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Blogger Lauren Sprieser

June 23, 2010

Pony Club Rally

I love youth education; it's one of the things most dear to my heart, and I like giving back to the youth equestrian community where I can. So last weekend I judged a Pony Club eventing rally at Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Va., a lovely place.

I'm a huge fan of Pony Club. It produces riders with good basic skills who have to demonstrate those skills before they move up; riders with good stable management skills; kids who take the health and comfort of their horses extremely seriously and know as much as any vet tech.

June 17, 2010

Down Time...Of Sorts

I'm in a showing lull, hooray, hoorah. Ella and some students are going to the PVDA Ride for Life next weekend, but other than that our next outing isn't for weeks, and I'm VERY grateful for the downtime.

Downtime means focusing back on the training and not on the show work. Midge is really cookin' along; I'm using Kyra's piaffe-to-canter-pirouette exercise to great success, and I've expanded it into the canter half-pass, another weakness. I make walk half-pass, two little quick half-steps, then canter half-pass for a few strides until I feel his balance start to falter.

June 11, 2010

Hit The Road Jack

One of the things I did this winter while there was 812 feet of snow on the ground was watch a lot of the Winter Olympics. (Another thing I did was bake myself into a diabetic coma; more on that later.) And while watching the Olympics, I saw an interview with superstar speed skater Apolo Ohno. He talked about his training program, how much time he spends at the gym, his diet, his meditation. He takes himself incredibly seriously as an athlete.

June 7, 2010

Fairvoya S

Ladies and gentlemen: Cletus has entered the building!

A little after midnight, Sweetie foaled out Cleo's long-legged, short-coupled chestnut filly: three white socks and a star. She's been textbook so far from a veterinary perspective, which is terrific. I have almost exactly zero experience with foals—I did foalwatch at the Thoroughbred breeding farm that Lendon Gray trains out of while I was in college, for extra cash—so I'm very grateful that I am not in charge. I chose not to fly out of bed in the middle of the night, so I first came to see them early this morning.

June 7, 2010

VADA/Nova June, Day 4

As my first ride on Sunday wasn't until 1:30 in the afternoon, working student Nicole and I had a leisurely morning. We watched freestyles (saw the most fun junior level kür I've ever seen). We watched young horses. We wandered around. We had lunch. And when we came back to get crackin' on getting Midge ready for his class, the clouds started to roll in.

June 7, 2010

VADA/Nova June, Day 2 and 3

I believe that everything happens for a reason, so for some reason, the Powers That Be did not want Fender to go to Illinois.

June 4, 2010

VADA/Nova June, Day 1

I've spent so much time at the Day's Inn in Leesburg, Va., that it's beginning to feel like home. (For the record: they have GREAT pillows.)

Yes, we're back at Morven Park yet again, the last of a three-weekends-in-a-row tour of insanity. This is the last shot for Fender, who's 12th right now in the 4-year-old standings and going great, and Midge, who needs a 68.5 to get back in the ballpark, and even then there's no guarantees. Yikes.

June 1, 2010

USEF Clinic with Kyra Kyrklund

It's been a long road into one of the USEF High Performance Training Sessions for me. I got on the Developing Rider list, one of the lists that has access to the sessions, at the end of 2008, right as Klaus Balkenhol was stepping down, and we found ourselves without a Team Coach. The Team hired Anne only to change the criteria for access to the Training Sessions, and I was out of luck again.

But I'm on the "Invite List" now, so I got the call about Kyra Kyrklund's training session at the Hassler's farm in northern Maryland, and I got to bring not just one horse, but two. Wahoo!

May 25, 2010

PVDA at Morven, Day 2

There's a first time for everything, and Sunday I had an interesting first—the first time I've ever been excused for disobedience in the ring.

Ruh roh.

Poor Midgey. It was monsooning, and Morven Park's indoor is older and loud and leaky and creaky, so he was a bit up anyway. Then, not five minutes into our warm-up, another competitor comes flying into us sideways, her stallion bucking and kicking, and puts Midge in a corner. I spend the whole rest of our warm-up trying to get his confidence back, unsuccessfully, but he feels OK, so in we go.

May 24, 2010

PVDA at Morven, Day 1

Back to the show ring we go, after a nice long break. Fortunately, six weeks wasn't so long that we all forgot how to do what we do, and I had some very good rides.

The worst of the day was Ella, who led things off by being way too relaxed for her first Young Rider Grand Prix test. Just blah, and nothing about Ella should be blah. Everything was 6s and 7s except for an out-of-character bungle in the first extended trot (duh!), and the piaffe, which can't happen out of big, open, swimmy passage, something I thought I was done with. Bollucks.

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