Saturday, February 20, 2010

Silva Martin - Part II FINALLY!

My desperate pleas for another lesson with Silva paid off! The misfortune of another who had to give up her clinic spot, opened a place for me yesterday with Silva at Serra Valley. And it was fantastic! Katchi was so funny when we first walked into Serra Valley's beautiful (heated!) indoor arena - there were lots of interesting things he might have wanted to look at, but he was mezmorized by Silva teaching across the ring. He couldn't take his eyes off the pretty German lady! Little did he know what he was in for - much to my delight, Silva hopped up on Katchi for a bit! Since I bought Katchi 3 years ago, he's only been ridden by someone else a handful of times, so it was great fun for me to watch him go! And go he went! Wow, Silva had him working hard! Poor Katchi thought that should be the end of the lesson, and I was just itching to get started!

I've watched the video of my last lesson with Silva at least 100 times, and although there were some things I was happy about (and Katchi looked lovely), I was overall really frustrated with my position. That "slumped over a computer" look just isn't the one. I was determined to fix that. During "snowmageddon" I took some time to go through some videos from a few years ago when I had the opportunity to be a working student, riding several fantastically talented dressage warmbloods. I wasn't perfect, but I looked good - I was in a place in the saddle to allow the horses to work beautifully. I need to get back to that. I've watched the video of yesterday's lesson, not quite 100 times yet, and even I am impressed at the change in just a few weeks! Silva said I (and Katchi, of course!) should get the most improved medal. She might be right. Of course, there's always more to do, but I'm really pleased at what I've been able to fix over the past several weeks. It really makes me excited for the show season to start -a bit of motivation I really need while way too much snow still sits on the ground!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Snowplowed Path to Spring

Good News and Bad News.

Bad news first.

The clinics with Silva Martin on the next two weekends have been cancelled, because there is zero expectation the snow will have melted enough to let us get to or park at the clinic location. Well, how's that for knocking the wind outta ya? And they've rescheduled the March 7 clinic to March 13 - good news is I can go, bad news is that's another week away. So much for all those dreams I had of "perfecting" my dressage with Silva over the winter.

I think this categorizes as bad news - CDCTA's entries open tomorrow, which I planned as my first HT of the season. Ugh. That means the event is just over 6 weeks away. 6 weeks to get ready and there is still over 2' of snow on the ground. I'm going to send in my entries anyhow. I can always scratch before the closing date.

Now, the good news.

There's a chance I might get into a Silva clinic THIS Friday!!! Oh I need that right now! I'm getting so bored and depressed going around in circles in the indoor - I need Silva!!

And the really good news of the week - I found a snowplowed path!!! In desperation to get out of the indoor, I went tromping around in the snow on Saturday looking for anyplace to ride outside. I found a lot of snow that went up past my knees, but not much else. Totally depressed. Then, as I was driving out of the barn, I saw it - like an oasis in the desert, or an island in the ocean... I found a plowed road! Perfectly plowed and dry - and long with big hills and almost no traffic! There is a long powerline path that runs along the new barn's property, with some sort of power station at the end. Apparently, they decided it was worthy of a good plowing! So, yesterday, Adrianne and I took the horses out in their halters and we went for a walk - a walk outside! And we did it again today! The horses were so good - I think they had resigned themselves to life in a box, and they couldn't have been more grateful (well, actually Katchi was grateful; Tori was really ticked off to have been drug away from all the hay in her stall!). During a break from our walk, Katchi practically leaned against the snowbank trying to reach a couple of long strings of icky dry grassy something - he was on his tippy toes trying to get it. Really, it was sad. And today, Tori found a couple bites of yucky frostbitten wet grass on the side of the road, but there was none on Katchi's side of the road - you've never seen a more heartbroken horse!

Anyhow, the snowplowed path to spring has given me hope - it's probably well over a mile round trip and has some BIG hills. That road may be my savior when it comes to CDCTA on April 4. At the USEA Convention in December, there was a session about conditioning, and folks kept asking a panel of top riders to tell them exactly how to condition their horses - they wouldn't answer. The moral of the session was - figure out what you've got to work with (access to a track, the ocean, hills...), and make it work for you. Right, I've got an indoor arena and a paved road with hills, and it's gonna work for me! Pictures below.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


When the President of the United States calls a snow storm "Snowmageddon", you know it can't be good. I don't do sick very well. And I really don't do house arrest very well. But, even I have surrendered. The snow is that bad. I haven't seen Katchi since Friday morning, and I hate it! I thought about trying to make it out there today, but after a little walk around the neighborhood to check out the streets, I decided better of it. I guess it goes without saying that the Silva Martin clinic was cancelled today. My first planned horse trial is less than 2 months away, and I'm really starting to worry whether we'll be fit and schooled enough. I'm a perfectionist, and I never ever want to feel unprepared. This snow is not helping me. My work is closed tomorrow, so am hoping by the afternoon the roads will be passable enough to let me make a quick trip to the barn. I cannot imagine what my mental state will be if I've been stuck in this house for essentially 4 days! The better part of yesterday was spent without power too which started to get pretty cold - but, on the up side, it was a good motivator to catch up on a bunch of reading that I've been meaning to do.

Here are a couple of pictures of my little car. It's supposed to be silver - not white. I love that the only recognizable part of it are my horse silhouette stickers!

Hope everyone is surviving Snowmageddon & that all your horses are warm, fat & happy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

More Snow - Pllliiitth!

It's snowing. Again. They're talking about up to 3 feet. It's just wrong, so so wrong. My clinic with Silva on Sunday so isn't going to happen. What a tragedy. I read in Silva's blog that she's starting to regret staying in PA this winter, because it has been so cold. I want to cry at the thought that she'll go to Florida next winter, and I won't have the good fortune of being able to work with her again next winter when I've hardly even been able to get started with her this winter!

On another note, I've just signed up for a jumping clinic with Boyd Martin on March 1st. So much for stalking Jim Wofford - I seem to have become a Martin groupie! I wonder how many clinics I have to sign up for with them before my financial contributions can classify me as a sponsor? I've done so many of Jim Wofford's gymnastics clinics, he teases me that I should take the program on the road for him! Really, these clinicians should offer some sort of recognition club - like frequent flier miles or grocery store club cards. After you ride in 150 of their clinics, you really should qualify for Platinum Club member benefits or something!

If you are also stuck in the house waiting out this unfortunate storm, I thought you might enjoy these "dressage" videos a horse friend sent me yesterday. They're quite short and gave me a much needed good laugh - I hope you enjoy them as well!

This video might be sorta like dressage in Texas (where I grew up!)...

Katchi's "street name" is K-Dog (it's a South Park thing, if you don't get it). I think I should let this rapper know about K-Dog, so he can star in the next music video.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Punxsutawney Phil - that overweight rodent

Okay, seriously, why is it snowing again? It's Phil's fault. Don't get me wrong, I happen to think he's pretty darn cute, but he's really messing with me this year. Last Sunday's clinic with Silva was cancelled due to snow. It's snowing again right now. And more snow is supposed to come in Friday-Saturday, just in time for Silva's next clinic this Sunday. AGH! I was all full of giggles with the first big snow - frolicking around in it with Katchi. But, no more, please!

One bit of good news among all this snow is that I moved Katchi to a new home after this weekend's snow thawed enough to brave the roads with the NEW trailer on only it's third road trip! Katchi is now in Harwood, Maryland and quite a bit closer to my house. He's still trying to figure out why he's there - looking around for Jimmy or Silva or a judge! But, he's settling right in and I cannot wait to start exploring the area. Harwood is horse country - I hear the hills are scattered with little coops and logs - all for horses! And, it even puts me just a few minutes from Dover Saddlery. Well, that might be a bad thing. How is it that a trip to Dover for "nothing" still adds up to hundreds of dollars?? Must be some sort of "fuzzy math." I'm thinking of some joke about an alcoholic walking into a bar...

Fingers (and hooves!) crossed for SILVA this weekend!