Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ed Wrigley Memorial Hunter Pace - I'm There!

Cool! Got my time for the upcoming Ed Wrigley Memorial Hunter Pace on Sept. 28th. My first hunter pace of the season! So excited!!

I posted earlier this year about the passing of one of our local horseman, Edward Wrigley who gave so much to our enjoyment of the sport. The Muttontown Horseman's Association has put this hunter pace together and I hope it turns out to be a great event!

And, don't think I'm writing off my dressage delusions just yet. The first dressage show I may attend will be October 19th. Had another lesson with Miss D last night. Not as progressive as we have been but due to me losing time from being sick and Monty getting to hang out, it took us longer to get "connected" this time than before. However, we did have a good breakthrough in that his canter to the right was balanced and soft, whereas that's his usual side to get stiff and fall through the shoulder. Miss D was most pleased that we got that out of the lesson. We both agreed that sometimes when you find a movement that needs work, you work it, correct it and then have to almost "catch up" a bit with the things you didn't work as intensely during that time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ode to my Smartpaks

I love Smartpaks. How easy is it to pick out your horses' feed supplements and have someone else measure it and set it all up for you, then deliver it to your house well before you run out? Before I had the twins, I did the whole process myself, every 30 days sitting down at the kitchen table like a mad scientist scooping out portions of this and that and sealing it into ziploc snack sized baggies.

After the birth of the boyz, way different story. I had no time to add that baggie chore to the huge list. And would feel super guilty when I realized my horse had gone 2 weeks (um, or more... ;P) without supplements. The only reason I held off from using Smartpaks for awhile longer was they didn't offer the exact same supplements that I had chosen for Monty. But finally, I gave up, substituted as best I could from their offerings and have been very pleased ever since. Yep, it costs a bit more, but it bought me time, which I have realized is truly the most precious commodity you can buy.

So, here is a haiku poem, as tribute to my love of Smartpaks:

Smartpaks are a gift
to horseperson with no time
for filling baggies

Friday, August 22, 2008

George Morris - I Pushed the Button

LOL! Well, I'm guessing the link I posted with my previous post most likely only will work if you are a member of I can't access the thread the link leads to unless I log in as a member (which I am, you can find me as SolitaireMare, there).

I highly recommend signing up just to read the deliciously snarky thread that was started with the following post by a member called "TimidJumpOff":


Does anyone know who this guy is? He evidently writes a column in a magazine, but does he actually ride? Who does he train with?

A friend of mine from TOB sent me a PM saying that this George guy called me "Loose", who is he to call me loose, I have been married for 28 years and have been faithful for all those years. When I was single and ambassador to Japan I may have been a little loose, but not now.

Getting back to this George guy, I hear he lives in Jersey. While I boarded in Jersey I never heard of him. What division does he show in? I did the pre-preliminary jumpers in 1989, never saw him there. Now that my horses are on LI, I rarely show, preferring to flap my mouth to my BNT ad on TOB. If I ever run out of stories recanting every fall I have ever had maybe I will return to showing to gather some new material. for now I have more than an ample supply.

Can anyone give me some background information on what this guy has ever done other than writing his silly little magazine column?"

Now, If you choose to venture further, Remember, it's all tongue firmly planted in cheek and it does get funnier (and weirder) as it plays out. The thread is from a few years ago and closed to new replies but still an amusing read.

Hmm, seems I've pushed a button by mentioning the "master". My personal opinion about the man is, I do not deny or diminish his personal accomplishments. But as a rider who grew up with his "Hunt Seat Equitation" book as the veritable "bible" of that style of riding, my biggest complaint was that I felt his ideals were unattainable for someone like me. I wasn't genetically gifted with his idea of the perfect riding physique, and I can't tell you how many times I lost in the showring to a lesser rider who just "decorated her horse" better than me. I was never overweight back in my day, but I was not a skinny teenager either. I had to learn how to ride smarter, and show I could THINK in addition to sit there and steer. (not a bad thing in the long run) Funny, my best ribbons came once I showed as an adult amateur, where being a little, um, "thicker" is just part of being an adult.

I had the opportunity to ride in a clinic given by him when I was a junior. The experience was lacking in my opinion. I had a green horse at the time. Which didn't seem to interest "the master" at all. Sadly, all I remember of that day was him asking me a question in the line-up after we did some flat work and I hesitated before answering him and he made some less than encouraging comment. Nothing snarky or bad, but enough to embarrass a teenager who wanted so much to impress someone like him, even with my green, crabby, OTTB mare.

So, it seems to sum up that he's still the Master of Hunt Seat Equitation to many, an over promoted prodigy to some, a sadistic drill sargeant to a few and an enigma to the rest. But definitely worthy of discussion. So I leave this to the readers, "Who Is George Morris?"

Who is George Morris?

Yesterday I took the day off from work. I think I am on the mend and this evil sinus cold is leaving. I spent time noodling around online and found this gem on When I was a junior rider a thousand years ago, George Morris was the LAST word on riding huntseat. Any of you Hunter and Hunt Seat Equitation riders who look to George as the equivalent of a god in custom boots and a Polo shirt will chuckle while reading this!

Who Is George Morris?

And in case you want to read the truth about what the man has really accomplished:

Show Jumping hall of Fame - George Morris

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Still Sickkk

I wish this horrible sinus-infection-head-cold whatever it is would just leave! I have been living on a Dayquil/Nyquil schedule. My head feels like it's going to explode, I'm coughing all the time and my sinuses are backed up farther than the Long Island Expressway on a Friday afternoon.

I cancelled my lesson on Monday and I just cancelled my make-up lesson that was to be tonight. I just don't have the strength to ride up to lesson standards. However the weather is just SO darn nice that I may drag my carcass to the barn tonight and hack around a bit just to alleviate the guilt I have for not riding for over a week, now!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Woo Hoo! US Gold in Team Show Jumping!

(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

August 18, 2008

HONG KONG (AP) The U.S. has won the gold medal Monday in Olympic equestrian team jumping, knocking out Canada, which has taken silver.

Norway has won the bronze.

The U.S. got clear rounds from their first three riders in the jump-off. One Canadian rider knocked down a fence, and since Canada only had three riders to the Americans' four, that clinched the U.S. gold.

The U.S. also won team jumping in 2004 in Athens and has two returning combinations on the 2008 team, McLain Ward on Sapphire and Beezie Madden on Authentic.

Ian Millar, riding in his ninth Olympics, forced the jump-off with a clear round on In Style. The team silver is Millar's first Olympic medal.

The above was copied from AOL news.

I enjoy watching the dressage, but the showjumping is my first love! I enjoyed getting to see it on the Oxygen network last night. Plus, I think they showed all the rounds including the jump off, NICE! Usually it's edited to the point where all the excitement is cut out of the event. I love checking out each rider's equipment, I'm such a gear-geek! I have to say, I think Ian Millar's ride was just amazing to watch. His form is beautiful, even over those big fences and he's 61 years old! Now that's how I want to age!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Miss My Horse

This has been a tough weekend. My husband is away with his bike club at a bicycle race in Pennsylvania this weekend. I'm on full-time mom duty. While the kids are just loving the exclusive "mommy time", these have been two of the most gorgeous summer days so far and I have been feeling the "call of the saddle".

I have been dealing with a nasty head/chest cold that showed up on Tuesday with aches, fever and a sore throat and ended any riding I could have done last week to keep ahead of the weekend I knew I was going to miss. That, and the weather has been rough with wicked thunderstorms popping up in the afternoons and again in the evenings to kill my after work rides.

The kids lucked out, the stable where they take their lessons has an indoor arena so the thunderstorms didn't cut out their riding time! I am so NOT prepared for my Dressage lesson tomorrow night...

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Klimke Legacy

This is fun to watch. First is Reiner Klimke's Olympic ride, next is his daughter Ingrid's Olympic ride over 20 years later. She rides as beautifully as her father!
Reiner Klimke and Alerich - 1984 Olympics video
Ingrid Klimke and Abraxxas - 2008 Olympics video

Tribute to Dr. Reiner Klimke

I found this wonderful link about my dressage inspiration while surfing through Google. I agree with her every word about this incredible equestrian artist. I especially agree with her noting that Dr. Klimke didn't just ride his horses in the arena, he galloped in field and jumped them as well. I also feel a horse is a better athlete by expanding it's repertoire and riding "out of the box" so to speak. Enjoy!
The End of a Golden Era - A personal Tribute to Dr. Reiner Klimke by Sue Wingate

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Congratulations to Germany in Eventing!!

This is from AOL News:
German gold medal team pose with their medals for the equestrian eventing competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong

German gold medal team (L-R) Peter Thomson, Andreas Dibowski, Hinrich Romeike, Ingrid Klimke and Frank Ostholt pose with their medals for the equestrian eventing competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong August 13, 2008. REUTERS/Caren Firouz (CHINA)

No, I'm not anti-American. Being of German heritage, and being a long time respectful fan of Dr. Reiner Klimke's talent in dressage, I was thrilled to see his daughter continuing the legacy of excellence in equestrian sport!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Dressage Lessons

Been a long time since I last posted on my riding!

So far I've had 4 lessons with the dressage instructor whom I'll call Miss D. I really enjoy her coaching style. Her background meshes well with mine and with each lesson I have been improving my position and effectiveness of the aids and Monty has greatly lightened up on his front end and is giving more from impulsion behind.

From the first lesson, I explained that I knew I had gotten lazy and hadn't had a lesson in about 2 years. She caught me on one thing I was aware of without even clueing her in - I "talk" too much with my hands. I have a habit of getting nitpicky with my rein aids and I had a feeling it was obvious. It was, she called me on it from the beginning. We also were very "clunky" in the transitions. I just let him fall into them without keeping contact and asking him to work into the next gait.

She has made me conscious of my position and balance. Miss D said it's obvious my preferred riding style is huntseat, and I do pivot forward at the hip almost naturally when riding. From the hip down she likes my lower leg position very much. She has pushed me into sitting straighter and deeper. In so doing, I allow Monty more freedom up front by shifting the balance more centrally over his middle. The result of that is his front end lightens, and I don't have to "pick" with the rein aids, he holds his frame by himself.

Lesson 4 was last night and Miss D was impressed in the difference between the first lesson and yesterday's. Last night Monty carried himself in a light contact and nice frame for most of the lesson. The transitions still need work but the improvement over 4 lessons has been notable. Miss D feels that by October we will be able to do at least Training level tests 1 and 2 and should pull respectable scores.

I have also been back to the trails after our access through the big stable down the street was revoked by the owner due to the accident a few weeks ago that I posted about here.

We now have to stay on the road around a blind bend. We hand walk the horses from our barn along this part of the street, then mount up at the top of the hill where the street is much quieter. It's about a quarter mile walk. The ladies that trail ride at my barn have done the new route and assured me if they could do it, Monty and I should be fine. E.W. and I decided to give it a go last Saturday.

As I also posted, with the longer, hillier stretch of paved road to travel, I decided to have caulk holes added to Monty's front shoes and to buy small, removable road studs to give him a little extra "bite" on the pavement so we could minimize risk of slipping. It worked beautifully. He was very secure, the studs did just what I hoped they would and they stayed on through the trails which can get stoney in some places.

I found it kind of fun to use the studs again. I hadn't used them since my serious showing days years ago. My favorite new gadget is the Safety Spin T-Tap. I used to hate the old style metal ones shaped like a letter "T". I was very leery about what would happen if the horse pulled away from me before I had it unthreaded from the shoe holes. This one is a round rubber "hockey puck" that screws in quickly and out just as fast and if the horse did step on it should not cause damage like the other style. If you are using shoe studs and need a T-tap, this is the model of choice!

And to round it off, my twins are still taking their riding lessons and they look forward to Thursday afternoon each week. Part of the excitement is the riding, part is seeing if they get a different pony to ride from the ones they have already ridden!