Posted in Riding/Horses

Mega Breakthrough Lesson

Holy crap. Wednesday night was….well….super, uber, amazingly awesome. Even Trainer had a huge smile and recapped all the breakthroughs that happened during the lesson.

Lets back up a bit. Wednesday night was lesson night and I am really starting to love my summer evenings in the arena. I had my choice of either dressage or jumping and chose the latter. With jumping we typically spend the first half on flat work anyway, but then I get to work on jumping too and it feels like a bit of a reward for both Gem and me. Plus, I really want to work hard on beating down my fear when it comes to jumping and only practice will solve that problem.

Hot horse has no interest in working.

True to form, the first half an hour was spent working on the flat. I was really proud when Trainer complimented my posture and even said my elbows were loose and following. I have worked really hard over the last four rides on my own to get my hands to remain with steady 1 pound of pressure on the reins and follow Gem’s head instead of being stiff. I was so happy my hard work paid off. It still isn’t effortless to ride like that: if I stop thinking about it I revert to my motionless arms, but I can more easily return to it once I think about it now. Soon it should become automatic.

It was hella hot out, near 100F and humid, and the sun was still full blaze at 7:30 pm, so we stuck to the middle of the arena where the shade was and made a square. My first exercise was focusing on maintaining her rhythm around the entire square and making my turns without letting Gem fall to the inside. At first I floundered pretty hard. I’d put my inside leg on to turn, but it still wasn’t right. After many attempts I finally got it. After spending 7 years falling in like a motorcycle on every turn, having her weighted evenly felt so good.  I was giggling like a 12 year old again.

Breakthrough #1: how to approach and make a turn correctly. Trainer finally got me doing it correctly by doing this: when approaching my turn begin to turn just Gem’s ears inside, when I get to the spot I want to turn add inside leg to push her rib cage out, at the very end of the turn allow her hind end to follow. She told me to act like an 80 year lady driving on ice making a slow, long turn instead of jamming Gem into the turn and breaking through it like a sports car. In this way I was controlling her entire body in segments as we approached, went through and ended the turn.

Not only did it help make the turn even, but I also felt how she could maintain her rhythm throughout the entire square without losing it in the turns. After we made several circuits in both directions, she had me repeat the same exercise at the trot. The purpose of doing this on a square was to have purposeful bend at each corner and then make Gem get square again for the straight aways. In doing so, I really felt how I needed to block her movement out of the turn with my outside aides to get her straight.

The trot work took a bit more effort since Gem barely tolerates my leg and basically insists that any leg equals “go faster”, but we are slowly chipping away at it. As usual we started off braced and rushed, but then I had my next epiphany.

Breakthrough #2: allow my body to melt into my saddle. Sounds weird, but let me explain. Trainer is always after me to slow my posting down and stay closer to my saddle. Her words kept bouncing around in my head but never created any action. Well, this time she told me to melt like ice cream into my saddle and get sticky. I needed to still sit tall, but that “tall” should be in a melty sort of way. I don’t know why this imagery worked so well, but it did. I started to really feel what she was talking about and began posting the way she wants. This created two changes: Gem was much more responsive to my half halts since my center was closer to her and I was able to use my legs more effectively as they remained draped around her with a soft knee.

It was also a heck of a lot more work than my typical style. My legs were screaming for a break after a while and they never do that!

We both got a walk break after that and moved towards one end of the arena. There was a solitary jump set up and Trainer marked that as the center of the circle she wanted me to create. Since the footing had been recently dragged, she would be able to see my geometry perfectly. It was time for the dreaded 20 m circle.

We once again began at the walk and I immediately got called out for only looking with my head. Once I turned my entire body in the direction I wanted to go, Gem became soft and bent as well. I know this. Why I can’t just do it is beyond me. Then we moved back into the trot. We started going left which is Gem’s weaker side by default that it is mine. My left leg tends to want to drift forward. When I lost my bend, Gem lost hers and got tense. Trainer did allow for the fact that any time I put my left left back and on, Gem scooted forward and gave me a little allowance for that but it is something we still need to address. Going right was much better.

I was still in giggling school girl mode as Gem was listening so well. Yes, she sometimes got too fast or sometimes went super slow and heavy but she was easily brought back to where I wanted her. Trainer commented that it was the most rhythmic 10 circles we have put down to date and that we were working together and not at odds with each other.

I would have been happy to call it a day after that, but then Trainer said the C word. Wahwahwah. I really, really, really need to get over my concerns with cantering. I can canter all day long on the trail. I can canter after fences. It really isn’t the cantering I mind, it is the transition. I suck at them. I make them tense. I make it so that I spend the first five circles fixing what I created. Ugh.

Back on the circle we went to the right, my stronger side, and I did my best to ask for a nice canter transition. I sat tall and leaned back a bit. I gave with my hands. She cantered. Then I threw her away and we went careening out of control. Seriously, I can chew gum and walk at the same time. But then I did it again and this time I forced myself to look where I was going, keep my damn legs on her and steer. And you know what? It led to

Breakthrough #3: steering during the canter produces a nicer, more relaxed canter.  Odd how not abandoning your horse actually helps things, isn’t it? But honestly, when I forced myself to stop thinking “cantering, cantering cantering we are going to die!” and actually rode by keeping my posture upright and stable and then maintaining a path of travel in which I looked 5 strides ahead of where we were to give Gem a clue as to what we were doing, she moved into a nice rideable canter that was nearly fun to do.

Left was harder, but again my left side is weaker and it is predictable. Trainer was really pleased with it though. She said it was the best canter work we have done. I told you it was an amazing lesson!

After the canter work it was time for the fun part: jumping! I was determined to not let my nerves get the best of me. She set up a solitary cross rail that was set off the rail and required a very particular approach to get it right. We came in at the trot off the rail going left and I made the turn at the correct spot, but let Gem get buried in the turn and she ran out of gas. Then she was so focused on me nagging at her to trot while simultaneously having a death grip on the reins, that she never saw the jump coming and slammed the breaks on right in font of it.

Coming at it from the left I needed to turn at the start of the gate you can see in the background. The first couple times I stuffed her and let her lose all momentum in the turn which made the jump poor.

Yeah. My fault. Sorry, Gemmie.

We approached it again and this time I rode her through the turn and did my best to tell her I wanted to jump. It was still a bit stilted because I stared at the ground and held her back, but we went over it. trainer had us approach it from the other direction and then she added in a 2′ vertical. I was to come at the crossrail going left, aim for the rail on landing, sneak between another fence and the rail then loop back going right to hit the vertical. True to form, I freaked before the vertical because it was a new fence and Gem ran out. Again, my fault.

I’m pretty sure Trainer was screaming inside at this time. I mean, I say I want to jump and I am on an honest horse, but then as soon as I see a jump I freak out. Sorry, my brain is messed up.

Anyway….

Trainer set up three jumps all easy enough on their own but with tricky, tight landings. The point was to get me focusing more on where I was going and not at the jump itself. The first jump was our old friendly green and blue crossrail with a tight turn left off the rail, this led to a red and white cross rail set on a bending line which if failed would cause us to run smack into the rail, coming out from jump 2 was a longer approach with a loop to the right then hitting the red and brown vertical which required close attention to thread the needle on landing between the rail and another jump.

The red and white cross rail was jump two on a bending line then I needed to turn right and come over the vertical coming towards the camera

Breakthrough #4: Quit caring about the jump, it is a non event, and focus all your attention on the landing. By doing this, Trainer forced me to quit staring at the jump itself or else my landing was awful and we ran into things. By changing my focal point, I was able to keep my legs on and take the jump as it came and then immediately take control on the back side to get us to point B.

The first time through I was still a little hesitant coming towards the jumps. Gem was perked right up and taking me right to them and it was a new sensation for me. It felt like she was speeding way up, when in reality she was just locked on to her target.

The second time though?? Magic! I looked where I was going, kept my legs on the darn horse, let her take me to the base of the jump without holding her back, and then kept my position after to steer.

If felt amazing!!!!!! Like 20 million exclamation points amazing. Gem was up and willing, she was obviously having fun and even dragged me at a canter over the bending line. I had SO MUCH FUN!

And the best part??? All the butterflies were gone from my stomach. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t even nervous. Now if only I could go out that way the first time, but baby steps. I felt like we could have jumped anything at that point.

It was the best lesson I have ever had both on the flat and over jumps. It felt like a major breakthrough happened and we all of a sudden reached a whole new playing field. Gem was happy and relaxed and I enjoyed every single minute of that hour. So much so that I did something maybe a bit stupid – I penned us in for a cross country outing next Friday the 28th!!! Eeek!

I’m not 100% sure where it will be yet, I think at FENCE for those local. All I know is that Trainer mentioned working on water, ditches and banks. All of it sounds scary yet fun so here is hoping it works out.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Goals, Uncategorized

Second Quarter Goal Review

Six months into 2017 already? I know it is horribly cliche, but seriously, where does the time go? I remember as a kid thinking it moved like molasses. As an adult I feel like I blink and a year has gone by.

It is time to check back in on the goals I made for the year and see where I am at and if they still even really apply.  Scratched out goals are ones that I either completed (one time things like bringing the horses home) or ones that no longer relate to us any more.

Gemmie Life Goals

FOCUS – With Gem it is going to be all about finding the right balance of being with her and not being away from the family too much. Success!!! Pretty much all horse related family stress has gone away since she has been home and in fact things only continue to improve as we have been able to get Pete back into the fray as well. 

1.) Bring her and Pete home.   

2.) Start riding consistently 2 days a week.  Sorta, kinda. I’m no longer allowing myself to ride at home which puts a damper on things, but I have been getting out consistently. 

3.) 1-2 long trail rides a month, preferably with friends.  Yup!!

 

4.) Make it to 1 lesson a month.  I’ve been getting in about 2 a month and loving it. 
Gemmie Competition Goals

1.) Complete a 50 mile endurance ride towards our decade team award.  No longer any interest in this and removing it from the list. 

2.) Complete a Ride and Tie of any length.  Same as above. 

3.) Make a decision on what to do about her 100 mile bronze medal.  Decision was made last quarter. Not going to go for it and I am perfectly happy with that decision. 

4.) Make it to a dressage show and not make a complete fool out of ourselves.  I did a dressage test at a CT, does that count? We even managed to get a decent score. 

 

Me: Life Goals

FOCUS – For me it is going to be all about striking a better balance in life. Currently, I feel guilty when I don’t ride and guilty when I do. I haven’t taken an actual vacation longer than a long weekend since 2007. I haven’t seen a doctor in 4 years.  We went on a sorta vacation to CA in April, I’m taking more time to work out and be healthy and while work right now is nothing but a big ball of stress, overall things are much smoother. I still need to get a doctor though.

1.) Stop feeling guilty about self care time.  50/50. I enjoy my work outs at the Y but there is still always that nagging guilt about not being home with the kiddo

2.) Run 2 days a week minimum.   I work out two days a week. Currently doing spin on Tuesday and weights on Thursday. 

3.) Ride 2 days a week.  Mostly!

4.) Establish with a primary care doctor and get a physical. Still hasn’t happened.  

5.) Figure out just what I want with my relationship with Gem. Is it okay to back off and just putz around? Do I need to have some set competition/training plans to feel satisfied?   I’m very happy with what we are doing right now. Some trail time, a lot of learning and some new show/competition goals. All reasonable for our level and time constraints. 

6.) Continue with my pen pals. Add two new ones from new countries.  Still writing. 

7.) Create a smashbook for Wyatt.  Yeah, not going to happen. Haven’t started it yet, still can’t find it from moving and now the year is half over. Maybe next year?

8.) Find a trainer that I can work well with in regards to approach, personality and

scheduling. I love trainer J!

Me: Competition Goals – none of these matter to me anymore
1.) Complete a half marathon.  

2.) Complete a full marathon.  

3)  Host a Ride and Tie.

 

Half a year done and looking back to where I was in January, I am completely different. I never thought I would have completed a CT, have cross country schooling on the horizon and a possible full on horse trial in the fall. This is really why I don’t like making goals because so many factors ebb and flow. I think for 2018 I will do only quarterly goals so that when things change I can make amendments.

Posted in Health and Fitness

Overnight Oats (For Humans)

Sorry, no pictures. Mostly because I think food pictures are gross, but also because the oatmeal would look like poop in a picture and nobody needs to see that.

Breakfast has always been my hardest meal of the day. I eek out every minute of sleep I can get, so cooking anything outside of a toaster isn’t going to happen. Everything quick is absolutely horrible for you: waffles, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, cereal. All sugary carb filled lovelies that make fitting in my pants less than ideal.

For many months I did a protein shake in the morning and it worked ok. I was still pretty starving halfway through the morning, but it was healthy. I don’t know what happened, but eventually I just couldn’t do it any more. My stomach would just seize up when I brought the glass to my mouth and I could not force myself to drink it.

That led me back to my search for a quick, grab and go style breakfast that wasn’t terribly unhealthy. I landed on the idea of overnight oats and gave them a try. There are tons of recipes out there, some really involved and out of my league, but the general rules I have found work well and can be modified to your preferences.

In general:
Liquid and oats in a 1:1 ratio
Add fruit for flavor and natural sweetness
Use chia seeds and/or flax seeds for fiber and omegas
You can sweeten it up even more with a small amount of honey or maple syrup

This is the current combination that I have been making:

3/4 cup unsweetened plain Almond Milk
1 cup plain oats
1 banana smushed up
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (hersheys is what I use)

Combine it all, it will be extremely liquidy, put in an air tight container (the fancy people online use mason jars, I use a tupperware container) and put in the fridge until morning. I’ve been making this for several weeks and it never turns out quite the same although some days I have a 4 year old helping me and lord knows how much of what he puts in it. This last time he added so much chocolate it was nearly black. It has tasted good every single time no mater how it has turned out though. I make a double batch each time so I can eat it two mornings in a row. I’m not sure how long it stays fresh for, but two days has been fine. When Wyatt eats it, I add 2 teaspoons of honey to make it a little sweet otherwise it is a bit bitter from the unsweetened chocolate.

I found one recipe that substituted peanut butter instead of the banana but that was absolutely horrible tasting and I threw the entire thing away. I don’t recommend that, but there are others that look really good like one with pumpkin and nutmeg that I really want to try.

This fills me up all morning, I tend to eat less for lunch and it satisfies my craving for chocolate without resulting to eating a candy bar. I rarely use honey, so really it is low calorie and no sugar added except from the banana.  I’d recommend playing around with it and finding a combo that you like.

 

 

 

Posted in Waggy Tail

Life is Short….Get the Puppy

One and a half years ago my heart was ripped out and shredded when Bones left us. I always knew she was my special girl, but it has taken me this long to find peace with her passing. 

This summer I found myself smiling at her memories instead of becoming teary and I knew it was time to fill the large void that she left. I love Einstein, but there is something about a big dog that I miss dearly. 

Now you’d think being married to a vet would make the dog selection process easier. In fact it is quite the opposite. Every breed I mentioned was responded to with a laundry list of health and behavioral issues. Finally I landed on one that would fit in perfectly and for once the hubby was silent. That’s as close to approval as I’ll ever get when it comes to adding a furry family member. 

All that was left was selecting a breeder and waiting for puppies. Turned out I didn’t need to wait. A breeder in Aiken had a litter from May 17, 2017 with four females ready for homes. We went to “just look” on Saturday afternoon and came home with this little ball of floof. 

Wyatt promptly named her Waggy Tail. Not my first choice but better than his typical Wyatt or Gizmo. We will call her Wags for short.

Wyatt immediately fell in love and I have some serious competition for puppy time. She sat with him in his car seat most of the way home and if she is allowed to walk on her own it s a miracle. I don’t mind though. She is going to get big fast and soon will be too heavy for him to lift. 

He snuggled with her for nearly the entire 2 hour ride home. I have a feeling they will be fast friends

I really hope she becomes Wyatt’s best friend. I believe every little boy needs a dog best friend and Einstein just isn’t it for him. 

As for me, I’m already quite taken to her. So fluffy. So cute. So loveable. I can’t wait to see what all we do together. Einstein isn’t so sure about her just yet. She is a bit small for him and he isn’t so keen on sharing after all these years alone. He will start loving her too once she gets big enough to interact with him more. 

She loves to snuggle. Something I’ll need to remember once she hits the teenage years
I have a dozen of these shots of her. She is hard to take pics of!
Puppy pounce!
Little ears can still flop
Be still my heart
All worn out

Welcome to the crazy family, Waggy Tail!

Posted in Riding/Horses

Floating on Air

Did I mention that Trainer is not only awesome at training, but is also the kindest person on earth? Well, she is.

One of the unexpected issues with bringing the Dynamic Duo home has been finding a farrier willing to come out for trims on two horses on an evening or weekend when I could be there to hold. Most around me don’t even work weekends and evenings are also hard to find. The ones who do need at least 4 horses. I reverted to doing them myself which is a whole lot easier when they are home and I can do a little at a time, but I really want an actual farrier.

I asked Trainer a while back for recommendations, but kept running into the four horse minimum. She has her farrier come in every five weeks all the way from Aiken and told me I could bring them in. The problem was that he always comes on a Wednesday when I work. I thought it over and shot her a text with honestly little hope it would work out. I figured I could trailer them in on Tuesday night after work, pay a stall fee, hope someone would be willing to hold them for me and then grab them Wednesday after work (maybe sneaking in a lesson too). She was unavailable for a lesson, but told me I could plop them in a spare paddock without any fee and she was more than willing to hold them. My jaw dropped. I owe her big time!!!

Tuesday night I got this when I tried to get Gem to load her up:


After the two idiots nearly ran themselves to heat exhaustion, it was 98F with high humidity, we hosed them off and headed to the barn. Pete was put into the pasture and I tacked Gem up in her dressage gear to see how she would be. I was a little curious to see what I would be dealing with. The last few times I tried to school her in any way were just downward spirals of tension and bracing. Since then she had the IPE ride and two trail rides just for fun.

I hates dressage mom. Why must you torture me?

I went to the dressage court with no real plan. All I wanted was a relaxed ride with walk and trot. If we could add in some 20 meter circles to work on bend that would be a bonus.

She was in an unusual mood. I wouldn’t call her relaxed, but she also wasn’t tense or racing around. She listened to small cues, halted spot on when asked with no fuss and did walk to trot transitions agreeably enough. But she was also looking for reasons to spook and spent time staring at anything she thought would allow her to get away with spooking. I just ignored her and carried on. Half way through she got insanely heavy in my hands. I am working really, really hard to get my position better and to not let her break me out of it. Or as trainer always says to me “be greedy with your position”. When she didn’t get away with anything, she just leaned. It felt like all 900 lbs of her was in my hands and her head was nearly dragging on the ground. Having never dealt with this from her, I wasn’t really certain what to do. I knew she was sucked way back behind my leg, but I was concerned that booting her forward would result in her getting tense and bracing. So instead I kept my position where it was and began working on lots and lots and lots of bending in every direction all over the place. I figured that she would eventually have to start carrying herself or she wold trip and that was exactly what happened.


I ended it after that and let her out in her overnight paddock to await the farrier the next day.

I don’t hates eating grass with my BFF

On Wednesday I got the info that the farrier thought everything looking great which is always good to hear when you have been the one trimming for the past 6 months. I had taken the truck to work so I could go get them afterward. They were both ready to come home, but first I wanted to ride again. A kid free night at an empty barn? Who could pass that up?

I only had my dressage saddle with me, so it was back in the dressage tack again. This time I headed to the jump arena where the jumps were all set to sky scraper height, but it would give me obstacles to work around.

So shiny!!!

Gem was AMAZING. Light in the bridle. The perfect balance of forward but relaxed. She halted. She walked. She trotted. She was so good that it felt like we were floating on air around that arena. I could barely feel her feet touch the ground. I was grinning like a fool.

With her being so responsive, I went back to working on my favorite exercise: sending her forward and bringing her back with just the rhythm and speed of my posting. No change in the pressure of my reins at all. And she listened so perfectly. I let her out into an extended trot down the long sides and brought her back by tightening my core and slowing my posting down when on the short sides and she hit it right every single time. I was giggling out loud and I am sure the barn crew thought I was insane.

I’ll just go to sleep here thank you

It was the type of ride I never want to end, but it was another insanely hot night and I had to load them up to go home eventually. I’m not sure if it was the location, the fact that she got her wiggles out with galloping like mad for 20 minutes the night before, the three fun rides she last had or what, but I’ll take it. This is the Gemmie I had before the CT and I am so very glad to have her back again. Our next lesson is Wednesday night, so hopefully this is the horse that comes to play.

Don’t forget to take me home
Posted in 2017 Reading Challenge, Uncategorized

Popsugar Reading Challenge Book #26

Halfway done and nearly on track to finish the entire challenge by year’s end. This one was on me and I knew I wanted to grab a biography. Which one was not as clear, but I found one that seemed to fit the bill. My mom was not so enthusiastic at first, but ended up really enjoying it.

A book with a character’s name in the title: American Legend: The real life adventures of David Crockett by Buddy Levy

David Crockett grew into a legend, but first he was a man.  A man who loved the wide open spaces that the newly formed America had to offer. A man who lived for hunting, travel and the odd military battle. His life was not without its misfortunes, however much of his life was due to this own errors in judgement and inability to manage his own accounts. He lived a life in constant debt even after spending multiple terms in Congress and becoming a well known author.

His need for constant motion, his hunt for fortune and land, and his need to pay off debt eventually led him to Texas and the Alamo. Many people only remember the legends that surrounded the best known frontiersman, but he led a life that brought him out of the woods and into celebrity.


As a biography goes, this one was both informative and very entertaining. I didn’t know a whole lot about the frontiersman prior to reading this book and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The author presents David Crockett in the raw, without glossing over the negative nor dwelling on it. By the end of the biography, I felt like I had a sense of the man as a whole with all his positive and negative attributes presented for inspection.

I really enjoy a biography that includes letters or other form of personal correspondence from the person as I feel it gives you a real sense of the person and this one did not disappoint in that regard either. There are several passages from letters or speeches that David Crockett gave and many more quotes from his peers of the time.

The novel reads quickly as well without too much time spent belaboring any one point in his life which ranges from his early childhood to his death at the Alamo. The author also tries to give motivation behind Crockett’s decisions, which while it is mostly conjecture, flows well with the narrative of his life.

4/5

Posted in Uncategorized

2017 IPE Nations Cup

Sunday was it: the culmination of all the hard work and experiences that the Pony Clubbers from around the word came for. It was Nations Cup day. Two 3′ jumping rounds with a jump off for any teams tied. The riders met their horses on Saturday and had an hour to test them out. Some were lucky enough to draw the same horses they had for the Kangaroo Cup CT the weekend before, but most found themselves on brand new mounts.

Warm up

The morning was glorious. Sunny, blue skies with a slight breeze. Fate was smiling down on me again and I was conscripted to be the jump scribe. I took a quick walk around the course with the judge and then manned my position in the booth with an amazing view of all the action.

The course

The horses came out ready to play. There was only one refusal the entire day which unfortunately resulted in a fall. For these girls to have just met the horse and sitting in all new tack going over a very tight and technical 3′ course and doing it well? It was inspiring.

I learned a lot watching the rounds, speaking with the jump judge and listening to the course designer. I’ve now had the chance to volunteer as a dressage score runner, cross country jump judge and jump scribe and must say the scribe is my favorite. It left no chance for pictures of the rounds, but it was a great way to see the show and take part.

The first round saw only one rail down, the refusal/fall, one girl who jumped fence 4 instead of 11 at the very end of her course, and all within optimal time. The judge and designer, friends for years, started thinking of way to make those rails fall out of the very deep jump cups as there were plenty of hard knocks that resulted in the rails bouncing a bit but staying put.

Three horses stood out during the entire day.  One was a gorgeous liver chestnut saddlebred. I’m partial to the breed anyway but he just floated over the course as if they were mere speed bumps along the way. He was moving in a lovely canter where he was rocked back on his hind end and it looked effortless. After his round, he knew he did well and started prancing and threw in a few happy bucks. The big guy deserved to feel happy.

The second was another chestnut, actually now that I think about it they all were, who bucked between every single fence. The poor rider had a lot of extra energy to contain, but did an excellent job making it clear around every time. The final horse was a small little Ferrari, owned by a fellow blogger too, and is a pony mix of some kind. He flew around that course! His small, short stride made the rider work hard to make the distances happen and they put in the fastest rounds all day long. He looked like a ton of fun!

The second round saw the course get more technical and there were a few more rails down and one time fault. At the end there would be a jump off: team USA versus Hong Kong for 3rd/4th place and team New Zealand versus Australia for 1st/2nd. The jump off was my absolute favorite part. Six jumps with the first four being set in a near circle jumping each from different directions. It was tight. It was fast. It was amazing!

Lots of rails fell and one rider jumped the wrong sequence. The horses looked a little hot and tired by this point, but were still in it to win. Of note, the horses that were in a nice balanced canter presented not only a lovely picture, but also had the cleanest and fastest rounds. The ones who were flat and strung out were a little hard to watch and the judge made comments every time.  In the end the placings went: Canada, Hong Kong, US, Australia and New Zealand to win it all!

Victory Gallop
Ribbon ceremony. The riders got ribbons and the horses all had neck ribbons that the owners got to keep
Team USA

All the riders deserved to feel really proud of the effort they put in. New horses, new tack, new country and an exhausting 10 days leading up to it and they all looked amazing out there. I’m sad to see the program end, but I know they are all happy to get back home. The next IPE year will be in 2019 and I have no idea what the hosting country will be. I’m just hoping that when it comes back around to the US in 2027, that it will be close by again so I can participate and help out when able. If you or anyone you know are in Pony Club, the event is something worth looking into. I don’t know all the selection details, but I do know you have to be at least B rated and at least 17 years of age at time of selection.