Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lovin' Loch Moy

Spring (and almost summer!) is here, and it's so great to be back at all my favorite competition sites! Yesterday I spent the day coaching 2 students at Loch Moy's spring unrecognized horse trials. I don't remember signing any human-experiment release forms, but I'm pretty sure the Air Force set up a wind tunnel testing ground on the Loch Moy property yesterday. It was unbelievable - but, in fine Loch Moy fashion, they were well prepared! The dressage arenas were decorated with (horse-eating monster) sandbags holding down the fences and letters. Nothing like a bit of Spanish Riding School "airs above ground" in a tadpole dressage test! I could not have been more proud of both my students (and their horses!) for really holding it together under those conditions! Debi's Roxanne earned a compliment from the judge for Debi's efforts despite Roxanne's "bag resistance!" Ah, so that's the technical dressage term for a .5 second panic every 10 strides when a sandbag was encountered?! After watching Debi's "bag resistance" (which still put her in 3rd place after dressage!), I sent my second student, Adrianne, to sniff sandbags during her time to ride outside the arena! Funny that she was the only one I saw all day to do this! Interesting to see how people are afraid to do anything but the "normal" just before going into the ring. Our unique final warm-up prep really paid off as Adrianne put in a winning dressage test - comfortably leading their Beginner Novice division of 13 riders!

Both Debi and Adrianne were stellar in their jumping rounds. They're really learning to ride their own unique horses - and, among other things, it's paying off with huge smiles at the end of the day! Adrianne led from start to finish - and came home with a pretty blue ribbon! Check out the picture below of Tori accepting her ribbon - proof of the wind tunnel experiment. Debi tackled (and beat!) some personal demons yesterday in both show jumping and XC - despite a few SJ faults on the scoreboard, it was a huge victory for her yesterday. We all have ups and downs with horses, but as a coach, it is a wonderful feeling to be a part of someone's hard work when it starts to come together for them - we were all hootin' and hollerin' at the XC finish line!

During the downtime yesterday, I spent a little while walking around the XC course - refreshing my memory and thinking about my plans for Katchi before Loch Moy's July horse trials. I was so excited to find some new work they've been doing on the course - all since Snowmageddon melted! They're working on new bank steps and, what appears to be, a double ditch "complex." I talked to Carolyn about them and she said Tremaine Cooper (their course designer) has been working like crazy to have them ready for the July events! I snapped a couple of pictures to show the construction work. Hopefully you can see enough to get the idea of what's to come in July! WOO HOO!

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