Charles De Kunffy Clinic A late post about the Charles De Kunffy Clinic held at Crescent Stables. On the Friday of the clinic, Charles carefully explained the principles of dressage and the harmonious way to maximize the abilities of the horse. Over the three days, Mr. De Kunffy was consistent in his message that riding is a responsibility, and that one must develop one’s physical skills alongside the right character traits. In his analysis of what it took to be a good rider and trainer, I noted that they are the exact same mental skills that are needed to compete well, and that we study in the field of sports psychology. Each rider was able to make positive changes in their horse, and was given clear tasks that would continue to advance their riding in future. Mr. De Kunffy was a very interesting guest to take to dinner, and our talks as we commuted to the hotel and to the airport were quite valuable to me as a coach. In addition, Mr. De Kunffy has taken the time to call me to see if there were any questions or feedback from the clinic, and gave me yet more great advice. We are so grateful he took time out of his busy schedule to come to Crescent Stables. Thanks to all our staff and riders who did such a great job getting ready, and our lovely auditors. Sheila’s Catering from White Rock supplied a wonderful lunch as well.
Thanks to Dressage BC, Horse Council of BC and Reiten Right Footings for their support of the clinic.
We survived the final show at Global, the show was as busy as ever, and the Canadians came out second and third in the Nations Cup. Karen didn’t ride in the Nations Cup which gave me the chance to actually watch some of the competition!
Karen’s young mare, Jolie, made an exciting debut and got High Point of the show.
Everyone has started packing at the barn, lots of horses have already left. Karen and I are pretty much the only ones still riding, which is nice because we get the ring to ourselves most mornings.
There is lots to organize to prepare for the trip home, and lots of laundry, which you have to be fast to get yours stuff in there!
As we prepare to hit the road, I just want to thank everyone that helped me spend the season learning and riding at the Global Dressage Festival. This would include my coach and the owner of Anton, Susan Thompson of Crescent Stables, Greenscene Agritek, Paul Turner of Three Peaks Health, Mary Ann Liu, Douglas Coupland and Tim Coupland, as well as my family and barn family! I could not have done this without all of you! Thanks to Karen Pavicic as well for her help and for allowing me to ride her wonderful horses here at the Global Dressage Forum.
Well not long now before Anton and I start the long trek homewards. I am excited to come home and see you all but it will be hard to leave such an amazing place. In addition to all the horsey fun (and work) I did get out to see a bird exhibit and I have been doing some painting as well. I have NOT seen any alligators or Burmese pythons, thank goodness! Anton has adjusted to life in the Florida climate and has a special fly mask to help with the bugs.
It was nice to run into Albrecht Heidemann. He has been a great help to Susan Thompson and I with Anton over the years, and with Susan’s other students at Crescent Stables. He is in Florida every winter for the season, and then returns to Montreal. Too bad he is too busy for a west coast visit, I know he is very missed out there!
You know how they say walk is one of the most difficult things to do well? Yep…have been working a lot on walk. I think I can walk a straight line now…it’s like a horse/rider roadside sobriety check…can you keep both legs in the right place? How about those hind legs? Oops, there goes a shoulder…..and so it goes. I have also been getting lunged to improve my seat even further.
I also attended the Florida Fortnight for Canadian riders. We learned about athlete nutrition (remember the horse is not the only athlete here) and Sports Psychology. You have to train your mental skills as much as you train your horse. As they say, at the upper levels it is 90% mental skill that determines outcomes.
Karen Pavicic has been doing very well, I have included a picture of us with Dono after the GP freestyle, and a picture of Karen doing her victory lap.
Although it the days are long and the work is quite hard, I am really learning a lot down here at the Global Dressage Festival.
I have had 4 mornings off since getting here, and I get to the barn at 7 or earlier if it’s a show and stay until 8 or, if I leave earlier, I come back to do night check. At horse shows I usually don’t finish until they shut the lights off at 11 because the Grand Prix classes are at night. I am also getting a lot of non-riding exercise because at the shows where Dono competes, he is in separate CDI stabling so I walk a marathon between barns all day to care for Dono and Anton.
I have had a couple of lessons From Karen Pavicic on Dono and Jolie (her young horse). What a wonderful experience, and I am so grateful to have these opportunities. Jolie is lovely and I wish I could have her J. Maybe I can just stick her in the homecoming trailer with Anton and no one would notice! I am sure we can find a spot for her at Crescent Stables!
More news from sunny (?) Florida
As you know, I am down here in Wellington at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with Crescent Stables Ltd’s horse Anton. I am training daily with Karen Pavicic and grooming for her.
Karen Pavicic has competed at several shows now at the GDF with Don Daiquiri and though I thought I would be very intimidated by these high profile events, a horse show is just a horse show no matter where you go. Except you don’t always see Steffen Peters and Laura Tomlinson walking through the barn!
I am thrilled to say I have sat on Don Daiquiri a couple of times to get an idea of the feeling I am trying to get for Anton, and I couldn’t stop smiling through my ride! All the years of hard work is paying off and Anton is having moments of greatness, and once his balance and straightness are fully there, he easily does all the movements he needs to do!
As you can see, the weather has been pretty mixed, with some rainy days, and when it rains here it storms! Reminds me of home.
Ok so after all the traveling and a bit of beach time and spectating, it was down to work! Sarah Griffiths and myself helped Karen Pavicic with her horses and it was great to be out and about in Wellington. Karen’s horses are amazing, and Sarah got some great photos.
Anton’s first ride felt a bit creaky after all that traveling, but by the second ride he was feeling back to normal. Karen has been doing very well down here and it is exciting to be at such a wonderful venue. Paul Cross of our sponsor, Greenscene Agritek came down and brought us the HABIT bedding, Anton loves it and I know the horses at home do too!
Wow, it’s been a month now that Anton and I have been in Florida. I still sometimes have to remind myself just how far away I am from home!
So, for a report on our first few days in Wellington…..Sarah Griffiths and I arrived and got Anton settled into this lovely barn, Brilliance Stables, where there are flowers and much to Anton’s surprise, peacocks! He was not too keen on them, but got down for a nice roll in the dirt anyway.
Although we have been very busy, we did get to go to the beach for about an hour, and to get out on the town for a quick dinner. It is quite nice here with cute restaurants and pubs..the milkshakes were great…we also got to watch Ian Miller and Eric Lamaze whip around the course at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Friday, Jan 9, 2015.
A day we never thought would come! We were officially headed SOUTH. We drove a little bit through Tennessee, then we grazed the state of Mississippi and into Alabama we went. Navigation became more complicated at this point so we needed to stay awake together; one driver, one navigator.
Anton’s last walk break before Florida was Brilliant, Alabama where we met a lovely couple who raised cattle and horses on their 200 acre ranch. We got to experience real old fashioned Southern hospitality! Renee led Anton right past the cows and into the round pen. Anton thinks cows are scary! But he did very well and even felt comfortable enough to roll after a time. It was -2 C here and fingers and toes were frozen after cleaning the trailer and re-bandaging Anton.
After a few hours of walking and a little trot, Anton goes back on the trailer. Such a good boy. We are getting close. We feel the need to get something proper for dinner so we found a catfish house near the gas station. Everything deep fried except my catfish. Onion rings, hush puppies, fries, popcorn shrimp (Bubba Gump style) and mac & cheese. If we had just eaten the fish & rice, I think I would have been fine but the heavy grease after days of small snacks didn’t feel so good. It was yummy though! Being in there was like something out of a movie. It was a memorable experience. I totally get the songs and the films now.
Thursday January 8, 2015.
6am: Sunrise in Laguna, New Mexico. Cold, relatively flat and very windy but at least the sun was shining. We drove right through this state and into Texas that afternoon. When you think it can’t get any flatter…… a few plateaus here and there in the background. We could envision the cowboys of the Old West riding around here. We felt it was essential to listen to country & western music the entire way through Texas and the rest of the south. Lots of signs for Route 66 which we never did travel on but signs and rest stops enticed us to want to check it out. Wait….we have a horse…..no stopping! Into Oklahoma we go…..Oklahoma State was only seen in the dark but they had the best roads, smooth and straight. I’m sure Anton approved. And we saw a shooting star which was pretty cool. Continuing through Arkansas which was also night driving. It was very cold there but the weather was off-set by the people who were warm and friendly.
Although Anton is traveling well, we are not doing so well…gas station coffee, not enough sleep, and long days of driving are taking their toll. Could really use a treatment from Paul Turner, of Three Peaks Health, but for sure doing the stretches he recommended is helping….just can only do so much driving for hours on end!