Changes

4 04 2011

I know it’s been almost a month since my last post but it feels like Twin happened years ago. A lot, and I mean A LOT, has happened in the last month and I’m pretty lost on where to even begin. I guess I’ll start with some good news… I got a job working at a retail store called Wet Seal a few weeks ago and I’m pretty stoked to be working there. The company has been around for a long time but this store was just opening in my local mall. It was a cool experience to watch and help the store go from literally an empty room to a crazy, bright clothing store. We opened last Thursday and our grand opening is this Saturday.

The day of my first scheduled training at a different Wet Seal was March 18 or 19 and I was sitting in first period totally excited to go to work after school and the barn. Everything changed though when I got a text from my mom saying “There was a landslide at the barn Lynn (the owner of the barn) is freaking out you need to go help”. I jumped out of my seat and just walked out of class without a word and immediately rushed to the barn. While driving, I called my trainer to see what was going on. She wasn’t there yet but told me the hill in front of Brodie’s pasture was coming down and that we had to get the horses out. I’m glad my car is such a trooper because I definitely drifted some turns on the way out there after hearing that!
When I got to the barn, there were a bunch or firemen and search and rescue guys all standing around. I parked my car on the property across a small ravine from my barn and was shocked to get out and see that, yes, the hill was definitely coming down. The nearest fireman near me warned me that I couldn’t go onto the property but that was my pony in there and I wasn’t just going to stand around. I crawled under a few fences and scaled the 4′ ravine (which had bones in the sides of it *barf*) and power walked over to the barn owner and my trainer. ย They had already gotten all of the horses out of the pastures where the land was going but we still had to move other horses around the get them out of the danger zone. Did I mention that a new group with 10 stallions had just moved in and weren’t even there yet? A game plan was set up and we knew where the horses were all going to go and were told that the barn Brodie, and all of Laurie’s client’s horses were in was in the safe zone. After moving horses around (and walking a VERY naughty pony who belong to some couple) Laurie and I started to breath a little bit. Two of Laurie’s clients showed up while we were there to help us out and I’m happy they showed up when they did.
As soon as we all started to switch our brains back into normal mode, the firemen told us we had 30 minutes to get all of out horses out as the mountain was starting to come towards Laurie’s barn. Immediately, Laurie and I made a chart or all of our horses and decided where they were going to go. A barn (Spirit Equestrian Center) 2 driveways down from us was nice enough to let us move all of our horses onto their property. An hour later, 63 horses had been moved off of the property and placed wherever they could be and the hill had moved between 15 & 20 feet. 50 of the horses came over to Spirit including all 18 of Laurie’s horses.
It was a crazy, hectic day full of running around and walking hot, spooky horses. Hours flew by and I realized that I still had to go to work for the first time! Luckily most of the work was done and I was able to leave. It must have been the adrenaline that kept me going but as soon as I started driving, I realized how tired I was. Work sucked that night and of course it was a Friday so the store was super busy but I was glad that my shift was only a 3 hour one.

So Brodie and all of Laurie’s training horses stayed at Spirit for two weeks (which is one of the most gorgeous facilities on Southern California) while we looked at ย new barns that could house all of our horses, was in generally everyone’s price range, had enough arena space for eventers and wasn’t extremely far for everyone to drive. We found Classic Equestrian Center in Moorpark and moved in 5 days later. It has nice barns, 3 dressage arenas, a nice jump arena with an irish bank and hill, a general discipline arena for the western riders and a nice long trail for conditioning.

In the 2 weeks that we were at Spirit, it rained a lot so we didn’t get to ride any of the horses that much, we would just get on them and walk around the property. Everyone agreed that we would take the month of April off of showing so that everyone could just settle back into training. I got to jump Brodie on Saturday for the first time since cross country at Twin and he was fabulous. The jumps were little but we were both having fun. I got tot jump him in a loose ring fat baby snaffle and he was so soft in the face and never once thought of taking advantage of me which is great since when I bought him three years ago, he’d take off with you in anything but a pelhem. My goal is to be able to do all three phases in the loose ring and so far he’s showing his appreciation for the new bit.

My plan is to do Galway in May but we’ll just see what happens. Until next time ๐Ÿ™‚

xoxo
Ashley & Brodie

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Twin Stadium/XC & Storm

10 03 2011

So if you were wondering why my last post was a bit short…I had a 3rd grader reading over my shoulder the whole time I was writing it ๐Ÿ™‚

So if you haven’t seen Startbox Scoring or if you live under a rock, Brodie and I had a great, clean stadium round! There was a tricky one stride (vertical to vertical) that had been coming down pretty much all day that I was a little nervous about (verticals are my biggest weakness) but I knew that we could keep the rails up if I stayed present throughout the entire course.
Stadium warm up is pretty much on the xc course and Brodie definitely noticed that there were horse out on the course having tons of fun. I had to work on keeping his attention on me for the first 10 minutes but after that he was really listening to my aids and was becoming pretty relaxed. All of our warm up fences were good and I went into the arena ready to rock it. We jumped every fence out of great form and I stayed present for the whole course. After we landed off of the last fence I couldn’t help but let out a pretty loud “GOOD BOY!” followed by lots of pats and smiles.
We were 6th after stadium because the girl I was tied in 7th with withdrew due to some soundness problems she was having with her horse.

Sunday was xc day and I was super excited about getting out on course. He started warming up well but as soon as I asked for a canter to the right, he threw his head straight up into the air and put on the brakes. I thought maybe I had just asked a little too aggressively and asked again. Nope, same thing. Confused and worried, I walked him over to Laurie and told her that there was something wrong with him and she checked over all of our tack. After finding nothing wrong with my equipment, she peeked inside of his mouth and discovered a small rub on the corner of his mouth. I hadn’t pulled on him in stadium and in the 2 or 3 years he’s been wearing that bit, he’s never gotten a rub from it so I was then even more confused. And then the confusion turned into nerves as it was the left side of his mouth that had the rub and he can have a pretty bad left bulge. I only had about 7 minutes to figure out how I was going to ride him with minimal left rein but he was being a perfect angel for those 7 minutes and my nerves were starting to disappear.
Right out of the startbox I knew it was going to be a great course. He was forward and brave over every fence..there wasn’t a single question that left me feeling like I should’ve ridden it differently. Okay I lied, I could’ve improved fence #4 (hanging log on top of a pretty steep hill). I gave him too much leg and had him too powered up so we got a little under it but he jumped it like it was nothing. The speed was a faster speed than we have ever done (450 mpm) and with his rub, I didn’t want to reach that speed and then have to pull on his mouth to get him to slow down for a fence. This cost us 4.4 time penalties or 11 seconds over optimum time (5:20) but we stayed in 6th and finished the weekend in a great place.

I was extremely happy with how he was in every phase and I really feel like we’re ready for Training level. Our next event is *hopefully* Ram Tap in April and it should be a pretty great show.

So that covers the Twin stadium/xc portion of this blog post…let’s get to the Storm part!

So, I own this little palomino QH named Storm. He’s 7 years old, 14.3 hands and a total clown. My family has owned him since he was 1 day old and until just recently, he was my mom’s Western Pleasure & Trail horse. He was a little bit of a handful for my mom but he was still a good boy and I rode him every now and then. Then my mom switched to Reined Cow Horsesย http://www.nrcha.com/ and bought a cow horse named Mandy. Storm was then moved to my barn since my mom doesn’t have time to work for her trainer and ride 2 horses & I planned on starting him over fences and turning him into an event horse to sell. So far, I’ve had 2 or 3 dressage rides and 3 jump schools with him and let me say this, he’s AMAZING. I’ve always liked riding him but he’s a great little jumper. He’s so willing and has great form. Our second time jumping, we did a pretty scary black plastic tube and he jumped it on the first try! Today was his third time jumping and his first time under saddle in almost two weeks due to a cut on a hind leg. We jumped on our galloping track over some brush boxes and he started out wanting to really buck and go but once he saw that he had a job, he became focused and quiet! I was so thrilled with him that I immediately called my mom to let her know how great he was!
My barn is going to Shepherd Ranch for a xc school and I signed Storm up for his first xc outing ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m super excited to see how he is even though I have a feeling that he’ll be a perfect little angel.

If you know anyone looking for an event prospect that’s sound, pretty and FUN for $3,500, e-mail me astone2526@yahoo.com





Twin Day 1

5 03 2011

So today was Dressage day at Twin Rivers and it went pretty well. Our ride time was 8:42 which was a little bit of a bummer but I guess it’s better than riding at 2… Our warm-up was SO good and I went into the ring with a really positive attitude and I thought our test was soooo good but unfortunately the judge didn’t think it was that great. If I had to guess, I would’ve thought the test was a solid 27ish but the judge gave me a 37.3 which put me tied for 7th out of 19. I couldn’t be too upset because this is only my second *real* training and it was still a solid test but a 37?! COME ON! Ugh..

So I walked my cross country course with the awesome Whitney (my friend’s trainer’s girlfriend) just to waste some time and I really like how it looks. Honestly, I was a little anxious about the cross country because I’ve heard how difficult it can be there but there’s nothing on the course that I feel like we can’t do. Tomorrow is stadium and I haven’t walked the course yet but I’m pretty excited to see how it goes since his jumping has gotten so great.

Kenzie, Daniel and I

Brodie grazing after Dressage

Wish us luck tomorrow and keep your eyes open for a stadium update ๐Ÿ™‚

xoxo
Ashley & Brodie





Ideas

19 02 2011

Hey everyone! Last Sunday, my barn and I went to Twin Rivers for a cross country schooling to get ready for our upcoming show March 4-6. The weather was perfect and the horses were all extremely happy to be out for a jump school. I had only been to Twin Rivers once but I didn’t have a horse with me so I was especially excited to see the course. We rode with Andrea Baxter since she knows the courses and could tell us exactly how to ride each fence. We rode for about 3 hours and I personally walked away feeling like I learned something from the school. My mom video taped the whole day and I put together a video for everyone to see.

The weather has been less than friendly the last few days in California so the horses all get to have a slight break. I brought Brodie into the barn from the pasture so that he won’t get hurt in the mud and he’s enjoying having a stall all to himself. Today I rode him on a dirt road that we have since all of our arenas resemble swimming pools and he felt great. I was a little worried that he’d be a bit stiff from standing in a stall but he was loose and limber from the get go. When I cooled him out, I ponied Sybil (Brodie’s girlfriend and my “kind of” Thoroughbred) and they were absolutely fabulous. Even though Sybil is 21, she still has way more energy than Brodie and sometimes they tend to feed off of their energy which can lead to “racing” while I’m trying to stay on. Life’s always a rodeo with those two.

So, the inquiring mind that I have is always looking up different things used in eventing and I’m always learning about new pieces of tack and equipment. Every time someone at my barn needs a new piece of equipment, they always consult with me on different brands and styles before they buy whatever they’re looking for.
Since I also love to write I’ve decided to do a sort of “Tack Of The Week” type of thing. Each week I’ll list something new with a description as well as the price and pros and cons. I’ll only do things that I have held in my own hands and been able to make my own opinion about. If there’s an item that I haven’t seen, I’ll gladly try to get my hands on it or call a friend who owns a tack store if there are any requests. Here’s this weeks:

TACK OF THE WEEK

Nunn Finer Thermoplastic Open Front Boot

Price: ~$58.95
Brand: Nunn Finer
I first saw this boot at an event last August and was sold instantly. Generally, if I’m going to dress my horse for a stadium round, I prefer leather boots as they look more natural and give the classic look but these boots are eye catching. They have magnet inserts on both sides to help with circulation as well as a leather strike pad on the back to offer more protection. The interior is a gel covered by neoprene which makes the inside really squishy instead of stiff like some boots. The velcro is extremely high quality and the elastic straps seem very durable.
Pros: Sturdy velcro & elastic straps. Magnet inserts to promote circulation & soundness. Leather tendon strike guard. Squishy interior. Comes in black or brown.
Cons: None
Where To Buy: bitofbritain.com or nunnfiner.com. Sonoma Saddlery also carries them if you live in Area VI.





Twilight?

12 02 2011

Zomg, a post by Ashley? No! YES! Yeah yeah yeah, it’s a week late but at least I’m writing it. Instead of writing long, boring posts about each day, I’m just going to do a recap on the different phases.

Stadium practice rounds:
some of the best jump rounds of. my. life. He was so perfect, I can barely even describe it. I stayed present between the fences and didn’t push at any of the verticals and he stated balanced and adjustable between the fences which was really all I wanted. It didn’t hurt that not only did Hawley Bennett and Tamra Smith tell me I had gorgeous rounds, a few other BNT (big named trainers) did as well. I was really hoping that we could have a round half as good the next day.

Dressage:
Laurie and I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to lunge with side reins before warming up since he can be a little bracey sometimes with the commotion of shows. However, I didn’t lunge him for long enough and then I could have used an extra 15 minutes in warm up but he wasn’t being horrible, he just wasn’t where I liked him to be before a test. The arena that we had to do our test in was enclosed which made Brodie instantly tense as soon as we set foot inside of it. I knew I only a few minutes to get him relaxed before our judge rang the bell and I tried my best to get him a little more calm but the judge blew the whistle before I could even get Brodie’s attention. It wasn’t the worst test in the world but it wasn’t our best either and we received a score of 35 putting us in 6th out of 14.

Stadium:
Stadium and dressage were on the same day so I wasn’t worried about having to have a long warm up to get him to the point where I wanted him. He didn’t put a foot wrong in the warm up and I went into the arena feeling cool and confident. Our round was just as perfect, if not better, than the ones from the day before. We had one rail but I wasn’t bothered by it at all since out of 14 people in my division, only 2 went clean and we stayed in 6th.

Cross Country:
After walking the course with Laurie and my mom on Saturday, I was really excited to ride it. Everything had a different question but I was particularly anxious about fences 4AB. It was a log, 4 strides, to a down bank that looked pretty big. It was definitely the biggest down bank that Brodie and I had been asked to jump which is why I was a little nervous about it since Brodie likes to be careful and take a second look. I walked the course a second time by myself and then a third time with my friend, Sadie. After walking it with Sadie and discussing each fence with her, I was feeling a little more comfortable about the down bank line.
Our warm up was fantastic and I was feeling more excited than nervous walking down to the start box. For the first time ever, Brodie was actually awake in the box and didn’t fall asleep like he normally does. He was actually prancing and pulling on the reins to start. As soon as the timer said go, Brodie shot out of the box towards our first fence and I actually had to give a big half halt and a loud whoa to get his attention back on me. Every fence felt like that but in a good way which was a nice feeling. He was perfect in the 4AB line which was a breath of relief for me. He also drug me to the Trakehner and jumped it perfectly. Coming through the finish flags, all I could say was good boy with a hug smile on my face. The volunteers at the start/finish flags named him Super Pony so coming across the finish line, I heard “yay Super Pony!!” We moved up to 4th which was amazing for our first real Training & I couldn’t have been more pleased.

I really feel like I achieved all of my goals that I had for Galway. I know I wanted a clean round in stadium but it was the best round I’ve ever had & I was thrilled with it. Our next event is Twin Rivers in March and I’m really excited for it. I know I can lower our dressage score and I feel confident in our jumping so I know we have what it takes to have a great show. We’re schooling there on Sunday which will kind of tell me how our cross country will go or at least give me an idea on how I’m going to need to ride him. My mom will most likely video tape so hopefully I’ll have a new video up soon. OH! and as for the title of this post, yes, I’m watching Twilight right now. Bella and Edward just had their first “moment” ahh. Just kidding, I’m not that big of a Twilight fan, it’s just on HBO and there’s nothing better to watch :p

Thanks for reading!

xoxo
Ashley & Brodie

 





February 3, 2011

4 02 2011

February already? While I do want winter to be over, I wish time would slow down a little bit. Every time I start to feel like I have all of my ducks in a row, something comes along and messes everything up. I would just like a few minutes to be able to pick myself up and get my bearings but life isn’t kind that way.
Since it’s the beginning of February and January is over, this is my February goal post. I’ll also be including some goals for Galway this weekend also ๐Ÿ™‚

My January 2011 goals were:
– Get a jump saddle
– Get new xc boots
– Help LuLu & Jordyn find a horse
Fortunately, I did reach one of my goals. For my 18th birthday, my mom got me a CWD monoflap jump saddle that I’m gaga over. I didn’t get new boots which isn’t that big of a deal and the third “goal” was just kind of out there. Both girls have trainers looking for horses, I was just keeping my eyes open.

My February 2011 goals are:
– find a job
– go clean in stadium at Galway
– go clean in cross country at Galway
– have a decent dressage test at Galway
– NOT GET A SPEEDING TICKET
– maintain my grades in school
– work on getting better balance in stadium
Pretty straight forward & nothing I feel like I should go into detail on.

I am super excited for Galway this weekend. My mom and I are leaving around 7am tomorrow morning which will hopefully get us there by 10. I’m doing a stadium schooling round since we’ve only jumped on grass once and I’m hoping to maybe get a dressage school in as well. I also have to give Brodie a bath and braid him AND I’m hoping to watch Jordan and Kelly do their dressage tests. It’s going to be a busy busy day tomorrow! Oh AND I have an art project that I have to do some time this weekend. Yay for school :/

Thanks for reading!

xoxo Ashley & Brodie





February 2, 2011

3 02 2011

I know I know, this is super duper late…please don’t kill me! :O So here’s my clinic blog!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Saturday:
After all of the drama that happened on Friday (see below blog post), I was really looking forward to a great xc ride with Hawley Bennett. So I got to the barn early to check on Brodie and so I could watch some girls from my barn that were doing a prelim group with Erin Kellerhouse. They all tacked up and went down to the stadium warm up ring (across from the grass arena) to start their rides. Everyone seemed to be warming up well and the fences were all relatively low, between novice and training height. One of the outside lines was a 5 fence line with 1 stride in between each fence. When the girls first went down the line, the fences were just ground poles so that the horses could find their feet. Once everyone was comfortable with the distances (slightly forward), the jumps were put up to around 2’3. Easy right especially from prelim horses? Nope. If a horse chipped into the first fence, their whole line was ridden backwards but if they jumped in too forward, they’d be burried by the 3rd fence. After watching the girls go through the line 100 times, I had to leave to go get ready for my own clinic.
I tacked Brodie up in his xc gear, put on my point two and headed out to meet with Hawley’s group. While I was riding by the arena that my friends were in, I noticed that my trainer was holding one of the horses from my barn, George, and his rider, Kelly K, was no where to be found. I asked one of the moms in the group what happened and George had chipped into the first fence in the gymnastic, throwing Kelly onto his neck. Instead of stopping, he continued to jump through the line which caused Kelly to fall off of his neck and hit the dirt. Of course, when you ask 3 different people what happened, you get 3 different answers. From what I gathered, Kelly landed on her feet but pulled her groin. ย I didn’t have a lot of time to find out more details since I had to ride with my group at 10, so I left the stadium ring to go find Hawley. When I got to the xc warm up, there was only one other rider there and when I asked who they were riding with they said Debbie Rosen. It was only 9:45 though so I thought maybe some other riders would show up. 9:50…9:55…10:05…10:10 annnd no one was there for Hawley. I was a bit confused so I went to find Robert Kellerhouse to see what was going on. Apparently, Hawley’s Training group had been rescheduled and I had missed it…UGH >:/ There had been some mix up with my entry before the clinic and I had been put into a prelim group. I emailed Robert and asked to be moved to the Training group and he said just to show up for the Training group. Okay, but my name was still in the Prelim group so when the Training group got rescheduled, I hadn’t been notified because I wasn’t officially in the Training group. I was totally bummed! I had had the most shitty day on Friday and I REALLY wanted to ride with Hawley! I thought I wasn’t going to get to ride with anyone that day. I asked Robert what time Tamie Smith’s Training group was going and he said 12. Yes! I could still ride with someone that I really liked that knew Brodie! So I went back to Brodie’s stall and untacked him and let him chill for a little and then tacked him back up and headed out to meet with Tamie.
There were two other people on the group, both on green horses, so we warmed up over some smaller fences. Brodie was a little snarky at first because he HATES small fences. I’d rather ride up to an Intermediate table than a cross rail sometimes.. Even though he was kind of being a brat, we decided to just go out the the xc course. Here’s where everything gets fun ๐Ÿ˜€
We started with the first Novice log on the course, circling around to the Training log. Right away he felt pumped and in front of my leg, jumping huge over both logs. We galloped to the second fence on the training course (hanging log with hay bales under it) and he got behind my leg about 4 strides out and then chipped to the base. Definitely not the type of jump you want out there! Tamie said that when he does that to just reach behind my leg and “crack him in half”. Of course, not in an abusive way. So I rode up to the fence again, he slipped behind my leg, we jumped, and he got smacked. Right away he knew what I was telling him to do as he took off like a bullet as soon as the bat made contact. After bringing him back to a regular pace, we approached the third fence on the training course, a nice sized log with brush coming out of the bottom with a significant drop landing. Brodie has jumped this fence a thousand times and he knew how to get airborne with it. We got to the perfect distance and he jumped, and I don’t mean he barely put enough effort into clearing it. I mean, if it wasn’t for my new monoflap that’s like a seat belt, I probably would have fallen off. He jumped HUGE and since it has a drop landing, I had to try to get into a down bank position.
I’m not going to give a huge story on every ย fence we jumped since that will take FOREVER and I still want to write about my ride on Sunday too. We pretty much jumped the entire Training course save the coffin, quite a few Prelim fences and a few Intermediate water jumps. We worked on keeping Brodie on a short but quick, adjustable stride and jumping from a balanced canter. I was really thrilled with how our ride went and my confidence was booming. I’m pretty sure Brodie’s was too since he had quite the strut walking back to the barns.

Sunday:
This was the day I was going to finally ride with Hawley! My mom drove down to watch and take a few videos ๐Ÿ™‚ The group was a bit bigger than the one with Tamie and all of the riders seemed nice and the horses fresh. It was a hurricane in the morning before our ride but luckily it died down before we had to ride. It seemed that some horses were still a little silly because of the wind though. We warmed up a bit in the xc warm up area and the moved to the xc course. We jumped a lot of the same fences but we also did a line that was on the half star course in November. It was a roll top 2 strides down bank 6 strides with a mound to a boathouse thing. While I was riding up to the roll top, I was a little nervous because Brodie can be a little weird about down banks, he likes to pause look then jump, but I just kept my leg on and he went through picture perfect! We also did the coffin which rode great! I’m really happy that he’s pretty much gotten over his bank/ditch/water worries. We even had to be a lead for a few horses with the water ๐Ÿ˜€ That was a proud mom moment! Last year, he was the horse that had to be led in by the seasoned horse.
Hawley also had me keep Brodie on a short, quick stride that kept him in front of my leg. It seems to really work for us so I’m hoping that we can get that at every show.

Kelly is doing better but she won’t be at the show since she still can’t ride. The other two girls, Kelly C & Jordan, are both entered in Prelim Rider and I’m entered in Junior Training ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m really looking forward to this show even though I do ride extremely early both days. I’ll be posting entries on here on how everything is going but don’t hurt me *cough*Brigit*cough* if my Sunday entry isn’t posted on Sunday. ย BUUUUT I won’t wait this long to post it. I’ll probably do it at school or something ๐Ÿ˜€

Enjoy some videos from the weekend:


Training Half Star coops


Novice log to Prelim skinny


Training rails to skinny. Roll top down bank to boathouse


Little course that Hawley had us do


Coffin. Hawley had us trot the ditch twice then trot the ditch and canter the out. Then we did the whole coffin.


Super fun water course that we did ๐Ÿ™‚