We did it! I'm so proud of this group of trainers who have gone through the USDF Instructor/Trainer Workshops and Pre-Certification together in Utah over the past year. We all passed our final testing! I owe the local Utah trainers an enormous "Thank You!" for helping to arrange facilities, horses and demo riders - even coming to my rescue when there were bumps in the road. What a supportive group. I literally could not have done it without all of you. The USDF faculty, examiners and organizers were amazing throughout the whole process. Special thanks also to Haley Johnson, who I met last year in Utah and who graciously agreed to be my groom and moral support for testing weekend! Thanks to Jennifer Baumert for encouraging me to go through the program in the first place. Of course thanks to my students and horses here at home that have helped me develop the skills and experience to get through this successfully and who endured a few extra lunge line lessons to help me practice for testing! As always, the staff back home at Spring Hill was amazing - the last thing you want is a sick horse at home when you're travelling, but all was well thanks to them and I only freaked out a little. I'm excited and proud to call myself a USDF Certified Instructor through Second Level! This program was rigorous and challenging, but I truly believe in it and I encourage all my fellow instructors to participate. You'll be better for it!
Sweet Water Equestrian had a great time at Regionals! Rhumba and Leah were Reserve Champion in the Open Grand Prix Freestyle, and 7th in the Grand Prix Championship. Brio Tanzen, owned by Dale Lewis and Holly Sampson of Himmel Tanzen Farm was 3rd in his Second Level warm up class with a 69% and 9th in his Second Level Championship with a 64%. I'm so proud of Alexandra LaFleur and her young horse Hubert who earned a 65% in their Jr/Yr Training Level Championship. He had some young horse stunts over the weekend but they've gone from green-broke to Regionals in the last year and I'm so happy for them! Thank you so much to Sarah Chiodi (super-groom) who took photos and video, made the horses beautiful and kept them happy and comfy all week and provided quite a few laughs to boot. Always a good time!
Thanks to everyone who makes these shows happen. It's no easy feat. Thanks to all the competitors who kept it classy, fun and competitive in literally every type of weather! We are a hard core bunch!
A special thanks to my amazing family who all showed up the day after my grandma's belated memorial service to watch my freestyle that I created in honor of my grandparents. I think they would have like the Glenn Miller Orchestra inspiration! It all seemed perfect.
I had a blast showing my two red-headed boys. They are such good horses - so much fun to ride and so sweet to be around. They are generous beyond measure and I love them dearly!
More photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/nqfZzrkomeap3AFM6
Had such a blast showing Rubinstar this weekend at beautiful Otter Creek Farm! This was his first time in the show ring in several years and his first time out at Grand Prix. We had a nice test with some mistakes on Saturday for a 59%, much better today to end on a 64%! He's an amazing horse, and so much fun to show. Thanks to Deanna Landwehr for all your work with him a while back, and to Anoka Equine Veterinary Services for taking such good care of him when he got sick in 2014. I wasn't sure if he'd ever make a full recovery but he feels better than ever at the age of 18! What a horse!
Congratulations to my students Erin Paul, Kate Hinz, Alex LaFleur and Amy Miller on successful shows also! Everyone had at least one blue ribbon on their stall and scores to be proud of! Thanks always to super groom Sarah Chiodi and my parents for helping out, feeding us, cheering us on and taking photos and video! Otter Creek Farm put on an excellent show as usual!
A big old CONGRATULATIONS to Amy Miller and Sebastian on their USDF Bronze Medal! Suffice it to say that Amy took a risk on this horse, worked like crazy and it has paid off. Sebastian and Amy were one of my first real training projects, so it's a very special experience for me to see this partnership through to successful Third Level after starting at Intro Level five years ago! It's been an amazing journey!
This was a big show for everyone! Amy Miller and Teresa Kolar made their Third Level debuts. There were nerves, but we ended the show with a champagne toast to Teresa's BRONZE Medal! It's really an especially incredible achievement for Teresa - she has worked so hard to not only train Ava up the levels (the "easy" part), but even more so has been completely dedicated to helping Ava keep her wits about her at shows. It has not always been easy, but Teresa has never given up on her sweet mare despite the many challenges. To go in and get her Bronze Medal scores on the first trip out is just amazing. Congratulations T! Amy just missed her scores with a 58% and 59.3% - so very, very close! It's early in the year and she's got her game face on for the next show out. My partner Brio Tanzen, owned by Dale Lewis and Holly Sampson of Himmel Tanzen Farm had a great show out at Second Level, with a 70% and 73% on Saturday and 68% on Sunday. He was Open Reserve High Point on Saturday and is all qualified for Regionals at Second Level. He is such a blast to show - so honest and reliable - he really tries hard to make it better each time out. Thanks as always to NWDA for a spectacular show, and to the village. We really do know how to cheer each other on and mean it! It was a special added treat to watch a rare Century Ride. Not a dry eye in the house!
My photo and quote was recently featured in The Dressage Foundation Annual Report. Many thanks to TDF for helping make this program possible for me, and for helping Utah Dressage Society to host!
So proud of Annah Riggs and Alexandra LaFleur for the super job they did last weekend bringing their young horses out to the North Woods Dressage Association Schooling Show and for all the solid work they've been doing to bring them along! Way to go ladies! Super scores, happy horses and lots of pretty ribbons. These horses are good 'mudders'! Even through the pouring rain and torrential storms, they performed beautifully. Thanks NWDA for another great show!
Rhumba and I had a blast doing our Grand Prix Freestyle for the first time (and my first freestyle, ever, eek!) We had a 65% both days and are now all qualified for Regionals! We had so much fun. Thanks to the horse that makes me believe we can do anything and then tries his darndest to make it true. Sarah and Sebastian had a successful Training Level debut, staying between 60-64%, even winning a class and very, very narrowly missing a Regional qualifying score. Add to that a rocking competitor's party and impromptu Prince dance party, and me being so sick that I ended up with a serious case of laryngitis, this is one for the memory books for sure. Thanks to the best village around for making these shows so amazing in so many ways and of course to Otter Creek Farm for putting on these fabulous shows where all the magic happens.
We had a great clinic here with Ulf Wadeborn. Rhumba and I had super lessons, working on some tempo and alignment fixes and getting some feedback on our Grand Prix Musical Freestyle that I've been working on. Planning to ride it for the first time in May, so I need to get it dialed in soon! I also rode Sebastian through a demo of Third Level, Test 1 for a Judging Seminar and Scribing School that Ulf led. It was a great experience for him and we scored a 63%. Not bad for a first run through! Amy is hoping to show him Third Level this year so it was a good test run.
Thanks again to The Dressage Foundation for support to attend the USDF Instructor/Trainer Certification Workshops. You can read my report on my experience by clicking here.