Monday, November 12, 2012

Of Boot Camp and WEF

I need to start off by saying I am exhausted! This past weekend was phenomenal and both Bastian and I got our asses kicked. I was feeling pretty good when we got home last night, but this morning I woke up sore and tired and it was a struggle to get through the day, all I wanted to do was take a nap.....

So Kristin and I pulled out of the barn around 11:30 on Friday and began our trek to Coatesville PA and Blue Hill Farm. The weather was great and we made good time until we hit Route 30 at 5:00 on a Friday night...holy traffic batman! It took forever. My first riding lesson was set for 6:30 PM, we rolled into the barn around 6:18....nothing like cutting it close. LOL

No worries though, Kristin and I tag teamed Bastian (and when I say tag team I mean Kristin pretty much did everything, she was fabulous!) and I was in their lovely indoor with fantastically foof-a-licious footing by 6:35.

Our first lesson was a bit of an evaluation, seeing what I could and couldn't do, where my weakness were and where Bastian's weaknesses were. I think I can sum it all up by saying we have quite a bit of homework to do! We rode again early Saturday AM and we really got down to business. Missy had me focusing on my body position, keeping my shoulders back, staying centered, keeping my eyes up and turning with my hips. She had us working very hard. I had to keep Bastian between my legs, pushing forward, putting more weight on his hind end along with being steady and rhythmical. Easy-peasy! NOT! By the time we got to our lesson on Sunday morning, both of us were exhausted, we had done some intense work, I have to step up what we're doing at home! For as exhausted as we both were on Sunday I felt like we showed progress from where we had started on Friday, I was sitting up better and was feeling it quicker when I dropped my shoulders or wasn't moving my hips or shoulders in my turns. Bastian was trying his enormous Thoroughbred heart out, not only to listen to my not always so clear directions, but trying to make his stride more collected and rock back on his hind end.

On Saturday night I also got to take a lesson one of Missy's horses that was donated to the Para-Program. His name was Hugh, Hugh Knows. So if you're an eventing fan you should recognize that name. He was one of Karen O'Connor's Rolex Mounts.
So given my current situation, I doubt I am ever going to get to cruise around the Rolex course, so this has to count vicariously But I digress, Hugh was awesome, very responsive to my seat and light off of my legs while at the same time being very accepting of my excessive leg movement. His canter was to die for! Super fabulous. And as soon as lost my position, he changed so he was really great for keeping me focused! I got to school trot half-pass, turn on the haunches and counter canter. I even managed to do an unintentional flying lead change, a quite nice unintentional flying change if I do say so.... lol He was just an ideal lesson horse, he didn't get frustrated as we went around and around I tried to figure him out and he figured me out, no crazy reactions to my mistakes. It was quite the honour to have the opportunity to ride such a great horse.

The lessons and the riding were phenomenal, but pale in comparison to how welcoming, supportive and kind everyone was at Blue Hill. I got to meet Rebecca Hart and James Dwyer, two wonderful people who made me feel right at home and were incredibly friendly :) Missy Ransehousen is a great instructor! She was easy to follow while she was giving instruction and kept everything positive and upbeat. Everything she had me doing was right in line with what I have been doing-just more intense, more precise. I really liked this-its always nerve-wracking when you ride with a new instructor: are they going to change everything you're doing or are they on the same page as you (or in this case, are you on the same page as them). I also got to meet Hope Hand, one of the most important people in keeping the Para-program going and keeping everyone informed as far as which shows to go to and rule changes and deadlines. Like I said, everyone was so friendly and supportive, it was wonderful! Not to mention everyone has the greatest sense of humour. Not to mention all the others we met in the aisle and in the arena at the farm. Thank you everyone for making our stay at Blue Hill Farm so wonderful.

So, you may be asking what is on the agenda for Team Bastian now. Well, if we can manage to swing it, we're headed to Wellington, FL in March 2013 to compete in our first CPEDI***. All I have to figure out is how to raise enough money to get it done. Saddle pads and polo shirts are still available and we're having a fun show at BEC at the end of December. But that still leaves me quite a bit short....I'm estimating costs of about $4000 so I want to try and raise $5000 so that I don't have to take any shortcuts with B and he can have the best of the best care.

So that's our story. We're going to try and hit the Chagrin Valley Farms Dressage Schooling shows in December, January and March so I can ride my test and get my geometry and flow down. Oh I almost forgot, the new 2013 Para Test are in the large arena!!! I'm soooooooo excited that I don't have to cram everything into a small arena ;P

More updates soon! Thanks for reading!!!

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