Monday, March 26, 2012

Top Three Finish for Rox at Southern Pines!

Rox was great all weekend at the Southern Pines Horse Trials II in North Carolina and finished third in only his second time competing at advanced level! In the dressage everything has improved: from the minute he got there he went right to work and he was very mature. He likes the atmosphere and the challenge of advanced level. I felt like he even improved in the ring and was there to work. I felt like every movement was an improvement from our last event. I’ve just been working on improving everything, getting him stronger and getting our changes thing, but I think his new maturity was key. He was trying really hard through the whole test; he’s getting fitter and all of this is still new to him so I’m really pleased.

Cross-country was really hard! In the division there were quite a few problems on cross-country, including quite a few falls at the water which had a hard gymnastic line. Out of the first five or six rides, several fell, so it was a rough start to the advanced division. We certainly had areas on course that he felt green since he’s new to the level, and I knew it was a lot to ask, but he went out and impressed me with every jump. There are still areas to improve on but, like smoothing it out a bit but he was quick to my aids, handled the turning questions, and was totally on the ball. I haven’t been pushing for the time at advanced yet but he was one of the quicker rounds of the advanced – he was right there in the mix. He started out ready to run and jump, and the nice thing is, as he gets stronger and fitter, he doesn’t start pulling harder. His next outing will be The Fork, where he’ll do his first CIC3*, and the plan then is to aim for the CCI3* at Jersey Fresh.

For news and photos of Rox at Southern Pines check out

This was Cavaldi (Joey’s) first competition out since Galway Downs in November. I bumped him down to the intermediate on purpose because I wanted him to have a nice easy outing. I planned not to run cross-country because he’s jumping well and I didn’t feel like the run would be what he needed, so they allowed me to do Southern Pines as a combined test. He was full of himself and glad to be there but he felt ready to go – you could tell he was looking for the start box! I think it was good to get him out and keep it all a little easier. He’ll run advanced at The Fork and finally get to set foot on the cross-country course. So far this season he feels really good in his fitness and training so we’re moving forward with our plans to go to Badminton!

Young Horses Finish on Top at Pine Top

At Pine Top I ran Ricardo Time, Sahara and Textile all in the novice; that was their last trip down here in Aiken and they were all quite good, it was a nice way to end the season. It was Tex’s first novice and he jumped his best yet, especially on cross-country. Sahara put in another rgreat outing and finished 6th in a big novice division. RT has grown up so much down here and won his division. He scored a 21.7 in dressage and added a couple of time faults on show jumping to finish with the lowest score of the weekend! They’re all going to have some downtime after they head back to New Jersey this week while I stay in Aiken to prepare for The Fork with the upper level horses, Rox and Joey.

The Fork will be Castle Jordan’s first outing since the CIC3* at the Fork last year, and he’s going to go training with my student Beth. They’ve been doing really well together and he’s staying sound after re-injuring a tendon; he had a long time off and is doing quite well.

After The Fork I’ll drive home to New Jersey and then start preparing for the trip to England!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Kristin and Cavaldi Accepted to Compete at Badminton

Kristin and Cavaldi have been accepted to compete at the 2012 Badminton Horse Trials CCI4* in England! Here is the official list of accepted riders. Last year their plans where cut short when Cavaldi had a minor but untimely injury, so let's all wish them a safe, sound and successful preparation for the big event!

For more information check out Eventing Nation
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Team Training Session with Ballylaffin Bracken

I had a jump lesson yesterday with Lauren Hough during the Eventing Team training session at Bridle Creek Farm in Aiken. It was my second lesson with her and I’m finding her a fabulous trainer who’s been incredibly helpful improving Rox and me. Rox is changing so much and has matured so much, and we are trying to fine-tune his canter and rhythm. We want him to quietly open his stride to the fences without getting too big or excited, to still have his energy contained. By the end of the lesson he was just nailing it! It’s fun because he’s so workable and rideable now and we are just fine-tuning to get the best out of him.

We spent a lot of time working on rollback turns and bending lines. Lauren was making sure we got the horses to bend through the lines, not just turning while keeping their bodies straight. We did a lot of s-turns over bigger fences and tried to get different distances to the fences, and keep the rhythm. It was difficult, especially through the turns, and the canter obviously is the key. It was very informative and helpful – I left feeling like I really took something away from the lessons. I think Lauren is a really great addition as a trainer for the team!

I had a flat ride today with Mark and felt like we were able to pick up where we left off last month. Rox was much stronger; a month ago he was getting a little overwhelmed with the pressure and now he feels more confident and like he’s understanding things better.

One of the biggest things I have trouble dealing with is working on the quality of his gaits. Rox is a very big horse, (and I swear he’s growing!), and he tends to be a bit lazy behind. I’m always working on getting him quick off my leg, but now he’s strong and fit and if I push too much I get too much horse. I want him to be responsive and light to my leg, so I can literally think forward and he’s there, but not nag him with my leg with makes him both dull to my leg and gets him fired up.

We also touched on the flying changes: the biggest thing with Rox is he leans forward too much trying to find my hand, which makes him late behind. We worked on keeping him straight and using a very supportive outside rein, keeping him forward and off his forehand, which keeps the changes clean. He’s more relaxed and understands things much better now. We also worked on his half-passes, which he’s quite good at, but again I want him quick off my leg and not falling in. I’m getting half-passes that are so much better quality than a month ago. I’m working on keeping him forward, light and responsive, so I’m not driving and pushing, which just wears us both out.

The timing of the training session is great because I gained so much and we both leave the lessons so much more confident, so we couldn’t have a better preparation for the Southern Pines Horse Trials next week.

The young horses, Ricardo Time, Sahara and Textile are all going Novice at Pine Top this weekend – their last run before they head back north. We are looking to syndicate RT and both Sahara and Textile are for sale, so this is a great opportunity to see them in action!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

First Advanced Horse Trials for Ballylaffin Bracken

Rox did his first full advanced horse trials at Pine Top in Thompson, GA and jumped around the best he has ever felt! Dressage went very well and I was quite pleased with his maturity, being his first time putting all of the advanced movements together at a show. There is still plenty to improve on before Southern Pines, but it is a very good starting point!

A huge thank you to Kate Samuels for the photos!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Announcing the Ricardo Time Syndicate

Ricardo Time is a very exciting young prospect who has excelled in his first competitions in the United States. Imported from Ireland last year, he shows tremendous potential for the sport of eventing. "RT" is currently offered for sale or syndication and Kristin would love to keep him in her string of horses. You can become a part of this talented horse's future - click below for details!

Learn more.