Wednesday Sept 13

First of all I’d like to wish Brian Leith a very happy birthday! He’s dealing with the aftermath of Irma, which means no presents, no cards, no cell service????

Today was excellent! First Anne Marie and I rode Riley and Woody with Bruce. We warmed up while watching Lainey ride a horse of Buck’s on the flat. Andrea was flatting as well. All the foals came to assist the spectators including Valerie Ashker. (So nice to see the mother/daughter team.) Sophia ran through her test again today as a prep for her 9:00 a.m. test tomorrow.

AM had a show jumping lesson with Bruce and I did some filming. (Thank you to Celeste for jump crew) They started off doing four logs on an oval around the spiny before heading to a colored vertical working on rhythm and acceptance of the light contact. Then practiced a wide natural oxer, six bending strides to the vertical, making sure to wrap around the oxer so that the next six strides were easy and even. After that she did five verticals one stride apart with really good ground lines on them to help Riley rock back. She only had to repeat those a few times to get a good shot in and with longer reins. Then they did a triple combo which included a square oxer, one stride to a vertical three strides to a ramping oxer. The horses really wrap around the square oxer then you had to ask for the one stride then quiet three strides to the last oxer. Later on Bruce had her turn a bending line left to another oxer so you had to land thinking and in control. Both of them looked super, Riley is trying really hard and jumping very well.

Bruce jumped Mosses who made everything look easy, he could be an equitation horse he’s such a good jumper.
Next it was my turn for a dressage lesson on Woody. We had to head indoors as it began to rain quite hard and we all know Woody is made of sugar. ????

We’ve been working on our turn on the haunches and walks (yes walks…all of them!!) medium, extended, collected and everything in between.

Next I usually go straight into canter thinking forward in the beginning, then forward and back with micro adjustments (5mph, 6mph, 7mph) Then canter walk canter transitions trying not to let him “dump” the front end i.e. get low and drop behind the leg. Once that all feels good we start half passing, increase and decrease the stride within the lateral movement. Now it’s time to give him another walk break practicing the turn on the haunches and walks again with a few halt rein backs as well.

Back into canter this time working on maintaining the “jump” in the step while adding counter canter loops and a few flying changes. Then into trot half pass, changing the flexions (again with micro adjustments) without changing the angle or direction. Mix it up with some shoulder in to renvers down the long sides. Then a little increase and decrease within the shoulder in and take it into medium trot across the short diagonal (as it appears in 3* test). Finished with two or three extended trots across the diagonal. Woody was super and Bruce agrees he looks ready to rock.????

After we gave the boys a bath and some lunch we watched Buck schooling Carlevo and Copper Beach. Andrea and Woodge were schooling multiple horses, you learn something different from all of them (horses and riders).

Then I got the chance to jump Jan’s 5yr OTTB Nicara. She hasn’t jumped since the last time I jumped her last year????
She was fantastic! We started with the same logs as AM except I leaned forward like a knob head and we stopped at the first (it’s literally a log on the ground). I got properly laughed at by Bruce and jumped it from a stand still then proceeded to get my act together and sit up.

Once I had done a few verticals I got to jump the viaduct wall, a skinny. Then we catered around to an oxer, she was very confident and took me to the fence. On our last effort over it she allowed me to collect her a little extra and she really bascules over it and landed on the correct lead in full balance. I look forward to jumping her again before I have to go home on Sunday. Thank you Jan!

The afternoon sessions were great to watch. Andrea jumped Spotlight and Tinker Bell for Bruce. They are full sister and brother. I’ve known them since they were born here and watched them grow and learn. Both of them are incredible jumpers bred by Bruce. Spotlight is just a taller version of Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell is only 4 years old and she finished doing all the stuff Riley did by hopping over a 3’6ft ramping oxer like it was nothing. They’re so talented, clever and confident that they really enjoy the exercises.

Bruce Sophia Anne Marie and myself finished off a really fun day by having dinner together. Any of you who are lucky enough to know Bruce know that he is the best company at dinner, such good stories most of them hilarious.

Looking forward the show getting started tomorrow. Ride safe and have fun everyone.