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Emma Johnson

November 4, 2009

A Little Extra Fun At New England Finals

Saturday afternoon, a few of us New Yorkers went shopping for costumes for the Challenge of the States class held that night. Last year we dressed up as hula dancers, coconut bras and all, and we wanted this year's outfits to be just as fun.  We decided on a New York City Ballet theme and hit the party store in town to get tutus, tiaras and pink ribbon.  We even got a pink dress for Val's dog Sofie to wear!  Sofie was a bit grumpy at first but was soon parading around, loving all the attention.

October 27, 2009

Horsemanship And The New England Finals Warm-Up

Since my first venture to the New England Equitation Championships in Springfield, Massachusetts, I have always looked forward to returning. The jumps are set low, closer to 3' than 3'6", and the environment is much more relaxed than most other finals. They add more classes than just the final itself, so it is possible to have a really good time even if you make a mistake in the final.

October 16, 2009

USEF Medal Finals, Part 2

Waking up at 5 a.m. on Sunday was actually harder than getting up at 4 the previous day, and I was glad that my mother was driving so I didn't have to. 

Even though I was number 145 in the order, I arrived at the show fully decked out in my jacket, helmet and everything so I would look nice for the course walk.  The mass of people at the in-gate was huge, and I fought my way to the front so I could get a copy of the course diagram, which they were handing out. 

October 15, 2009


Val had a junior hunter showing early in the week at Harrisburg, so there was no time for a lesson before Calvin began the five-hour trip on Thursday.  My mom and I followed a few hours later and arrived at the Farm Show Complex in the late afternoon.  I immediately got tacked up and rode in the schooling ring.

October 14, 2009

USEF Talent Search Finals

Last Thursday, I hurried through my usual barn chores before loading Calvin into the trailer and departing for Gladstone, N.J., where the USEF Talent Search Finals take place. 

He settled in nicely, which eased my nerves about the hardest final of the season. Each of the three phases (flat, gymnastics and show jumping) is much more demanding than a normal equitation class, and I was having last-minute, somewhat irrational, fears about being underprepared. 

September 25, 2009

A Tough Day And A Positive Outlook's a good thing we didn't book a hotel for Syracuse, because the odds of me making it are slim. Sunday was not my proudest moment. Saying this in every entry, I feel like a broken record, but Calvin was great. It is extra disappointing that way because he did everything I asked, and I let him (and Val) down.
The warm-up, a jumper class, went fine. My turns were not quite as smooth as I wanted, so I decided to use draw reins to school for the Regionals.

September 19, 2009

So Far, So Good

I guess I can say my evening went OK...I won the USEF Medal class and the PHA Finals.  As per usual, Calvin was there for me every step of the way. 

My Medal round was actually a disappointment to me, so it was quite a surprise to hear my number being called on top.  I thought maybe we were testing in order, not in reverse order like we usually do.

September 18, 2009

In The Midst Of Maclay Regionals

Maclay Regionals are upon us! This weekend, Calvin and about 70 other horses will be competing at the Zone 2 Regional, held at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, N.Y. I am lucky enough to come from a barn just down the road from the show, so although Calvin has a stall there, I am able to go back and forth and ride my other horses too. 

Right now I am in between classes, having finished the Open Equitation; now I'm waiting for the USEF Medal to start.

September 15, 2009

Self Motivation

Because I do not board my horses with my trainer, I have learned to be more independent than many of my peers.  Most days I ride on my own, with occasional input from my mom, who is a professional.  However, her schedule is often full, so I need to take initiative if I want to improve. 

I have begun to incorporate more no-stirrups work into my daily rides in order to strengthen my legs and secure my seat.  I also develop some of my own exercises, along with using ones from Val's and my mom's lessons, to solve problems my horse and I may have. 

September 8, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

We had it planned out perfectly: Alan was to be longed Friday evening (to get him quiet, but not TOO quiet), and then my mother would pick him up early in the morning on the way to the Fairfield County Hunt Club, where the Fairfield-Westchester PHA Finals were held. I was allowed to sleep in, grab my tack from the barn and leave for the show as late as 9:30 am. I was thrilled.

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