I must say I was proud of all of my students and all of our horses this week. Each one is working hard to improve and it's fun to see the results!
Here are some photos of Caitlyn and Bink and Anne and DJ.
Saturday at HITS 2 was busy and successful! Cara and her young horse, Don Juan, started the day clear and handy to place 3rd in the Level 3 class. Our newest rider DJ Rink on his mare, Wind Chimes was extremely consistent in the 14 and under Children's hunters. They placed 3rd in both over fences classes and 3rd in the u/s. Mara and Quixotic jumped double clear in the Level 2 and took home 8th place. In the afternoon's Mini Prix, Motto was clear initially. In the jump off, 1 rail came down to earn 5th place. Diva also jumped in the Mini Prix. Her 4 faults put her in 9th place. Taylor and Chaval Z finished up our day in the Level 4 Speed. They were worth the wait. Clear and fast holding the lead til the end. They finished in 2nd place! Caitlyn and Bink brought home the Championship in the High Jr A/O division!
Another good day at HITS 2. Caitlyn & Bink went early in the High Jr AO Speed class. They took the lead and kept it! They won the blue ribbon! Morgan & Charmedino debuted in the High Children's Power and Speed. They had a great, confident trip. Tony & Percy jumped in the same class, no ribbon, but a nice round.
In the Level 5, Grand Prix ring, Taylor rode Cheval Z to a double clear. They held the lead for a while. In the end they took 3rd place! A great ribbon.
A new addition to Market Street, Mara Picciochi & her mare Quixotic Z jumped a nice clear round in the Level 1.
I rode Motto to 5th place in the Level 6 jump off class. Yesterday, Taylor and Cheval Z were double clear in the Level 4 Power and Speed to earn 8th place. In the $5,000 Speed, Cara and Winner had a beautiful clear round. They held the lead for a while. They finished 3rd! Diva and I placed 5th in it. Cara and Don Juan were super in the 7 year old class. Double clear and finished in 2nd place!
This morning I went to watch George's final clinic day at Gladstone. Several of my students attended as well. One of them said it was great to watch and hear him say many of the same things as I do, only a little differently. The riders pieced a course together using what they had worked on throughout the week. He spoke a lot about going with the distance or against the distance, depending on the type of fence. With his course he asked questions of the horses and riders. They could see their strong points and weak points. Yes, to go home and work on their weak points! He spoke of desire and management of the horses. He is a true inspiration to be the very best. Excellence is the only way!
Thank you to the USET Foundation for creating this Gladstone Program. Thank you to George for sharing your wisdom, experience and passion! Our U.S. riders, horses and trainers need to understand your valuable lessons and insight.
I started my day off watching George teach at Gladstone. He is always a tremendous inspiration. First, he rode a big grey on the flat. As he schooled the horse to "legs to hands", he told the audience how he was using his aids and why. This kind of teaching is so marvelous to experience. Watching the horse change to self carriage and oneness with the rider. George, in the moment describing each thought and feeling. Always a treat to observe.
He then started schooling the 4 riders over fences. As he mentioned, I rode with him over these type of exercises for 17 years! It was indeed familiar and refreshing to watch and listen to his corrections, advice and philosophy. His stressing of the basics, always striving for excellence, keeping a high standard, guarding against laziness and that it's not only about riding, but management of the horses. So much of his wisdom has created Champions and Olympians!
His students and horses did well taking his instruction. They worked on following to the fence, distance, turning, the half halt, lengthening and shortening. They finishing jumping a water with "pace to the base". It was a wonderful session to watch. I hope to return over the weekend. I so hope people will take advantage and go watch George teach live at Gladstone!
This week I had fun teaching Kelly Hudyman and her Off The Track TB mare. They have improved tremendously since I saw them last Fall. Both of them were much more relaxed and focused. The mare is very athletic and soared over the blue Liverpool. Having grown up riding Thoroughbreds, I always enjoy working with them. They are intelligent, sensitive, forward and athletic. Those are real Thoroughbred qualities that I look for in every horse. I am extremely fond of them.
Old Salem ended well. It was another spectacularly beautiful day. 14 year old Caitlyn showed Bink A in his first High Jr AO Classic. It was a challenging track. Only 3 horses made it to the jump off. Caitlyn and Bink had 1 rail down to place 12th.
I helped Jimmy Torano before and during the early part of the $100,000 Grand Prix doing some commentary. That was fun. It is always interesting to really study the competition as I comment. I put my money on Mclain at the start of the class. Sure enough he was the quickest in the jump off on HH Carlos Z to win it!
We had another good day at Old Salem. Caitlyn Connors rode Bink A in his first High Jr A/O class, a Speed. They jumped a very competitive, clear round. In the end they were fast enough to take 3rd place! Hoffy and True Story placed 5th, 6th and 3rd in the u/s, in the Older A/O Hunters. In the 1.35m jump off class, Motto was jumping an effortless clear, until he pulled a rail at the last fence.
The Old Salem horse show is sensational! They make improvements each year. The turf in the Grand Prix field is exceptional. The Hunter rings are impressive, with beautiful fences. The weather has been spectacular as well! Our horses have been going well. The up and downhill grades on the Grand Prix field are challenging to both horses and riders. Today in the 1.35m Motto jumped a beautiful clear over a tough track. We took a shot in the jump off, but the final fence came down. I was very pleased with Motto's performance. Caitlyn and Bink jumped the Medium Jr- A/O Speed today, in the sand ring. A clear and quick trip have them the 5th place ribbon. True Story and Hoffy had 2 nice rounds in the A/O Hunters. They placed 6th and 8th over fences and 7th in the u/s.
I had such fun over the weekend schooling at Market Street! In preparation for the Old Salem shows, we jumped a lot on the field. The weather was incredibly beautiful. The horses loved being out on the grass. Schooling the natural fences on the natural terrain teach horses and riders about truly being in front of the legs, being honest to the hands and balance up and down the inclines. There is no way to learn it other than to get out there and do it! Experience galloping and jumping in the wide open, not just in a fenced ring.
It was great to have Kelly Hudyman here all day filming for my Riding & Jumping Mentor! Sharing our lessons can be useful to many horses and riders.
Photos are of Caitlyn Connors and Layla schooling the water jump and me riding Diva and Motto.
Keep up with Five-time Olympian, two-time Olympic Silver Medalist, author, clinician and international competitor, Anne Kursinski, via her blog.