Thursday, June 21, 2012

July Clinics Update!

Hi Everyone!

I thought I would just give everyone an update on the summer clinic schedule.  I hope to see you at one (or all) of the activities listed below!

Mary Macklin on Sunday, July 1st @ Woodvale Farm in Frederick, MD
Whether you and your horse are just starting trot poles or ready to go out at Preliminary, Mary can help! Her years of bringing young horses of all types up through the levels gives her a wonderful knowledge base to help you progress. Mary also has years of experience teaching young students too, all ages are welcome! Her positive approach to each horse and rider keep her students smiling!

Format: 90-minute group lessons (4 persons maximum) or 45-minute private lessons
Cost: $70/per rider/group lesson or $90/per rider/private lesson

To sign up, e-mail

Stephen Bradley on Wednesday, July 11th @ A Bit Better Farm in Brookeville, MD
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 hose and rider make him a hit with riders of all levels. When training with Stephen, you can be confident that you will receive expert instruction for your level of riding. You can learn more about Stephen at

Format: 1.25 hour group jumping lessons (3 persons maximum)
Cost: $110/per rider

To sign up, e-mail

Glenda Player's Biomechanics Clinic on Saturday, July 14th & 21st @ Playland Farm in Union Bridge, MD
An afternoon clinic, you will start with an Unmounted Session, which is oriented toward achieving a high awareness of one's own habits and biomechanics, thus aiding each individual rider to a heightened performance once re-mounted. This is followed by a mounted session where you apply what you learned in the unmounted session to your riding. Group sessions allow everyone to learn from each other in a positive and encouraging environment. These are fun and enlightening days!

Format/Time: 3:30pm - 6:30pm; dressage on the 14th; jumping on the 21st
Cost: $75/per rider

To sign up, e-mail

Also, Stephen Bradley will be back on Saturday/Sunday August 4-5 (Playland Farm) and then on August 8th (A Bit Better Farm).  E-mail to sign up for either (or both) or those dates.  

FINAL Bromont Synopsis! from Lindsay Kelley

Special thanks to Lindsay Kelley for her Bromont coverage!

Hi Friends,

I bet every one thought I forgot to write my final Bromont update email! Well guess what- I didn't! I was waiting for my event video to come in so that I could share that with you, as well!

My recap from Bromont could be pages and pages long with just how much I learned and saw. However, I will spare you and just give you the good stuff.

Among the millions of things I learned at Bromont- I learned a few things that stuck out most significantly.

First and foremost- I learned about the high pressure, highly stimulating, exciting atmosphere produced by multiple factors; the biggest being the goals and standards that everyone was there to meet. Each person had a different goal, a different standard of success, and a different measure of satisfaction- one being a good run in front of the Olympic selection panels for a spot on the Olympic team to another being the success of finishing all three phases. Each goal was especially important to each person causing for this amazing atmosphere! Along with the atmosphere came tons of nerves and excitement which each rider and horse handled in a different way. It was really interesting to see just the affect it had on each person. I really enjoyed it! And now I have a new understanding of what performing under pressure means. 

Secondly, I learned just how important it is to have a fit horse coming into a three day. I saw so many tired horses at the end of cross country just struggling to get home. It was very obvious that people were riding completely different animals from the start of the course to the end. Additionally, that carried over to the Show Jumping phase the next day- where competitors were riding horses that physically had not fully recuperated from the cross country run the day before causing for many rails. Bucky was extremely fit throughout all the phases which was quite encouraging, but it is often times hard to know when fit is fit enough. I will take that with me when prepping other horses for future three day competitions.

Additionally, I realized just how many people really contribute to a successful event. First and most importantly the owners of your horse contribute the most- for allowing you the opportunity to compete their horses. Secondly, your support system leading up to to the event and during the event- Parents, family, barn help, friends, clients, and significant others all play a significant role in getting you to and through the event successfully. In addition- of course- your trainers and coaches all play a huge role too. All in all it is quite clear that it takes way more than just yourself and your horse to make it successfully up to and through the event.

And last but not least- I learned that- THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO! This event reassured me that I was doing exactly what I want to do in life. I want to chase this eventing dream- and hopefully with hard work and a lot of effort I will get to the top. I am willing to put in all it takes!

With that said, I especially want to thank everyone for contributing all you did to get me to Bromont. Especially Beth Sokohl for allowing me this incredible opportunity to train and compete Bucky! It could not have been a better experience to go on my first event horse I ever owned (for those of you who don't know- Beth bought Bucky from me before I went to college- and she has been fortunately very involved since then)! I also definitely need to thank my Dad and Aunt Beverly for coming with me to help through the actual event days- the both contributed a tremendous amount and I would not have made it through without them!

I could not have been more pleased with Bucky- he was foot perfect. Below is the link to the video of some glimpses of all three phases. I hope you enjoy!



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bromont Stadium Update from Lindsay Kelley

CONGRATS to Lindsay and Bucky on their great finish at Bromont!  We can't wait for a full report later!


Bucky and I did it. We finished our tough CCI * on our dressage score! We went double clear show jumping and cross country!

There were 65 people in my division and we were 16th. Only a couple rails separated the top half. With veteran Olympians ruling the top placings (we will get there one day).

We were one of eight competitors that made it around without a jumping fault.

I am completely pleased. I couldn't have asked for a better horse. He showed up with all he had and gave every ounce.

My last wrap up email will come tomorrow. With tons of pictures!! Sorry for the lack of pictures on the last email. I have plenty and can't wait to share.

I'm in the passenger seat (with my amazing Dad at the wheel).

We will be back early  tomorrow at 2am.

Stay tuned....

Linds & Bucky- the jumping machine

Bromont XC Report from Lindsay Kelley

CONGRATS to Lindsay and Bucky on a great go up at Bromont today!

Hi Friends!

Today was AWESOME! Bucky rocked around the VERY difficult CCI 1* course like an old pro. He was absolutely flawless. Every fence was a serious question being asked of the horse- from maxed out tables in width and height to very complicated combinations. If you weren't on your game- you weren't going to make it. But let me tell you- Bucky was on his game- and then some. He made it around double clear with 24 seconds left to spare. He was one of the very few double clears- and I am so proud of him for that.

We are less than 2 rails away from the horse winning our class. Tomorrow is a big day. We moved up 14 places in the rankings just from our cross country ride. And hope to move up some more after tomorrow's show jumping.

We have our 2nd jog tomorrow for the vets before the show jumping. The jog is at 8 and the show jumping is at 10. 

Bucky recovered so very well. And is ready for a clean jog tomorrow (fingers crossed)!

I'm off to bed for now. Last update tomorrow!

Thanks for all the encouragement along the way. I have had an awesome support crew up here and couldn't ask for anything more.

Linds & Bucky the XC machine

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lindsay and Bucky's Day Off at Bromont

Salut Amis, (that's my extent of all the French I am learning up here)

Today was a day I was able to sit back and really soak in all that was going on around me here at Bromont. Due to the fact that I did my dressage yesterday- I had an "off day" today. With that said, I think I was able to recognize and learn more than ever. 

I was able to sit back and watch the most impressive horses performing extremely difficult dressage tests. These horses are at the top of the sport and most are competing for spots on both the Canadian and US Olympic teams. I realized quite a bit while I was sitting there soaking it all in- first and foremost I realized just how very fortunate we are to be able to train and ride such athletic animals. We ask our horses to give us their all, to trust what we demand of them, and to perform extrememly high demanding tasks under significant pressure. We ask and expect our horses to come through for us- and that they do- and then some. How lucky are we? Additonally, I was able to acknowledge just how much of a partnership we have with our animals and just how special that is. They give us their all and trust us through and through because we have established such a strong bond between the two of us. And that guys- is what makes and breaks this sport. If your horse has complete faith in you they will try their hearts out. And that partnership, bond, and trust is something unmeasurable. With that said, in whatever discipline or task you ask of your horse just take a second to realize just how much they do for you on a daily basis, just how much they rely on that simple pat to tell them, "job well done, son- keep it up." 

Ok, enough with my little tangent. Back to Bromont. I was able to really get a firm grasp on the cross country course that I am preparing to ride tomorrow. Like I mentioned before- it is a big, tough, demanding course. If I didn't hear it once today, I heard it 100 times- Bromont's cross country is make or break. The final results are weighed HEAVILY by the cross country results. Which  is ABSOLUTE music to my ears. If you don't know Bucky- cross country is his time to shine. He thinks cross country is absolutely the best phase (and well, I do too)!

I had a terrific jump lesson today with Will Coleman to prep for tomorrow's big cross country course. He set up some exercises we could imitate to practice some of the combinations on the course. Bucky was jumping out of his skin and is very confident for tomorrow. I ride my cross country at 3:55- so keep us in your thoughts then!

I have attached a few pictures here- A few as promised from yesterday's dress, a few of our cross country course, and a few from our jump school today. I hope you enjoy.

Be back tomorrow....

Lindsay & The Buckster

Friday, June 8, 2012

Lindsay Kelley's Dressage Update from Bromont

More from Lindsay in Canada ...

Bon Jour!

So, today was dressage day. And we were as prepared as we could ever be. The first rider in the ring started at 8am and the last rider didn’t go until 4:45. I rode my test at 4:26. I was a bit unnerved about my late dressage time, but changed my thinking quickly as I was able to watch tons of riders and tests before me. It allowed me plenty of time to map out just how I was going to ride my test.

I spent most of the day watching the other 60 + competitors ride their tests prior to me. Oh and of course polishing and buffing every inch of tack and equipment I was going to use. And making sure Bucky was as white as he could ever be.

The time came for us to get prepared and warm up for dressage. Luckily for me, Will Coleman committed to coaching me throughout the weekend and he has truly been there for me through every step thus far. He warmed me up before my test. He presented every last little detail to me in the warm up that could help me get a better score on each movement. He was so into my warm up that I looked over at him for instruction a few times and he literally air riding Bucky while explaining what he wanted me to do! All in all, Bucky warmed up great and was ready to show what he had.

And… that is exactly what he did! He showed all he had. He tried his heart out and I couldn’t be happier with him. It was his first time in the big fancy ring and he handled it beautifully. We are currently sitting directly in the middle of the pack. Oh wait, isn’t that where I said I thought we would be?! We are tied with Bruce Davidson- so, I’d say that’s pretty darn good!

After the dressage I hopped off Bucky and went to walk the cross-country course with Will. And, much to my advantage the cross-country course is BIG and TOUGH and demands tons of technical questions to be answered! And guess what guys…that is what Bucky does best. And that is where I would rather be on my confident scopey Thoroughbred over a fancy moving Warmblood ANY DAY! We are ready to rock.

I will write more about the cross country tomorrow. I mean come on… I have got to keep you looped in somehow! However, I will give you a sneak preview of just how serious the fences are.

I have attached some pictures here. I only have one mediocre picture of my dressage today, but more to come. But, I do have a few good cross country pictures.

Stay tuned….

Linds & Buckaroni 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bromont Update #1 from Lindsay Kelley

Former MLE'r Lindsay Kelley is up at Bromont this week contesting the CCI1* with Beth Sokohl's Buckharo.  Here's a quick update from her after the first 2 days in Canada ...

Hi Friends,

I hope all is well at home and all the horses are behaving while I'm away! I have had many requests to share about my experiences and happenings up here and I figured the best way to do it is to send a daily update email to everyone.

My Dad, Bucky, and I left on Tuesday morning at 2am in hopes to miss traffic, keep Bucky comfortable, and arrive for the first preliminary vet inspection on Tuesday afternoon. The commute up was seamless. Bucky shipped better than ever. We set up the trailer in a way that allowed Bucky to have a large box stall, huge hay net, and plenty of water for the long haul. I had him bubble wrapped up for the ship in hopes to make sure he arrived just as he was put on the trailer.

The trip was intended to take 12 hours or so. We got here in about 13 with the few stops we had to make. I'm sure you are all curious about how the customs work when crossing the border- and well- I am still curious too. When we got to the border, there were tons of different lanes to take- so we chose one (probably not the right one)- and arrived to the window with an older man inside. We naively asked, "Did we go in the right lane?" He asked us a few simple questions, "Where are you headed?, What's in your trailer?, Are you selling T-shirts or anything?" Of course we answered those questions directly and he responded, "Ok, thanks- drive on through." Can you believe that? That was it. He didn't even look at our passports, yet alone Bucky's passport (that I spent weeks fretting over). He didn't glance at any of my paperwork- no health certificate, no coggins, no nothing! My Dad and I were completely baffled. When we arrived at Bromont everyone was talking about how long it took to get through customs, all the things the border control checked, ect. I guess my crew just looked innocent or something...who knows! 

So we arrived at Bromont at about 3pm. Bucky got off the trailer and was completely laid back and settled in perfectly. Just in time for our first preliminary vet inspection. The first inspection is just a time where the vets run their hands over Bucky's body, take his vitals, and review his passport. Of course, Bucky passed with flying colors.

Finally after the vet inspection- I could breathe and take it all in. We made it, we really made it! It is beyond BEAUTIFUL here. The scenery is out of a magazine. It is very green, crisp, and tons of mountains surround everything. The horse park is actually where the Olympics were held in Bromont in 1976. And let me tell you, it is absolutely top of the line. The footing, the rings, the convenience factors, the cross country course, the hacking out- it doesn't get much better than this.

I have been practicing my dressage on Bucky for the past 2 days- and he is feeling wonderful. He clearly knows this is game time- and by the feels of it- he brought all he has! We have done tons of dressage and tons of riding out and stretching his legs. The trails for hacking out surround the cross country course and each time we go out there he gets a bit wound up in hopes to run and jump! He and I are typically on the same page- as I am ready to run and jump too!

The first jog was this afternoon around 4pm for Bucky and I. We both got all spiffed up to present ourselves to the ground jury for vet inspection. We practiced our jog for about 20 minutes. Presented to the ground jury and...."Lindsay Kelley and Buckharo are ACCEPTED." A little comedy for you- I thought I was going to be so very impressive and try to jog in some heels- so of course, I put them on with full intentions, but put some flats in the car just in case. Well to say the least, I panicked at the last minute and made my poor dad go racing back to the car for my flats- I had terrible visions of falling right on my face in my heels...I just couldn't do it! All that matters in the end is...we were accepted!

So, tomorrow is the big dressage day. I ride my test at 4:26. So send the positive thoughts this way! I am hoping to have a very accurate and forward test. From the looks of the cross country course if we are mid pack after dressage we should be very competitive. It is often times hard to compare to the big fancy warmbloods in the dressage, but on the other hand it is often times hard to compare to a confident Thoroughbred on a tough cross country course. There were 55 competitors before jog up this afternoon- I am not sure how many were accepted, but the competition is stiff, but that's ok- "GAME ON."

I have attached some pictures here for all to see. I hope you enjoy!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's updates...

Linds & Bucky

Monday, June 4, 2012

When the scores don't reflect how truly awesome the day was ...

Where to begin.  Sunday was Lissell's first recognized Training event, and only my second one (with the first being almost 3 years ago!).  When I walked the course on Saturday with Kelley and Katie, I was only slightly nauseated by fence 3, a bit more by 4 and wanted to crawl into the ditch at 6.  By the time we got to the massive ramp at 8 or the log into water 11 or the 1-stride angled brushed at 16/17, I figured "whatever will happen will happen."  Not only was the course big (in my new-to-the-level opinion) but it was also long.  Lissell is fit, but I always worry.

So anyway, dressage went SO well on Sunday morning.  Jane was able to come over to warm me up and that was just the thing I needed.  Lissell was so wonderful in her test, and I was really hoping it was a 39-40 test.  I guess the judge saw what I felt, and we got a 39.6!  Now I just need to work on keeping her forward, forward, forward into the connection.  I must say that the Micklem bridle has been a god send.

Next up was stadium.  I was so thankful to have Kelley there to warm me up after the disaster at Loch Moy.  Her reminders of keeping Lissell straight between my legs were just what I needed, and I would say that we redeemed ourselves in stadium this week.  We did pull two rails.  I'll take blame for one of them.  ;-)

Then we were off to cross country.  Kelley had to go get her horses ready, so I was left with warmup instructions.  Thankfully Sue was there to babysit me, take me to the start box, etc.  All my worries about the jumps being too big were put aside after the first 3 fences.  I guess all the fitness work is paying off, because she absolutely springs off the ground now.  I do wish she didn't get quite so close to them, but that's something we'll just have to work on.  Anyway, galloping to fence 4, I had Kelley's directions clearly in my head.  Ride up to it!  I definitely didn't have enough gas in the tank and we had a silly stop.  I came around to it again, popped over it and off we went. (I did later find out that fence 4 was causing problems all day which made me feel a bit better).  The ditch at 6 was a non issue, and the jump into water was fine (the growling was probably unneeded).  The angled line was awesome.  And then my dumb ass made a dumb ass move at the corner and softened to it, and Lissell was exit stage right.  Argh!  So very frustrating!  I could have kicked myself right then and there.  But we jumped it nicely the second time around and finished up with plenty of horse still underneath me.

So lessons learned ...
1) Don't get cocky at the end of the course.  I honestly can't remember ever having 2 stops on cross country.  I think that's because usually after one stop I get so mad, that I make sure I don't have another one.  But this is Lissell, and I can't get mad at her.

2) Lissell likes it if you give her a pat and tell her she's a pretty pony after fences.  I could literally feel her take a breath with each pat.

3) Lissell is pretty bad ass!  And it took my very non-horsey dad to put things into perspective for me yesterday.  After cross country I was of course a little disappointed in myself for having two stops, he turned to me and said, "Margaret, your horse is TWENTY years old ... she jumped everything you pointed her at ... what more can you ask for??"  Thanks dad!

4) Without Grantley to snuggle with post-cross country (their times were much later in the afternoon), Lissell gets a little wild at the trailer.  Hopefully they'll be reunited at Seneca in two weeks.

All photos courtesy of Christie Baker.  Thanks Christie!