Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don Rosario

Anyone who knows Don Rosario (Rex) will remember that at last year’s National Championships there was a momentary glitch with the music in the adjoining freestyle to music arena, resulting in a few caprioles and courbettes from Rex. This year I was determined that he would be able to show himself off to his best and let everyone see how much he has blossomed and matured over the past season. So we wracked our collective heads and thought what was the loudest, most blustery, most colourful thing we could bring him to, the result was a show class in the annual Iverk Show. Now, standing at 18 2, there aren’t many options left open to him. So we took ourselves under the tutelage of one of the countries most reputable show horse producers, Sheila Gettins, and ended up choosing the Heavyweight Show Hunter Class. This class allowed to do all the things we rarely do at dressage shows -- work under circumstances that aren’t high pressure, have lots of time and space to ride him in and let him look about. Umbrellas, screaming children, run-about dogs, loud music, and galloping ponies were merely some of the things surrounding the arena. Amongst a huge class of seasoned show horses and show riders Rex did incredibly well and placed fourth, behaving as if he had been doing it all his life, not batting an eyelid at his environment. Certainly as dressage competitors we could take a leaf from the show persons handbook, very inexpensive entries, good judges and great prize money meant for very well attended classes, with over almost eighty in the hunter classes alone.

The Show Hunter riding judge was slightly smaller than me!!

Discussing final decisions.
Rex attracting some admirers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

GT Fitness Shirts hit the road on training days!!



Dressage Day at 2010 KWPN Paardendagen

Cornfields flashing by, all gold and yellow, the colour of ripeness and Autumn harvest. Watching the countryside slip past my window on the way to Dublin reminds me it's that time of year again. Back to school, when mothers dutifully drag their charges around town, eager youngsters excitedly buying new grown up school gear. Sullen teenagers rolling their eyes at new uniforms, last years already grown out of. We're one Summer older and supposedly one Summer wiser. Don Rosario (Rex) has certainly moved into his new uniform this year. He's a whole year stronger and he's starting to realise it too, last weekends show was superb. He felt so incredible, it almost brought tears to my eyes. This time around he was still full of beans in the warm up despite the heat and the second test was just seamless, certainly not flawless but moments of pure harmony and lightness. He has been his usual mannerly self at home but you can feel the stick of dynamite in him when this new Autumn wind gets up under his tail.
Luckily I have been working hard this past year too with the help of my sponsors, Ormonde Leisure Club and GT Fitness. as well as qualifying as a gym instructor I also have managed to pack on a few pounds moving from 10 stone for you Irish folk and 65 Kg's for you Americans to 13 plus stone (7 Kg's) and no longer look like a poverty stricken immigrant (Much to my mothers delight) I knew I must be making progress when all my clients stopped offering to feed me up! For my back to school, I've applied to college again and secured a place on the Nationals Council for Exercise and Fitness Personal Training course so hopefully by Christmas I'll be a fully certified personal trainer.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Don Rosario

Today at Marlton Don Rosario and I surpassed all expectations, looking for a score of 62% or over for National Championship qualification, we went one further and scored an incredible 70%. He felt just superb in the test, fluid and soft and so responsive! He then went on to score a really credible 68% in the next level, just pipped by .5 by International rider Yvette Truesdale, one of our World Equestrian Games representative.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dublin Horse Show

Shawn and I had a few stolen moments escaping from the everyday chaos to visit Dublin Horse Show. Amid showers and thunderclouds the sun snuck out and blazed down on some superb horses and some really interesting show classes. It's always been a dream of mine to ride in Dublin, we'll have to get Rex up the grades so Dressage Ireland ask us to be demo rider and horse!! Some day.......

Monday, August 2, 2010

GT Fitness

Check out the new GT Fitness logo and shirts, GT Fitness is Ger O' Toole, trainer at the Ormonde Gym who's makes my wrecking training programmes and kicks my ass into gear when I'm feeling lazy!

August Update

I’ve finally sat down home in Kilkenny after a hectic week. Early this week saw me in Mullingar, County West Meath at the Irish Pony Club Festival, warming up the Waterford Branch dressage riders for their first year qualifier. Some really lovely riders and they all rode incredibly well considering how new to dressage competition some of them were. I was most impressed. Wednesday saw me spending the entire day at the same show with riders from the Laois Branch of the Pony Club preparing them for the musical ride. They rode like little superstars and despite a blown amp in the speaker, they held it together for a very credible 5th place and the best turned out prize. Talking to Alice Mernagh, head of the Pony Club, she said she was very impressed with them. I hope their parents are as proud of them as I am, they were wonderful riders to teach, stepping up to each challenge we set them and improving their ponies from week to week.

Speaking of improvement, Woodend Picasso has been training up a storm here in Kilkenny, winning his in-hand showing classes and making leaps and bounds forward every day in his schooling at home. Thankfully not the literal leaps and bounds anymore, but becoming much more responsive to the leg and more supple through the back. Both Barry and Marie Claire at Woodend Sport Horses are doing a great job long reining and riding him while I’m away.

Shawn and I had two days away in Valentia in County Kerry, not Spain unfortunately nor as sunny either but it was splendid to catch up with friends (Franc is on a stop off on her ride around Ireland for charity with Susi Burton Allen, they can be found at Franc’s blog) and chill out for a couple of days and recharge the batteries. Good thing too since when I arrived in today to school Rex, he was ready to rock and roll. I had forgotten that our stables, Raheen Na Gun were running another S.J.A.I. show and the place was full of runaway show-jumpers. Rex and I had an entertaining time to say the least, trying to guess where everybody was going, I discovered quite quickly that the direction show jumpers point their horses heads doesn’t imply an actual direction of travel. We had to be quick on our toes and several unintended flying changes later we left the other riders wondering why we weren’t jumping the metre thirty class as well.