September 6, 2013


It's been a rather robust four weeks since my last post. Needless to say, I feel as though I've spent a lot of time driving- and of course riding- but a lot of driving. My student Linda Wheeling and I took Hootie and Audi to the WPDA Summer Sizzler the second weekend of August. Linda already qualified for regional's with Hootie at her two previous competitions (whoop, whoop!) so the goal for this show was to get into the ring and practice. Linda and Hootie looked so much stronger since their last outing just a few weeks prior. They earned three second place ribbons with solid scores in the mid-60's, along with some very positive and encouraging comments from the judges. I rode Audi in two Second Level Test 3 classes, one each day. Going into the show I wasn't feeling very confident about the canter work, but I thought I would approach the weekend with an open mind and go into the ring to experiment with the new feeling I was working on developing. My warmup was probably the most exciting part of the weekend for me because I was able to get through all the clutter and achieve a fantastic reaction from my leg. Audi felt so 'on' going into the test on Saturday and stayed with me throughout the test, continuing to allow me to ride him and make improvements. Sunday's test was similar, although I thought it lacked some suppleness and had a bit of tightness in the neck. We tied for first on Saturday with a 67.5% and won our class on Sunday with a 67.9%, and went home with the high point ribbon for Second Level.

(Veronica Rogucki of VR Photography)

(Veronica Rogucki of VR Photography)

Two weeks later, Linda and I took the boys back to Ohio for lessons with George Williams. We both went into our lessons with some goals- for Linda it was tempo work and canter departs with Hootie, and for me it was the development of more suppleness in my left lead canter work with Audi. George is such a nice person and so down to earth. The two lessons were very constructive and inspiring. It was especially fun for me to watch George ride Audi before I got on. He rides with so much feel and tact, I had a hard time not asking him a million questions as I watched him ride! I loved being able to get on Audi and feel a horse that was totally there and ready to go. It reminds me of the days when I was a working student and I would get on horses to gain a new feeling for something that I was trying to learn- you learn (and feel) a lot when you get on a horse that's been warmed up by a really top notch trainer. Linda and I are looking forward to a return visit later this month!

Then a little over a week later, I took Audi and Bunny to Riveredge for lessons with Scott Hassler. This was Bunny's maiden voyage from home since I broke him this spring. When I got him in March he had nearly no trailering experience and it was also something he wasn't very confident about, so I've been taking my time trying to work through this weakness. I was a bit nervous about the trip, hoping it would go smoothly and thankfully it did. Bunny and Audi traveled to Maryland quietly and when we arrived, Bunny walked off the trailer like a champ...that's when I took a deep sigh of relief and started to relax!

Rowdy Audi and the Bunster

I was really excited to be able to ride with Scott, and was eager to hear what Scott thought about Bunny. The four lessons I had over the two days were awesome! Scott was able to help me build on the success I was having in the canter work, making me think different about how I rode Audi's right shoulder and neck in the left lead. He encouraged me to be more playful and to think of it less as a unit...boom, what a difference! My lessons with Bunny were so much fun. Bunny was all business in the two sessions, never losing focus on what I was asking of him despite the new environment. Scott gave me guidance about how to ride Bunny's left side and develop a better feeling towards a steadier outside rein. He thought Bunny's temperament and natural balance were his strong qualities, and encouraged me to carry on with my training. Here is some footage from the two days:

Audi Day 1 and Day 2

Bunny Day 1

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