Monday, October 17, 2011

Pony Power!

The wonder pony and I attended the Maryland Horse Trials on Sunday and we WON! It was Whisper's third time on a cross country course and her second horse trial EVER! We went around Elementary again to continue the confidence building. Dressage was better than last time and we were rewarded with a 31.00 with three 8's in the middle of the test and all 7's on the collective marks. We almost got and 8 for impulsion but they decided to stick with straight 7's. Stadium was easy breezy as usual, she has always been a star jumper in the ring. The cross country gods were smiling on us and they did not have water on the course yesterday. She still has some feelings about splashing through a water jump.
It's a lot of fun taking our first home bred baby out and being successful!

Earlier in the week I had a lesson at the Susan Graham-White clinic at A Bit Better Farm. I was riding the other 4y/o homebred DeLiza "Lizzie", a GOV Oldenburg mare owned by Brett Schrack. She was a super star and Susan loved her! She was also very complimentary of my work with her so far. I picked up some new exercises and they definitely helped with some issues that have slowly been coming up. I am looking forward to the schooling show on the 23rd at Pleasant Ridge in Walkersville, Md. where Lizzie and I will be strutting our stuff. We will be doing Training 3 and First 1. It's exciting to be moving back up the levels :)

I will make sure to post some pics of the Wonder Pony soon!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stephen Bradley returning on November 22nd

Stephen Bradley will be coming back to A Bit Better Farm on Tuesday, November 22nd.

Small group jump lessons are $110/rider.  These are either 3 people for 1 hour 15 minutes, or 2 people for 1 hour.  I use my judgement when making groups.

A limited number of private lessons (jump or dressage) are available for $125/rider.  These are 45 minutes each.

Payment can be made with cash, check or credit card.

Let me know if you'd like a slot!  E-mail me at

 Stephen Bradley: Eventer Stephen Bradley has a long list of accomplishments: 1992 Olympic team member and '93 Burghley CCI**** winner with Sassy Reason. '93 US Olympic Committee Equestrian Athlete of the Year; '96 Rolex Kentucky winner with Doctor DoLittle; '03 gold-medal winning US Pan American Championships team member and '05 Foxhall Cup CCI*** winner with Brandenburg's Joshua; '07 gold-medal winning US Pan American Championships team member with From. Stephen enjoys teaching all levels of riders from beginners to the advanced competitor. His enthusiasm, talent for communication, and ability to inspire confidence in the horse and rider especially make him a hit with the pony clubbers! When trianing with Stephen, you can be confident that you will receive expert instruction for your level of riding.  You can learn more about Stephan at

November Susan Graham White Dressage Clinics

Now that the competition season is winding down, Susan Graham White will be coming to A Bit Better Farm (Brookeville, MD) twice a month!  AND one of those days will be on a weekend!  Here is the info:

Tuesday, November 1st
Saturday, November 19th 

Cost: $125/rider for a 45-minute private lesson

To sign up: E-mail me at

Please let me know if you would like a slot on either (or both!) dates!  Also, remember that you can always make your lesson into a fix-a-test.  Just bring your test with you.

Susan and Donna Gina demonstrating a flying change.
More about Susan: Not only is Susan an active upper-level dressage competitor, but she also judges at many of the area shows where you compete. Susan is an FEI dressage rider and trainer based at Wolfhaven Farm in southern Maryland. She has been an active instructor, trainer, and competitor in dressage for 25 years, and has successfully trained and coached students through the Advanced 3-day level in eventing, and to FEI levels in dressage. She is an FEI "I" eventing judge, as well as a USEF "R" dressage judge. Susan has been approved for her "r" Dressage Sport Horse license. Susan has judged over 200 USEF/USEA recognized competitions, plus more than 40 international events, including Championships for 6-year-old Event Horses at Le Lion d'Angers in France, the 2006 and 2007 North American Young Riders Championships and Scotland's Blair International in 2006.  To learn more, visit her web site:

Monday, October 10, 2011

MLE Goes to Fair Hill!

While I will be away at a family wedding in southern Virginia this weekend, MLE will be well represented at Fair Hill International this weekend.  If you're going, keep an eye out for Stephen and Courtney!

Stephen Bradley will be riding his new horse, Leyland (owned by Elisabeth Nicholsan) in the CCI***.  Courtney Cooper will be riding C Square Farm homebred Who's A Star (aka Tag) in the CCI**.  Courtney also has two horses in the Young Event Horse Championships ... Nevaeh in the 5-year-old division and homebred R Star (aka Hope) in the 4-year-old division.

Go Team Go!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lissell is a mudder

It's no secret that I'm a tad overprotective of the Princess Lissell.  She's not a fan of cold and/or wet.  And this weekend's forecast had both.  So I dug out her rain sheet and sweat sheet, and borrowed Kelley's Back on Track mesh sheet and off we went.  Going to the show I figured we were going to Morven for a very expensive combined test, but I figured we would take it one phase at a time.

Dressage in the indoor.  Check.  Jane was nice enough to drive out to help me warm up and her advice was really invaluable.  When Lissell started to get a little dramatic, off we went leg yielding to the right or left.  I'm pretty sure I was the only rider in warm up doing leg yields across the arena, shoulder-ins down the long side, and lengthenings thrown in here and there.  But hey, whatever is needed to keep things in a forward motion.  Lissell's test was quite respectable for her.  There were only brief moments of hollowness. And those were quickly corrected.  But a tense horse is a tense horse, so we started the day off at the bottom of the pack.  No biggie though.  These days my main goal is to enjoy the day and my horse.  Mission accomplished on both accounts.

Next up was stadium.  All I can say is: Lissell.Is.So.Good.  Seriously.  We've really been working on getting her to go quietly to her fences.  I generally don't have help when warming up at horse shows, so it was really nice to have Kelley there.  Mission accomplished again.  Now I just need to put my leg on.  Details!  Here's the video:

Then we went out to walk cross country.  At this point it wasn't raining, and the ground was fine.  There were one or two spots where Kelley told me to be aware and "take care of your horse." But no big worries.  Kelley also helped me pick out "big girl studs" and off we went.  Of course it starts to rain as we're walking down to cross country, and given where we were parked, I was soaked and shivering by the time we got there.  I jumped 2 things, and went to wait my turn.  There was only one point when I was cantering towards a fence with the cold rain hitting my face that I wondered, "Why the hell do we do this!?"  But it was fine.  Really.  I told myself that if Lissell slipped once I would just pull up, but as I said before Lissell is really good at this jumping thing.  Combined with our monster studs (at least they were monstrous to me, Kelley told me she would have put in studs twice that size for Bomber), all was well.  Event complete.  Horse happy.  Rider happy.  Life is good.

Here's a brief clip of cross country:

Special thanks to Scott and Holly for being chief cheerleaders for the day.  And still smiling at the end of the day!