Well, we know that spring is officially upon us because the ice bergs in the lower pasture have finally melted, the outdoor arena is no longer a lake even though we have ducks in residence, and we now have a mud farm.
We’re looking forward to a busy clinic coming up at Knollwood this weekend. We’re welcoming Cindy and Deveau from Zubrod Stables who will offer their unique perspective to our academy and show riders. We enjoy clinic weekend every year when we welcome expert clinicians who work with our riders in group and private lessons. We can hardly wait!
Of course, with clinic weekend coming up and the IASPHA Spring Show only a few weeks away, it's time to look back at all we’ve accomplished during the off season. We finished the 2018 show season with a bang with Haley winning the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation at the Royal. Many of our teams finished strong after a season of great progress, so it was the perfect way to finish the campaign.
We’ve had a lot of adventures during the off season.
Our riders grew!
We’ve done a lot of stirrup lengthening, and moving kids into bigger saddles over the last few months. At this rate, the industry is going to start making bigger saddles!
In addition to the physical growth, we’ve had a blast watching many of our ‘littles’ grow from thinking like wee ones to thinking and riding like experienced horse people. They’re starting to think like horses!
We Reorganized Our In Barn Shows!
With our mantra of ‘Evolve or die’ in our heads, we made some changed to our in-barn shows to make them even more inclusive. Starting in 2019, our riders will receive shirts to wear in the show, and will have the chance to compete in fun classes in addition to their traditional equitation and pleasure divisions.
Triple Crown Winner Haley is playing games at the May show, and is welcoming all comers who would like to ride with her!
New Teams Have Come Together!
The Cooper family purchased Brookhill’s Passion Punch (AKA Leila) for Finn to show in the senior equitation division. Last year’s triple crown winning horse and Finn have bonded over the winter, and are ready to have some fun this spring.
Heather will be showing Impressive Asset (Fergie) in senior Pleasure Equitation, Hanna will be showing CH Fine By Me (Tucker) in her last season in the junior Pleasure Equitation division, and Maria will be showing Irish Victory (Murphy) in the pleasure divisions. Jordan will be showing the one and only CH Freaky Links in show pleasure in her last season before she heads off to the University of Wisconsin.
Richie has made a move with Miss Mheiry Mac and will be showing her in Country Pleasure. They’re having a blast getting a little more speed going!
We Welcomed A Rider From The Arabian World!
New to the Saddlebred show ring this season will be Laney on Rosewood’s Homecoming Dance. Laney has lots of experience in the Arabian world, and has made the move to showing Robert in pleasure equitation with us.
Two Riders Are Moving Up From Our Academy Program!
McKailey has moved up from the academy division and will be showing Tura Lura Lura (Maddie) in pleasure.
Jeni has supported her kids through their show careers, and now it’s her turn to have some fun. Jeni is leasing Finding Neverland (Michael) to show in the Gaited Pleasure division. We can hardly wait to watch these new teams!
Academy Riders Progress and Impress!
Our academy riders continue to impress us with their hard work and drive. This upcoming season is bringing lots of promotions from walk and trot up to walk, trot, and canter showing at out of barn shows. At our in-barn shows, we have even more stars making the jump to walk, trot, and canter classes.
We Found A Blanket For Frank!
So, Big Frank has a history of trashing his winter coats. In the past, they’ve lasted a month on average.
Thanks to our friends at Dover Saddlery, Frank has worn the same coat since November, and it doesn’t have a mark on it. We apologize that we previously credited our friends at SmartPak with the indestructible coat, but we later discovered it was a Dover coat.
SmartPak, your Piper Jods are still every saddle seat instructor’s favorite!!
We Spent Quality Time With Our Horses!
So much learning happens off our horses’ backs, and the off season gives us added time to spend in stalls with our equine friends. Lately, We’ve spent LOTS of time with the school horses helping them shed out. Even thick coated Sparky is starting to look like a horse again, and he’s SO grateful for everyone who’s helped him feel better.
Forest Is A Media Star.
Forest has once again has made his way into the media.
National Horseman published an article about everyone’s favorite Fjord in their Junior Exhibitor Issue. Don’t tell him, because his head might get TOO big to manage, but they requested info about Forest because of his social media skills. They pretty much said that
We Learned in Non-Traditional Ways.
The off season gives everyone a chance to think outside the box as we enjoy a little more time at home.
So, we re-energized Friday nights and added Pattern Classes, Show Strategy Classes, an Invitational Tiny Tot group of hard riding 5 and 6 year olds, and the most popular of them all, Ladies Nights. We’re adding game nights later in the year!
We’ve enjoyed the off season in our regular scheduled classes as well. Our more advanced riders and our helpers live the ‘no stirrup lifestyle’ while leaning from the lesson horses in creative ways. We’ve practiced getting on and off on the right side, and experimented with emergency dismounts.
Games? You bet.
We don’t know if the horses or the riders enjoy them more. We’ve had some spirited games of Steal the Crop, and Musical Feedsacks, rode some creative pairs patterns, and of course played games of skill like ‘slowest trot’ and ‘slowest canter.’
Did we learn a lot while we laughed and tried to only get off at appropriate times? Yes. Yes, we did.