Wow!

24 May

May 24, 2011

A lot can happen in a week and this last week is evidence of that! A week ago today I was in the library at KU, cramming for my last final. Now that test is one of the furthest things from my mind!
WakeUp, Willie, Mama and I left for Chicago on Thursday, for what proved to be quite the rollercoaster weekend. Willie, my 9 yo Weltmeyer, who is usually a little bit hit or miss, was mister steady all weekend, with 68%, 66.8% and 66.6% in the I1 and Developing horse classes. WakeUp, who is rather consistent, decided this was not the weekend for it. J
WakeUp and I had the first test (the preliminary which counts for 40% toward the final) on Saturday afternoon. We were lucky to have wonderful weather at Lamplight and WakeUp felt good in the warm-up. Unfortunately, I think he felt really good during the test! ;) We had a couple large spooks that led to tension and some mistakes. This was uncharacteristic of WakeUp and not what I had expected from him. Needless to say, I was super disappointed. We received a score of 7.74, which was well below the necessary 8.2 to qualify for the World Championships in Verden.
Therefore, the Saturday night dinner was not as jovial as one could wish for… However, with tears making an appearance, Mama, David Wightman and I talked about what we needed to do for the next day. We were not about to accept that it was “game over”. David was great with helping me come up with a warm-up strategy. I had made a big mistake in taking things for granted, but Sunday was a whole new day and we had something to prove. I knew we needed an 8.51 to make the cut but I also knew that it was possible, as we had received an 8.63 earlier in the season. However, there was no room for mistakes or anything less than our best.
I don’t know if it is good to ride with the feeling that you have nothing to loose, but that is what the attitude was on Sunday. Mama was great to not let anything slip in the warm-up and WakeUp felt so stellar. We pushed for brilliance in every aspect and, because of that, I think the finale test on Sunday was one of the best tests I have ever ridden. WakeUp was forward and through and we did not let off for a second. Even before we received the scores, I was thrilled. WakeUp had shown what an amazing horse he can be. The judges rewarded us with a super score of 8.58, and with that we were once again qualified for the World Championships for Young Horses!
Many things are still up in the air and in question. This is just the start of a new week! For one, we don’t know if we will receive an invite based on the selection trials in California and Virginia. However, I am so pleased with WakeUp and am ecstatic to be able to ride such a brilliant horse. We are also so fortunate to just make it home, with a tornado that killed 115 people hitting just 2 hours from home, striking Sunday evening. Also, we are lucky to still have healthy horses. Let us hope that the Equine Herpes Virus does not claim more horses! And to add to the week, Laika, a Londonderry mare that qualified for the National Young Horse Championships with Mama last year, had her WakeUp foal last night! Another adventure begins!
I have to thank everyone who wished me luck before the show and congratulated me after. It was pretty neat to come back to the barn after the awards and find that my phone had 8 missed calls and tons of texts! A friend said that everyone feels like they own a little bit of WakeUp and me, and I am honored to be a part of such a fantastic group.
Have a wonderful week and thanks again for following and supporting!
EMILY

Emily and WakeUp qualify again!

23 May

Emily Wagner and her six-year-old stallion WakeUp competed at the Markel/USEF Selection Trials for the Central United States for the FEI World Young Horse Championships in Verden, Germany May 20-22 at Lamplight Equestrian Center CDI*.  On Saturday the pair received a 7.74 and on Sunday they came back strong with a score of 8.58. Check the blog for updates on their progress and learn how you can become a part of their support team.

Back Home!

16 Aug

Home Sweet home!

I can’t believe that only a week ago WakeUp and I were inVerden, competing with the best young horses in the world!  However, after a grueling trip back, I am happy to be home!

We left Verden on Monday morning at 6:30 am to head to Amsterdam.  After arriving there around 1:00 pm and waiting for customs yet again, we finally got boarded on the plane back to NYC. The trip was a little bumpier than last time, but WakeUp, along with his two adorable halflinger travel buddies, handled it very well. We arrived safely in NYC Monday evening.  Unfortunately, one of my bags ran off.  Thank goodness Paul from Mersant Transporters was there to pick me up and try to hunt it down.  Luckily, we found the bag. Not so luckily, it cost us an extra two hours of waiting time.

It was interesting to see the difference between how the horses were received in Amsterdam vs. NY.  In New York everyone was required to wear scrubs, blood was immediately drawn from the horses, the feet had to be disinfected and shoes had to be scrubbed. In Amsterdam the vet only compared markings to the health certificate. We arrived finally arrived at the quarantine station in Newburgh, NY around 2:00 am and then I had to say bye to WakeUp for the next 48 hours… not the easiest thing to do.  I was dropped off at a nearby hotel around 4:00 am and was a zombie for the next day. I was so so so tired!  Luckily, I had a book and could just enjoy being a vegetable for the day! Wednesday I took the bus to NYC and enjoyed being a tourist and meeting up with some great friends! The only contact with Wakey that I had during quarantine was thedaily phone call telling me that he was eating, drinking and not running a fever!  He was therefore released on Thursday morning.  Brook Ledge then took WakeUp and me to Kentucky. We were getting closer but it was another late night! By the time we had the horses settled and the helpful drivers dropped me off at yet another hotel, it was around 3:30 am.  This was about the time that Mama left KS to come pick us up.  On Friday, Mama arrived in KY and then Mama, Wakey and I left KY on the final leg of the journey home. I think we all let out a sigh of relief as we arrived home Saturday, once again around 2:00 am!  We were home!

This has been one exciting journey! In the last monthWakeUp has ridden in nine different modes of transportation, stayed in seven different barns, traveled twelve days and had seven different vets sign health papers! In this last month I have not driven a car, cooked, used a laundry machine, slept in my own bed, ridden without instruction, given a lesson, cleaned a stall, done a flying change, watched an English movie, used the same internet connection for more than a week or seen my dog! I know we both learned so much but not just about half-halts and quicker hind legs! Wakeylearned how to travel in a box/facing forward/facing back/facing sideways/besides a stallion/besides a pony/in the air/on the ground, not be such a picky eater, graze on the lead rope, drink out of various automatic watering devices and pass the scary scary foal statue. I learned about cultures, different ways to do things, how thin skinned I can be, the importance of friends and family, the ability for attitudes to affect impressions and impressions to affect attitudes and that I can trust WakeUp to be silly but not stupid. I met truly wonderful people and made many friends!  It was anexperience that I will value forever.

I know that this experience would not have been possible without so many people helping me. I thank you for not only supporting me but also doing so without terms. I felt no pressure to prove anything to anybody or to make sure that nobody was “sorry” they helped. I hope everyone knows how much it means to me when I am told that people were reading my blog during the lunch break of a local show, when I receive a welcome home text or when someone writes to me to tell me they are proud of me.  I am thankful to have a wonderful horse, a fantastic family and stellar support group.

Now… I am going to clean some stalls, go to the pool, drive my car, ride a flying change, watch a movie in English, do some laundry, sleep in my own bed, remember Dr. Moeller telling me to use my left leg and hopefully see you soon!

Thanks, EMILY

Emily and her family at the World Young Horse Championships

Back in the USA!

10 Aug

Emily wanted us to let all of her supporters know that she and WakeUp arrived in NYC last night and WakeUp is in quarantine in Newburgh. He will be released on Thursday and they start the trailer ride back to Kansas. WELCOME HOME!

How are you feeling?

10 Aug

August 7th, 2010

“How are you feeling?” asks the reporter. I had just finished the awards ceremony and looked at Wakey and Mama strutting back to the barn.  (Yes, I think you can say Mama was strutting. :)) I think I started to say something… but instead I was real classy and just started crying! I am so happy, so proud, so excited, so relieved, so exhausted, so bummed, so ecstatic, so thankful, etc.  I just hope WakeUp knows how good he was. He and so many others have made possible a moment that I will never forget.

The small final class started at 3:00 in the afternoon.  My last chance to get into the Grand Finale was to be top 3 in the field of 28!  I was going into the small final placed 6th.  It was a tall order but I wanted it so bad!

WakeUp and I schooled in the morning (exactly as the 5 yo winners from last year, Andreas Helgestrand and Honnerups Driver, were schooling) and he was super. He was a little fresher, which was exactly what I was hoping for!  Scott Hassler and Dr. Moeller both said there was a strong possibility to make it that afternoon. Now the pressure was on!

After watching the amazing six year olds (including Eva getting 2nd and 9th!!!), I was so ready to get on!  We had another super short warmup, Wakey felt great, and I was ready to be top 3! :)  I felt more confident in WakeUp this time.  I really have to keep bragging about how he handled everything. We had to go from the warmup ring, walk down a skinny, gated off path and squeeze through the entrance with about 6 inches to spare on each side due to the people crushing in!  This opened into a plethora of flags, people, banners, flowers and signs that your horse was just supposed to ignore.  It was a huge, electric atmosphere and WakeUpwas literally perfect with it!

The test felt really super. There were no bobbles trot bobbles today and he felt light, steady and more uphill than yesterday.  We finished with an 8.5 walk, 6.8 trot, 8.5 canter, 8.0 submission and 7.9 general impression.  That was a 7.94 final score and put me in first as of then!  Wakey had done his job and I was so proud!

The rest was a waiting game to see how everyone else did. I tried to watch but my hair was getting thinner by the second!  So I treated myself to an ice cream and sat in the barn waiting for a text from Scott and his family, Pat , Mama and Laney, who were watching scores. The first text was that I should get ready for the awards ceremony! EXCITING!  Next news came from the people stabled next to us; they had gotten an 8.18 and were in second. Well… there my hopes fell. But hey, I had an awards ceremony to go to!!!!

The awards ceremony was the best part of the weekend. With music blaring, they started to announce everyone for the victory lap around the ring.  WakeUp stood on that small path with the other horses (they sent 4th-8th in alone). Some of the others were rearing, spinning and I don’t blame them!  Wakey was just like “guys… seriously… don’t you think this is a little ridiculous?”  Guess what color the 4th place ribbon is in Germany? BLUE! Ha! I was in the awards ceremony with a blue ribbon! :)  We trotted in and blasted down the long side in a freaking stellar trot. Then… it was soclassic!  The two horses in front of me (5th and 6th) were rearing, spooking and just trying to get out of the ring safely. I just halted my stellar pony, waited for them to get out safely, patted WakeUp and then had the next long side, in front of the great people here supporting me cheering like crazy, to leave the ring in another crazy stellar trot! Wow… that was so freaking cool I can’t even tell you!

We finished 4th in the small final! We were just .02 away from the 3rd place and Grand Finale! Overall we finished 16thin the World!  I have to blame Mama because she asked me in the morning how I would feel about being close but not making it into the finale. I said that I want to be as high as possible, if not making it in, then as close as possible!  That is about how it is! :)  Of course I am disappointed and would have hoped that we could have gotten those 2 cents but I am also so very happy. We had a fantastic show! I think we represented the USA and Midwest well!  Most importantly, we put in two solid tests and WakeUp was great! We both gained such a valuable experience and lifelong memories!

Thanks so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so much everyone!  I wish I could give everyone a big hug and let you know how much it means to me that you all wanted me here, were cheering me on and believed in me and WakeUp. THANKS!

EMILY

Congrats Emily and WakeUp!

6 Aug

Emily and WakeUp finished 4th in the small finale today with a score of  7.94.  They missed out on the Grand Finale by .o2 points. She reports that WakeUp was a superstar.  Congratulations to Emily and WakeUp. We are all so proud of you.

WakeUp was awesome!

5 Aug

August 5th, 2010
I am so so proud of WakeUp! He has grown up into a mature gentleman and I am very excited to show him to the world!
Yesterday he clocked out the jog like a total pro! While many horses were jumping around and trying to impress all their other 4 legged friends, WakeUp soon realized that there were mainly stallions around and was super for the jog! He looked stunning in Mrs. Fashion Queen’s (Debbie Davenport)browband. (I might be a little biased, but still… J)
I had the unique experience of doing the draw for the ride times! A representative from the Netherlands and I picked names and time slots for each competitor. It was cool to be locked in the conference room with the judges/stewards/managers and be a part of this important part of the competition!
After the jog, we were allowed to ride in the show ring for two hours. During this time, in the 20mX60m ring, there were always about twenty amazing horses floating around at any given time! Considering that it was raining, the ring was an invitation to spookiness and 80% were stallions, it could have been interesting! However, most of the horses seemed hot but, guided by super riders, doing their jobs! WakeUpwent into the ring like the pro! We did a ten minute ride because he was super supple, did his job, was fantastically relaxed and needed to know he was a good boy! I was so excited that Scott Hassler said he totally belonged and looked ready. This ten minute ride in the rain was so much fun… to be riding around with the likes of Eva Moeller, Susan Pape, Andreas Helgstrand, Ingrid Klimke, Jana Freud and so many more with WakeUp and being told I belonged was a total “cloud nine” feeling I won’t soon forget!!
Today was the day! We drew the last ride of the first group so were on at 10:04! Dr. Moeller and I decided to try to keep his energy as much as possible and after a super 20 minute warm-up we went into the stadium. As we trotted around the ring with flags, banners, about 700 onlookers, scoreboard, plants, etc, I waited for him to start getting nervous but was just thinking that this was SO STELLAR! I was going into a World Championship ring! My horse felt solid and we were really in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RING! We had prepared for this, so many people had helped us and the moment was here. As these thoughts passed through my head I had to just smile and at the same moment I realized that my superstar horse, WakeUp, was totally with me! It was great to just say “Ok Wakey, here we go!” and just ride the test. I think the most nervous person in the area was Mama. J
The test was solid. We had a couple bobbles in the trot work: a little break in the rhythm of the second medium and an underdeveloped stretchy circle, but otherwise the test was super solid. His connection was very steady, the reinbackwas great and he never blinked at the electric atmosphere. (I think my black stallion may be turning into a regular showoff! J) We were rewarded with a final score of 7.82 with an 8.2 for walk and 8.5 for canter! This put us in 18thplace overall!
As we left the ring, (WakeUp just strutting out on long rein like he does this everyday) my family stood up and cheered like wild things. (Imagine twenty Jana Wagners screaming at the top of their lungs… yeah… that’s my family. ) They made black shirts with white letters saying “WakeUp + Emily”. It was super super super! I didn’t want to leave the ring.
I am very thrilled with how everything went. I could not have asked WakeUp to behave any better and I am just enjoying being part of this show and experience. Of course, I am competitive, and wanted to make it directly into the Grand Finale, but we have a second chance tomorrow (top 12 go directly to Grand finale and then top 3 from Small Finale join them for 15 total). We have to place top three tomorrow in the small finale to advance. It is a tall order but we are going to try!
I have to say, I have a world class cheering squad/support group! Dr. Moeller is a fantastic coach and Scott Hassler has an excellent eye for the final touches and details. My mother, my sister, Pat Reese, my family, Jennifer Keeler, Eva Moeller, Lena (Eva’s groom), everyone thinking positive thoughts for me, those sending me messages to wish me luck all make this experience so fantastic. Thank you!
Here’s to a fantastic today and a hopeful tomorrow!
PROST!

Some stress is good… right???

4 Aug

So today is the packing day for the show. Usually this is no big deal. At home most of the show stuff is already in the trailer and I know exactly what I have to pack. Here… not so much! Do we need buckets? What hay should I pack (since the normal bales obviously don’t come with)? How can I get everything washed beforehand?  I take for granted that all my show stuff (show sheen, baby oil, boot polish, rags, sugar, shampoo, etc) is just in the trailer and now I have to figure everything out again and the language difference is sometimes not so easy.  But I think we have everything under control. Dr. Moeller’s groom may be very annoyed with me but she is super helpful!

The vet comes this evening to get all the health papers for WakeUp’s trip back to the States in order. (We will leave Monday morning super early and arrive back in NYC Monday afternoon.) Tonight I have to pack up all my stuff from the hotel (a rather large chore) and get my luggage back to the barn.

Scott Hassler and his family, as well as Jennifer Keeler, came today. Scott seemed happy with the way WakeUp was going and said we definitely deserved and belonged here. He is a very calm personality and I appreciate having him here.

Tomorrow we leave!!!!! Everyone keeps asking if I am nervous/excited/scared. I am excited. I think this will be an amazing experience. I am not nervous (yet) because I can tell myself that WakeUp and I will be the same team before as after, no matter what. I am happy with the training we have done and know we both learned a lot. There have been so many positive things that have come out of this already that I am satisfied. Of course I am competitive and I want to do well! Of course I dream about putting in that perfect test and being able to remember every little tip everyone has given me as we go through the test.  However, I am happy and refuse to be nervous or scared.

Thanks everyone! I hope to be able to text updates to the wonderful Meghan and Beth at High Performance Equine so they can relay them to you as I don’t know what the internet access will be like. Wish me all the luck to kick butt and know that I am so grateful! Thank you!

EMILY

Time flies

30 Jul

Friday July 30th, 2010
Wow! It is really hard to believe that July is nearly over and the summer as well! We go to Verden next Wednesday and the first test is on Thursday! Time flies!
Luckily, I feel ready. I think WakeUp is doing really well! The canter is getting much better and we keep pushing him to carry more but keep the jump. I think the biggest improvement has been in the trot. He feels more able to hold himself in the front because his hind legs are working harder and straighter. My legs have been sore a couple times and I am sure he agrees but I do think that Dr. Moeller has pushed us the correct amount and not too much. Many have told me he looks very good. The real test will be to see what Mama says when she sees him tomorrow!!! However, the best thing is that we can work really hard and focused but then can go out and graze in the field to enjoy the sun and grass. There are bonuses to having only one responsibility… spoiling your one horse.
I was happy to have Anna Katz, an old friend and Mama’s former student, and her husband, Thomas, come to visit. She just got married and seems very happy. They are moving to Germany next year but it was just nice to spend some time with people I know and speak a little English! For once the tables were turned… English was the primary language at the table and the couple of girls from Kasselmann’s who joined us were trying to keep up!
Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
EMILY

Super Ride!

28 Jul

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

So… I had a super ride on the Wakey Wakey today! Yesterday we had a left leg lesson and it seemed to get to heart of it.  Today we had some really super moments where he started to get shorter by pushing his hind into the front and then accepting the standing hand in the front.  He at the same time has to carry more, which is not on his list of favorite things, but he is learning it!  Perhaps more importantly, I am learning it!   He takes the work great and I am so lucky to get to ride a horse that can give me the feelings.

PSI did the photos for the next auction and I have to say they thought of everything!!!  The pictures had to be perfect so the ears had to be forward, the people had to be smiling, the hats had to be straight, the end of the reins had to be on the outside, the railing had to be freshly painted, the clouds had to pass, etc.  It was quite the production but the photos turned out absolutely gorgeous.

It is fun to see all the people who are here as well! Yesterday came a lady from Oman and we went to the tack shop together. It was interesting to hear about the differences in her country. The tack shop was also quite the production! However, I was quite excited because I only spent 13 Euros and didn’t want anything else! High Performance Equine saved me from selling my soul in a German tack shop!

The weather is finally back to a typical German summer as I am told; rainy and about 60 degrees Fahrenheit! BRRR! Enjoy your ponies and thanks again!!

EMILY

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