photo by
Tales of Taco the Wonder Horse and his ammy rider on their way to a Training Three Day

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aiken Preparations

The day after tomorrow, Saturday March 6, Team Taco is going to Aiken!  Aiken is a small town in South Carolina that becomes a major center of eventing each winter.  The footing is excellent and there are many places to school and compete.  We went for a week last year and it was such a great experience that we decided to do it again in 2010!  It would be lovely to be able to go for longer, but I do have a job, after all.

We have a packed week planned...
  • Saturday: We will arrive in the late afternoon, get Taco settled in his stall at Jumping Branch Farm, and go find the people hotel downtown.
  • Sunday: Easy flatwork and hacking.  Amy (our provost) arrives in the afternoon with her homebred mare Flo.
  • Monday or Tuesday: Lesson with up-and-coming eventer Jennie Brannigan.  I won this lesson in a benefit auction for CANTER Mid-Atlantic-- thank you Jennie for donating it!!  On the day that is not a lesson with Jennie, we will work on our dressage test.
  • Wednesday- Friday Cross Country School, another hacking day, and polishing whatever we need to do (showjumps or dressage), under Amy's supervision.
  • Saturday: Dressage and Showjumping at Full Gallop Farm Horse Trials.
  • Sunday: Cross Country at Full Gallop Farm!
  • Monday: Home again
I am feeling very ready to go, and Taco feels fantastic.  We had a very productive jumping lesson yesterday in which I started to feel like we could jump anything.  Amy kept reminding me of the basics: energy, line, and balance.  The right energy feels like a little bit more than is comfortable, and I have to be extremely careful not to take any away as I approach a jump.   As I create my turns and find my lines to the jumps, it is often helpful to think of a slight counterbend (his outer eyelid just visible if I happened to look down).  As for the balance, I must, must, must keep my body tall until he has taken off!  It is all too easy for me to allow my shoulders to tip forward and my leg to drift back.  When I stay upright and engage my core muscles, things are so much easier for Taco.

That's it-- the rest is Taco's job, and I need to let him do it!  One of the best things about this lesson was that I really started to "get" the division of labor within our partnership.  I can't jump for him-- and throwing my body at him is actually counterproductive (Amy started us out trotting a tallish vertical so that I could feel how he could jump up to my body when I waited for him to).  I can trust that he is able to do his job-- and he is so very good at it.

See you in Aiken!


LC-B said...

thank you SOOO much, Stacy, for doing, feeling, and (happily) writing what I need to remember about horse and rider partnerships...that division of labor - AND not getting in the damn way! ha! Have a great trip and you both have a bed with clean bedding if you need it. be safe!


Lauren said...

And I'll be at home with the doggies! Wish I could go with you! :( Make sure you blog and video and take lots of pics so I can live vicariously through you!

wz said...

Drive safely and have a great time doing what you and Taco so clearly love to do.
Love, Mom
Ken wants to know if Crystal is from there, and he says 'good luck and have fun'.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Have a GREAT time!

Sarah said...

Are you all going to run training out of the box this spring or get in a novice first? I'm wicked jealous by the way. It's going to be about 50 and sunny all weekend here and I'm soooooo ready to ride!!! Oh well, I'll just lead Connor around on his pony some more instead and see if I can't induce labor :) Have a terrific time!

Anastasia said...

Sarah-- this will indeed be a Training run-- we felt very confirmed at that level last fall and it seemed silly to drop back to Novice. Stadium is the hardest for me, but we had a good stadium school the other day.:)
LC-B-- you might be getting us on Sunday night the 14th!
Mom-- Crystal is from NORTH Carolina. :)
I'll keep blogging in Aiken (maybe Carol (sports psychologist and dog wrangler) can also be convinced to take pics and video.

Megan Corbett said...

Good luck! Lots of video and pictures! Video from your lesson with JB would be really awesome (come on Carol!). Flo and I will be sending you jingles from home!