Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Third Level (RE)Debut

Charisma and I made our (re)debut at Third Level at the Cooper Ranch Schooling show on May 2nd, 2009. We'd entered the recognized show at another farm the same weekend, but, that show was cancelled, so, I decided to make it a training weekend and get some deeper instruction with Charlotte Nielson. I am thrilled to death with our comeback. Charisma last showed Third level in November of 2007, while 6plus months pregnant. It was not our best effort. But, that's what you do when you only have one horse(and are apparently more stubborn than average)! Charisma has come a long way, and so have I. We earned a 61.794. Charisma was extremely obedient and focused, and apart from losing the canter(and collection) at one point, she proved to be very much ready for the demands. Here's a link to the video of that ride:
Charlotte helped us with our collected canter, flying changes, and keeping the impulsion in our trot half passes. The three days of schooling with her were incredibly helpful. I have my homework until next time.

Brenda Whitely and Bold Rhythm Rules(Ruby)

Ruby is a 2004 APHA/Thoroughbred cross mare. Her dam, Ebony, is Oldenburg approved, and produced the Western High Point Foal for American Warmblood Registry in 2007, bred to Pagannini. Ebony is a locally very well known jumper, excelling in sport prior to becoming a mother. Ruby's sire, Apache, is known for producing good minds and athletic horses. Ruby has lovely natural cadence and a super canter. She inherited her mother's jumping ability, too! She's just shy of 16 hands now, and still growing. Brenda brought her to me last summer to begin her basic training. She'd already been well backed, trail ridden, and had been taken to several natural horsemanship clinics for ground work. So, Ruby was primed for beginning her dressage career. We had a great time together last summer, and I really missed her when she went home. She is a pleasure to handle and work with, and very fun to ride. But, Brenda lives close by, and we continued to work together regularly, Brenda taking as many lessons as time allowed through the winter. Brenda and I showed Ruby last fall at two Color Country Equestrian Club Dressage schooling shows, getting her much needed show experience. Ruby did great! Normal youthful exuberance aside, she learned her job and quickly got the hang of things, earning very solid scores well into the low 60s at Training level tests 1 & 2. Brenda took Ruby to the Cooper Ranch Schooling Show in Las Vegas on May 2nd, 2009, and showed her in Training Level Tests 3 & 4. I'm proud of these two. Ruby is a worker bee, and Brenda is a super rider. These two have a very bright future ahead of them. They earned a respectable 57plus on their first ride, Training test 3, and a 63.2 on Training Level test 4. Look out world! Here's a link to video of this ride: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01e-R9jmY4g


Dancer is a 9 year old black gelding owned by Suzanna Hanson, of Draper, UT. We are not entirely sure of his breeding, but, by the looks of his mane & tail, and eyes, and general way of going and conformation, we feel strongly he is half Friesian, half Thoroughbred. Suzanna has owned him for over a year, but has spent most of this time rehabbing him from a diagnosis of Navicular Syndrome, as well as, a broken jaw. Prior to Suzanna's ownership, as far as we know, he was mostly a backyard pet, with little regular riding, much less training. Suzanna decided, upon getting Dancer well, that she'd like to pursue Dressage with him. She chose me to send him to for the winter, to get her out of the snow several weekends a month. So, on January 30th, she dropped him off in St. George at Lava Bluffs, having never met me in person, and we had our first lesson with him on February 1st. From there, I determined that due to the physical challenges Dancer had faced, he was greatly imbalanced in his musculature, one side being far less developed than the other, and he also had a head tilt. He had difficulty taking the canter as well, due to the lack of muscling. I warned Suzanna this may only go so well, but I did not yet realize how truly eager to please this horse was. He did not know much, and had a few harmless tricks up his sleeve that had possibly worked in the past to convince a rider he was not going to do something. But, overall, he is kind, willing, has a very attractive way of going, lovely articulation of both front & hind leg, beautiful head & features, and the coveted jet black coloring. With patient, slow, careful work, I spent the first thirty days just getting Dancer used to a routine, developing his work ethic, and building muscle. For the remaining two months of work, I introduced higher & higher expectations in his transitions between gaits, his committment to the bridle, and the strength of his topline. By the end of the second month, I was able to sit on his back more and more in the trot, as he developed the necessary strength to carry me. By the beginning of the third month, it was apparent I had a real over-achiever on my hands, and Suzanna felt it would be wise to finish the training I'd started with a schooling show, so we made plans to enter him in the Cooper Ranch Schooling Show held May 2, 2009. By the time the schooling show came around, I'd had time to introduce Dancer to changes of lead through trot, leg yield, and lengthening of stride in trot and canter. He will need to continue on this path of strength building with Suzanna, as she takes him home and begins to work with Jan Lawrence of Millbrook Farms regularly. Dancer had a very respectable debut, at his very first show. We earned a 61.579 on Training Level test 1, and a 55.7 on Training Level test 2. A few minor disobediences that harkened to our first 30 days popped up under the pressure of a show situation at only 90 days of training, but, those will go away with continued good work. The important thing is, he has a fabulous temperament for a show horse, and Suzanna will have the pleasure of going to shows with him and not having to worry about a horse that is fearful, spooky, or high strung. She can focus on the movements and learn the discipline, on a really good guy. We all need a really good guy in our lives! Here is a link to video I've posted on Youtube of one of the rides.