Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the evening before our last lesson with Hubertus on this trip, I am reflecting on what has taken place over the last three months. What a roller coaster of emotions. I made the decision to come back to Germany and get the horses finished to Grand Prix and that is exactly what has transpired. It was not without good days and difficult days, one step forward and two steps back days, but experiencing all of that is what makes the end result so sweet. It is so important to work with a trainer that you have complete trust and faith in because sometimes, you have to go completely on faith that you are on the right path and it will take you to your goal. I am so proud of the horses because they really had to get out of their comfort zone to get into their achievement zone. They certainly did and came out on the other side healthy and confident in themselves and their new level of work. Now when I ask for the one time changes or the piaffe/passage, they know exactly what is expected. Over the next year, they will refine their skills at GP and we can work on the details of the level. The hardest part is past us now, they know how to do everything that they will ever have to learn, now we can work on expressing it more beautifully and with greater ease each day. That is the goal, it must become easy for the horse and the rider and be a pleasure to watch. We must create the desire in the spectator to want to ride such a horse. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with these horses and for the three of us to grow together to become the greatest version of the grandest vision that I have for us.
The horse transport will pick us up day after tomorrow at 4:30 a.m. and we will drive 5 hours to the Amsterdam airport. The flight leaves at 3:00 p.m. and arrives in Miami at 6:50 p.m. (your time is 6 hours behind ours so it will be 1:50 a.m. for us). Thank you for joining us on this leg of our journey. I hope you will continue to follow our progress as the Winter Show season begins in FL. Please check our website, www.equisentialinc.com for updates.

Monday, December 10, 2007

For those of you that are wondering, I am still among the living. I have had trouble accessing my blog site to post a new one, but at last, I am online. Mary Anne made the trip over without a hitch and from the time I picked her up at the airport until the time I dropped her off to go home, we moved at a fast pace. It was much easier getting ready for the second horse show with her help. The show was in Appelhulsen, which is normally a one and 1/2 hour drive. We schooled at home on Friday morning and did not get to leave for the show until 4:30 that afternoon which made the drive take three hours between the traffic, darkness, rain and a 10k traffic jam. We had a pleasant surprise when we finally did arrive at the show, we were in huge permanent stalls in the same building as the warm up and competition arena. By the time we got unloaded and the horses settled in, it was 10:00p.m. The secretary's office was still open so we went in to get our ride times (they are never available until after 6:00p.m. the night before you ride) and wouldn't you know, there were 53 horses in the PSG and the class started at 6:15 A.M.!!!!!! Of course, my ride time on Dolly was 6:40A.M. It is now 10:00P.M. the night before, we have had no dinner and have no idea where the hotel is. The secretary was kind enough to give us directions in GERMAN!!!!! I certainly am glad this wasn't my first week in Germany. I smiled and told Mary Anne with all confidence, No Problem. Miraculously, we found the hotel and were looking forward to a quick meal and some sleep. We got the sleep, but not the meal, there was nothing open in the village and the hotel restaurant was closed. At least the beds were clean and comfortable but Mary Anne could not get over the governor on the hot water that didn't allow it to get warmer than 75 degrees. We slept fast and were back at the showgrounds at 5:00 on Sat. morning. Hubertus was going to come to the show to school us but even he declined the 6:40 ride time. He did come for Donneur at 1:30. In spite of the unusual conditions, both horses performed better than at the Paderborn show and scored 61 for Dolly and 64 for Donneur. Dolly had a couple of mistakes and Donneur was spooky at the 3 judges boxes on the C end of the arena, but both horses performed with more expression than the first show and Hubertus was pleased. It is really interesting to note that our horses and 5 others were the only ones to stay on the grounds. Everyone else trailered in and out. They arrive in the trailer tacked up, breeze in and do the test and go home tacked up. These horses do this weekend after weekend and have developed a tolerance for almost anything. It was also fun to see the FEI ponies, of which there were 35. They looked like miniature Dressage horses doing half passes and changes. I did get chosen with Donneur for a random vet inspection. After my class the vet had me take the saddle off and he walked around the horse, felt his back, made a cursory inspection of his legs and said OK. No blood samples or urine samples. When you go to these shows, you really need an advocate. There is no ring steward, the numbers are written on a blackboard for the order of go and you have to figure the rest out yourself. You are allowed to carry a whip of 120cm for national competitions(longer than we allow in the US) but I never had anyone check that or my bits. Mary Anne was particularly fascinated by the person using a can of spray foam to make the horses mouth look wet....... We did not make the top 12 cut to go on to the Intermediare 1 the next day with the likes of Michael and Ingrid Klimke. Klaus Balkenhol's daughter won the class. We packed up and drove back home that night. By the time we got back to our house at 9:00P.M. on Saturday night, we felt like we had run a marathon. But what a great surprise was waiting for us. Josef and Hildegard had put up a Christmas tree with lights on my terrace and made cookies for us. We fell into bed and slept hard and I am sure the horses did as well. Sunday we did all the horse laundry and got everything organized again for the coming week. Did I mention to you that we have an industrial size washer at the barn this year and a dryer? The dryer is more like a de-humidifier with a bigger motor. It extracts the water out of the laundry and you have to empty the water container afterwards. Mary Anne did get to see Hubertus ride the last day she was here. He has been off a horse for 5 weeks because of 2 cracked vertebrae, but after watching all the horses in the barn the week before with their normal riders and then seeing Hubertus on them, you thought it was a different horse! One last thing to add, on one of our trips into Paderborn, the road crew was washing the guardrails! Only in Germany!!!! We are starting the process for coming home, we fly on the 20th to Miami. The horses and I will stay in Wellington until the second week of Jan. while Dolly completes her CEM quarantine. The good news is that both horses are coming home with a good working understanding of everything from the Grand Prix. Mission Accomplished!!!!!!!!!