|Happy Father's Day, Dad! Love, Sug|
I have to say it was a pretty fine weekend in my world. Everyone was healthy and happy, we got to spend time with good friends, both human and equine, and I got to spend some more time covering the USEF 2012 Festival of Champions and Dressage Selection Trials courtesy of Horse Junkies United. On Saturday my barn buddy Libby came with me to offer her photography skills - you can check out her efforts on the HJU Facebook page as well as in my Day Four coverage.
Man, is it fun to see amazing riding, of any discipline. The level of skill seen at this level, as you'd expect, left me slack-jawed most of the time. Which, of course, was a lovely look when combined with my still-glowing-holy-crap-what-did-you-do-to-yourself hair color.
The fun and inspiration carried over into my own riding. After I left the Trials I'd head over to my barn, which is just down the road from the USET Foundation headquarters in Gladstone. Sug is still into the Walk Only portion of her rehab, but as I've noted before, I've discovered there's a heck of a lot to be done in the walk. Each day I hopped on the Sainted Mare and channeled my inner DQ, trying to maintain a constant rhythm, straightness and connection to the bit. I'd concentrate on lengthening my legs along her sides and wrapping my legs around her, as well as trying to keep my aids as independent from each other as possible. Easier said than done. Have you ever concentrated on your legs, only to find that your elbows stop "following" the movement of the horse's mouth or your back tenses up? Seriously, there was so much to think about I darn near fried my brain, but it was all good learning.
And the Sainted Mare's reaction to all of Mom's shenanigans?
Oh for heaven's sake, you've been watching that Peters guy again, haven't you? When does this show end, again? Can't be soon enough. You're gonna give yourself a stroke a stroke with all that gyrating and concentrating up there.
We cuddled up on the grass and watched some of the show - after all, how can you pass up a chance to watch Steffen Peters ride? - and then did some shopping and had a bite to eat. On our way out we saw Tina Konyot longeing Calecto V, so we stopped to gawk at His Gorgeousness as he cavorted in circles around Tina. He looked like a big (make that VERY big) old puppy dog playing on the end of a long leash. I waved and wished Tina luck in London; she waved back and we exchanged a few pleasantries, impressing my daughter yet again. (Thank you, Tina - I owe you, too!) Soph was in absolute awe of Calecto -- his size, his big poofy mane, how docile he seems to be despite the fact that he is a VERY BIG BOY and a stallion to boot. I think Calecto is now tied with Sapphire as Soph's favorite famous horse.
I don't think Soph is quite ready to take up dressage full time yet. She did, however, spend the rest of the day doing tempi changes, extended trot and passage any time she needed to get from point A to point B. May I say the kiddo has some very nice extensions and great ability to get her hocks underneath herself. ;)
If you would like to hear all about Days Three and Four of my adventures at the Selection Trials at Gladstone, as well as HJU coverage from our final Show Jumping observation event at Spruce Meadows, you can find them over at Horse Junkies United.
By the way, if you saw the Stephen Colbert video making fun of dressage, maybe you knew the USEF filmed a tongue in cheek rebuttal to that, featuring Ann Romney, Jan Ebeling, and the slightly perturbed Rafalca. The mare was NOT impressed by the foam fingers. Here's a video showing you the making of that original video. You can see your's truly at about the 1:30 mark. I'm the one with the blue and white striped t-shirt, white camera, and Budweiser in hand. (Note to self, NO MORE HORIZONTAL STRIPES!! Aack!)