Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Highs & Lows

This sport keeps everyone humble.  When you're on top of the world planning your year out, you never know what may knock you down.  I can't speak for anyone but myself, but a lot of why I do this sport is because I love my horses. I love building a relationship and forming a bond with them. They aren't just machines, they aren't just a job or a means to make ends meet. They are my life.  They are my family. I teach my students to do the same. They love their ponies with all of their heart and soul. 

I'm lucky enough to have not endured too many heart breaking events.  Being in our sport, they are bound to happen.  Today, my long time student, Sam Kelly, hit a big spike in the road blowing her upcoming plans to smithereens. We had plans to run the CIC2* at Chatt Hills next weekend in order to qualify for the 2* at Young Riders this year. Right now, we are praying to have a horse live happily in the field with a small chance of coming back to work. Who knows, she may come back 100%, but at this point we are just hoping for a healthy horse.  

After a great warm up, they headed out of the box, beautiful first four fences as they headed towards the first question on course.  5A is a red half barn fence with a significant drop landing into the first water, across the water out over B.  Stella was a little spooky coming into the water complex, Sammy rode her beautifully, in response to her reaction to her propping.  We reviewed the video from RNS many times to fully understand what happened.   Stella responded and jumped 5A, but off the ground, she hesitated a split second causing her to drag her belly across the fence and the momentum upon landing caused her legs to crumple beneath her. Stella's nose hit the water and her head folded under herself as her body skidded forward, with her knees hitting the base of the water jump. Sammy stuck with her the best she could and as she fell off, Stella did everything she could to stay off of her.  Once Stella got her feet under her she stood stock still reading Sammy underneath her and maneuvered sideways making sure not to step on her. She trotted out of the water  and someone grabbed her while people assertively assisted Sammy who was quickly to her feet. I met Stella on the way back to the trailer and Virginia helped me find a vet.  The onsite treating vet quickly cleaned it up and bandaged her so we could take her off to Peterson & Smith for further treatment.  

The Burgess family kindly allowed us to borrow their truck and trailer as our own trailer full of horses still competing.  Heidi & Sammy took Stella into the vet where they were greeted immediately and whisked Stella away to be treated. Unfortunately, she took the majority of the fall on her right knee which caused a large wound. Stella went down for surgery immediately to assess the damage to her joint. At this point, it could go in any direction but as I'm sure you can guess, anything involving a joint is not good.

So never take any day, any jump, any ride for granted as you never know when it may be your last. Love your horses with all of your heart as you expect them to give you theirs.  Stella's healing will come in different stages. The first stage is to keep infection completely out of the joint. So having said that, that's where we begin. We much appreciate you keeping Stella in your thoughts and prayers.  Anyone who knows Stella knows what a wonderful horse she is and how much she means to Sammy.  We can only hope for a smooth recovery, what extent that recovery may be we don't know at this point, but first and foremost Stella's needs come first. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016: Musings to start the season

2016. I find myself riding back from Tampa International towards Ocala. I am right where I want to be right now. This has been my fourth trip of this year going back and forth. Cat stays with LLE South and takes care of Denver and the horses while I go home to teach, ride and check in with LLE North. She arrives right on time and we head back to our winter home. This year we are located at Leah Lang-Gluscic's farm. It is a great set-up for us. We have 9 horses in the 10 stall barn that I lease and 2 rooms in her house. At this time I am lucky to have Amanda Mayros, a young creative and responsible hard worker helping us out. She has been wonderful to have on the farm. Hard working, cares about the horses, great attention to detail and a fun addition to the team. She started her own business, Stock Tie, and sets up at the horse shows selling her beautiful work. It can be seen on her website,

I just read a blog that Jessica Pye had written; "The World of Eventing: Business vs. Sport". I thought it was very well written and would like to touch on a few points. So if you haven't read it - here is the link.

Pye’s first point talks about needing money in order to be a professional. She also states that majority of equestrian professionals want to just ride and have their own string of horses. In my opinion, I would have to say that is mostly true, but not every equestrian professional just wants that. I do know a lot of trainers that have stated they do not want to teach, they just want to ride, and if they had the money the would do just that. Point proven. However, I love teaching. I absolutely love working with students of all different kinds with a variety of goals. I thoroughly enjoy watching someone process, try, fail, try again, learn and succeed. Perseverance, determination, and teamwork. All of which are very important to the program that I run. Mistakes. No one is perfect. I have made plenty of mistakes in life, riding, my career, relationships, friendships, etc. and I will continue to. What is important is to learn and continue to strive to be your best everyday.

Pye’s next point touches on the endless hours, and how I interpreted it, ultimately getting burnt out. She speaks to being well-rounded. When I was younger I didn't want to be well rounded; I wanted to ride, sleep and breathe horses 24/7. As I lived and learned in my 28 (almost 29) years here, I have come to find that variety is important. Outside of horses I try my best to spend time with family, friends and do other activities. I enjoy playing volleyball, which I do quite a bit in the spring, summer and fall. I have met a great group of people through other sports and adventures I have allowed myself to go on. Even though my ideas have changed over the years, hopefully as I have matured, so have my beliefs. I absolutely believe in going on family trips, spending the holidays together, and keeping your friends close by your side and being there for them when they need you.

Yes, there are times I am frustrated with the business to the point of tears, but where I am right now, I wouldn't trade it in for anything. I absolutely love what I do. Pye states, "This isn't just your business it's your universe." It very much is. It takes a very unique person to be successful and happy doing this job. It is not for everyone, but there is nothing wrong with trying it out, working for people, and seeing if this world is what you want to be a part of.

When I graduated high school, I took a chance to indulge myself day and night into the world of horses. I worked full time for an amateur dressage rider in Connecticut and then in Wellington. When I found myself craving to be closer to the eventing world, I moved north to Ocala and became a working student for an Olympic level rider. I soon discovered that is not who I wanted to be or who I wanted to be around. More importantly, not who I wanted to be my role model. I was lucky enough to have experienced a small part of the eventing world; unfortunately it was the dark side: bute-ing horses before sale trials, lying to client’s faces, going behind people’s backs. It was appalling to me and an eye opening experience. Being on the inside for once taught me a lot, but it maybe was not the best place for me at 18. It taught me about training, riding, business ethics (or lack there of) and life. It was an experience, which is what life is. You grow and learn from every experience you have. I put every upper-level equestrian on a pedestal, I was naive to the fact that it isn't all just happy-go-lucky when you get to the top. Let me be clear, some, not all, of these professionals will do whatever, and I mean whatever, it takes to get ahead. I am not about that. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Don't get me wrong, I've made mistakes, I have learned on many horses, I have taken falls, not only in riding but in life, only to come back fighting. I will learn, I will do better, I will continue to try to be my best. Each day.

I've been down in Florida now since December 28th. I have shown, taken lessons, gone schooling, hacked, swam with manatees, met new friends, new clients, built new relationships and strengthened old ones. Each day I try to be better, I try to make my horses better and I try to make my students better. Constant reminders to myself and students of posture, positions and goals. Making plans for each individual horse, what works for them, how to get more from them, what do they enjoy, how can I make them happy and working hard? How can I get them to let me in?

Pye’s next topic is your facility and your clients. She very clearly states what people want to do is ride their string of horses and compete them. While that is true for a lot of professionals, it is not true for all professionals. Like I stated earlier, I. Love. What. I. Do. All of it.

You do need a facility to work out of and you need clients. How do you get those? Hard work. Teaching yourself to be better. Absorbing as much knowledge and information as you can. Be good at what you do. Not only at teaching but relating to clients and students. Horse people have got to have people skills. Just because you can tell them what to do while riding doesn't mean they want to be around you other than that. Keep in mind that for the majority of your clients, this is a hobby. This is for fun. If they aren't having fun, and you aren't a part of the fun, then they don't want anything to do with you. This business can be hard because it is not traditional to be friends with your clients. In the way I run my business, I am friends with my clients. They are my second family. Unfortunately this can make things uncomfortable at times, but you have to be very clear with your boundaries and over time I have learned to be more upfront about what I can and can't do, or what I will or am not willing to do. You will also have to do some small managing of client-to-client relationships.

I agree with Pye’s quote: "You will meet some amazing people in this world and you will have some wonderful clients. You will meet a select few in this business who set a wonderful example of a farm owner, a trainer and/or a manager. You will have clients, human and horse, that make you love your job and you'll find yourself beaming with pride at their accomplishments, big or small. But you should also know, you will meet many more people who disappoint you, frustrate you and send you home at the end of the day questioning yourself and your actions. You won't leave this job at the office."

You will find both sides to be true. The clients will weed themselves out as you progress through your business. Some of those you think you’re closest to may choose to leave unexpectedly when you thought you were doing everything that they needed. This is where I have learned that communication is key. I try my best to stay in constant contact with my clients. Being in my second winter of heading south for the season, I have already learned a lot about managing and helping clients from afar. One of the biggest things I have learned is communication and honesty. I have to trust that if my clients have concerns that they will come to me and be honest. There is not a whole lot you can do if your client says they are happy only for you to find out that they are not. A coach-client relationship is exactly that, a relationship. In order for any relationship to work, there has to be the desire to make it work on both sides. As soon as that desire is lost, it is better for both parties to move forward in their own directions. I have learned a lot since last year and I am moving forward and aiming to do better for myself, my clients and my horses.

Your clients will have their own opinions and beliefs on what they want for themselves and their horses. It isn’t about forcing your client to do what you want them to, it’s about working together and compromising what will be best for them and their horse. I have been teaching since I was 15 and in my short time of teaching, coaching and training, I have found a solid system to produce horses and riders. I have learned to trust myself, trust what I do and that it works, because it has shown to work time and time again. You will bid adieu to some clients that move on to different programs, and hope everything works out for them. I believe in my students, I believe they can take away from me knowledge, experience and be able to continue to use that in their everyday life and riding. Knowledge not only on how to ride, but how to care for horses, how to be a positive individual, how to build relationships with horses and people, to support others, and to be genuine to yourself.

At the end of the day, both types of clients will make you who you are. You have to accept and acknowledge if you have made mistakes and learn and grow from them, rather than pretend like you did nothing wrong. Clients are relationships. Relationships are two sided.

In Pye’s next paragraph "The rules of engagement in the horse business are different from the real world", she states that many horse business transactions are not typical. However this may be true in a lot of aspects, it all depends on the individual. A great example is buying and selling horses. There are a lot of different opinions on how to buy and sell horses. As long as you are clear of your expectations up front with any party you are engaged with, you can go home and sleep at night. Be forthcoming in how you take a commission on the buying or selling end of horses. I know a lot of professionals will take a client’s horse, ask what they want and tack on another $10,000 for themselves. Fine, as long as they are completely transparent to all parties, which is not usually the situation. Recently, I found myself buying horses in Ireland for a client, and was very sure to be dealing with honest, hard working, trustworthy individuals. There have been times I have been talking to other professionals that have bragged about selling a horse for a ridiculous price, or that wasn't going to do the job that it was sold for. I refuse to be one of these professionals. If my horse isn't going to do what you want it to do, you will be told. My clients and my horses are expected and trained to go in a very rideable way. If that isn't suitable for a beginner, I will tell you; if the horse won't progress past a certain level, I will tell you. The other important thing I've learned is to be picky in who you sell your horses to. Just because someone can write a check doesn't mean they are the best for your horse. If you sell your horse to a person they aren't well suited for, it ultimately reflects back on you and your training. The only thing you have in this business is your reputation and if you throw it away for a quick buck it will certainly become known within our small industry in which everyone is connected.

Pye states, "The degree of success you achieve in this business is primarily dependent on money and/or luck with the addition of talent and dedication." I once was told, "Every time I see a gold medalist stand up & say, ‘If you just work hard and never give up you will live your dream,' I feel like kicking them, because it is just impossible for that to be true & I know so many people who have dedicated their lives to winning a gold medal and just tear themselves up because they don't make it, even a couple of our guys who have won gold medals, they are not satisfied & not happy with themselves & never will be. It's like money, the more you have, the more you want."

I have found this quote very true, in myself and people I know, or people I have watched and admired. For a lot of other equestrian professionals it is about a gold medal, it’s about being the best, the absolute best in the world. But who is to say that? If you can't think of yourself as the best then what are you going to do? If you are not happy with your goals and your accomplishments then what? Goals are great. Set them, meet them, make new ones. New realistic goals. Make sure you also enjoy the process of reaching those goals. Take the time to recognize each accomplishment as you set new ones.

"You can love the sport and the life without loving the business." That is true also. If you don't want to be in the business, then don't. If you don't enjoy the business, stop doing it. Go find another job. Horses have also, as Pye states, made me brave, daring and adventurous. They have also taught me responsibility, building relationships, respect, empathy, and integrity. Your mind will always play games with you, maybe more so in this business than others, but you learn to deal with it and move on. You have nerves, you deal with them, you have doubts, you get past them. Horses teach you so much about life. It saddens me to read a blog that states "the business, however, has made me colder, more jaded and less hopeful." I can see how a young professional can become victim to this. This is what I almost fell victim to in my year off after high school. But I decided to make sure that isn't the experience that my students go through. I want them to have hope, I want them to have fun and I want them to be safe, good, quality riders that understand and enjoy their horses.

Overall I agree with what Pye is stating, you have to enjoy this business to be a part of it. I relate it to any work industry, although as most of us know, the horse industry doesn’t quite follow all of the mainstream business rules. This is where it is really important to stick to your morals and do what is right and be true to yourself. Don’t over complicate things. There is so much to know in this world that at times it can be overwhelming. Very recently I’ve had it related to the riding. Make riding your horses simple. Don’t confuse your horses with too much information overload. It is the same thing with living your life.

At this time I am also reading a wonderful book that was gifted to me from a close friend: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, written about Coach John Wooden. I am just in the very early stages of reading the book and feel that it offers very valid points in not only being a successful coach, but on how to lead a good life and be a positive role model. Wooden states, “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.” I try my best to better myself each day so I can be a better role model for my students. Have I always made the right choices? No. I am only human, but I can try to continue to better myself and take accountability for mistakes I have made. I highly recommend his book. Wooden talks about his father’s Two Sets of Threes Rules. They are very simple. The first step is about honesty. Never lie. Never cheat. Never steal. The second set deals with adversity. Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Don’t make excuses. I think this is very simple advice to live by in every aspect of your life.

Another point Wooden touches on is to make each day your masterpiece. “You can’t do anything about yesterday. The door to the past has been shut and the key thrown away. You can do nothing about tomorrow. It is yet to come. However, tomorrow is in large part determined by what you do today. So make today a masterpiece. You have control over that.”

This year I have been lucky to ride a lot with Robin Walker. He has taught me a lot about just riding the horse that I am on. Go back to the basics. They have got to stay in a frame, give in their back, lengthen and shorten their stride, not spit you out and not tell you to piss off. The horse has got to let you in. And that is where you start. Until that is accomplished, you should not move forward or you will quickly find yourself falling back into the holes you never filled. I have quite a variety of horses in Florida this winter, one very different from the next, and each one has helped me improve my riding and training methods with the help of Robin.

So, as my first blog of 2016, my goal is to continue to do better, learn from my mistakes, keep things simple and enjoy the process.

I want to finish by thanking everyone who has been a part of the amazing crazy journey! Stay tuned for a detailed update of the horses and students!

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Life is a journey! Summer & fall wrap up.

Life is about the journey not the destination, make sure you enjoy each turn along the way!

At the end of July I rode with Becky at the Schweiss farm. Roxy was spunky, bucking and anticipating more then normal. We worked through it and did all of the great exercises Becky had set up for us. Then we headed off to Otter Creek in early August. Warmup began just as any other warm up, then when I began to jump Roxy again seemed to anticipate the jumps more then normal. I was having a little bit of trouble turning but I decided to see how she was out on course. She left the start box and was great to 1 and 2, as I made the right hand turn to fence 3, a table by the crowds, I couldn’t take her focus off the people and she just began running to the right down in the valley. I circled her around and she jumped 3 wonderfully and went down and then back up the sunken road with ease. I galloped on and went to make a nice sweeping left turn to go up the hill towards the log table but there was no turning. Again she began running and leaping to the right. I was unable to regain her focus so I decided to retire her and do a little investigation as to why she all of a sudden acting up. Roxy loves her stall at Copeland Farms! Roxy loves her stall at Copeland Farms!

Sammy was contesting her first intermediate at Otter and did great! She had an unfortunate 20 when she decided she wanted to be like Jennie Brannigan and jump the biggest side of the corner out of the water. At least she realized she didn’t jump between the flags (as only the “tip” of the corner was flagged) and she circled around and popped over between the red and white. I couldn’t be more proud of her for doing such a great job at her first outing at that level! Lily was galloping in the preliminary again this weekend and per her usual finished in the top 5, taking home 3rd place! Cat was riding Hannah this weekend, this time at training level, and did great finishing in 8th! Maitland and Grady were testing out the Novice level for the first time and rocked around the course ending on their dressage score to finish in competitive Jr novice in 5th place. Mariah and Cinder were doing great but had one to many bobbles on the cross country and were ultimately eliminated. Once she gets her ducks in a row these two will be extremely competitive at Novice. Deb and Oliver had another superb run finishing in 1st on their dressage score of a 27.8. Virginia and Mac had a great run only adding some time to their score to finish in 4th place. The Artful Dodger was a rockstar this weekend winning his division on his dressage score! He is now being offered for sale if you’re a confident rider looking for a horse to move up the levels! Kendel and Allie did great in the Starter division finishing in 5th and Maddy & Dylan took home 2nd place! Another great weekend at Otter!

Hannah also is testing the waters in modeling and acting. Her first modeling session was schedule with the Minnesota Timberwolves Dancers. She modeling with a nice young lady at Wayzata Beach for their upcoming calendar. Stay tuned!

Shortly after Otter, we hosted an Emily Beshear clinic at Copeland Farms. Emily is the Area IV Young Rider coach and we are lucky to have her come in! We had a great dressage day 1 followed by 2 fun and full days of jumping with a lot of different exercises. Emily helped me work through some issues with Roxy and make a game plan how to proceed. She had a vet appointment scheduled for the end of the week. I took her in to the U and we did a scope and she had some pretty significant ulcers. I decided to give her a couple weeks off while she was on her medication and have been bringing her back to work slowly, consisting of a lot of hacking, trotting, dressage, small jumping and free and lunge jumping. As they say, the ulcers may be gone but the behavior takes some time.

Richland Park weekend! I was lucky enough to show Rachel Holen’s horse, Optical Illusion aka Magic, this year. It was really fun picking up the ride! It is amazing how each horse teaches us something new. I rode him once before we hit the road but luckily had a few days at Richland Park to continue to get to know him. We struggled a bit at first but by the end of the day on Thursday I was confident we could put in a solid test. Magic stepped up to the plate scoring a 32.3 to put us in 5th place. The training track rode great this year. I didn’t know what to expect of Magic and the best thing about having no expectations is just riding the horse you’re sitting on in the moment. He was great! Definitely a different ride from a thoroughbred but he gives a great feeling across the country. As we came into the last quarter of the course we had to make a left hand turn to the normandy bank, the up of the bank had a ditch in front of it and as we approached and Magic caught sight of it he just nipped out to the right at the last minute and we had to represent. One second approach he was super, jumped up the bank, hopped right off and straight over the skinny. In hind sight, sitting on a horse I didn’t know, I should have given him a longer approach allowing him to see and read the question. Warming up for show jumping he felt great! We had one unfortunate rail when I sat up too quickly but we finished overall in 9th place! He was so much fun to ride, I can’t thank Rachel enough for allowing me to take him!

This was Lily's first CIC1* with Luksor and they were both amazing! They put in their best dressage test to score a 50.3 which put them into a tie for 21st place. Next she had show jumping, and although the jumps were bigger and slightly more intimidating, she rode him brilliantly. She was able to create one of the best canters she has had yet in the ring. One unlucky rail down kept them in their 21st place. On to tackle the cross country! Definitely one of the hardest tracks Lily had seen to date, but she handled it with ease and a smile on her face those whole time. She was fast across the ground and came in double clear to finish in 17th place out of 53 riders! So proud of this kid!!

The Fargo ladies, Virginia & Megan Stockburger had a great weekend! Both in Novice divisions the each took home a ribbon! Both had great tests, although Megan's judge was a little harsh on her and scored her a 39.3, she jumped double clear on the cross country and had a nice round in show jumping only adding three time faults to their score to finish in 6th place! Virginia scored a 30.5 in dressage, went double clear on cross country and had one rail down to finish in 5th place! Way to go Stockburger’s!

And of course last but not least, the girl who makes it all happen. Her and Hannah had another great outing at Richland. Cat put in her best ride on Hannah, keeping her calm and cool in the ring to score their best score together a 32.3! We almost had an identical weekend looking back on our scores. She was also sitting in 5th in her division. She had an unfortunate stop early on, on cross country, in a combination when she got there on a half stride. She circled around and flew over it no problem. She came in only a few seconds over optimum. Show jumping was great. The large grass arena really allows you to get going. The show jumping course at Richland are always related. Every line is related. 3 to 4 was six strides, 6 to 7 was a bending six, to a two stride, 8 to 9 was five and 9 to 10 was six strides with the final combination being a one stride. Another great experience for Cat!

We packed up in the pouring rain, dropped MB & Lily off at the airport and hit the road! We had a weekend off in-between before heading back to Otter Creek for the Fall Horse Trials!

This time I didn’t have a horse to ride since I was taking it easy with Roxy. I was lucky to have the ladies from Shoes of Steel there over the weekend filming for the TV show! Shoes of Steel is a reality documentary based on horsewomen in Minnesota! Stay tuned for more details! Visit their website to stay connected!

Sammy was giving Intermediate another go and had a great weekend, coming in with only some time on cross country. Her and Stella were on different pages in the show jumping which resulted in Sammy slipping off her side. Unfortunately the longer and more you do this sport, these things are bound to happen and happen to the best of em. She picked her self up and held her head high. I couldn’t be more proud of how she handled the situation. When moving up to a new level it points out your weaknesses and where you need to keep working which is exactly what we have been doing. Look out for this pair this winter - they are aiming to do the CCI2* team at Young Riders next year! Lily rocketed around the Preliminary bringing in one of the only two double clear cross country rounds. She ended the weekend in 3rd place only adding a rail to her dressage score. Next she heads off to contest the CCI1* at Midsouth! These two are aiming to do the CCI1* team at Young Riders next year! Cat and Hannah were in the training and had a great run only adding one rail to their dressage score to finish in 4th place in a large Sr. Training division. Maitland and Grady rocked around the Novice to finish 5th. Deb and Oliver had a great weekend as well finishing 5th in their large Novice division. Virginia & Megan had great runs again at Novice, Megan finishing in 6th and Virginia winning the division! Together Mariah and I decided to finish the season out at Beginner Novice and she was so happy she did! She had a blast and finished in third place. Maddy made the move up on Dylan to Beginner Novice and took home 2nd! Kendel & Allie worked it at their first BN together taking home 8th place! Another superb weekend at Otter and we are sad to not be heading back there until next year!

Being so busy this year we were unable to make it down to Texas for the AECs but we hope to hit up Colorado where they will be held next year! Maura Tierney purchased a new horse, Sirius, from Todd Wulf and it has been so fun watching them grow together! We did the North Run Schooling show with a group of people and all had a blast! It was Marcia O’Hagan’s horse, Grenadier’s, first show under saddle and he was a pro in the Intro A and B tests! Everyone did great and we had a lot of fun - thanks Len & Jackie for hosting!

At the end of August we had a great open house for Copeland Farms! Nice turnout so we could show off our facility and riders. Some of the kids did demo rides for our visitors! Emma Smith has been riding Lucy for me all summer and doing a great job with her. She took her to CSDEA Festival and won both her classes, 3-3 and 4-1 and also the Team Championship! Congrats!

We are winding down for the season, enjoying a lot of trail riding and getting busy with already working on our goals for next year! I will be taking Lucy down to St. Louis for Region 4 Championships at PSG & I1. I am excited to be in the ring again on Lu! Lily and Cat will be riding at Midsouth later so we head to Kentucky as our last big trip for the season!

I am excited to be getting closer to the FL season. We leave January 1st and return April 12th. This year I am leasing a barn at Leah Lang Glusic’s and am excited to be living in her house as well! I have a few openings left for training horses, students and a working student as well! Contact me for more information!

Until next time - stay cool kids!

***To see photos from this blog - visit

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Beginnings

Hello 2015! There is so much to write about I don't even know where to begin! It has been awhile since I have done a full heartfelt blog. So here goes nothin'!

2015 so far has been an incredible year with many new and amazing opportunities and experiences for me and it is only the end of May with a lot of the year left ahead of us. January 1st began an adventure in which I have high hopes to turn in to a tradition each winter.  

This winter in Ocala, FL brought me an influx of knowledge and experience. The lessons, competitions, friendships, relationships with past, current and new clients, friends and family and the input from everyone has really made it all more than worth it. I wouldn't change my experience in Florida for anything. With new experiences come inevitable changes and although some things changed at home while I was away, I was able to come back to a booming business and eager clients ready to feed themselves off of my new knowledge and experience.

As the world turns so do we.  Some doors close only to have new ones open that present growth and opportunity in ways you could sometimes never even dream of.

I am so lucky to have such a strong support system that continues to stand by me, picks me up when I am down, holds me accountable and allows me to grow and learn from my mistakes.

I am blessed to have made a transition to a new facility, Copeland Farms.  The Kelly Family has purchased a farm in Indepepndence in which I am able to run my program out of.  I say blessed and not lucky because it is not luck that takes us through life but choices and decisions on how to build and grow relationships.  Luck would be winning the lottery.

The new farm, Copeland Farms, is a beautiful facility.  It will be my new home and allow for me to take on more clients. Elysium Farm has been my home for the last 3.5 years and Peter & Tracy have been nothing but wonderful. Copeland Farms is now my opportunity to continue to grow my business.

I look forward to diving in as Barn Manager and Trainer to run one of the best Eventing & Dressage training facilities in the western suburbs.

So right now, to say the least, I have a very full plate!  My own two horses are progressing nicely in their training and Hannah is being loved as always. Marcia & Cat are leasing her currently and then Cat will be moving in to a full lease on her.  Lucy is continuing with her one tempis, passage & piaffe while Roxy is working hard to get ready for her CIC1* debut.

There have been so many highlights already this season as we head towards August, I can't believe the year is over half gone, it seems like it just began. We have had a few students move up to the next level, a working student, Meg, who was here for the summer has come and gone accomplishing her goal of passing her C3 at the end of her stay, Sam Kelly not only made the Area IV NAJYRC team, but she placed 9th out of 45 riders from around the country and Canada to help her team take home the 5th place ribbon.

I am in the works of finalizing our Open House date for Copeland Farms & then we will open the doors to accepting more Training clients! Looking forward to expanding my business and career! See you all at the next horse show!

Friday, January 30, 2015

2014 Wrap Up

It is 2015. I can't believe how time flies.
2014 was a fabulous year for Liz Lund Eventing.

We attended many horse shows with great results! Looking back we had a very busy, fun year!

Spring Otter Creek
May Daze & KY Dressage Association Show at the Kentucky Horse Park
St Croix Classic

Lainey clinic at Schweiss
Becky at Otter
Fox River Valley Horse Trials
Betsy Steiner Clinic

Roebke's Run Horse Trials
Alpine Dressage

Catalpa Corner Horse Trials
Otter Creek Summer
Lainey Clinic
Richland Park Horse Trials & Steepleview Horse Trials GOT DENVER THIS WEEKEND!!!

Roebke's Run Horse Trials
RF Convention in Atlanta
Otter Creek Fall
AEC's at the Texas Rose Horse Park

XC Schooling at Schweiss
Regional Dressage Championships at Kentucky Horse Park
Midsouth Horse Trials and CCI1* - Emily Shirley and Raptor Force won the YR CCI1* Champion title while Sam Kelly & Someday Never Comes won the Reserve Champion. Emily finished 2nd overall in her division and Sammy in 3rd.
Heritage Park Horse Trials

Jon Holling Clinic at Carriage House Farm
Yves Clinic at Trinity
Dressage Clinic with Judy Walker at RDE

Betsy Steiner Clinic
Holiday Party at Gearhart's

January 1 - depart for Florida.

It all seems so simple when written down, but as you all know there is so much time, work, and preparation that goes into going to each show, clinic, lesson and more! I first want to say I appreciate everyone's help in organizing and coordinating this all and am already anxiously awaiting our first area show!

Student Update: I have so many great students! Everyone had great results this year whether it was moving up a level, achieving qualifying results for a future goal, learning to ride a new horse, or just having great lessons and enjoying their 4 legged friend.

Heading into 2015 we are busy setting goals, making plans as to what we need to accomplish and work on before the show season hits us in full force. I have been lucky enough to spend the winter in Florida at a lovely farm right in the heart of Ocala. I am traveling home a lot to teach my students at home as well. Everyone is working hard towards improving their riding, their horse and the partnership together. Two of my girls are aiming at the 2015 North American Junior Young Rider Championships at a the CCI1* level to represent Area IV. I couldn't be more excited and proud of those two, Emily Shirley & Sam Kelly.

Minnesota Bound aka Milo was sold the day before leaving for Florida to a local lady to be ridden in Dressage. She absolutely loves him and I couldn't have asked for a better new home. Marcia is still riding her friend's horses and lessoning on a regular basis.

Emily Shirley & Raptor Force had an amazing year. They solidified their Prelim runs to qualify for the Midsouth CCI1*, and all while competing her horse Raptor, she was being my amazing groom keeping all my horses in top condition, allowing me to coach and compete. None of this last year would have been possible without all of her hard work! Not only did the get their qualifications for the Midosuth CCI1*, she went down there and killed it! She finished 2nd overall in her division and was the Young Rider CCI1* Champion! Her hard work and dedication sure pays off and it will continue too, as she has her sights set on the 2015 NAJYRC Area IV Team!

Sam Kelly & Someday Never comes also had a stellar season. They had many top finishes including wins at Fox River Valley, Roebke's Run, Otter Creek Summer, Otter Creek Fall and third place finish at the CCI1* in Kentucky in her division and Reserve Champion CCI1* YR. Looking forward to great things in 2015, already starting the year off with a win at Rocking Horse in the Preliminary division! Sammy's mom, Heidi, is also riding her fancy draft cross Mon Cherie!

Claire Henneman & Emma's Wish had a great season, making the move up to Training level with many top finishes. They were 1st in the Novice division at Fox River Valley and 2nd at Roebkes Run in July. They finished 2nd in their first Training level at Catalpa Corner and qualified to compete in the Training 3 Day at Midsouth. They had a successful run at the three day, learning a lot and really enjoying the full format. Claire has her sights on perfecting the training level and moving to preliminary when ready!

Lily Geelan & Boo Ya had a great year too! They made a successful move up to training level at Otter Creek Summer and finished off a great year at the training level, almost always finishing in the top 8. Unfortunately Lily has grown quite tall and we are looking to sell Boo and find Lily a new, larger mount! Exciting things will come for her and a new horse in 2015!

Olivia Shirley & Lady Hannah B. No bias here, but definitely the best horse in the barn! Olivia loves Hannah so much, it really means a lot to me to watch a lovely young girl take in my horse as her own. They had such a great year, reaching many of her goals! They moved up to Novice and have their sights set on Training level this year! They had a 2nd place finish at Otter Creek, the first show of the year, 3rd at Otter Creek Fall at the novice level and a 4th place finish at Heritage Park to top the year off! Looking forward to exciting things for Olivia & Hannah in 2015!

Mariah Luksan & Midnight Starbuck had a great year, completing a lot of shows at the Beginner Novice level, she has her sights set on Novice for 2015. They finished the year with a win at Beginner Novice at Otter Creek Fall. Mariah's riding has improved so much over the year and continues to each time I teach her, I am impressed with her dedication and drive to further herself as a rider!

Maitland Luksan & Curbside Appeal rocked in, never finishing outside of 3rd place! They are working hard to move up to Novice this year, and that little horse has springs! They took 3rd at Otter Summer & fall, and finished 2nd at Roebke's Run. Look out for this kid as she is on the rise to become a very competitive young rider!

Maura Tierney & The Artful Dodger had a great year despite a hiccup at the end. Maura is back in the tack and ready for 2015. They competed all over at the Beginner Novice level and are ready to get going for this year! I have really enjoyed working with Maura & Artie and watching their partnership grow.

Maddy & Jennaea Gearhart have been having a blast with A Simple Twist of Fate aka Dylan! Maddy did her first horse trials last year and had so much fun! She can't wait to get back out there this year! Jennaea has been working hard at home, she has started over some poles and will be back jumping later this year!

Niamh O'Mahony is riding Tracy's pony Taco, and really enjoying him! He is such a great little teacher it is fun to continue to teach student after student on him. She will be getting ready for her first show of her career this year!

Deb Stern & Oliver are back and ready to show! Deb had some time off due to knee surgery and her daughter's wedding, and son's baby being born. Now she is ready for another show season! Her and Oliver are a competitive pair and are looking to come out strong this year.

Dana & Lisa Kellenberger are back in the barn with Melody and their newer horse Magnolia. They have been great friends for many years it and it is so fun to work with them! Their new horse is a cute mare that is ready to teach them more. It is so great to have Lisa living back in Minnesota too!

Osa & Frida have been back at lessons. They have made huge improvements in Frida's gaits, her trot and canter is a lot stronger. Osa is a fun rider to work with as she understands the technicalities of dressage.

Isabella & Eliana Schmidt are a mother daughter team that ride Dressage. Isabella's horse O'Neill came in later this summer. He is a blast to ride but can be a bit lazy, which has been great to teach Isabella how to ride him forward! They had a few successful shows this fall and are looking forward to getting out and competing at 1st and 2nd level and possibly even 3rd level this year! Eliana is leasing Ty, she is a walk/trot student right now and has her goals set on becoming more comfortable in the tack and cantering!

Morgan Chapman & Prove Em' Wrong aka Logan are down here in Florida working hard! Morgan & Logie did their first starter even last fall at Otter Creek and are now getting ready for their first beginner novice! Morgan is a working student, she works hard to keep my horses healthy and ready to go for me!

Catharina Ardakani & Classic's Coutura made the trek to be a working student down in Florida too. Cat is also owner of Custom Fly Veils, my ear bonnet sponsor. Her & Morgan work hard to keep the barn running! Cat & Lily are going to be doing Training and then moving up to Preliminary later this year.

I am picking up a new working student today, I will be headed to get her shortly, so once she is settled in I will have to update you on her!

There are many new and exciting changes coming for 2015, the first of them being able to winter the beginning of the year in Florida. I can't repeat how lucky I feel to be able to have this opportunity! I so thankful for Tracy and Elysium Farms, for allowing me to be able to come back quite often and still teach my Minnesota crew!

Roxy and Lucy are thoroughly enjoying their FL time! Both working hard, Roxy has her first show in the beginning of February at Ocala and Lucy is working hard to get her piaffe and passage, as well as her 1 tempis. She will be competing at the end of February.

I have ridden Lucy with Gunnar Ostergard and he was very helpful working on minute details and reminding me to ride every single step and be completely focused while riding. I will be riding Lucy with British FEI Judge James Burtwell soon and have been riding Roxy with Philippa Humphreys, Lainey Ashker and Jon Holling.

We have already been over to Longwood a number of times and Sam Kelly competed at her first horse trials at Rocking Horse 1, winning the Preliminary Rider division.

It has been fun down here. My good friend Jordynn Sahagian from Barrington, IL is living with me too. She is working with and for Will Coleman while she is here. It has been great to have her around.

So since this is a 2014/2015 blog I am going to wrap it up, with high hopes of writing another blog soon...but until then, heels down, chin up and have fun!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2014 Spring Catch Up

It is officially spring! My mom stated it best, it isn't spring until Otter Creek Spring Horse Trials. Well we just completed OCF Spring and spring and show season is officially upon us! You can feel the excitement in the air!

We have a lot of new and exciting changes for the 2014 show season with kids on new horses and moving up the levels. Sammy purchased a new mount, Someday Never Comes aka Stella from Sue Martin late this winter. She did her first horse trials on Stella at Rocking Horse Spring and finished 6th in the Jr Training division. She then competed at Sring Bay Horse Trials finishing in 6th place as well.

I in the meantime purchased a new mare (girl power!) Flash Mob aka Roxy from Kristin Commers. She has been home a short while and has made huge improvements!! She is a 6 year old OTTB mare just my size at 15.3 hands high. All bay with a small white star. It has been exciting to get to know her and build a relationship.

I have been working hard with Marcia O'Hagan's Minnesota Bound aka Milo too. I took Milo & Roxy to Geneva Equestrian in early May to work with Brad Hall and do a mini-event. It was fun to get them both out. Milo finished the Novice in 2nd place and Roxy finished in 4th in the Beginner Novice. With the rain and the EHV outbreak, it was nice to finally get off the property and outside! Some of the kids were able to get out and go cross country schooling at Otter Creek Farm with Jenny Warner as well.

I made the trip down to Lexington, Kentucky to watch ROLEX and had a blast hanging out at the KHP. The excitement of a 4* is something I can't wait to experience from the competition side. We had Lainey in for another fabulous clinic hosted at My Legacy Farm. She had great exercises to get us forward and back into the game. It was a great prep for Otter Creek Spring Horse Trials.

As I said earlier we just returned from OCF Spring HT. It was a great weekend with lots of memories and experiences! Otter Creek is by far my favorite venue. I had three horses competing this weekend, Roxy in the Beginner Novice, Artie in the Beginner Novice and Milo in the Novice. They were all wonderful! Milo led the dressage on a well deserved 30, and Roxy had a great trip in the sandbox scoring a 33 while Artie was working through a little bit of tension he scored a 40. Roxy & Artie both put in great clear show jumping rounds later that day. All three of them stepped up to the plate for cross country as well. Milo ran first and put in a double clear coming in just one second under optimum time. Artie jumped around, less-deer like and more horse-like which is a great improvement for him! Roxy locked on to all of her BN jumps and spooked at all of the other fences and spectators on course, but that will come in time. We picked upped a 20 due to her balking at the Intermediate ditch & brush placed behind one of our fences but once she realized we weren't jumping the ditch & brush sideways she found her fence and jumped it wonderfully. On Sunday Milo had a great show jumping round with one rail down to finish in 3rd. Artie finished in the ribbons taking home 7th and Roxy sat just outside. She will get it!

Emily & her new mount Raptor made their debut at Training. They had some tension in the dressage ring but showed their stuff out on the XC and in the SJ ring putting in one of the few double clear XC rounds and a double clear SJ round finishing in 4th place. Sammy & Stella also had a great run, still have some sorting out to do in the sandbox but had wonderful XC and SJ rounds to finish in 8th place. Lily & Boo went out on XC like they had last fall, nice and forward jumping out of stride. They had one unfortunate rail in SJ but placed 7th nonetheless. Claire & Emma made their debut at Novice with great success. They had a wonderful dressage ride, after Emma was feeling a little fresh in the box Claire took it nice and slow making easy work of the jumps but added some time to their score. She took it nice and steady around the SJ course to complete their first Novice horse trials! Deb & Oliver had a tough weekend but Deb is now the proud grandmother to a beautiful baby boy! They had an unplanned separation on the XC but put in a wonderful SJ curtesy round. They were able to hit the XC after the horse show and cleaned up their mishap and finished the course wonderful and ready for more! Kailey Giancola & her newest mount Peterbuild had a great weekend winning the SR Novice division! It has been so fun to have Kailey back for the summers between her college time! Olivia & Hannah made their team debut at Beginner Novice and had a wonderful weekend finishing 2nd! So proud of Olivia for stepping up to the plate and really showing me what she knows! Mariah & Grady had their first outing at Starter together and unfortunately had a parting of ways in the SJ ring. She had a great lesson on Saturday and was able to school the XC course on Sunday after the show! She is making huge improvements. Maitland & Cinder were with us as non-competes and had some fun lessons in the warm up rings and were also able to go XC schooling on Sunday! Glad to have Maitland back in one piece and ready for more action! Overall it was a GREAT weekend and lots of learning took place!

Big shout out to all of my sponsors, clients, parents, students, horses, horse show staff, volunteers, trainers - everyone and anyone who has anything to do with making these wonderful weekends possible! There are a lot of moving parts and we like to run like a well oiled machine and we sure do! Great support from everyone over the weekend! Thanks Emily for all your hard work put into grooming my horses and helping organize packing, set up, unpacking, repacking, schedule making etc! I really appreciate all the hard work. Thanks to ALL of the others for helping as well, everything you do makes it all work, even as little as offering kind words to one another goes a long way! You guys mean the world to me! Can't wait for our next outing! It is so great to pull into my wonderful home base of Elysium Farms! I can't thank Tracy & Peter Kooman enough for letting me run my business from their beautiful farm!

We are busy busy busy! I head off to Kentucky on Weds morning with four horses. Emily and Raptor will be doing the P/T, Claire & Emma and Lily & Boo will be doing Novice at May Daze Horse Trials and I will be bringing Lucy to make our Prix St Georges debut at the KDA Spring Dressage Show! It will be a fun weekend! Zach will be helping drive and some of the parents will fly in to help out as well! I look forward to a fun event and dressage show at the wonderful Kentucky Horse Park.

After that we head to St. Croix Dressage Show on 5/31 and Carriage House Combined Test on 6/1. Competing in the St. Croix Dressage Show will be myself on Lucy, Emily on Raptor, Olivia on Hannah, Claire on Emma, Lily on Boo and Sammy on Stella & Mo. At Carriage House we have: me on Milo - Training me on Roxy - Novice Emily on Raptor - Prelim Sammy on Stella - Prelim Claire on Emma - Training Lily on Boo - Training Olivia on Hannah - Novice Deb on Oliver - Novice Maura on Artie - Beginner Novice Marcia on Milo - Beginner Novice Sammy on Mo - Beginner Novice Mariah on Grady - Starter Maitland on Cinder - Starter It will be a busy weekend!

Then we bring Lainey in for another educational fun weekend at the Schweiss Farm!

Later in June we have a large group heading to Fox River Valley! me on Milo - Training me on Roxy - Novice Emily on Raptor - Prelim Sammy on Stella - Prelim Claire on Emma - Novice Lily on Boo - Novice Deb on Oliver - Novice Maura on Artie - Beginner Novice Olivia on Hannah - Beginner Novice

So until I have more time after a few more exciting events to blog again - keep your heels down and eyes up! Ride on!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

vida del amor la vida en directo

Translated - Live Life Love Life. I just returned from a nice week vacation in Mexico and it couldn't have been more rejuvenating. Maybe it was because I was only home for a day and am currently en route to Florida to help Sammy with her new horse and go to Rocking Horse. That could have helped. I have to say taking a week away from everything (mostly) was fabulous. It was a great chance to reflect on my business and look at how I want it to continue to grow. It was a great time spent with some close friends and their family members. Not only do we have quality time together as a group, but I am able to meet so many new, interesting people. I really enjoy conversations with strangers about life and love. I really just enjoy talking to new people. I met a very interesting young women that was on a 15 day vacation on her own. She was very nice and had some great stories. I met another girl and her family from Illinois and they were fun to hang out with as well. The staff at this resort were fabulous and very entertaining, and quite nice to look at. I'll make sure to post a photo in here. Although MN is very cold, I have high hopes that we are nearing the end of the cold and hopping into spring.

I am so excited for this year, I just have a great feeling about it. We return from Florida on Sunday and then its three quick days loaded with lessons, spring shots, farrier work, riding, packing and up and early Thursday morning to drive to the Kentucky Horse Park for Spring Bay Horse Trials with a handful of kids. Emily Shirley will be showing Raptor Force in the training, Sam Kelly & Someday Never Comes in training, Lily Geelan & Boo Ya in the Novice and Claire Henneman and Emma's Wish in the Beginner Novice. Natalie Johnson is also coming down this year to show her horse Brother Louis & will be hauling Beau home for the Kelly's.

April is filling up quite fast. My best friend's birthday is April 13th so we will plan something fun for her, and I am house/dog sitting for a close friend as well. Then I am off to Chicago with my mom & sister to visit my little sister Maggie. Then heading to Kentucky to cheer on my friends that will be kickin it around that 4* course at Rolex. Then we are off to our first dressage show of the year the first weekend in May at Otter Creek.

Check out this link of us working on our extended trot!

I would also like to announce the arrival of Little Lu to the farm!! She is a very good looking red head like her big sister Lucy, but she has four wheels and her breeding goes back to the sire Honda Rancher 420. She is pictured below! I can't wait to get her to her first show this year and see what her future holds.

I will make sure to blog on the way home about how the show this weekend goes. I am hoping to also see some other sale horses to keep in mind as I am hopefully looking for my next eventing prospect. Until then, stay warm and drop your stirrups!