Friday, March 21, 2008

First post...first horse...first show together!

Alright, so I am giving this blogging a try. It will be a good way for me to keep everyone updated and to keep record of all my events!

Well it is mid-semester of my spring semester at UW-Stout and I am on spring break visiting friends and family at home in Edina, MN. It sure has been a cold winter. It has finally begun to warm up and I was able to get Lady Hannah B (Hannah) out for some hills and trot work to prepare for our first competition in May, the Otter Creek Spring HT/CIC*/**. I will be running Hannah in the CIC*.

So let me tell you a little about my horse, Hannah. She is a dark bay with no white markings, 12 y/o mare, American Warmblood (3/4 TB, 1/4 Shire) and came from a small town called Bastrop, Texas. She was born and bred there by Kae Hansen of Kaesen Farms ( Kae is one of my sponsors and her willingness to continue to support me and my dreams is much appreciated. I began riding Hannah in September of 2004, she was 9 years old. I began working for Liz Turnquist, her owner, that month. I began riding her as my main mount because I had no horse of my own at the time. I started working with her to help Liz get her sold. Liz's daughter Ayla Turnquist had Hannah out east at college with her for about a year. Hannah wasn't Ayla's ideal horse so she was sent home to the family farm. I will admit I did not fall in love with Hannah instantly. She is an amazing creature to look at but hadn't had much recent work when I started riding her due to some shoeing issues and just having too many other things to do! I worked with her all winter in the indoor and we began to click and once she was more fit she was more enjoyable to work with and a lot quicker to pick up on new things. I did an Eric Dierks eventing clinic in the spring of '05 and he really thought she was going to make a nice event horse (and was he right!) Everyone from then on complemented her and her quick progress she was making in her new career.

We had plans to make her first event ever, ours together, in the Novice division at Fox River Valley in Barrington, IL. Of course as usual the summer started off dry and stayed dry. When Fox River Valley rolled around it was just too much to drive the horses such a long distance for a one day show. Oh well, there will be other shows! We continued to train hard and Hannah progressed quickly and I entered her at Training level for her first event at Wayne DuPage HT in St. Charles, IL. I was so psyched, knowing that she was ready for training, even though I hadn't ever ridden at the training level before now, I knew that we were ready. It was a fun weekend full of great learning experiences.

We began the weekend with a long drive to IL, unloading, hacking and cleaning. We were ready to rock. We got a 36.00 in dressage which I was ecstatic about as she was figuring out what exactly I was asking her to do in this strange place. After a long walk she was ready for some rest before the XC day.

XC is my favorite phase, like most eventers, which is what holds us true to our sport. We had a great run XC, with one stop at a drop into water but I circled her right around and she dropped right in and we only had 2.4 time faults but our mistake moved us towards the end of the pack. It didn't matter though, all I wanted was to have fun and have a great learning experience for myself and Hannah.

Upon Sunday morning I was ready to put in a great ride, until warmup came around. Warmup was an absolute disaster. It seemed like everything was going wrong and I was really getting nervous. Hannah really did not like the small ring and horses whizzing past her. She was getting excited and my nervousness didn't help. I had only jumped 3 jumps and had one refusal. I left the warm up and went up to ride show jumping knowing that if I stayed in warmup things would only get worse and I could only hope for the best once she got into the arena. She entered the arena as if she knew everyone was watching and knew what she needed to do. We had a great show jumping round and even took the skinny option just for added experience, although we had a rail it was still a great show overall and I was so happy to see that Hannah was turning out to be a great event horse.

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