Monday, October 3, 2016

1 Year

1 year has come and gone since I moved to Washington, and it has been quite the year. I have met some amazing people, I have built a wonderful network of friends and clients, and have competed more than I thought I would. Things have not quite gone as planned, but I am continuing to forge ahead and am thankful for all the wonderful people who continue to support and inspire me.

Swaggy has continued to impress me and made the move up to Training level at Aspen Farms in September. We put in a solid and respectable dressage test, but sadly pulled 2 rails in the stadium, both of which were my fault as I reverted to bad habits. But once we were out on the cross country Swag showed me what he can really do as he flew around the biggest course he's ever seen and jumped everything brilliantly. We finished 9th in a large, competitive field.

We finished out our season with one more Training level at E.I. Horse Trials at theWashington State Horse Park. It was not our best dressage, but we made some huge improvements in the show jumping to pull just one rail (the very last fence on course)! Cross country yet again proved to be where Swag shines as he made easy work of the questions, including the drop into water. We finished 6th and to say I am pleased is an understatement. No matter what the results are competitively, this horse brings a smile to my face and keeps me sane. He continues to step up to the challenge and I am looking forward to what 2017 will bring.

I am continuing to teach and am now living out in Oak Harbor, traveling to Bellingham/Blaine about once a week. My wonderful group of students have been busy as well with Kim, Sandy, Hilary, and Amanda all competing at the Whidbey One-Days a few weeks ago. Hilary and her lovely mare, Georgia, joined Swag and I at EI and had a great showing, and we have just finished out the year with Danielle, Amanda, Sandy, Hilary, and Tesha all competing at the Derby this past weekend.

As the weather begins to turn, it's time to regroup, refocus, and reflect and what a wonderful and wild ride this past year has been. Thank you all for being a part of this journey!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Eventing for All Ages Camp Recap & Updates

August is in full swing. The older I get, the quicker time flies and some days it seems hard to keep up. This month is no exception. The month started off with a bang as I was the clinician for the "Eventing for all ages Camp" up at Sunset Park in Blaine. As the title suggests, the camp is open to riders of all ages, and levels, who express and interest in eventing. We had an amazing group of 13 riders!

Next up on the calendar is a derby at Polestar Aug 20th, Aspen Farms HT Sept 9-11, Whidbey One Day Back-to-Back Sept 17-18th, and E.I. HT Sept 24th-25th. I am aiming to move Swag up to Training level at Aspen, with EI as my back up (currently waitlisted for Aspen). I am beyond thrilled with how far Swaggy has come this year and I truly cannot thank everyone enough for all of your support. There is no way I'd be able to campaign his without the generosity shown by my friends and family. While I'm a long way off from my goals, every bit helps. I am still hopeful that I'll manage to earn enough to finish off the season, but need your help.

Eventing For All Ages Camp
Sunset Park, Blaine, Wa.

The Eventing for All Ages Camp is an annual fundraiser for the park put on by "Friends of Sunset. Day one consisted of semi-private dressage lessons. This gave me a chance to access the riders and give suggestions on how to improve their flatwork. Many of the comments given on day 1 continued on throughout the weekend. Balance, straightness, and rhythm. We finished the day with a ceremony which opened the newly renovated water complex and a group trail ride.

We started day 2 off with some hands on learning on how to set fences and measure distances. All of the riders helped to set the course before the first group rode. It gave everyone a chance to ask questions and see how you measure a horses stride. There were four groups of jumping lessons in the arena. We worked our way through the different exercises, a line, a bounce, and a combination, as well as several single fences. All of the groups made huge progress as we worked through each exercise and finished with a course to put the pieces together. For the afternoon session riders had a choice between working on their pacing (220mpm, 350mpm, 400mpm, etc) or doing a basic intro to cross country riding. Riders took turn trotting, galloping, and jumping, and everyone had a fantastic time. As we waited for dinner, Swaggy and I gave a demonstration on jumping on the lunge line. Swag proudly showed off his skills and loved all of the attention.

The final day of camp was cross country. We began the morning working with about half of the horses on the lunge line over fences. This allowed riders to see the horses work through some issues without the rider on their back. It was super educational and I think this could a clinic all by itself. It's amazing to see the different types of horses, those that jump quick and tense, and those that need to establish a better "go" button. 

We broke into groups of 3-4 riders for the ridden portion and had a great variety of levels. For some riders this was just about riding in an open space, while some of the more experienced pairs but different elements together such as a coffin, a skinny, and a bank combination. After a bit of practice riders were able to put it all together over a course. Everyone made huge progress over the 3 days it and was wonderful to see the pieces come together. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every rider and am already counting down the days until next year!

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Rebecca Farm 2016 is a wrap! What an amazing trip, I'm already counting down the days to next year. We arrived late Monday evening a long day of driving (11hrs). Swag traveled well and we settled into our tent at dark.  Tuesday morning arrived quickly and we headed out again for a cross country schooling at nearby Herron Park. I'm pretty sure Swaggy gave me quite the look as I asked him to load back into the trailer! Swag felt great as we schooled a few fences and I gave him a chance to stretch his legs, working on our gallop and schooled him through the water complex. Wednesday was spent walking the cross country, riding, bathing, and doing last minute tack cleaning.

The show began for us on Thursday, with our dressage just after 9am. It was a respectable test, with some tension in the transitions (something we are constantly working on) but I was overall please with the rhythm and consistency. A 31.3 put us in a tie for 9th, out of 25, with all of the scores being very close. After dressage there was not much time to prep as our cross country took place just before noon. My goal for this course was to ride him a bit more forward and this was the perfect course to do that on. The first few fences got him jumping boldly and we settled into stride quickly. Fence 4 was down towards a pond, through a narrow and shadowy opening and Swag gave a look as I am sure he thought we were going swimming. Once he saw the fence we were on our way, up a hill, through the water and onto the half coffin, which rode brilliantly. There were several more galloping fences before the course took us to a brush with a cabin approximately 10 strides away. It was set to ride either as an "L" turn or a bit more direct with the second element jumped at an angle. As I prepare for our move up to Training, I took the more direct route, and was pleased with how easily Swaggy locked on. The final question of the course was a big downhill approach to a water complex which gave you a couple of options. I again took the "harder" more direct route, finishing a good 20 seconds under the optimum time. We moved up to 7th.

Friday was a rest day before show jumping early Saturday morning. It was a fair and inviting course and for the first time, I felt able to ride Swag a bit sharper off the ground, with him maintaining balance. Fence #2 was a pink and white upright vertical and while I gave it the best ride I know how, I got ahead in my shoulder and we sadly had that rail. 4 faults put us in 9th overall.

The rest of Saturday was spent watching cross country and packing us, as we headed out early on Sunday morning. Another memorable Rebecca Farms is over. The courses and facility there are beautiful and I leave feeling like my horse is more than ready to move up this fall.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Thank you

Thank you so much to my amazing friends who have so generously helped me with my “Classic Harbor” fund. I’ve got enough to go to Montana in a few weeks! Excited to be going back to an amazing venue. It truly is one of the biggest and best events in the US, Swaggy is ready. In case anyone missed my original email/plea for help and update, you can find it here… 

Danielle and Joules at Thunderbird
I am still working hard teaching as many lessons and clinics as possible. I’ve just returned from the Thunderbird Horse show in Canada where one of my students is competing under the tutelage of Greg Best. THF student Danielle, and her horse Joules, have successfully moved up the the 1.10m division in the jumper ring and we’re so fortunate to be only and hour and a half from this beautiful venue. Next weekend is the Whidbey Horse Trials, Rebecca Farms in Montana, and then an Eventing camp in early August. 

While I’ve been busy, Swaggy is being ridden by 15yr old student, Grace. Grace has only ridden him about a dozen times and they competed together last weekend in Oregon for the first time. Grace gave him a stellar ride, double clear jumping on both days to bring home 6th (out of 19). Grace will be competing Swaggy next weekend at the Whidbey Horse Trials while I am still working on raising funds to compete him myself this fall. Our plans are to head to Montana in 3 weeks, and I then hope to move him up to Training level in either August or September. 

Thank you again to everyone for the kind words, encouragement, and general support. Happy 4th of July!

Monday, June 27, 2016

July is coming!

Summer is in full swing, and July will be the busiest month of all. Danielle set off for Canada this morning. She's competing at Thunderbird this week and will be coached by Greg Best. Lucky girl! Danielle and her mare, Joules (aka La Jolla SF), are competing in the 1.0m jumper division. They've been hard at work and are more than ready. I'll be heading up later this week to watch. Good luck Danielle and Joules!

Swaggy and Grace competed in their first event together this week down in Oregon. While I was unable to go, I received lots of wonderful photos and videos throughout the weekend and am very proud of their performance. Grace gave Swag a great ride and they finished on their dressage score, earning 6th place! This is Swag's first eventing ribbon and I couldn't be prouder. This pair will head to Whidbey July 8-10th, which is coming up quickly.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Updates

A HUGE thank you for the kind and generous support for my competition fund. I am now entered at Rebecca Farm due to your generosity. I hope to move Swag up to training level this fall. For more information, or to make a contribution, please click on the link below.

Lessons and clinics are in full force and the summer is BUSY! A few updates for the calendar...

  • June 18th Rainbow Meadows
  • June 19th Cross Country  at Sunset
  • July 8-10 Whidbey Island HT
  • July 16-17th Camp for Adults in Bellingham (tentative)
  • July 21-24th Event at Rebecca Farm! 
Swaggy is currently being ridden by young rider, Grace Murphy, while her own horse recovers from colic surgery. This is giving Swag the opportunity to get out an compete while I continue to try and build my business. Grace is doing a fantastic job with him and I'm excited to see them show this summer.

(Below- Grace and Swag at the Emily Hammock clinic)