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March 6, 2011

Busywork And A Stinky New Arrival

Tres can't wait to perform in the Challenge of the Americas. Photo by Sara Lieser.

It's been radio silence from Sprieser Sporthorse South because nothing's really going on. There are only so many blogs I can write about "horses still going great, weather's still nice, things are peachy." 

I do have fun news in that Tres is going to participate in the Challenge of the Americas, a quadrille performance that raises money for breast cancer research and has become a Wellington season highlight. My friend Pam Goodrich, who is one of the founding matrons of the U.S. team to the event, needed a horse, and I happen to have one that is absolutely perfect!

It's great for a lot of reasons. Of course, it's a terrific cause and fabulous exposure for the horse. Pam's also ridden him a few times, and as she's just a little faster than me, she's really helped me over the hump I was in about the ones; I was stuck at five, and then Pam got seven. And then nine. And then yesterday, I got 12. Ta-da!

But best of all, as far as I'm selfishly concerned, is that she's offered him a stall for the rest of his stay down here, which means I could bring Fender down! He arrived this week, and his been settling in—by which I mean being in perpetual motion and trying very hard to smell as bad as possible—nicely. He's actually been quite good under saddle; we've had some ridiculous wind this week, and since the poor fella has never even dreamed of a palm tree before, he thinks the sound of fronds whipping in the wind is rather unfair, and I'm not one to disagree.

But he's getting better and better, more able to keep all of his many fine parts in at least the same voting jurisdiction, if not in the same arena. We got into a USEF Training Session with Scott Hassler next week, which I'm looking forward to. I feel like I'm a little bit lacking in a plan for Fender other than what I'm currently doing—building strength and straightness. What else should we be up to? Scott will help answer that question.

And other than that, things are pretty much the same. Ella continues to build brilliantly—in one of our last lessons we put the canter tour of the Grand Prix together, and other than a moment where I forgot to steer, and a badly placed line of ones, Michael said it was on 66 percent. Not too shabby!

Midge, too, makes progress every day. He may not make it down a centerline this year, but only because, like Ella, it's not worth showing stuff that's just not polished enough yet to be brilliant. At this level of sport, 64 percent just ain't enough, and I feel like that's what we'd get at the I2 at the moment. He'll be 9 in July. Where's the fire?

This particular weekend is rather busy from a spectator's perspective. Nations Cup Friday, DerbyCross and puissance Saturday, and the Palm Beach Dressage Derby throughout the whole weekend. And my friends at Haygain dropped by to visit and brought with them their newest unit: the Haygain-GO, essentially a very sturdy duffle bag connected to a steamer. It'll be perfect for horse shows, lightweight and EASY. 

There's always something to do in Wellington, even if it's the same thing I've been doing since I got here!