Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I’m currently enjoying a week off from work and spending lots of time outside and riding.

I had the best Christmas present I could ask for on Monday when the vet came to re-ultrasound Oh So. The tear on his accessory ligament and the minor blip on the suspensory were barely visible. I asked her to give me a percentage number so I could quantify it in my head, and she said that while technically an injury will never be 100 percent healed, he’s at about 75 percent.

I was hoping I might be able to start trotting, but she wants him to be walking another 6-8 weeks until he’s up to 40 minutes (he’s at 20 right now), then I can start to introduce it before his next ultrasound.

She also agreed to let him start staying out on all-day turnout in a small paddock on Ace. Today was the first day I’ve let him stay out the whole day and so far, he seems to be content and quite. We really don’t want him trotting or cantering, but I know I won’t be able to stop it. I’ll be around this week and my dad will be around next week to monitor him, then after that I know I’ll start to get a little nervous.

A couple of weeks ago he got a large lump on his neck, most likely a reaction to an injection, and his entire next has been stiff ever since. I feel so bad, but he really can’t go 1DSC_0898out without sedation of some kind, and giving Ace orally isn’t very effective on him. I’ve been putting Surpass cream on his neck and giving him some Previcox for a few days and  he’s now able to lower his head and graze, so that’s good.

I’ve starting giving his injections in his chest and the vet showed me where to give them in his hindquarters too, although that’s playing with fire!

Bear has been getting very consistent in his lunging with the rope and has even started to do some walk-trot transitions where he doesn’t stop and turn in, which is definitely progress.

I had a lesson with Lisa on Saturday at a ring he hasn’t been to before and after some initial vocals, he settled in and we trotted some flower boxes, a green box and a one-stride with no issues.

Lisa said he’s definitely smart and understands and retains concepts quickly, so we don’t need to drill him, as much as I need drilling to work on my jumping position. It’s a little frustrating only getting to jump once a week, but he really shouldn’t be doing any more than that.

We had a conversation about teaching him to jump on a fairly loose rein and “canter around like a hunter”, because when we do sell him, who knows where he might go. When I bought him, I assumed we’d be selling him to an eventer because I know Lisa can find someone who will be a good match for him. We won’t know whether he wants to be an eventer until we take him cross-country schooling for the first time, but I guess I just 1DSC_0933hadn’t entertained the idea of selling him as anything other than an eventer.

Other than working the minis and riding, I went to see The Hobbit with my dad, which was great, save for the abrupt ending.

My brother and his fiancee came down on Christmas Eve and we went to church, then went out to eat, which was a fun new tradition I hope we can continue.

This morning, we opened presents and I rode Bear and took him for a solo walk down the driveway. He was a little hesitant, but it’s a short walk, so we made it there and back in one piece. I got a new pair of half chaps, Oh So got a new jumping bridle (since Bear took over his) and I got a pair of Premiere Equine magnetic wraps that I’m hoping to use on Oh So.

Tonight we’re all heading out to see Elf at the Kennedy Center which should be fun. Other than that, I have no plans, which feels a little weird! I’m heading down to Wellington, Fla., on the 30th and will be spending my New Year’s covering a George Morris clinic until the 4th. I got a last minute call up to do it so I’m excited to spend some time in the warmth!

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Three Shows, One Week

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Whew! I’ve finally got some time to sit down and relax after traveling to three shows in a week.

It all started with the American Eventing Championships in Tyler, Texas. After some schedule shuffling, I made it down late Thursday, but ended up having to drive from Dallas to Tyler, which was about a two-hour drive in traffic. At least I got to see Dallas up close!

It wasn’t deathly hot, but still hotter then I’ve been used to after our cool late summer. The Texas Rose Horse Park was workmanlike and tidy, but not what I would call “stunningly beautiful.” It seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, amongst cows and open fields, but apparently Tyler has a population of close to 100,000.

The cross-country featured a ton of brand new jumps and I thought the courses looked challenging and up to the standard that we’re used to in Area II, but with a little less terrain. It was quite dry, but they aerated.

I got to have some help from my former officemate and friend, Megan Brincks, who moved to Fort Worth to work for the American Paint Horse Association. We had a great time and I wish we’d had more time to just hang out and have dinner, but we were so busy. Here’s a link to all of our coverage.2013-09-27 09.15.58

It cooled down a bit on Sunday after some storms, so I was able to go to the tiny Tyler airport minimally sweaty and with only one fire ant bite! My flight to Dallas was all of 20 minutes in the air, which was pretty funny, but there were no direct flights from Tyler to D.C.

I wrote my story on Monday and Tuesday and headed up to the Prince Georges Equestrian Center on Wednesday to cover the WCHR Professional Challenge and WCHR Developing Professional Challenge.

I’m still learning about the hunters, but from what I could gather, the WCHR (World Champion Hunter Rider) program is kind of like the Adequan Gold Cup series in eventing. Certain shows are designated WCHR shows and riders can gain points for the final each year. I still don’t know how some riders could qualify to ride in both classes, but hey, what’s another ribbon?

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Greg Crolick won the Developing Pro class and he was a pleasure to talk to. I find that a lot of hunter riders are tough to talk to because they ride so many horses and compete in so many classes that they really don’t develop a relationship with the horses they ride. So when I ask, “What makes him so special?”, I don’t often get a good answer.

I also find it tough interviewing hunter and jumper riders because I don’t follow that scene as closely, so I don’t always know the background of the horse or rider before I interviewthem as they come out of the in gate.

The night ended pretty late, but I was happy with my photos and coverage.

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I’m not sure why I decided to go, but I dragged myself out of bed early on Saturday to drive up to Morven Park to take photos of the advanced cross-country. I was really tired and it was really hot, but Morven is one of my favorites and the advanced only runs once a year now.

As expected, several pairs withdrew due to the hard ground, but about 15 still went. I had planned to stay up and watch some of the intermediate too, but I was fading fast.

Check out a few more photos here.

Now I’ve had the rest of the weekend to recover and get ready for Harrisburg next week.

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A few days at the Devon Horse Show

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I headed up to Devon, Pa. last Tuesday to cover a few days at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair after a last minute emergency with one of COTH’s staff members.

I’d been to Dressage at Devon about 10 years ago, but I haven’t been to a hunter/jumper show in quite a while, so I was a little apprehensive. I’m not a fan of the culture and stigma that goes along with that world, but I appreciate a good equine athlete.166026_10100996232813407_871845025_n

DSC_2987Luckily I got to cover the fun stuff- the professional hunters and the grand prix. I used to go to Upperville every year to watch the grand prix, so I was comfortable with that. Wednesday started out with all of the professional hunter divisions. Kelley Farmer and Scott Stewart did most of the winning on several different horses and I think I got some decent photos. Hunter people are pretty picky about their photos apparently!

I had most of Wednesday afternoon free to work on my story and get some interviews done. I also got to watch some really neat traditional classes like five gaiters, driving and Hackneys. Devon is 117 years old this year and I love the history that goes with the Dixon Oval.

DSC_3578Thursday night was the Grand Prix of Devon and McLain Ward won it for a record eighth DSC_3483time. I wasn’t too pleased with my photos, but I think I got the hang of it by the end of the night. It’s tough shooting under the lights, but I’m sort of used to low light conditions from shooting so many concerts.

I feel like I wasn’t totally prepared to ask good questions at the press conference because I’m not as familiar with the who’s who of hunters and jumpers, so I had to make some phone calls on Monday, but the story came together nicely for the magazine I think.

All of my Devon coverage can be found at our Devon hubpage.

I’m off to a family thing this weekend in upstate New York. The weather looks to be nice, so I’m excited to not sweat!