Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mr. Merlot

Mr. Merot is a 2005 Welsh/Thoroughbred pony and honestly, makes the ponies that went down centerline at Gladstone National Championships look like hunter rejects.

He has the best of both worlds going for him and the looks (and scores) to boot. Seriously this pony has done great things on the east coast and would be competitive in any situation that we put him in.

Merlot is the type that is not only talented, but safe and fun to be on. You can literately pack him around anywhere with or without a care in the world and he has been there and done that on multiple occasions, big and small situations, with both youth, pro and now AA. By no means 100 percent push button,  he's going to make someone a really nice pony schoolmaster (he's corrected me on a few occasions about my canter departs), but in the end he's a solid citizen with flash and class.

Yes, Merlot is for sale.

Why? Well, of the two Merlot is a good candidate for the sport and for a kid or a AA to do something with while learning the ropes.  Plus honestly, he just needs his own human, he thrives off of personal worship and adoration. He's a serious ham. I (and his owner) would like to see him go to a home that will be competitive with him. He's fairly priced at $25k and can be viewed while with me in Florida.

Interest should be pointed towards his owner Cory Gregory:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Turn the clock to zero

How many times will I look back at 2011 and look, sometimes with amusement, wonder or  sadness, of all the things that we've done?

It was a hugely challenging and rewarding year. Literally expanded horizons and took things back on the road. With highs and lows in between, but I can honestly say, we met every goal set out and a little bit extra along the way. I'm forever proud of my ponies, and the people who are in our corner.It's been nothing short of an adventure, and it only has really just begun.

2011 Horsey Stuff:
  1. Finish bronze
    Did this in style on my birthday.
  2. Go PSG and 4th level
    I didn't get to compete but I did roll through the entire fourth level and PSG prior to fall, and even had the entry done for Pony Cup for PSG.This year we're set to roll out from the start.
  3. Continue to teach and train Sincere, bring him to shows
    Sincere didn't make any cameo appearances, but by the end of fall he did his 30 days under saddle and is now resting up for spring.
  4. Finish first part of L program
    Achieved, and got my sitting/scribing hours done to boot. I'm an L Candidate. Need to now go on to the second part of the program.
  5. Continue to grow the business
    The business hit turbulence around April when my former business partner pulled out. It took me until August to regroup and reform the business as a single entity. But so far, doing pretty darn good! Managed to host two more clinics in the past two months, and I have what seems like a pretty full roster for 2012. I'm cautiously optimistic for 2012, and still work towards being on even footing on all times. 
  6. Save for 2012 breeding and in general
    I, on a whim, purchased a breeding to Donatelli. Don't know where I'm going with this, but I think it's somewhere good. General savings were slaughtered again. I had also decided not to breed Sinari. It's not fair to take her out for two years and expect her to return. Embryo transfer just isn't an option. 
  7. Improve wardrobe
    I did! Three new pairs of white breeches, new show shirt, new (old) pin, new boots and a few other items to go out on the road with me. I'm still adding to my collection of polos.
All in all, it was a good year with amazing friends and family. I can't wait for 2012 to be here, and see what's in store for us then.

Goals 2012:
  1. Sinari to roll at 4th/PSG and school around I2.
  2. Start/finish Silver Medal
  3. Find a schoolmaster, start working towards CDI's
  4. Ride Sincere, and get him through his first big boy outings
  5. Continue to grow the business, but find balance in between.
  6. Finish 2nd half of L program, gain scores for r.
  7. Start my apprenticeship for my organizers stuff

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    God rest ye merry gentlemen

    Dear Santa,

    The holidays are nearly here, and I know some well-deserving ponies that could use some extra schwag near their stalls this holiday time.

    Sinari has been the best this year, for her I would like to make her job easier. Perhaps a Back on Track Blanket to complement her arsenal of Back on Track Saddle pads? Or hey that County Saddle we've had our eyes on for the last two years would be lovely as well.

    For Sincere, who doesn't really need much, extra apples (fresh Gaylas are his favorite) for him and extra time with me who doesn't get to see him very much.  If you can find a way to turn him into mini Toto, that would be great too, but I like him anyways.

    Also Santa, don't forget about the two newbies. They're cruising along too:)

    Mr. Merlot needs a great new home where a kid or an adult amateur can love on him all day long and take him out and kick ass with him. I'm sure he's easily transportable in that sled of yours and won't eat the cookies, and I'm sure you have a list of little girls who would just dote on him.

    For Wylie, a way to organize himself. Although he is getting there quickly, somedays are physically challenging. Also if you could let him get about 100lbs of muscle while in Florida. That boy has some talent and would be fun to go play at the top with him.

    Finally Santa, if you have room for one or two more things for myself, it would be awesome.

    I know you can't increase the hours in a regular day (more would be appreciated), but if you can find a small tour horse that I could compete CDI's with I would be greatly obliged, and help me finish the L program and obtain my scores for my Silver, produce another wonderful young horse and just go out and have fun, it would be great. But since you know me, I would settle for a good year and good horses any day of the week.

    You know where I live:)

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011


    (People have asked for regular updates with Florida travels, so consider this a blog within a blog)

    I keep forgetting it's December, there are only two weeks left out in the year and everyday seems jam packed full of stuff to do.

    Before I skipped town for the weekend I had a lot to do. Between packing and prepping, I've now been away for two consecutive weekends. Last week was my last meeting with Koford before we skip down south and this past weekend I hosted a clinic with Shannon Peters at Two Swans Farm.

    Last week's clinic with Koford went great, Sinari has come back stronger and more into the work. She's really firing, just needs the fitness at this point. I came home to work on pir's and cleaning up the collection. It also helps that I've inherited a good pair of eyes on the ground that can be equally torturous as I can.

    I came home to ride the boys, and they have been super stars. I've been playing with the balance and connection with both of them now (and now that I have a few new tricks in the bag from Shannon, we'll be rocking right along), taking them deeper and then when released bringing them up to move with more uphill balance. Wylie is incredible, he's such a scopey mover with a ton of action.

    The sale pony, Merlot, is moving right along with the program as well, and when he gets it, has great mediums and can sit. He's going to make someone a really nice FEI pony.

    Also last week, because the weather was nice, we clipped.

    Clipping ponies is always an adventure, they seem to grow twice the hair of a normal horse. Monday I worked on Sinari, and while everything was great, I think I screwed her face up.

    Sinari, unfortunately, needs drugs to be clipped, she tends to panic . I think she had something done to her earlier in her life. She came out of the drugs a little sooner than expected and lost my line on her face, so... it looks entertaining.

    The other problem was lack of light in the barn. When you clip you need as much light as you can, and with some barns there isn't always enough light or time to get everything. I managed to get the boys and girl clipped out prior to FL departure, and still had enough time to slam down laundry to the local soap house. But I'm afraid some spots may be interpretive at best.

    This particular trip down south was for business purposes, but in reality, "bacation" would have been a more apt term. I got to hang out with people and get to play with ground work in the pi/pa tours. I met even more fantastic people, and hope to see them again very soon.

    While not my first time hosting in FL, it was my first time in Wellington.

    Talk about a different league. It was like pitching for a minor team and then being expected to pitch for the Yankees in the world series. Challenging, intriguing, hard, and lots of expectations.

    Best view in town.
    The sheer amount of dressage, quality horses and people is enough to send any normal dressage queen over the edge in seizures. I had the immense pleasure of hosting at Two Swans Farm with a world class riders riding under another world class rider.

    I came back far more educated and a little more hungry than planned. I have a whole fun set of exercises to play with now. 

    The entire weekend was incredibly productive on the organizational front, I confirmed shipping dates and I also started to get something of a schedule thrown together. Now I'm back for two more weeks of holidays, riding and packing.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    New faces

    Christmas came early, I got new ponies to play with the other week (been belated on introducing them).

    Wylie Court Jester (Wicked Court Jester) and Mr. Merlot are two ponies that I've been watching for years. They are fantastically bred ponies that have pretty much made waves on the east coast. They are every dressage rider's dream ponies and would easily hold their own in Europe. I envied them and Cory Gregory for years. Never in a million years would expect to get a phone call asking if I wanted to take up the reins.

    But, life, as with ponies occasionally takes a turn.After a flurry of conversations with Cory, the boys came down to be legged up for the spring.

    Both boys settled in without a hassle, and have been getting back to work for the past two weeks. While we're still on our honeymoon period, they are showing very well. They are exceptionally fun and challenging in their own ways. They are two very distinct rides and I can't wait to really dig in.

    The best part is they will be shipping in to Florida with Sinari.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Fashionable accessories.

    The leg work for Florida continues on.

    Sinari got her shoes tacked on. For the last eight or nine years, we've gone barefoot, and competed successfully with nothing with what nature gave us, so the change was something that I had to think about.

    Before hear the boo hiss of renegade hard-core barefoot people out there, I did it with a lot of thought in mind. First being keeping soundness during the year. In 2011 alone we've gone on more than 11 different surfaces, each one of them had their own challenges and features. Support was needed there.

    Secondly, despite having a good hoof keeping her hooves from becoming bruised/sore/ect was a challenge during peak training times. The ground here changes rapidly from week to week especially in summer and being on different surfaces wear the hoof differently. She was literally wearing her hooves out. 

    Finally, it was also a confidence issue. She just wasn't digging the pir's or mediums. I think she wasn't getting enough traction and re-directing the energy enough to really dig in and sit.

    The change has been enormously positive she just motors in the mediums and has a bit more confidence in the collection. The compression is much stronger. This weekend on a new surface she dug in and was uphill, expressive and confident. The only thing that is lacking is the high gear fitness, she could only last maybe 10 minutes of intense work without a walk break.

    Give it another three weeks and we can roll through a steady 4-1.

    Entries also opened up for the Gold Coast opener. While I want to do Wellington, Ocala is turning out to be a more reasonable option as far as costs, move up scenarios and trailer time (10 minutes versus four hours). But then there's also the issue of scheduling, on the weekend of the Ocala show I have a Young Rider Graduate conference in Wellington, within the same week I may have a clinic to ride in as well.

    So... choices. Either way we'll be stuck in a trailer, either way we'll be doing something.

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Eyes up on the horizon

    I hate packing.

    The only thing worse is driving.

    I did both a lot as a student, and eventually had it down to a science. Packing came down to three big boxes and a few minor bags. Driving came to don't stop until you run out of gas.

    Packing for horses is a little different, especially when crossing state lines. I thankfully have people in Florida who are making the transition that much easier, helping me find good sources for bedding and general supplies, giving me tips (like bring your own hay) along the way. But it also means counting pennies.

    The hard part is the 30 days prior to take off when all organizational hell breaks loose, especially when you're trying to get your horses conditioned and your barn packed up not just once, but twice.

    Sinari is getting her traveling shoes back on. She is being moved again prior to going to Florida, just as a way to leg up for the up coming season. Between that it's a clinic with Koford, my trip to Wellington and a number of other things as well. I need to get the vet out next week to do some clipping, chiro work, fresh coggins and I think a few miscellaneous pack items.

    Sincere is going to his wintering grounds to grow up a bit before being brought back as a three year old. I'm really excited about him coming under saddle again.

    I hate splitting the herd up, it's very hard not getting to see him every day or play with him. I enjoy seeing both, but for now, he belongs outside in a herd to grow up.

    It's finally December and we're down to the last 30 something days on the calendar year. I don't know where November went at all, it's actually hard to imagine that it felt like September two weeks ago. 

    November goals:
    -Fit and hack out
    Check, as many times as I could with the weather.
    -Winterize trailer, small welding project and lay mats down
    -Continue with 30 days
    Finished, with flying colors.
    -Work lateral work
    Check, I think we lost our half halt
    -Prepare for Florida
    Check. Preparations are well under way.

    -Condition, fit and hack out
    -Clinic in TN