Callie Schott, who works for John and Beezie Madden at their John Madden Sales in Cazenovia, N.Y., is letting Chronicle readers have a behind-the-scenes look at the Breeder's Bridge to High Performance contest .
Welcome BF  arrived from California last week while I was at the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships in Lexington, Ky., with our student Lydia Ulrich. Welcome had an uneventful trip across the country and spent the first few days at the farm settling into our routine. She’s quite a well behaved mare and seems quite content here at the farm; she's the new next door neighbor to Cortes C.
Welcome’s owner, K.C. Branscomb, told MaryBeth Cyr, Welcome’s groom here at John Madden Sales, that when she was a foal, K.C.’s daughter gave her the nickname of “Snuggles.” Her sweet personality fits the name and since we tend to have nicknames for all our horses here, I think that’s what most of us will be calling her from now on.
Her first few days of work were just light lunges before I got back from Kentucky. We have been having some extreme heat and humidity here in New York, and I wanted to give her a chance to adjust before getting into more strenuous work.
In our first ride together at JMS she was wonderful. I started her in the indoor and then moved to the outdoor, giving her a nice flat session. She was responsive, but not spooky, handling all the new sights with ease. In our second flat session, I spent a good amount of the ride working on developing her hind end on the flat.
A few days in, we did our first jumping session. She hasn’t jumped in a while with her cross-country trip, so I kept it simple. I started her trotting a cross rail and then we jumped a vertical a couple times off each lead. We got a single square oxer a couple times and then did some work through a simple grid, trotting in. It was a cross rail one stride (18') to an oxer. After she got the hang of that, we added another vertical one stride (21') after the oxer.
I kept all the jumps around 3', not wanting to do too much in our first jumping session. She was jumping really well and her roundness and hind end over the jumps was as impressive as I remembered from my trip to California.
This week we head to Vermont for two weeks and Welcome will be coming along and competing in a few classes. Constant Star  will join us at John Madden Sales after we get home from Vermont, in just a couple weeks.