As I sat behind the barn at our third show in a row, sobbing into my dad’s shoulder after leaving the ring in the middle of a perfectly fine test, I wondered why I was still trying to qualify for the North American Youth Championships.
My dad and I arrived on Wednesday, November 29th at the Blue Grass Airport, checked into the Hyatt Regency, and planned out our week that included both the Convention and as much sightseeing as we could manage.
See the official publication of this article in the Dressage Today website.
I think I was more surprised than anyone else at being nominated by NEDA for the USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year award…
also read at the bottom of this page:
This article includes a few edits from my teacher. The assignment was to write an article of any kind on any topic. I received a 95/100 for this project. Special thanks to Leah Tenney for answering my questions, and Lendon Gray for offering this amazing program!
July (as well as the rest of the summer, really) has been and will be super busy. I earned my Bronze Medal, turned 16 years old, clipped DJ’s coat (twice), rode in the double bridle for the first time, and was even invited to D4K’s Courtney King-Dye Horsemastership Program.
The Courtney King-Dye Horsemastership Program is a five-day clinic at Hassler Dressage in Maryland. About a dozen young riders from around the country (possibly only the east coast) are invited due to their talent shown in previous EDAP clinics. The participants receive private lessons with top U.S. coaches every day, as well as lectures on various topics.
It was an incredible honor to be invited, which made my decision to not partake even more difficult. The three weekends before and after the clinic had already been filled with clinics and shows, and the workload would have been way too much for the princess (and for me, frankly. These five-day shows are exhausting!).
As my dad said, it was an honor to be invited, and I hope to have this opportunity presented again next year… possibly on a new horse??
This past weekend we loaded up and moved out to my favorite show venue by the Green Mountain Horse Association. By the end of the show, all were satisfied with both successes and newfound knowledge.
DJ and I…
This weekend, DJ and I traveled down to the beloved Bear Spot Farm on our first outing of the season!! We had been accepted to participate as a rider in the first day (Saturday) of the NEDA Spring Symposium. Friday, we had ridden for Mr. van der Schaft in a separate clinic.
Mr. van der Schaft is now one of my favorite clinicians to date. Despite a thick German accent, he was sure to explain all of what he said with great detail. He was very patient and made sure I understood everything he said.
The theme of the weekend was riding forward into the connection. We had started to introduce this at home, but Mr. van der Schaft really pushed us in the right direction. He explained that people often think that riding on the hind leg is what causes suspensory injuries (which we have struggled with in the past), but that riding on the hind leg in a poor balance is what causes this. When the balance is not there, yet a horse is pushed forward, neither the balance nor the impulsion will improve.
My lesson on the first day with Mr. van der Schaft was amazing. DJ felt very good when we walked into the gorgeous arena, but my standards were certainly raised midway through the ride. As we worked, the frame and the balance of the gaits became better and better; the work actually got easier for the two of us! We were able to stay supple, forward, strong, and happy through the whole lesson- this was an amazing feeling. I must be the luckiest girl on the planet to have been able to ride such an incredible mare, at such an incredible venue, with such an incredible trainer; I hope I get to do it again someday SOON!
The second day is available to watch on YouTube. I was put more to my own devices on this day, as I had to share my lesson with another person. I will try to get the first day up soon!