When I was 20, I was fortunate to spend six-months as a working student with an Olympic dressage rider. Because I had only ridden hunters and came with no previous dressage experience, I really wasn’t an ideal candidate, however, I’m pretty sure she was swayed by her other working student who said I was the only one that could carry two full water buckets, so I got the job. Unfortunately, I never really hit it off with my boss. After a long brutal Boston winter, I knew the exact moment when she decided to let me go. While I was repairing, or should I say patching, a fence again, she rode up to me on a horse, put her hand on her hip and watched me struggle. This lasted for several minutes. Finally, I said “do you want to tell me how you would like this fence fixed, or do you want to tell me after I am done?”. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I was doomed. This was so disrespectful! I was young, but there is no excuse. Even though she let me go, I do have the utmost respect for her. She was a single mom working in a tough business. At this time, the big money was with the hunters and jumpers than in the dressage discipline. With that said, any good hunter rider worth their salt has a dressage foundation. (After I had left, I learned that she had hired her German trainer’s young daughter. Word was, she didn’t work at all). It was during the winter at this farm, when I adopted my first dog, Trapper. Continue reading
The Devon Horse show is the oldest and largest show in the country. It’s an 11-day event which begins the last Thursday of May. The first DHS was held in 1896, but it wasn’t until 1919 that the County Fair was added. Together they have donated over $47 million to the Bryn Mawr Hospital. Every spring, over 100,000 people attend the show and 2,000 people volunteer to work. Unfortunately, there is a plan underway that will effect the show grounds by developing an adjoining parcel of land. How ironic that by building a town center they will be losing the identity of the community.
The first time I went to Devon was in the early 1970’s. It was the one day a year my Mom let me play hooky while we enjoyed a mother/daughter day. George Morris, Rodney Jenkins, Bernie Traurig, Conrad Holmfeld, Katie Monahan, Norman Della Joio, Michael Matz. Joe Fargis and Buddy Brown (a personal favorite), were the people to study*. Mom wasn’t a rider, but she had a good eye. The years she spent watching my lessons must have paid off because she could pick the top three horses out of a large class. We enjoyed the in-hand classes, shaky tails (slang for 3 and 5 gaited horses. No disrespect intended), ladies side saddle and whatever was scheduled on our day. Where Mom enjoyed watching the four in-hand carriage horses, I loved the hunters. We both, however, looked forward to the Grand Prix jumpers. Back in the day, it was Rodney Jenkins and Idle Dice that captivated the crowds. Continue reading
Cheers, the bar where everyone knows your name. That is how I feel when I go to the barn in the morning. The horses nicker in anticipation for their morning feed. When you have to explain this to the young barn help, then you know you are old. It seems incredulous that someone wouldn’t know that reference?
George’s owner wants to take him to a Hunter Pace in a couple of weeks. A hunter pace is a competition that mimics a Foxhunt. The organizers of the event determine the winning time by having an experienced fox hunter ride the course to determine what the ideal pace/time would be. Last year, George went too fast by 10 minutes. They must have been hauling!
We’ve not worked very hard this winter. Today I started to leg him up, get him fit. We didn’t ride longer, just moved with purpose. George and I had a good work-out and we both ended up huffing and puffing.
So happy that winter is behind us. When the temps dipped below 20, I deemed it too cold to ride. Just not pleasant even with an indoor ring. The horses don’t mind the cold as much as the rider. When wearing gloves and I can’t feel my hands, it’s too cold for me.
I hope I’m not jinxing by saying this, so far we have had a balmy spring. The next warm day, will give George a bath and pull his mane. He must look his best when he goes to the show.
The Chronicle of the Horse featured this rider and their service dog Journey
“There have been a lot of bumps along the road, but I’ve done my best to roll with them and keep on track. I’ve always seen it as no matter what happens to me physically, as long as I can share the bond that I have with horses.”
This is exactly how one has to persevere when they have a learning disability! You may not see the results now, you may have to wait years to see how it all comes together.
- “I propose a new word, one that means an obstacle to be overcome eventually, through consistent and diligent application of aids that, while they will absolutely not, under any circumstances, achieve the desired result today, will eventually work, and the rider just needs to have faith and get a grip and keep plugging away at it and, when she’s seriously considering quitting and taking up alpaca farming instead, she should remember that the real solution is five-or-so years of this and that there’s nothing she can really do to expedite the process anyway.”
By blogger Lauren Sprieser
Love this blogger…must follow!
For the longest time, it was all about a horse. It didn’t matter which horse, it could be this horse or that horse, it really didn’t matter. My family didn’t understand. To them I might as well have been speaking in a foreign language.
You’d think this is a stage that you could out grow. Some people do, but this wasn’t the case for me. I was fortunate to begin riding when I was 12, owned my first horse at 14 and by 15, I was pretty serious. Continue reading