Welcome to the dressage spot, a place for the young (or young at heart) dressage riders wanting to gain information on the sport of dressage, training tips, equine health care, maintenance and fun!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My First Youth Clinic

     The Young KWPN-NA clinic is now behind me and I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet some amazing young girls and their families.  We had such a great time.  Shared laughter makes friends faster than anything else I know and it was everywhere over the weekend.  It was in the sticky marshmallow grins during the bonfire. It was in the morning sheepish smiles of the girls sleeping in the barn aisle on cots.  It was in the satisfied look of every rider when that aha moment hit.  The weather was warm and sunny but a cool breeze kept us from getting too hot.  The grass was green and the clover so thick you could smell it in the air.  I could not have had a more perfect weekend if I tried.
     The first day started with my working student Anna riding Angela Thompson's horse and working with me to help make a video for her.  It was a great experience for Anna to get to ride a new horse if only for the weekend.  This is one of the interesting aspects of the early Robert Dover clinics when people (like me) didn't bring their horses and borrowed horses to ride.  Riding multiple horses, and horses that are unknown to you, helps to develop your riding skills in a very important way.  Thank you Angela for making this possible.
     Each of the girls throughout the day worked on different aspects of their riding.  It was fun and challenging to me to get the opportunity to work on each. For lunch we had an informal discussion each day over different topics the girls had indicated in their applications that they were interested in talking about.  We discussed show nerves and visualization and other techniques for focusing and handling competitions the first day.  The second we talked about balancing school and work and how to create opportunities for additional study.  The last day we worked on ideas for getting grants and money for training as well as the benefits of training in Europe.  We also touched on their questions about being a working student.
     Each evening we also had a social event which made the three day clinic really fun.  We roasted smores one night.  We watched movies.  We went out to dinner at a local joint.  We had planned water balloon fights but it got too cold.  The food was great and we had way too many desserts like brownie sundaes with caramel sauce. I think we all gained 5 lbs even with the work.
     We had indoor stalling and scheduled turnout for all the participants which was a big hit.  One great bonus at the barn here is that there are extra tack rooms too and laundry facilities too.  So everyone said it was really convenient and well laid out.
      To sum it up I had a great time.  I worked harder than I remember working.  Giving lessons all day for three straight days is tough!  I now have way more understanding of the lives of some of my trainers!  London and Christine...I do not know how you do this so regularly. It is exhausting.  But maybe it is the reward of spreading the dressage bug and growing the base that makes it worth while. I must have liked it because I volunteered to do a pony club clinic next week here!  That is on top of taking my two four year olds to a clinic at Andrea Landis' next weekend!  It sure hasn't taken long to get really busy up here.
     Last thing, good luck to everyone at NAJYRC and Aachen.  Thinking of you................

Friday, July 7, 2017

The spider problem solved!

     You may remember I didn't want to use pesticides and I really dislike cleaning the buggers (haha).  I discovered the best tool ever for the solution: A shop vac!  It sucks up the spiderwebs, the dirt that lingers on them and the spiders without chemicals. It is a lot less gross to use the vac then a broom or blower.  I tried both.  The blower works on the webs but the dirt goes everywhere and you have NO CLUE where the spiders go.  Which means most likely they are in the back of your shirt climbing up your neck.  The broom does better on those accounts but takes forever.
     I am going to save to buy a nicer one with a long handled brush thing on the end. I think that will work even better.
     My next big problem is bird crap.  Up in the rafters of the arena and the barn aisles, the birds sit on the boards and do their business. I don't want to power wash because it takes way too much water. That is not only an environmental issue but also creates a mess in the arena. I tried going up a ladder and using simple green and murphy oil soap to clean.  Both do ok, but moving the ladder every two minutes is time consuming and also dangerous.  That sucker is really high and just sits in the soft arena dirt. I know with my accident prone life, I will be on the ground sooner or later!  I finally found a solution to that too.  I got a huge extender pole and taped a bristle brush on the end.  I lower it into the bucket of ivory soap (which works great on bird crap) and then I brush and dip again.  It is a really great upper body workout too.
     I took my working student Anna King to the Lendon Gray Team clinic and the Midwest Youth Festival. It was fun to be on the other side of the fence at this event.  I didn't have to get up to feed at 6 am.  It was kind of great.  Anna is very talented and works really hard.  She took everything Lendon said to heart and came out great in day 2 and won 2 of 3 sections of her division at the festival on day 3.  She won both of the riding portions (2nd level test and equitation).  The written test placed her overall in reserve champion overall.  Amazing for her first time at such an event.  Good job girl.
     Back home to get ready for my first youth clinic for KWPN.  Really excited to plan a little bit different event. We are going to have a few social things to do (options) while other people ride.  I know it get hard for a 7 year old (or a 17 year old) to sit through 7 other rides and 'watch.' So I am hoping to try something a little different.  I will let you know how it goes.  To prep the barn we have all been cleaning everything.  The stalls are scrubbed, the sky lights washed and a new coat of paint on the front porch of the viewing room (thanks Kim and KK).  My mom's friend brought her whole family up to help us get ready.  Yes, an exciting vacation in Battle Creek on the farm.  But it is turning out to be pretty cool.  I also will have to watch to make sure the boys don't 'confiscate' my dog Chance who they think is the greatest dog ever.  He is too.
     So many new things ahead and I am sick as I have ever been.  I have a tonsicular abscess.  It won't go away, even after the ENT drained it.  It was golf ball sized and got into my face and jaw muscles.  I suffered a bit longer than necessary because the Urgent Care PA misdiagnosed me!  But now I have to get my tonsils out.  It is supposedly a much bigger deal at 22 than at 5.  Several weeks off of riding, I am not sure I want to do this.
     Well, I am off to make another smoothie (I have lived on them for 5 weeks with my swollen tonsils).  I have lost 12 pounds I did not want to lose.  I am dying to eat solid foods.  One thing about owning your own place; even deathly ill the work still needs to get done.  Thank you Anthony and Anna for helping with that!