Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stewie is joining his mom for some time off

I am sad to say I will not get to cheer Boyd and Stewie on at Rolex this year. Last Saturday night after the cross country, we took every necessary precaution we could. Dr. Tom Daniels radiographed his head and down his neck to his withers. All of that looked perfect. That evening the horse jogged 1/5, and we were all happy Stewie was looking pretty good considering his fall. Boyd and I spoke about a plan, and decided to send Stewie back to PA, so after some days off, Boyd could resume light work in preparation for The Fork.

Since the horse was in PA, Boyd's vet Dr. Kevin Keane took over keeping an eye on Stewie. While he looked good trotting up, a minimal amount of swelling had developed around his left knee. So today we decided to xray that too, just to be safe. Unfortunately we saw 2 small chips at the top of his cannon bone. Kevin is sending the radiographs to Dr. Dean Richardson, the same vet who worked on Barbaro. What we are now waiting on is to see if we should have them taken out or let them heal on their own. Either way Stewie will make a full recovery. I feel very confident between Dr. Daniels, Dr. Keane, and Dr. Richardson, he will be receiving the best care possible.

While I am sad Stewie's spring has ended soon, I am grateful he and Boyd will see another day. Like I said in my last blog, a horse show is just a horse show. They happen every weekend all over the world. Boyd is an amazing rider, and Stewie is an amazing horse. He can now come home and plump up along with his mother! Good luck to everyone the rest of the spring.


Monday, March 28, 2011

The ups and downs of the horse biz

Let me start out by sending my condolences to Arden Wildasin and Michael Pollard. Losing an animal one loves and cares for daily is beyond gut wrenching. I hope their teams are fairing well. SPHT II has always been one of my favorite places to compete, and even after a tough weekend for some, it still is. I have ridden there for years on multiple horses, and while the courses are true to the level, they are fair with plenty of options. And like I said three years ago in a write up for the Chronicle, Marc Donovan is an outstanding show jumping course designer. His tracks are well built, with lines that require you to be precise and make decisions. I have always left the ring either happy, or with a clear understanding of what I need to improve on. I am sure many riders this weekend will feel the same.

As I woke up this morning better rested than yesterday, I find myself thanking my lucky stars Stewie and Boyd are safe and sound. No matter how successful the horse and rider are, there is always a chance of a mistake. And unfortunately, as you go up the levels, the room for error becomes very minimal. Boyd felt he moved up too much to a large oxer, and Stewie did not read it right. They had a crashing fall, which I pray would never happen to anyone. Seeing Boyd on the ground and Stewie a bit shaken was terrible. People who know me understand how much I love this little horse. They also understand how much respect I have for Boyd as a rider and horseman. I too have made mistakes as a rider, and will make more before my career is done. That is the nature of sport.

As an instructor that teaches all levels, I have always made sure my students know the sport of eventing is filled with ups and downs. But what makes a good competitor is how they handle their downs. Like my dad told me after a very dismal year I had in 2002, "Holly, get up, dust yourself off, and get back on!" This week Stewie and Boyd will do the same, and will be better for it at the Fork in two weeks.

Remember to love your animals the best you can, and horse show is just that. A horse show. What was driven home to me personally this weekend was how much I love Stewie, and at the end of the day, what is truly important is the safety of our horses. No result, ribbon, trophy, or prize should ever replace that.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Time to get ready for SPHT II!

It's that time of year again. March 25-27 will be a weekend for an amazing event and great parties down at SPHT II in Raeford, NC. My good friend Jane Murray has been busy helping to make this event better than  before, with 350 of this country's top riders, and thousands of dollars of prize money offered in the Advanced divisions! And like last year, it will be the inaugural event for the PRO Tour Series along with another Britches and Bling party Saturday night.

PRO will be offering cross country course walks and reaching out to spectators and owners with commentating both Saturday and Sunday. The Junior Young Rider Training scholarship award will be started here as well. There will be a special PRO event Sunday before show jumping. Please check out all the details on the PRO website so you don't miss any of these opportunities. SSG has also teamed with PRO at this event, offering money for what is called, "SSG, go low for the dough promotion." There is good money to be won in the Advanced and Intermediate divisions, so please find Samantha Lendle for further details!

What's so great about this super event is it's free for spectators, is family friendly with a Kid Zone, has a beer garden, and great food and retail vendors. While the Britches and Bling Party was so fun last year, it will be bigger this time around with a fashion show! The models will be well known riders and owners, modeling local businesses' clothing and accessories. This great party will also have incredible food and music. Get your tickets now so you don't miss this chance for a good time. Tickets are $45 per adult and $25 for children under 12. You can call the Carolina Horse Park at 910-875-2074. The festivities start at 6pm at the CHP Market Place Tent.

Also, check out the Patrons' Tent opportunities which includes delicious lunches, VIP seating at the Water Jump Tent Saturday, and ringside on Sunday for the Stadium Jumping and awards. Those tickets are $75/adult and $50/child.

SPHT II will be sporting some new jumps this year, so I added a few pics of what is to come! This event is truly amazing, and with all the new features offered this year, it should not be missed. There is guaranteed fun for everyone. See  you soon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A super weekend at SPHT I

It was another great show at SPHT! The weather was perfect, and as usual, the show ran very well. The Carolina Horse Park is one of my favorite venues, and each year it gets better and better. The cross country courses sported some new jumps, and as we walked the xc we saw more jumps for SPHT II.The courses were flowing and confidence building, perfect for this time of year. I had a busy weekend coaching, and am proud of all my students!

Annie Nienaber and Fiona Allen had conservative, yet solid rounds in the preliminary, and in the training, Christine Pavey was 3rd and Emily Henderson was 6th (her first training). Christina Hoffman decided to jump a novice jump next to her training jump, resulting in a TE. She was allowed to sj, and that went well. My working student Maxine Preston had a good dressage and clean sj, but had an educational day on the xc. When she came to me 5 weeks ago, I basically changed her entire way of going on the xc from fast and flat to in control. We are now finding the balance, and she will be better for it in two weeks back at SPHT II!

My novice ladies were stars, as Eliza Granger was 1st, Kim Rushton 3rd, and Marty Fisher 10th. My full time students really work hard week to week, and I am very proud of them! We have a weekend off, then it is back to SPHT II in two weeks. Stewie will be there, and I am so excited to see him. Carolina Horse Park is a special place for him, as he has competed at every level there, starting at beginner novice all the way through advanced!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shedding some light on one of my great sponsors!

I have had a long and solid relationship with Prime Performance Nutrition, and am very lucky for their sponsorship. They have supplied my horses with top of the line supplements, which have helped to keep them healthy, sound, and happy. I recently spent some time with the President of PPN, Jeff Butler, to better bring to the eventing public more information about this fabulous company. Here are a few of my questions, with Mr. Butler's answers.

1) What separates PPN from other supplement companies?
PPN was started by people that have been around horses their entire life, which makes for an environment that puts the horse first and business second. We have had the luxury of associating with some very high profile people overseas that have allowed us to develop and trial our products before they are put on the shelf. From the beginning PPN has been a member of the National Animal Supplement Council which stresses quality and protocols that are industry standards. PPN does product testing on a regular basis to ensure label claim guarantees for all ingredients. We have cost effective pricing due to the volume that we are able to turn over since we are distributing on a world wide basis.

2) What products do you recommend for 3 Day Event horses to aid in all the stress they are under with training and competing. (for example, our horses can have a high rate of ulcers, joint stiffness, muscle soreness, and fatigue)
Ulcer conditions-Aloe GT is a great product to go with when you are experiencing signs of gastric upset and/or your horse goes off feed. After a month or when a horse has bounced back, Ulcer X daily will act as an ant-acid to lesson the chance of irritations going forward.

Joint Health-The number one product world wide is Maxum HA, because of the complete formula of Glucosamines, Chondroitin Sulfate, MSM and HA, all in a mini pellet.

Muscle Soreness-Prime E&SE will allow those horses that tend to suffer from muscle soreness to recover faster. Re-Charge is a paste product that we use prior to an event as well just after to prevent tie ups and aid in quicker muscle recovery.

*Mr. Butler also stated to me that people can send in scenarios regarding their horses, and he will help to write a program for them that works! Contact information for these wonderful products is listed below.

Jeff Butler
Prime Performance Nutrition
1-816-667-9052 fax

Thank you for reading, and I cannot wait to talk again soon about my other super sponsor, Devoucoux!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Back to snowy Minnesota

This past weekend I traveled back to my hometown state of Minnesota. Friend Megan McFarland set up a great clinic in Webster, and I taught all day Saturday and Sunday. Although we were in an indoor, it was still so cold, as the temp was 7 degrees Sunday morning! While I miss the lakes, snowmobiling, and change of seasons, I do not miss the winter weather! I was happy to wake up back in NC to sun and warm temps this morning. Friday night was spent with family, and it was great to see my sister's two girls, Maggie and Ellie.

I want to thank Maxine for keeping things running smoothly at the barn when I was away. This week will be busy, as I have many students heading to SPHT I this weekend. The next few days are filled with lessons and training, then everyone competes Saturday and Sunday. I will update next Monday, and let you know how brilliant they all were!