breeding and the training, so I think the money and time is better spent up here still gaining fitness, still going forward in a non-pressure situation.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's time to begin

I know I listed the 2013 goals already, and there are things that are changing, rapidly for the better, hence the amendment in the prior post.

When things are finalized I'll mention, but until then it means that I have a full roster for 2013 and I'm going to need a bigger trailer.

Winter is in full force in Kentucky, and just as the doldrums set in I'm going down to Florida to do some work, and to visit with some friends who I haven't seen in awhile. It will be nice to be in the land of sunshine and sand for three days.

The girls (and boy) are going well.

Reba is doing a lot of lateral work and getting fitter. Ramping up the balance on her isn't difficult at all, she can go zero to FEI balance in 2.5 seconds if I ask, it's keeping it there and keeping her head on her shoulders is the main challenge. She's also still very much not in shape, and will take another three to four months to put on the basic muscling that she needs. She's already svelted up quite a bit and she's gained a lot of topline but for where I want her to go this year, she's going to need to gain a lot more, she's going to need to learn to be more confident in the arena. Where she should begin her season has become a bit of a question mark. I would like her to begin in Florida, but I think the time and money are better spent northward where she would have the extra space to develop into a stronger candidate and I'm also debating about which shows where.

As much as I love training and first levels, I think schooling shows are best for these classes especially in a first year relationship. Her main goal this year is obtaining her Elite Mare Candidacy in the summer inspection tours and it would be complete icing to take her out at Third. But we'll see.

Sinari is working terrific, if not a bit out of shape due to the holiday and winter scheduling. She recently had the dentist out, and is back in full swing with a lot of Dover's and Hoffmann's work outs (that canter pirouette to walk pirouette to canter pirouette is seriously kicking butt), and we're up to five one's, some pi/pa stuff and getting things otherwise cleaned up. I'm really rooting for this to be a big year for her, and I think she'll shine. I'm aiming her for a fourth level test when we're both down in Florida later this year to complete out the Silver.

Sincere has been an absolute rock star with Lauren Neathry. I sent him on before the holiday to start back, and by jove, he loves his job. He walk, trots, and is very much building stamina in his canter. He's already hacking out confidently on the new property and doing some small jumps. Super pony. He is seriously going to take someone somewhere, and I'll put my money on a CCI* or a meter class or two in the jumpers when he's mature. There's not a 'no' in his mind and he's very chipper about his career. 

In the meantime, it's laundry and pack and prepare for the very early start of the season.  Just sent all the dry cleaning out, and my show bag has been hung to start putting the 2013 supplies in it.