Pony races!

26 Jul

On Saturday I went to the Landesturnier in Rastede. This is a larger show about 2 hours from Hagen.  I had a lot of fun and it is always interesting to see how differently things are done!

I have decided we thoroughly spoil our horses.  Here it is rather normal for the horses to be braided the night before, then travel to the show and wait on the trailer until the starting time.  The horses are often tacked up in the trailer and just pulled off for their ride. The horses seem to know that pawing is futile and that they should drink when offered water. Some have temporary stabling on the grounds but they usually do not stay overnight.

The shows are also very well attended. There were only two dressage rings and one warmup ring but they were completely surrounded by people. The shows seem to be a real event with restaurants being set up (yep, with waitresses, alcohol, multi-course meals, menus, etc). Dogs run around free. There are kids with cotton candy and people from the neighborhood pay to get in! It is almost like a carnival atmosphere and a part of the culture of the area!

The general quality of riding and horses is, as expected, high. Sure, it is great to see a PSG class with about twenty entries, but what really swept me off my feet was the presentation of the ponies! They are amazing! They are totally just large horses in smaller packages. They have such amazing gaits!  The pony classes are huge and small adults as well as kids ride them!  I just can’t tell you how impressive they are!

The young horse classes are truly awesome as well! There were so many young horses that were real head turners!  It is amazing to see the three year old stallions trotting around like super stars in the material class!  The real stickler for the judges seemed to still be that the horses were consistent, soft in the back and steady in the rhythm. It did get a little exciting when they had to do the victory gallop with crazy loud music, huge sashes and everyone clapping.

Finally, the best part of the show for me was the pony challenges. This was a team challenge of kids riding mini ponies bareback in various tasks. There were about 12 teams with four or five kids on each team! The challenges included racing to one end of the ring, jumping off, running in a potato sack back to the start while leading your pony, tagging the next kid who then was to race to a line of buckets, jump off and run across the upside down buckets, jump back on, grab a flag, race back to the start and hand the flag to the next. They would then gallop off, do slaloms and switch horses and gallop back! The kids (probably around 8 to 12 years old) were crazy! They raced those ponies like pros! The teamwork was amazing and they had the handoffs down to a science including slapping the next horse on the butt for them to run off with extra gas! I really have never seen such a thing and almost died at how those kids and their horses worked together! They were fearless and having so much fun; galloping with legs and arms flailing as if their lives depended on it! The audience (numbering about 5,000!) was clapping, shouting and just enjoying seeing the young onesgoing for it! Those mini ponies ran like crazy and knew their jobs! I wish you all could have seen it!

On the other hand, my not so mini pony, WakeUp, enjoyed a nice Saturday off. To thank me for it, he scraped his face on who knows what… Does he really want to make sure thateveryone at the World Championships knows he is Mr. Scarface from the Wild Wild West or something???? Luckily it is just a scrape, far from the heart, and hopefully the hair will be back within a week. He is looking really good otherwise and finally eating very well!

Finally, wish my mother some luck for the final test of the National Young Horse Championships! She was fourth in the 6 year olds after the Preliminary Test and I am so excited for her! I so wish I could be there and can’t wait to hear all the details!

Thanks!

EMILY

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Doing Great!

25 Jul

Well Wakey Wakey is doing great. We are getting more even pushing from behind and really working to create self carriage starting from the hind legs. Dr. Moeller is adamant about my legs always being on and every aid starting from the legs; whether it is an up transition, a down transition or a half-halt. Yesterday we had a good lesson schooling the trot work and today we worked on the canter on the race track.WakeUp is feeling very strong and riding him makes me smile.  That’s what it’s all about eh????  Today a good friend took me to see another barn in the area. It was a fun change of pace and I especially enjoyed it since it was a family run farm with lots of young horses. The whole family was super sweet and I felt so welcome. It reminded me of home with the siblings teasing each other but working together. On a funny note… I think the people from the hotel think I am a little crazy. Today I had all my clothes that I hand washed in the sink hanging around the room from random lamps, chairs and tables. I wonder what they thought about the cool/funky boot socks from HP Equine? I also have a rather elaborate supply of German chocolate and bread in the room. The important things right?  Again, thank you all so much for your support! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and finds a reason to smile… EMILY

Congrats Jana!

24 Jul

Jana Wagner and her mare Laika scored a 7.68  in the 6-Year-Old Preliminary test at the 2010 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships placing her fourth.

Getting in a routine!

23 Jul

Well, finally I think we are starting to find a routine and getting to know everyone a bit better!  I have a lot of fun with a few of the girls and am happy to feel like not such an outsider anymore.  There is a wonderful family here from Dubai as well. They are super nice! It is always interesting to meet new people from many different places.

WakeUp is doing well! I think we have finally found some food that he will at least try to eat and I take him out to hand graze for at least an hour. Yes, I know, my horse is becoming a spoiled brat.  He just would like to maintain his boyish figure and not gain a single pound!  Dr. Moeller continues to be a big help. We work on keeping him really straight and even. This includes the bending in the corners controlled with the outside leg. It sounds contradictory but to be straight a horse must also be able to bend.  Dr. Moeller is super patient so far and he seems to always  give the horse the benefit of the doubt.

Today I met Paul Van Dyk. To those who don’t listen to Techno/Trance music this may be no big deal, but he is a really famous DJ! Eurus will appreciate it! His wife owns the 5 year old which Eva Moeller will show at the World Championships.  I also attended a barbeque for the German Jumping Young Rider Team which just won the European Championships. It was hosted by Paul Schockemoeler as the riders were on his horses!  It was a ton of fun and really very special to get to walk through the breeding station and see all those famous stallions: Sir Donnerhall, Sandro Hit.

So keep riding with your outside legs my friends!

EMILY

Mama’s Birthday!

19 Jul

So today is my lovely mother’s birthday!  I am getting her a new pair of breeches from HP equine because she was trying to steal mine!

From Mr. WakeUp, Mama got the present of good legs and back to work! I think we were both itching to get back to work. He was very good today and I really enjoy working with Dr. Moeller!  He pushes but also is totally understanding of honest mistakes. Today we were working on getting a more solid “pushable” connection. So on the short sides we would do posting trot with bending to get him really supple and then on the long sides sitting trot, driving with both legs and the seat into the connection. It was not that he needed to go more forward or in a bigger trot, more that he would really push into the bridle from his back. Then we would go easy through the short side again. When WakeUp would jump around a little and try to figure out what I meant, I was to just keep all the aids on and wait it out. If he broke to canter or whatever, he was not punished but did not get away from the aids either.  This strengthening of the back and connection along with the straightness will help us so much, no only for the World Championships, but for the rest of his career!

I am getting to know more names and starting to feel like less of an outsider. Dr. Moeller and his family are really super sweet and are great about keeping everything not too serious. I really think smiling goes a long way!

Over the weekend I went to a little local show. It was very interesting to see the differences. First, I felt like everything was very hectic. There were no ring stewards, no exact ride times until the morning the class started and so many horses in a tiny warm-up ring! Second, there was also a jumping show taking place at the same time. It was amazing to see those jumper ponies flying over crazy big jumps and then trot out of the ring in a super fancy trot!  Finally, it was a completely trailer in show. So perhaps forty trailer and vans with horses in them stood on a field and waited for their turn! Oh the differences…

I really have to thank everyone and I think about how fortunate I am all the time but perhaps the best thing I have been given is my amazing horse!  He is a talented man but moreover he is just a good guy. I am continually amazed at how wonderful he is taking everything and that he is just so much fun as a 5 year old! I can walk him around the property with the hectic atmosphere and he doesn’t worry. The ring may have 10 horses in it and he sticks with it! I can gallop him around the racetrack and he just goes with no funny business! He takes the work like a big boy and then begs me to wash and rub his face like a little baby.  I love how he is growing up and maturing. He has become a self confident man as opposed to the little teenager.  Best of all he is mine!  In this barn almost every horse is for sale, so the riders have a tough time with attachment. Luckily, I can say that I have a huge attachment to my horse and it is okay because I know that I only have myself to answer to.  So… biggest thanks to my mother!

Thank you to everyone and hope that you enjoyed watching Totillas win Aachen!

Always something…

18 Jul

Thursday July 15, 2010

So little Wakey Wakey is doing fine, but this morning I noticed that his front leg was a little fat. Sure enough… he has a little skin irritation going on. Maybe it is from different straw or something in the transport. Who knows? PSI, being the immense place that it is, has an onsite veterinarian who checked it all out. Luckily, he isn’t lame on it and it doesn’t seem to be a big issue. We will just give him a few days of walking work, clean it, wrap it and put him on some antibiotics to be extra careful. Fortunately, we have the time to let it heal.

It is interesting how everyone likes to do things differently. I have been riding WakeUp in bell boots. Apparently, they are not loved at PSI. The horses that need the bell boots instead get wrapped all the way down to the hoof. I clipped WakeUp’s legs so that they would dry faster. I thought this would help with the skin problems, but alas, this is also frowned upon as well.

I am enjoying getting to know everyone. It is a slow process and I still feel like a total outsider but it will get better. The horses continue to impress me but it is also good to know that there are average horses here as well. Albeit few. I must say… there is a high risk of your stuff being whisked away. This is mainly a private barn, with very few outside horses, so everything is pretty much shared. I have lost my halter twice, my HP equine saddle pad once and even my bridle. I understand that they may want the cool stuff I got from High Performance Equine, but seriously, the logo is in English? Wouldn’t they guess it is the American’s?? LOL

Hope everyone is doing well and staying cool as I hear it is very warm back home. Big hugs!

EMILY

Here are some photos from the trip so far.

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A big update from Emily!

14 Jul

Sunday July, 11th

The Practice of Waiting

So… after starting the trip on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, we finally arrived at Hof Kasselmann at 6:00 in the evening. It was quite the trip. WakeUp was a rockstar!  Our first stop was Kentucky. From there he got to stay in the layover barn of Brook Ledge. He was happy to stretch his legs in the Kentucky pastures and get a little R&R.  I waited. Friday afternoon Brook Ledge brought WakeUp, me and 5 other horses to New York. We dropped one horse off. That was quite a trick… letting the horse walk on a plank from one semi to the other! J I slept on the hay in front of WakeUp’s box stall for most of the trip… but it does get loud back there!  Finally we were in NYC at 5:30 on Saturday morning.  There the horses got to once again rest and I once again waited. J Paul from Mersant was extremely nice took me to get coffee and lunch.  I think I would have been so lost without him guiding me through the process. Thank you Paul! The vet came to check the horses and they then boarded another truck to take them to the cargo area at about 6:00pm.  I was so nervous to let him go alone. I had to check in, go through security and board as usual before I could visit him in the cargo area.  The staff of KLM was great.  The woman in charge of the horses was so kind and explained everything to me.  There were two horse crates on the plane which was half passenger and half cargo.  WakeUp had his own and then two mares with their foals had the other. All the horses did great on the flight. It was a bit hot at first, but I must say that once we got in the air it was super smooth and much easier than trailering I think. Take off and landing was interesting and I expected the horses to get very nervous but WakeUp was just thinking that somebody was driving rather poorly. J During the 7 hour flight, he ate hay that I dunked in water for him (any little moisture to help, right?) and drank a good bucket and a half of water!  We landed in Amsterdam at 11:05 on Sunday morning.  The entire crates were then taken to the Amsterdam holding barn.  Unfortunately, they could not leave the crates until the vet came and inspected them again.  This took a couple hours (of waiting). Then we had to make it through customs (another waiting hour). Luckily, everyone was super nice, WakeUp was falling asleep in his crate and I had plenty of coffee.   Finally, we were off on the last leg of the journey.  This four hour truck ride from Amsterdam into Germany was accented by pouring rain and ten minute naps.  As we arrived at Hof Kasselmann in Hagen, went through the gates and saw the famous ring with the stands and flags, I think it finally hit me. WakeUp and I were in Germany!!!

After getting WakeUp settled, Dr. Muller himself came and brought me to my hotel. It is such a cute room right besides a church. He then came and picked me up around 7:30 to join the Kasselmann’s barbeque and watch the World Cup!  It was wonderful to meet everyone although I don’t think I will remember all the names! I met a lovely family from Australia. A group of Asian riders is here to try to qualify for the Asian games.  It was such a beautiful home and wonderful meal! However, I think my three favorite parts of the evening were 1) getting to put WakeUp in a stall piled full of straw and telling him he could rest now 2) taking a real shower for the first time in way too long and 3) falling asleep in a bed!

Thanks everyone!

Emily

Monday July, 12th

So… why did I wake up at 5 am???  Guess I have to start this trip out right though?! So I wandered around the little town and went to a bakery of course!  Luckily, I still had some Euros from the last trip to Germany and got delicious raisin brotchen. Then off to the barn. Luckily, it is only a ten minute walk from the hotel.  WakeUp was up and munching on his hay.  The barn was already bustling at 6:30. I walked around and tried to get my bearings. This is no small job mind you… there are over 200 horses, 5 outdoor rings, 3 indoors, a walker and multiple other barns/houses/sheds.  The place is gorgeous with cobblestone walkways and flowers everywhere.  I finally found Dr. Muller in the smaller riding ring. He was on a 3 year old (I would have guessed a 5 yoJ) and wished him happy birthday. When I asked if he had gotten a cake yet, he replied that he hadn’t. This was his 5th horse of the morning, so he hadn’t had time. Mind you, it was about 7:30 am!  I was then invited to join the staff for breakfast. It was a fun group of about twenty all having breakfast after morning chores.

Dr. Muller suggested I go ahead and lightly ride WakeUp this morning. He said that it is often safer to be on their back and working a little than hand walking. So I did a short little ride on the Wakey and he was really good! I then took him out on the track, let him see the outside rings and get a feel of everything. He was so perfect! The only thing that startled him was the statue of a running foal. J

Well… I best get back to the barn to keep absorbing. Everyone is so talented and nice too boot. I think I am going to really enjoy this month!

Tonight I am invited to a German Barbeque for Dr. Muller’s birthday. So far the Germans are living up to their partying standards! J

Thanks to everyone that made this possible!

EMILY

Tuesday July 13, 2010

It is the second day that I am here and I am trying to fill into a routine.  I am in charge of feeding the horses in WakeUp’s barn in the morning so that is a good start.  Then I went out to watch some of the riders in the outdoor rings.  They start riding at 6 am, so many were already on the third horse when I started watching at 7:00.  Frau Kasselmann was getting instruction from a lovely man who comes from Warendorff every Tuesday or Wednesday.  It is nice to see that Frau Kasselmann still rides and not only the easy ones.  She is obviously in charge and respected. J

WakeUp is definitely settling in. How do I know? He had to whinny to all the ladies in the pastures today whereas yesterday he hardly noticed them.  He has also decided that he can’t eat anymore.  He seems abnormal and only eats when he doesn’t feel comfortable??  Finally, he was a bit fresher today when I rode him.  Therefore, I have decided that I love race tracks! The footing is so perfect in all of the rings and the track around the outdoor rings is the same. You can just canter around, in and out of the woods, and not have to worry about corners!  It was great for WakeUp to get to stretch his legs and let off some energy without having to really work.

I am now going to meet with my grandfather for lunch and hopefully get a phone!  Toodles, EMILY

Wednesday July 14, 2010

First lesson with Ulf.

Today was the first time Ulf saw WakeUp and gave the two of us a lesson. He started out with just simple walk/trot/walk transitions, making sure the neck stayed rounder as a result of my legs being on.  He also was after promptness and bending in the corners without the neck falling. Interestingly, he told me to carry my hands higher and when WakeUp came against the bridle for a few steps, to look out the door or what have you, he told me to raise my hands to keep the connection with the bridle the same.  Dr. Muller did get on WakeUp for a bit just to “feel what we are working with”. WakeUp was very good and showed some amazing passage(y) steps when Dr. Muller played with him a bit. The verdict: good connection, nice in front of the leg, super walk and canter and just need to work on the power from the loin area in the trot.

He did ask if the horse was mine and for sale. My answer was no. J I am a lucky girl. J

The schedule here is very nice. The work starts at 5 am. Then there is a break for breakfast at 8 am.  More horses are then worked until 1 pm when a fantastic lunch is then provided for everyone.  There is then a break from one until 3:30 and finished around 5:30.  The earlier start and longer lunch break are due to the fact that it is so hot here. (By German standards… feels not so bad… maybe around 85?) I think it is wonderful that the Kasselmann’s provide meals for everyone and put such emphasis on taking a break and getting something healthy to eat.

I am learning more names each day and hope I get internet soon. I did watch my first entire movie in German yesterday and understood it enough to enjoy it! Small victories!

Happy Transitions!

EMILY

In Germany

12 Jul

Emily and WakeUp have arrived safely in Germany. They are doing great and ready to get to work.

Made it to NY

10 Jul

Emily and WakeUp have made it to New York and are doing fine. Wakey is a little tired but ready for the next leg of the journey. The plane leaves at 10 tonight.

Emily in the news again!

9 Jul

Emily and WakeUp have been in the news. She has been in the Chronicle of the Horse, on EuroDressage twice and on Dressage Daily.  She has also done a radio interview. Now she is in an article in the Lawrence Journal World News. Here is a link to the article. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/jul/05/stable-partners-ku-student-taking-horse-worldwide-/

This duo is sure to continue to make the news as their journey is really just beginning.