Thursday, December 31, 2015

Blue on Black

I've had been sidelined until recently.

Two days before Thanksgiving, Fahrenheit, showed how athletic he could be, and cow kicked my upper thigh.

It wasn't his fault, he became scared over a noise and as young horses are, reacted. I was also at his shoulder, so for him to plant one solidly on my leg took some talent; I'm not only reminded of this from the lump but also from the increasing pile of dead bellboots from when he's having a '10' day.

It hasn't been my year for injuries. I went to keuring with a black eye, and I remember doing a few naughty things to myself in Germany. I'm a klutz of the first order for 2015.

So, I was temporarily sidelined with a sleeve of black and blue bruises and an Easter Egg sized lump. The lump has gone down, but for the first few weeks I was miserable.

I was cleared to ride again about two weeks after that, at the walk and the trot, I was still doing yoga and I went through the repetitive motions of lunging everyone as much as possible.

But honestly, when you're used to walking a half marathon everyday, five miles is boring. It wasn't until a week ago did I feel honestly comfortable enough to canter, and strong enough to really do good work.

As boring as my rides have been- they've been more productive and I've been able to address Flair's trot more and little habits.

Flair has been roughly under saddle for close to eight months.

She has vastly changed from the Alberta broodmare to a sport horse who keeps on developing day in and day out.

At first, we were just focused on getting through all the physicality that she had to process, and now, my main focus has been developing her carrying capacity and balance. It's a tricky line to walk with her. She gives as good as she gets. If she's feeling physically great, she gives you everything, if she feels less than stellar then you have to discuss things and keep her mentally fresh. 

This is a mare who finds all the upper level movements easy and without question, fun.  There's not a day that goes by that I don't feel that she will be a very competitive FEI horse, but apart of the entire lifestyle change that she underwent is keeping up and ahead of the physical upkeep, she's doing well.

Winter is going to be full of refining basics, which is a welcome relief versus gearing in for spring.

Fahrenheit continues to progress, he currently has nine rides under saddle and is solidly walk/trot/canter with a smidge of lateral work and lengthening. Outside the arena, he hacks. Alone.  He's a great combination of sensitive, forward but with a brain firmly between the ears. He's just a neat horse.

Sinari continues to work well for her AA rider. I'm really pleased with how this pairing has turned out. She spoils her more than I do. She's not fully accepting that she's not the FEI horse anymore but I think she's much more comfortable in her roll.

I'm ending my year at home, something I rarely do these days, as my current schedule is fairly booked. Something I didn't expect. But at the same time, it seems to be the theme of the year; not quite what I expected.

I ended up in Europe (subsequently I was invited back but had to defer this year due to obligations at home), I met amazing people, I developed riders to their first medals, coached riders to the FEI, sold horses world wide, I have two regular clinics in Ohio and in Virginia, I developed horses to the top 10 and number one spots for the KWPN NA, we took two green (and I mean out of the field unbroke) and won, a lot, with scores breaking in to the 80's. I started importing my own horses from my source in Germany, and my investors and partnerships continue to expand.

My team and I did it. We were on the books successful. 

But for every success there was a setback. There were untimely deaths, there were friends who contracted crappy diseases, there were accidents (both personal and from friends), political backbiting and unprofessional antics; some from the usual sources and many from unexpected sources, there were unexpected bills, there was heartbreak for both myself and friends, lots of proverbial slamming doors and lots of tears.

But like time, I and my team, kept going and will continue on.

2015 Goals:

1. Expand clients, horses in training and investments that are capable, at minimum, of shining on the national stage and continue to be fiscally solvent. 
Done and continuing. Haiku, Flair, Fahrenheit were wonderful additions to the 2015 herd. The herd is also set to temporarily grow again with two more training horses for winter. Still working on growing fiscally.

2. Continue to increase fitness (human and horse).
Done. My average walking distance (according to iPhone) is 10 miles. A day. I conservatively burn 1,500 calories from just walking. 

3. Pursue the young horse track. Develop horses for the USEF Young Horse Championships alongside the USDF Breeders Championships with the aim of looking toward Verden. 

Done in a big way. Flair is pursuing the Developing Horse track, we need more time. Fahrenheit is working towards the four year olds, and if someone doesn't buy him by the end of the four year old year, he will be my Verden bid. 

4. Dedicate personal educational opportunities once a quarter with my coaches (in a non-clinic capacity) to keep developing. 
Kinda done. My first quarter and my second quarters were booked with Germany. By third quarter, we were hitting our stride and four quarter was a flop.

2016 Goals:

1. Pursue young horse track. Get into the observation sessions. 
2. Continue to increase fitness (human and horse). 
3. Continue to sell and source horses world wide. 
4. Continue to create and dedicate personal educational opportunities once a quarter. 
5. Continue to develop Flair.