2016 has been a busy year thus far! I have continued to develop the young Moresian gelding, Saezzar. I started him the middle of August last year, and he has made steady progress. His mind is so incredible, and he has the talent for dressage. He seems to really love his job. In June, he went on his first outing, to Millbrook Farms in Fairfield. He learned how to go away from home and still do his job, an important step in the education of a show horse. In July, he competed at his first show, again at Millbrook Farms. I just love this facility for baby horses and new riders. The stabling is very secure and safe, the footing is excellent, the warmup arena is huge so you can keep a nervous Nelly in a corner away from other horses, and of course the organization and management are extremely welcoming. Saezzar did great at his first show. On Saturday, he got a little too excited and inattentive, picking up the wrong lead for the right canter-something he had actually NEVER once done under saddle-and our score was only a 63.409%. Not bad at all, but, he has the quality to do a lot better than that. Sunday was much better. In spite of being tired, and suddenly noticing the arena sign that had been there all along, resulting in a spook just as we trotted up centerline to start, he stayed much more focused and we earned a 71.136% on Training level Test 3. I was thrilled with him and his conduct at his very first show. Saezzar will also go to the August Millbrook Farms show, and, the Utah Dressage Society shows the following weekend.
Saezzar's owner, Persis, needed to get in the saddle herself so she could learn along with her youngster. In December, we traveled to Albuquerque, NM, to look at an older schoolmaster, a Friesian gelding. As soon as they pulled the blanket off of him and he turned to look at me, I felt that same arrow through my heart that I felt that July day in 1998 as I walked into a barn in Klammath Falls, Oregon, and Charisma put her head out of the stall and looked at me. I had to work hard to remain professional, but I had already researched the horse's credentials pretty carefully, and only needed to sit on him for a few minutes to confirm what I felt I already knew. Even at coming 18, he passed his vetting with flying colors, in spite of being extremely underweight, under muscled, and in very poor condition. The vet gave Persis a very specific nutritional program, and Chase arrived in St. George in the dark in late December, calmly walked off the trailer and into his stall, and stole all of our hearts immediately. Luckily Persis has a fleet of daughters to spoil him in his future retirement but for now "Chase" has carried Persis to her very first dressage show with very nice scores and even a first place. They showed at the July Millbrook Farms show, and will be showing in August as well, along with Saezzar.
It was really special to have six of Persis' seven children, as well as her husband and nephew, there to watch both her and I. What a support crew-I don't know about Persis but their love and support made me feel invincible!!
Diane and Legolas have been working hard with me since last fall, with the goal ultimately being First level. Legolas previously had a career on the AQHA circuit, and has had to learn a new discipline along with Diane. They are a very elegant pair and make progress each day. They also entered their first dressage show at the Millbrook Farms July show. Linda taught Diane how to make dressage braids, and it made gave me such a fulfilling feeling to see the two of them, heads together, getting those braids perfect. I have to say, Diane's turnout was spectacular! It was such a joy to see Diane's father come and watch her, and I had to hide my emotions when I heard him say to her "It's just like when you were a little girl." . Diane's husband and one of her sons(she has eight beautiful children!) were so proud to watch her, and Legolas behaved very well on show day. I am really proud of this pair and their progress.
Linda and Cazador continue to make progress. Caz was very green when Linda bought him just over a year ago but they have really gelled as a team. They showed at the July Millbrook show as well, at First level, and they earned a qualifying score for Regional Championships!! This thrilled me to no end. Linda is very excited to begin work on their First level Freestyle, a long time goal of hers. I have high hopes for this pair's future in the sport. I can easily see Linda earning her Bronze medal and Freestyle bar in the very near future.
April saw the departure of Ashley Adams and her darling family. Her husband Chris received an Army assignment that took them to Monterey(rough life!). I miss all of them terribly. Ashley purchased the grade gelding Silver Lining in February from Kerri Coufal, head groom to Alison Brock. "Charlie" schools Third level and is a super find for Ashley and her daughters. Charlie and Ashley participated in several shows at Gilroy Gaits this summer, earning the First level scores Ashley needed towards her Bronze medal, as well as to allow her to begin designing her First level Freestyle. I have been coaching them via email and phone, which while not ideal, is still helpful. Were it not for Jan Lawrence's virtual coaching while I rode Kleine, I would not have progressed from never having shown FEI to a very respectable 65% at Intermediate II and 59.7% at Grand Prix within seven short months.
Ashley's KWPN mare, Dulce' stayed at Lava Bluffs with me, in full training, with the aim to sell her to an ambitious rider who can capitalize on the mare's great paces, energy, and work ethic. I took her to a clinic at Cooper Ranch in Las Vegas and rode with David Wightman. He praised her elasticity and gaits. Details, photo and video about Dulce' may be found on my For Sale page. Dulce' will be shown at First level in the August Millbrook and Utah Dressage Society Shows.
Karen and Tanner continue to amaze me at their diligence. Tanner is so honest, and gives it his all every single ride. They participated in a schooling show at Cooper Ranch in Las Vegas, in January, and did a great job, earning a very nice score. They were unable to participate in the April show due to a scheduling conflict, and, the remaining schooling shows there were cancelled for 2016. Karen and I are preparing her to show recognized next year.
Alison and Biscuit continue to improve and have become a super partnership. Pat and Blue are taking the summer off from lessons due to the heat. Pat has to be careful about getting overheated and rides very early every morning. We will get back to lessons in the fall.
Frisco steals my heart on a daily basis. I love that horse so much. Together this year, thus far, we have earned our Bronze Freestyle Bar, qualified for Regional Championships at Third level, at Third level Freestyle, and qualified at CDS-HOY Third level Freestyle.
2016 has been a very full year for SCWDressage, and I am excited to see what the remainder of the year holds for my horses and riders. I am blessed and filled with gratitude.
Here is a link to a complete album of photos from the show: