The first weekend of November, I participated in the William Woods University Completely Relaxed Dressage Schooling show with two horses. Topaz trailered in for two days of tests in the Intro series, and I also had the privilege of piloting Max in his first dressage show at 1st level. Max is owned by good friend and client, Jojo Kyger, who boards her two fabulous mounts at K&L where I manage and train out of. Max is very familiar with the big leagues in the jumpers and is temporarily changing tack to gain strength behind and suppleness over the topline.
Both horses were absolutely amazing… I am so proud of Topaz for again showing us how down-to-earth she really is. A seamless warm up sent us into two great tests Saturday and two even better tests on Sunday. The judge had some very complimentary things to say about her, and gave us great tips to improve on. The first day, Intro A and B yielded a 65%, and the second day, Intro B and C were a 66% and a 68% respectively, tying us for the high point of our division. She is really starting to understand my aids quicker and relax over her back, making it easier to set her up in the transitions and figures. Leah and Myles were the best team and the most supportive parents of “baby horse”, who’s not so baby anymore!
Max participated on Saturday, giving me all the same work in the warm up that he’d given at home, which was delightful. My disadvantage was changing rings between the warm up and the show ring, which had him quite curious as to where the jumps were. By the second test, the tension had subsided drastically and he really locked in on his job. I was stoked with a 63% and a 68% for 1st level test 1 and 2! I know that with strength in his hind end, the lengthenings and lateral work will only become easier. I was beyond the moon with excitement for his polite behavior and adaptation to the scene, as it was his first show to ever attend and not take a fence!
I also have to give mad kudos for my amazing groom Jen, who really helped keep all the stray ends together and get us to the ring relaxed and looking fabulous J
Both horses took a few days off to rest before gearing back up for another weekend at The Woods to participate in a clinic with Pierre St. Jacques for the Equestrian Academic Showcase. While the list of his accomplishments is longer than this blog post, Pierre was a member of the Gold medal winning team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games with Lucky Tiger. It was a huge privilege to ride under world class instruction!
Max’ lesson went very well as Pierre focused on establishing an even connection in the bridle. It was a challenging lesson as I was not used to riding so boldly forward. I learned a LOT from the exercises and figures Pierre put us through, and Max benefitted from it immensely, with some moments of serious improvement! I had also been quite structured in my schooling with Max, but found the benefit in breaking it down to the nitty gritty and using my aids to get the results instead of relying on the figure or exercise. We came away with LOTS of homework that will keep us busy this winter.
I had a blast in Topaz’ lesson on Sunday. Pierre really unloaded a new system for establishing the connection with a young horse, and it worked beautifully. I have been hesitant to lock into one particular “school of thought” or another in regards to a system of training, and instead try and focus on what works best to talk to each horse individually. Hitting the “nail on the head”, so to speak, by the end of the ride Topaz was exploring steps of leg yield, had suppleness in the topline, and was gaining consistency in a solid connection.
Thank you to Karen and WWU for hosting the clinic, Pierre for such great lessons, and Leah and Jojo for the opportunity!
In the insanity between loaded weekends, I had a very exciting delivery late Friday night. No exaggeration, at 11:11pm on 11/11/11, Atticus W came off the trailer at K&L having made the trip from Watchman PRE horses in Modesto, California. A 2009 Iberian gelding, “Finch” is an Andalusian/Trakehner cross sired by Kamiakin. Kamiakin’s season has yielded great success with rider Mija Paris, who were named Champion in the IALHA USDF All Breeds Year End awards at Training level in the Open division with a median score of 73.036%! He is going to make a fantastic show horse for someone with dreams of a partner with fantastic gaits and a great mind.
As an affiliate with Watchman PRE horses, K&L will host Atticus for training and sales. This winter I will focus on his ground work and he’ll be backed in the spring. If you are looking for your next partner in crime, look no further and don’t hesitate. Price will reflect his level of training.
Check back soon to see more pictures, video, and progress!