The Twin Rivers Schooling Event was a wonderful learning experience and great outing to finish up Eva's first year as a sport horse. We did the Intro division and also ran the Beginner Novice cross-country course. We still have some work to do in getting her more comfortable being out on the cross-country field by herself, but I am very pleased with all of the progress that she's made and how much she tries to do everything I ask of her!
Looking forward to 2015!
We decided to move Eva to a new farm, just down the road from Rosewood Farm. It's a lovely boarding facility nestled in the wine country hills featuring trails, an indoor arena, outdoor ring and a canter track. I chose Renaissance Farm as they have lovely small pastures with great shelters which should keep Eva dry and happy no matter what the weather brings us this winter. It's very important to her to have friends nearby and lots of room to move about and I think we found the perfect spot for her. They also provide excellent care to the horses, which is an absolute must for our four-legged family members.
Getting a quick jump school in before our very first Event! Looking forward to getting this girl out on the cross-country course!
In preparation for Eva's debut Event in October, we did a quick school at the Woodside Horsepark and popped around the Beginner Novice course. Although still impressed by big, open spaces, I was especially pleased as this was by far the largest open area she has been in and was able to focus on the task at hand: jumping everything I put her in front of. I do feel that she finished the schooling feeling more comfortable out in the open field then when we started, so a successful day!
Eva had a great go at the recent dressage show at Santa Rosa Equestrian Center. She definitely is getting the hang of what is expected of her in the sand box with the judge commentating on her wonderful focus, confidence, and work ethic. Yep, that's basically how I would describe this lovely lady as well :)
This past Sunday, Eva did her very first dressage test as part of the Beginner Novice class at the Santa Rosa Equestrian Center's Combined Test. There's a bumper sticker I saw on Facebook that states: "Ride an OTTB, and finish your dressage test faster!". I actually thought about that while riding the test and couldn't help but smile as I was kicking Eva along as she obviously was enjoying being in the spotlight and did not need to speed through the proceedings. In all seriousness, I am thrilled with having an OTTB who I HAVE TO KICK! For TB's in general, their downfall with the dressage court is that they get tense and when they do, their performance suffers. Classic Eva (who still maintains that she is retired from racing doesn't need to do ANYTHING fast) just gracefully flowed around the arena, practically half-asleep so was so relaxed. Our upward canter transitions are still quite "expressive" as she is still learning what exactly to do with her feet during the transition but she comes right back and got her best scores on the canter work.
A fairly good score put after dressage put us in 2nd going into show jumping and she kept her place with a stellar double clear round. I am especially proud of her as the fences were up to height at 2'7", which is quite a bit bigger than anything we had done previously. She actually seemed to enjoy having a bit more to jump and knew exactly what she needed to do to negotiate the twisting course and keep all the rails up. I have started quite a few young horses over the years to say the least, and I have never found one to be so game and straightforward to the fences (of course without being fast!). This is a really special horse and am very much looking forward to showing some more this fall.
Today is the one year anniversary of Jumpin Janet's last win. She has experienced and accomplished so many new things in such a short amount of time and clearly, once a winner, always a winner!
The most wonderful thing about taking race horses and developing them into Event horses is that they really are designed for the job of running and jumping. Time and again they make the transition into our sport so effortlessly proving that the track really can be a terrific source for Event prospects and a good OTTB is hard to beat when it comes to finding a quality, affordable performance horse.
Last weekend, my friend and I were able to get our OTTB girls out onto a cross-country course and officially introduce them to the best (and most exciting) part of our sport. Not surprisingly, both horses took to it immediately and showed quite a bit of bravery and intelligence as they negotiated terrain, fixed jumps, ditches, banks, and water.
I was thrilled with how well Eva took to the job and really seemed to enjoy herself. She still feels that there is no need to overly exert herself, yet is quite tidy, making sure everything is jumped cleanly and with fairly good technique. For her first attempt, I am so excited by her performance and cannot wait to see what she is capable of once she gets to a level that challenges her a bit more, but for now, it's important that she understands she can pop down a bank or over a ditch quietly on the buckle :)
So, although we're still waiting for our jump arena at home to dry out enough to use, we are making the most of it by taking weekly field trips to Santa Rosa Equestrian Center to get some jump schools done. So far, we have jumped about 4 times and Eva is making a lot of progress! She is easily (and almost too quietly) cantered a small course, completely unimpressed by colorful poles and brightly painted boxes. For a horse who is just learning, I would much prefer them to be bored with the small jumps, as that indicates to me that it's time to move up a bit!
Next weekend will be our first outing onto a cross-country field to try our hand and some solid fences, water, and ditches. I am not concerned with the actual fences, but Eva is still impressed by big open spaces, so it will be great practice to be able to work in the cross-country field. She does make me laugh as she has to be the laziest OTTB and makes me work hard just to keep her going! I hope that once she gets a taste of jumping and galloping on cross-country that will carry through to her jumping in an arena. I honestly love that she is so quiet and just lets me kick her on, such a fun ride!
Eva has had about 30 rides and so far has made quite a lot of progress! With the dry weather that we have been having, we've had the opportunity to get Eva out on the trails a couple times. She's pretty unflappable and even led the group over bridges! I think she has a lot of fun marching down the trail and taking in the sights!
We are still in the process of letting our jump arena dry out before getting to try Eva over some fences. We do have a small dressage court that we can work in in the meantime. She is so fun on the flat and will be quite stunning in the dressage arena once she develops. The fun thing about schooling in this arena is that across the fence we often have high-speed driving training, various things getting set on fire, and other shenanigans that the horses get used to seeing while they work. So, on the off-chance that a car happens to catch on fire during our dressage test, this OTTB will be ready! :)
Today we happened upon what appears to be Eva's absolute joy in life...to seek out mud puddles and joyfully cover herself from head to toe in LAYERS of mud.
Although we've been having a drought in California, the neighbors had a moderate leak in their sprinkler system causing a small stream to run through Rosewood Farm. I wasn't sure what Eva would do with the water in her turnout, but I was definitely NOT expecting this: