<img class="alignleft wp-image-349 " src="http://spriesersporthorse generic cialis eu.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/endofseasonblitz.jpg” alt=”endofseasonblitz” height=”500″ srcset=”http://spriesersporthorse.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/endofseasonblitz.jpg 720w, http://spriesersporthorse.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/endofseasonblitz-225×300.jpg 225w” sizes=”(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px” />We’re down to the wire in Florida, with just days before my horses and I pack up and head home. And without fail, there’s this sudden franticness, to get everything done, to see everyone, to cram in those last lessons. And last week was no exception.

The weekend before I got the call that Fender and I had been invited to ride in a USEF Developing Rider Clinic with Debbie McDonald. I was thrilled, even when they told me that my rides were on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, the two worst possible days of the week. Tuesday I was also scheduled to ride both Fiero and Johnny as demo horses for a USEF Judges’ Forum, and Wednesday I’d scheduled a photo shoot with the amazing Sue Stickle for an article I’ve written for Practical Horseman.

A few frantic phone calls later and I got everything moved around. Johnny and Fiero went early, and went great. They’d both had Monday completely off, and I’d been teaching in Virginia the previous three days, so Johnny and I took a little time to get it together, and he cheerfully squeaked his way through demonstrating First Level Test 3 and some Second Level work. I get a gold star for reading comprehension for completely forgetting to practice the rein back, something I’d yet to introduce to him, and felt like a total putz when asked to show a group of 150 judges what a good rein back looked like. Needless to say, we did a fine job of demonstrating what a BAD rein back looked like. Derp.

But he was good, and they told me that he was a little too quick and too up and open in the neck, and I pretty much don’t care because I find that the best way to kill your chances of being great at Grand Prix is to teach your horse to be good at First Level. And so on we go.

Fiero was great, of course, and they loved him, of course, and we got lots of praise and then bolted out the door so I could drop them off and pick Fender up and head over to the Developing Clinic.

Fender was also a wee bit on edge from his day off, but he just cracks me up – he doesn’t get phased or frazzled anymore, and the more I just sit there with my leg on and tell him to focus on me, the more he does. Where did my baby squirrel go? He grew up.

Debbie is just the loveliest person, and her lessons were so complimentary to what Michael and I work on—she’s got this quiet, meticulous way, a pleasant contrast to Michael’s bold and brash, but she’s also a teeny tiny woman, and is so gifted at getting so much done with so little physical effort. She told me lots of things that Michael tells me (which is not a complaint; I love it when other world-class dressage minds confirm the program I’m in!), and also gave me two cool exercises, one to address Fender’s inconsistent contact in the walk (using renver and haunches in to help him stabilize), and one to think about the idea of passage (using posting trot to help him move his back). It was a great experience, and I’m so grateful to the USEF for making it possible.

I pushed my Practical Horseman photo shoot to today (cue the frantic consumption of salads and riding of my bike), and spent Thursday and Friday running around getting all the things done that didn’t get done on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m looking forward to just getting to ride my horses!


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