Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Next Steps

As some of you may have heard by now, the wednesday before Rocking Horse Spring I took a bad fall off of Chloe while practicing our show jumping. I'm not going to lie, and say it was not my fault or just a bad stroke of luck, because it wasn't. I made a bad call that ended up in Chloe half-jumping a vertical and me falling off of the side.

When I hit the ground, I knew something was up as I was unable to stand for a few minutes. Thankfully, I was still able to move all of my limbs and did not hit my head when I fell. Some of the girls were nice enough to drive me to the ER where some X-Rays were taken, and I was sent home with some pain medication. The first few days after that were pretty rough; I could barely walk, sit, or do anything comfortably. Because of this, I had to scratch both Chloe and Rio from the event, which was disappointing as both of them were making huge strides.

However, the pain persisted for a few weeks so I was sent in to an orthopedist, who took a closer look at my X-Rays and determined that I had fractured my L1 vertebrae in my back. As soon as those words were out of his mouth, my mouth dried up and my face went sheet white. I could not believe it. I thought that was it; I would never jump or event again.

After some discussion, I learned that it was something called a compression fracture, which means that the vertebrae is still intact, yet there is a fracture within it. Due to this, I was ordered to do no work or exercise for 4-6 weeks. This was crushing to hear, as in 6 weeks was the time I was scheduled to return to Massachusetts.

The decision was made for me to come home to have access to better doctors and to get an MRI to confirm that there was no further injury to my back than the fracture. I flew back home on Sunday night and saw the doctor today, who said that indeed I need 6 weeks of healing (only 3 more weeks from today!). The good news is that because I am young and otherwise healthy, he expects that I will make a full recovery. In terms of riding, it is slightly more complicated because another bad fall could further hinder the healing of my back. Because of this, I may have to wait slightly longer to ride again just to ensure that my back is strong.

Right now, I am unsure of what I will do to move forward. I hope to return to Florida eventually, even if just for a few weeks this summer to run around some great events and to be exposed to more of the horse world down there. As for the horses, Jeanie is going to take over the reins on Rio, and hopefully take him to his first training at Heart Of The Carolinas at the end of the month. Chloe is just going to do some trotting and flat work to keep fit, so that when I am able to ride again, I don't have to start from square one. Until we decide what I am going to do, both of the horses are going to stay down in Florida enjoying the sunshine, green grass and huge fields.

I will keep you all updated with what the final verdict is once it is decided, and thank you for all of the well wishes I have recieved. You guys are the best :).

Until next time,


P.S. Azalea finally had her foal!! Little Buzz was born at 2:30 in the morning on April 5. She is the cutest thing I have ever seen, and has a HUGE personality already!

So cute

The Duchess!

She is the cutest!

Rio is growing some muscle!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The End is a New Beginning

I have been avoiding writing this post as some of you who follow this blog may have noticed as it's been quite a while. Within the past month, I have come to an understanding that I cannot do the CCI* at Young Riders this summer as I will be turning 19 in 2014, even though I will be 18 at the time of the competition. 
When I first found out, I couldn't even look myself in the mirror. How could I have missed such a big rule? Still weeks later, I am gutted that I won't get to compete and help represent Area 1.
However, the end of Chloe and I's NAJYRC journey has given me some much needed time to step back and think.
From that, I've come to some conclusions:
1. I love horses and riding, as well as the incredibly supportive community entailed in eventing.
2. I have an amazing partner in Chloe, who is trying her heart out every single day, and agreeing to do everything I ask.
3. I have an amazing prospect in Rio, who is a remarkably different horse than when I first got him. (Especially because he is still only 6!)
4. There is more to my life than this one competition.
5. I have been so fortunate to have had this chance to come down to Ocala and live every little girls dream of being with ponies from dawn til dusk.

After a lengthy discussion with Jeanie and some much needed perspective and support from my parents, we have decided to re-route Chloe to the Hayguard Midsouth CCI* in Kentucky. This will give Chloe and I some more time to get comfortable at prelim, and takes the pressure off to get qualified for the Ocala CCI* in April, in order to be qualified for Young Riders. Now instead of nerves to get a NQR at Rocking Horse Spring, I could not be more excited to just go out and have fun, as that is the reason I do this.

Also, it gives me time to focus on Rio as well, who was great at Rocking Horse III last month, finishing 7th in novice (Chloe was 7th in prelim too!) He is so much better than when I got him I even have a hard time believing it! Then the plan is for him to move up to training at Rockimg Horse Spring! Very exciting!
The Duchess was double clear!

Such a shmuck!
Chloe at the Jump Xtreme last week.

For now, I am loving this crazy lifestyle and living my dream down here.

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A New Addition

Sorry for the radio silence! Things around here have been quite busy, as Jeanie was away in Germany for a week, my school courses have been getting increasingly time consuming and some new horses arrived at the farm. On that note, I would like to announce the addition of Fort Worth (Rio) to the family!

Rio is a coming 7 year old thoroughbred who has raced (and won!), fox-hunted, ran some point-to-point races and competed at one novice level event with Nate Chambers. He is super sweet and very willing. I am psyched to see what the future holds for us! The idea for Rio is that after NAJYRC this summer, Chloe will be leased out/partially retired and I will have Rio to ride and train!
First ride at the farm
As for Chloe, we were scheduled to be competing at the Ocala II H.T this past weekend, but our plans were cut short. We did an okay dressage test on Friday, but withdrew before the jumping phases on Saturday and Sunday. I made this decision because the show jumping ring was almost completely underwater, and although we could have done it, our confidence at this level is minimal, and I did not want to take any chances that could have potential setbacks.
Photo courtesy of Jeanie Clarke's Facebook
Although I was very excited to run again and the both of the courses looked fantastic, I am glad I made the decision I did. I would rather be cautious and keep a confident, sound horse than run around in the muck and potentially shake our confidence and have a lame horse. There are so many other events down here that I am confident we can still get our qualifications in time, and I cannot wait for the next one! Looking ahead, we have Poplar Place in March, Rocking Horse at the end of this month and other ones as well. I could not be happier with the way Chloe (and Rio!) are going, and I love every aspect of being down here. 
Chloe at the end of her gallop

The Duchess!
Although the decision to withdraw is not that big of a deal, it highlighted in my mind why I really do this, which is for the love of horses. After we got home from the show, although initially disappointed, I was completely content just riding around the farm on my fabulous horses. Getting to compete is just an extra plus that I am lucky enough to do.

Until next time,

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Calm After The Storm

WE DID IT!I could not be more proud of the performance that Chloe and I put in this past weekend at Rocking Horse.

The Duchess proved once again that she is the queen by scoring a 32.7 in dressage on Friday morning, which put us tied for 3rd place in a big division. I was trying out a new dressage saddle that will fit Chloe better, and the dressage test was my first actual ride in it. I think it is safe to say that Chloe liked it, as she had a big improvement in her suspension and shoulder movement.

Later in the afternoon we jumped our stadium round. After crashing into a warm up fence and making awkward eye contact with Joe Meyer as I struggled to regain my seating, we ended up with a decent round. We pulled the last rail of the triple combination, which was totally my error. Looking back, I realize what a silly mistake I made, and moving forward I will hopefully avoid it!
the first element of the 1-stride

Saturday was the day I had been terrified for-- Cross Country! After re-walking the course and managing to mildly calm myself down enough to function, we headed out on what would be the best 6 minutes of my life. Chloe was such a rockstar-- so straight on, and never questioning my requests. She soared over some tricky combinations without batting an eyelid. We conquered our nemesis's of corners and skinnies through difficult questions, both of which had given us some trouble in our schooling.
bookin' it across the field! Credit to Talia
We managed to get around clear, only picking up some time faults. The run was very educational for me, and I think in order to hopefully come closer to the optimum time in the future, Chloe will have to be fitter, and I will have to be more economical in the lines that I pick through the course.

This event counts as a qualifier towards a CCI* in the spring, which means we are one step closer to our goal, even though we have a tough road ahead!

taking a snooze after the weekend
I could not be more happy with Chloe, and we definitely have some things to work on before the next show, which seems to be just around the corner in a few weeks!
courtesy of my main girl Zoe 
Also of notable mention, another one of the working students had a phenominal weekend- Zoe and her insanely incredibly mare KEC Zara shaved 15 points off of their personal best to finish 3rd in training!!! Watch out for this pair at Rolex and the Olympics... seriously.
courtesy of Zoe's instagram
Until next time,


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ready for Rocking Horse

Oh my goodness time flies down here! I cannot believe I have already been here for 3 weeks! These past few weeks have been great, with Chloe and I improving so much, especially in the past week.

Chloe and I had a great cross country school at the beautiful Longwood Farm in Ocala where we practiced a bunch of combinations that will probably be on the prelim course this weekend-- coffins, banks, corners, turning combinations, basically everything you could think of. It was very eye-openeing for me because I realized that in order to get the jumps done well, I have to turn up the intensity of my riding.

Along with some solid dressage lessons, our farm hosted Dr. Christian Schaacht-- German trainer, FEI judge, and vet extraordinare. I took a jump lesson with him, and he really stressed how to more effectively use my body, without getting in the way of Chloe. The clinic was very helpful, and with all of the tricky gymnastics we did, set a great tone for the week we are moving up to prelim!

Angled jumps were another topic we covered in the clinic
 Yesterday I had another jump school to make sure that Chloe and I jumped our competition height (3'7") before the event. All I can say is WOW! Chloe was jumping out of her skin, and it solidified in my mind that I really have to ride strong to every jump to get the job done.

The Duchess!!
All in all, it has been a great week so far, and I am super excited for the event! Chloe and I have our last dressage school today to practice our test before the event (it's tomorrow!).

As I rush out to go set up the dressage arena, I leave you all with a picture from our hack a couple of days ago through the watermelon fields! Just look at that sky!

Until next time,


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Greetings from Florida!

Hello and welcome to my blog! I will be posting updates here about my adventures this winter working for Jeanie Clarke, with hopes of qualifying for Area 1's NAJYRC CCI* team.

The trip down to the farm was quite stressful- Talia and my flight out of Boston was delayed 4 hours due to the horrible weather, which meant that we would miss our shuttle to Ocala. Thankfully my mom found us an alternative ride, but we arrived around midnight on January 5th. Even though it was pitch black, we hiked out to the field where Chloe gets turned out so I could say 'Hi' before we went to bed.

 The back of the farm today.
A typical day for me as well as the other working students (Talia and Zoe) is this-- Out at the barn by 7 to bring in, feed, hay and water all the horses. Then we generally have a short break for breakfast before going out and doing the riding for the day, and then finishing up chores and feeding as early as 4:30 or as late as 8 pm. It is such a great experience so far, and I have only been here a little over a week!
 Chloe scoping out the sign at the end of our trot set

For housing, Talia and I are living in a camper together, which is quite an eye-opening experience for us. We do our own grocery shopping, and both work to make sure the camper is as clean as possible.
 This farm is just too beautiful!

This past weekend, Jeanie Clarke Eventing headed to the first event of 2014 at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala. Chloe and I were in a massive training division (26 pairs)! On Saturday, dressage went great (we got a 25.0 :)) and cross country was the most fun I have had in a loooong time. Chloe recovered fast, even though we went a little quickly across the course. She came out looking fresh for show jumping on Sunday, and we proceeded to be one of only five double clear rounds to finish in 1st place! I am still on 'Cloud 9' as a write this, and it was really positive way to start a challenging year.

I leave you with a picture of the Duchess being awesome over big drop on the course this past weekend.

Until next time,


Chloe rocking a big drop this past weekend at the Ocala H.T.