Last weekend we took a busload to a dressage show in Belleville at Misty Ayr Stables. Selena was doing five tests on two horses and Anne Marie was doing two tests on one horse. They won six out of seven of their tests… however… we have to own up to there being nobody else in the classes. But they did beat the percentages and were delighted with their results. It would have been nice to have had someone to square off against, however. Solo, Colombo and Peanuts were the winners of two tests each. The seventh test was also Solo, however Selena found herself directionally challenged and Anne Marie’s test reading wasn’t stellar… All in all a very good day. We also took Watson’s Aleya for her very first party. She took it all in stride.
The weekend coming up is Touch a Rainbow with a wad of babies going out to play for the first time. Selena is riding three first timers, two of our baby sale horses and a client’s horse. She will be the entry level queen. It will probably be a tougher ‘clear round’ to get than Rolex! Watson’s Cebastian and Watson’s Bruin get to go to their first ever event with Selena and Watson’s Whistler who is a more experienced boy will be running there with or working student Janice Joad. Tess Greer who runs Touch A Rainbow at her Terelisa Farm near Brockville, donates the profits from the show to riding for the disabled. I hope some of you will be along to support this great fundraiser and fun event.
We have had our roundpen resurfaced and it’s wonderful. I had forgotten how easy it is to make them work on the lunge when you have a roundpen as a tool I am sure they exist in the UK but I certainly never worked anywhere that had one until I came to Canada. They are THE world’s greatest facility when it comes to working with the unbroken/newly broken horses. There is just nowhere to go except forward and whether on the lunge or under saddle that is truly a helpful concept when you are breaking and backing the babies. Bringing on the greenies is probably my favourite part of the job. Right now we have six. Four Watson horses, I have sat and walked on two, walked and trotted on one and Selena has lain over the fourth. We are very wary of Selena doing ANY backing or green horse stuff this Summer with the WEGs approaching fast. Usually I would be the ground person and Selena (who is a GREAT deal more supple than I) will sit on board. This year we are switched around as we did prior to the Olympics. Selena is very careful not to take any risks she doesn’t have to, she is extremely proud of her position as a Team member. In 2007 she slipped in a stall, put out her arm and dislocated her shoulder about six weeks before the Pan Ams…..Murphy’s law.
We are just as careful with Colombo. Trying to keep a rational balance between over working him and getting as much practice time in on him as possible. He is on a varied schedule that includes hacking, hillwork, dressage schools, gymnastics once a week to keep his back muscles loose for dressage and keep and build the strength for jumping slowly but no galloping at present. We are trying to bring him into lots of work but bring his fitness up very gradually so as not to peak early. It’s quite a balancing act, especially since he is still carrying quite a bit of firm muscle from Kentucky. Getting fit early is as much of an issue as not being fit enough on the date. He gets four big feeds of Purina Trimax when he is in full competition work and only two feeds when he is on holiday or in light work. Right now he is just progressing from two to three and sometime halfway through July when he is in faster work, that will go back up to four feeds. At two feeds he eats everything that comes near him, at three feeds he eats it all in his own good time and at four feeds we are adding water that has had a mint dissolved in it and any other little tricks we can think of to get the calories into him that his body needs to fuel the workload ahead of him. This is more common with very fit horses on a lot of grain than uncommon. I remember getting a horse called Perrin ready for Badminton one year and she was a VERY difficult feeder. We had her on six small feeds, the first was at four and the last was at 12. WHAT a schedule, but if you gave the food divided into less feeds she wouldn’t finish it and that starts a downwards spiral when you are feeding a fit horse for a big event.
Selena and I are leaving Hawkridge Farm after the WEG. We are actively looking for a farm/barn to rent. The Kingston area would be nice but we are open to suggestion. We need from 12 to 20 stalls and could take more if that was what was offered. All year round or eight or nine months of the year, again, we are open to suggestion. Just thought it might be worthwhile putting it out here.
Solo’s next outing is Headwaters. Hopefully he will then qualilfy for Will O Wind CIC**. He is entered, but with Solo life is always new and exciting…..!