The dressage world lost and gained this week. The loss was Howard Nelson, who, along with his longtime partner Lisa Froelig, ran Silverwood Farm in Wisconsin. Silverwood played a huge role in my life as a young dressage competitor in the Midwest. It's an amazing facility, and Howard's ceaseless dedication to it took it from just another facility to one of the best around, home to countless shows including qualifiers for the NAYRC, young horse championships and national championships.
I've found there are two places in a warmblood's life where, if he's going to be a wee bit naughty, he does so. One is the 5-year-old year. Like their two-legged, 15-year-old counterparts, 5 seems to be the year for warmbloods to push boundaries, especially 5-year-old boy horses.
The other place is the place somewhere between first-ish and second-ish level, when the half-halt has to become less of a subtle rebalancing and more of a SIT DOWN NOW, when the croup really has to lower, when the hocks and stifles really have to go to work.
I had this swell plan for an absurd April Fool's Day blog post, something where I decided on my drive home to give up dressage to raise alpacas, or to adopt a baby from Nigeria, or something else harebrained.
Instead, I've had a few distractions over the last few days.
First, I realized in packing the trailer that I'd forgotten hay bags. So off to the store I go, where my only options are haynets. My trailer's just not easily set up for haynets, so I end up jerry-rigging them up, complete with bailing twine and duct tape.
Saddle fit is an issue near and dear to my heart, and that is entirely due to my long-time friendship with Colleen Meyer of Advanced Saddle Fit. Upon reading Catherine Haddad's recent blog, Colleen wanted to write her own response, and I thought you all would like to read it. Take it away, Colleen!
The end is nigh. And I've got very mixed feelings about it all.
I just booked overnight accommodations, for both my horses, and myself for our drive home. We're hitting the road in less than two weeks, which means I've got less than two weeks to make as much progress as possible.
Freestyle night at the Masters was one of the highlights of my life as a spectator, and it wasn't just about the quality of horse, or the grandeur of the whole scene. It was that there is no place in this country, coast to coast, to see such high-class riding.
I want to write about the freestyles at the Masters competition, but I don't think I can stand one more minute without sharing these photos!
Tres was an absolute star at the Challenge of the Americas quadrille this weekend, as were all of his Team USA teammates! They won the competition in a close race with Team International. The whole event raised a ton of money for breast cancer research, which is the whole point, of course.
Fender and I got into the USEF Young Horse Training Sessions with Scott, and the part I was most worried about was the hack from Double Bridle to Mary Ann and Walter McPhail's beautiful property. So when Fender and I came down the farm driveway together instead of apart, I knew we were gravy!