New students seem to be coming out of the woodwork and there has been a jump in my blog readership, so I have been trying to keep in touch... but I also have this massive pile of reading that I need to get through before Saturday morning. I opted for the "L" Program's flash drive and went to printing it out on our home computer. It took a looong time to print and made me even more nervous about reading it all. Once upon a time, I was an English major with the standard ability to read/write at record speeds. Now, as a horse trainer, it has been a while since I have encountered educational materials - almost 4 years, if you count my graduate school days :/ Anyhow. Wish my luck! I wish I could write more, but I have to go do my homework.
Jennifer Foulon, her horse Ferrero bedecked in ribbons, and coach Hilary Moore at Lendon Gray's Youth Dressage Festival. The Youth Festival is a flagship event for Dressage4Kids.
PVDA’s Jennifer Foulon at Lendon Gray Youth Festival in Saugerties, NY
By Hilary Moore
You simply cannot understand the experience of going to Lendon Gray’s Youth Dressage Festival without actually being there. Mix two parts riding camp with one part horse show, add a touch of the World Cup and a sprinkle of boot camp, and you can begin to imagine what it was like to be at Saugerties, August 7-9, 2009.
Dressage4Kids is not just a dressage show for Young Riders. It scores each junior/young rider’s ability in a dressage test, as well as an equitation class and a written exam. Individual prizes are given for each portion/overall score, and teams are also placed for highest overall average. Riders are encouraged to present themselves for a scored turnout inspection before their first ride and all competitors above Second Level must participate in a mock vet jog.
This year, the PVDA’s own Jennifer Foulon attended and we are very proud to announce that she placed in every aspect of her competition! This was Jennifer’s first trip to Saugerties and she came home with SEVEN ribbons. She earned fourth overall in the Training Level and seventh in the First Level divisions for ages 15-17, scoring a 92% in written, placing 5th after a tie for 1st (94%) and a tie for 3rd (93%); 95% in equitation and placing 3rd; and for the dressage tests, a 64.722% in First 2 and 64.8% in Training 4 placing 6th.
Awards also were given to recognize horsemanship and Jennifer missed placing for best turnout of the entire show (225+ competitors) by 1 point!
To prepare for this unique horse show Jennifer had to read specific books on horse teeth and horsemanship, as well as prepare her equitation and dressage tests. This included a book club (that we organized with the Sugarloaf Chapter); equitation work without stirrups and on the lunge; and
running through the dressage tests at home and at shows. After long hours of studying, an equitation win at the Region 1 Youth Team Championship and a whopping 76.8% in their Training Level test at the Spring PVDA show, Jennifer and her horse Ferrero were ready.
In addition to the hours of testing, there was lots of fun to be had. We browsed the tack sale and vendors, watched the Prix Caprilli classes and Friday evening went to dinner with members of the WPDA team and their coaches (Krista Tycho Noone and Amy Hoffield). Saturday evening brought a Grand Prix freestyle and demonstration by 2009 Brentina Cup
rider, Jocelyn Weise, aboard Lamborghini. She rode to music from the Wizard of Oz and performed movements with commentary by Pam Goodrich. Jennifer’s classes were guest judged by Kathy Connelly and Michael Barisone, and the show also hosted Margaret Freeman, Pam Goodrich, Liz Austin, and Lendon herself.
Between stable management, competition and the required two hours of volunteering, Jennifer had quite a busy weekend! However, I do believe that only junior/young riders truly interested in learning every aspect of this sport can succeed and this Festival encourages every competitor to be a wellrounded horsewoman from the time they arrive to the time they leave. Of any other junior/young rider event I have ever attended, The strict rules and tightly run show encouraged excellent horsemanship or sportsmanship. Not once did I see a kid sitting around while their groom mucked a stall. Quality riding, horse handling, sportsmanship and effort were generously rewarded with prizes like new dressage saddles, embroidered coats and recognition from U.S. Team riders.
Lendon Gray’s Youth Festival is a perfect environment for teaching a younger rider how to correctly succeed in this sport. A postevent quote on the Chronicle Forum sums up the feeling I left Dressage4Kids with: “If you had more people like Lendon (Gray) in every area, the Dutch and Germans would have some real competitors in the future."
The other day I was driving by the new shops on 28 and saw a horse trailer full of riding helmets parked out front. I knew The Surrey was moving in, but I nearly drove off the road in excitement! Tonight they are hosting their reopening party and I have already been in 2 times, but I am definitely attending. I would like to imagine that I supporting the local economy when I buy any/everything at their store, but it is mostly because I have this nasty shopping thing. Ask anyone who has run into me at a tack shop and they will tell you that they left with at least $200 worth of stuff they never knew they needed. Maybe that is the real reason I w
3 hours later, I have almost booked my flights to Utah :( The championships didn't even have me as stressed as this process! My hands are tired from typing "WAS" and "SLC" in every online booking site and I can barely see the computer screen. Amazingly, the flights I want still exist, but as soon as I try to purchase them there is an error on the screen. 10 minutes of waiting on the phone has now gotten me to a person that is more capable of doing this than I am. Bless his heart. Now I just have to get over the neck cramps from the stress of it all and start reading for the "L" program!
I really hope no one expects a photo with this post!
You never know how many fans you have until you relaunch your blog. I was shocked to see how many people sent me a message, letting me know they were happy to see my blog back. So now the pressure is on to entertain everyone... fingers crossed :)
I guess Promontory couldn't get enough of me, because I am headed back to Utah for the USDF "L" Program. In a little over a week, I am going to expand my horizons and begin training as a judge. Perhaps it was the long hours o
If dressage shows are like little horse villages, than BLMs is the capital city. Everywhere we went at the Championships, you saw horse people - Hilda Gurney waiting in the lobby, Canaan Ranch at the Happy Apple for dinner and TeamworkDressage's trailer at the toll booth. Short of Florida and Devon, there is also no place I have been to that allows you to see such good riding/training around every corner.
Within feet of each other, I saw Heather Mason put in a gorgeous ride - that won her class - and Chris Hickey warming up Michael on his FEI mount. On the adjoining hill, L program participants were learning with Lois Yukins and I had the extraordinary chance to ride all of my non-FEI classes for Anne Gribbons, Hilda Gurney, Lisa Schmidt and Angela Littlefield... which taught me to be thankful for a master judge's eye, even if it is intimidating!
Being around so many skilled dressage competitors, judges, trainers and other professionals made every big (and small) success this past weekend even sweeter. There are only so many people to give you feedback at home and besides your trainer(s), it is sometimes hard to believe that your friends/family aren't just giving flattering you. However, when an Olympic judge tells you it was good, you believe it - and suddenly you believe your friends at home a little bit more.
If you do not have a cavesson, the USDF recommends that you attach the lunge line to the bride like so:
Step 1: Put the line through the bottom part of the inside bit ring.
Step 2 + 3: Put the line under the bottom of the bit ring and over again.
Step 4: Put the line through the top of the bottom part of the ring again.
Step 5: Continue under the horse's chin to the outside bit ring.
Step 6: Clip the lunge line to the outside bit ring.
*This prevents the line from tightening when pressure is applied. If the line is put over the horse's head, it creates a severe gag-like quality in the bit. If the bit is not looped around the inside bit loop or a Y attachment is used, the bit has a nutcracker-like action when pressure is applied.
A cavesson is the best choice, while using this method of attaching the lunge line to the bit is the second best option.
All the horses need a little down time, so many of our horses/students are having a low key couple of weeks... however, some of them are working away and I am very proud to report a few huge milestones:
Ellen, for her first canter on her new horse Midas!
Jill, for working without stirrups for 2 days in a row - in 74% humidity - and still wanting a third lesson this week :)
Jennifer S. for moving her horse up to solid First Level work in record time!
Jennifer F. for venturing far beyond the farm, perfecting the trotting poles and bravely cantering up those hills, on a horse that might get 76% in the show ring... but isn't so much a schoolmaster on the cross country ;)
Janice for taking that extra step of going to Pilates and improving her riding beyond lessons in the saddle.
Norma Lynn, for running through the entire test in sitting trot.
... and Barb. For putting up with us all, when it is 150 degrees out :)
Barb, Nicole and I are busy with upcoming clinics!
Starting this weekend, Barb is teaching a goal setting clinic up at Dona Ruth's Ships Quarters Farm.
Next weekend, Barb will be teaching a dressage clinic at Potomac Riverside in Dickerson, MD.
The last week in August, Nicole Uphoff-Selke will be teaching a 3-day clinic at Dominion with us.
... and I just confirmed a September 28 Lungeing Clinic with Great and Small in Boyds, MD.
Contact me for more information about any of these great opportunities. There is still room in many of the clinics and ALWAYS room for auditors.