Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ian Stark Clinic; 16,689 steps to enlightenment by marla

This weekend marked the 13th annual Galway Downs Fundraiser Eventing Clinic.  It was, as always, an amazing experience for riders and spectators alike.

Poor Barkley!
Carolyn and I came down Sunday to watch Scottish eventing guru Ian Stark teach his cross country clinic.  The day started with the typical Galway welcome - high wind gusts strong enough to knock your socks off.  But what's a little free dermabrasion between friends, right?  The first group of riders with Ian, including Hawley Bennett-Awad, did an amazing job.
Jack and Cappa over the brush
Then we were off to watch Cappa and Sherry ride with Gina Economou.  Both riders and ponies brought their "A" game to the party, achieving the quality of canter needed to accomplish their goals.  They ended their session going over a Training oxer and corner.  Woo hoo!!!

Look at the snow!!
Later, Tina had her round with Susan Friend and wow, what a difference a year has made.  Destino looked like a grown up pony, doing his fences straight and right out of stride. Ok, Tina probably had something to do with it but the duo never looked better.  They also ended their session on the Training corner, so kudos to all "eTwisters" all around. 

The star of the day, as always, was the incredible Ian Stark.  The most fun was watching him with his Preliminary group, including our old friend Madison Loving on her dollar horse, Dan. No kidding, he cost a dollar.  They shaved a few tail feathers off the duck in the water complex but overall did an outstanding job.  All of us spectators had several laughs off Mr. Stark, including the moment he told Gina Economou to stop being such a woman and just go.  Or was he talking to the nervous mare she was on, a new partnership that was on their first cross-country go?  His decidedly dry sense of humor and brilliant insights into riding drew a bigger crowd of spectators with every set of jumps he tackled.   The great thing was that the man seems to have infinite patience for helping riders over rough spots, while keeping the session light and stress free as well as just darned funny.

Ian's biggest tip of the day that seemed to be recurring theme in all the groups - ALLOW, ALLOW, ALLOW.  The most gasp inducing jumps came from riders picking too much in front of the fence.  Words of wisdom I hope to use some day when my horse is back to work.

Other trainers who helped make the fundraiser a success included Fredric Bouland, Barb Crabo, Robyn Fisher, Erin Kellerhouse, Debbie Rosen, Alice Sarno, Kim Scheid, Tamie Smith, Sarah Vandenberg, and Wendy Wergeles.  Seriously, if you've never been and you're committed to the sport of eventing, you've got to make effort to come to one or both days of the clinic, either as a rider or an auditor.  It's worth the drive down.  

A special thanks to our friends Larry and Pat Sawyer, who wined us and dined us and let us drink all their Edradour scotch before crashing on their couch the night before.  Being an hour closer definitely made it easier (although not easy after all the wining and dining!) to get to Ian's first clinic at 8am.   Oh, and the 16,689 steps?  That's how many steps we walked during the day to keep up with everyone's rides.  Just saying....

Congrats to the eTwister girls and their ponies for a glorious day!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Moving Day by Marla

Sadly, a few of us had to leave the lovely Day Creek Ranch and head for a barn closer to home.  No, we weren't thrown out for bad behavior :) -- it's just the damn economy.  We needed to bring Junior (Mints) and Reese ('s Pieces) closer so we could assume the mantle of riders and ride our ponies ourselves instead of leaving their care entirely in the hands of our trainer.

The day dawned windy as heck on the other side of the hill, but perfect for our new destination, Lakeview Terrace.  Good omens all around. 

Thanks to the help of good friends, the move went smooth as silk and in short order we were popping the cork and drinking champagne toasts at our new digs.

Sherry, victim of silly horse accident #2 couldn't hobble around to help, resting her foot on a bed of ice instead.  (Hmm, darned convenient timing though, eh?)

The boys fit right in, and in not time Junior (how do you spell that again?  :0)  was cozying up to Reese.

Later, Carolyn thanked all the helpers with a fantastic meal at Sherry's house (ours was geographically inconvenient).  Suffice to say, as at any EWAT event, a good time was had by all. 

Sherry had such a good time, not only did she keep her ankle elevated, she got a chronic case of hiccups.  The cure, as seen here, is a bit dubious unless you have someone to help you hold your ears or plug your nose or some such thing.  Or is this just an excuse for Brent to get crazy with his wife?  :) 

Looking forward to all new adventures from our new barn in 2011!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Outing of the Year!

Congrats to all the Twisted Eventers who met up at Meadows of Moorpark Equestrian Center on Sunday for a great day of schooling.  Though a little chilly (perhaps I should ask East Coasters if that's true?  :0) the footing was perfect for a fun and - best of all - safe day of cross country.  Kudos to Randee, Tammy and their crew for grooming their new and improved footing to near perfection.  Considering all the rains we've had lately, it was amazing.

Getting there?  Well, that was a whole new adventure but let's just say it only cements the idea that if you aren't sure where you're going, DON'T ASK ME.  I get lost getting out of the back of the trailer, for Pete's sake!  All was well eventually and we even managed to find our way home without (much) incident.

Sadly, my still camera ran out of battery power almost as soon as the horse & rider combos took to the course.  Even worse, I missed the shot of Boy sleeping in the most awkward position in the truck on the way home, but without the sound affect of his snoring it probably isn't the same anyway.