Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Orion Cup... Its Offical!

As many of you may have noticed, since the passing of my Orion I never have gotten back into the swing of regularly posting updates. And I have to admit that its been really tough for me to write on this blog simply because since I started this blog, its always been mainly about Orion and I... but I have some very exciting news and it really couldn't be a better inspiration for me to start writing more regular posts again. As my first (of many new posts) of 2016.. I am more than happy to announce that Canada now has a under 25 Grand Prix Championships! 

The Orion Cup is named after a very special horse in Canadian dressage history. Orion was Pia Fortmuller’s KWPN Grand Prix partner. He was an Olympic Team horse for Canada, trained to the Advanced level by Pia's former coach, Leslie Reid, who represented Canada with Orion at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. 

In the fall of 2009 Orion was sent to Europe to be sold, during the same time that Pia, a 2006 NAJYRC Gold Medallist, also moved to Europe to continue her training. It was during this time the two began a partnership, and Pia subsequently purchased Orion. At the age of 25, Pia rode in her first Grand Prix with Orion, and they went on to compete very successfully at the International Grand Prix level in Europe. Orion took Pia all the way to the Canadian Senior Team, and their career together culminated when they were named the reserve combination for the 2012 Olympic Dressage Team in London.

Sadly, Orion died in January, 2014. His passing was not only a loss to Canadian dressage, but a devastating personal loss to Pia and her family. The Orion Cup has been established to pay tribute to this very special gelding. It is poignant and inspiring that just as Orion was instrumental in the start of Pia’s Grand Prix career, the Orion Cup will provide other talented Canadian athletes with a start to their own. Pia says it best in her own words. “I never truly lost Orion for he will always live on in my heart, and it brings me an incredible amount of joy to know that Orion will also live on in the legacy of the ‘Orion Cup.’”

PURPOSE The purpose of the Orion Cup is to encourage and assist young Canadian athletes with the momentous step of making the transition from the Young Rider level to the Grand Prix level. This program provides not only an important developmental opportunity for athletes, but also a means to achieve the goal of putting Canadians on the podium at Major Games.

The recipient of the Orion Cup will receive a commemorative jacket and cooler plus a $1,000 cash prize. In addition, the recipient will be recognized as the Orion Cup National Champion

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Quick little 3 Month Recap ...

Wooooosh !!!! That's how it feels like the last 3 months have flown by...  January was a pretty exciting month because my Grand Prix mare, Fabella, and I got to compete in the Verdinale in Verden. I was very proud of Fabella for qualifying for the freestyle and Fabella successfully did our first Grand Prix freestyle together and placed 7th overall.

Then we continued on into February at full speed. In Germany they hold extra indoor competitions, called "late entries" during the spring and autumn months to give competitors the chance to prepare for the upcoming show season. So my boyfriend Lars and I took this opportunity to take Lars's four year old mare, "Frida Gold" to her first competition ever. And our little princess was a big super star and scored a 8.0 and placed second.

Frida Gold, Lars and I

March continued on in the same fashion, as we took advantage of the late entry competitions offered in our area, although there were many green moments, and we most certainly didn't always come home with a ribbon. For example with my Stallion, Balesteros. Him and I went down the centre line together for the first time, and he was a little over excited to show off all his talent ;-) So due to a little extra tension we didn't score very high at the first couple attempts, but my experience has taught me to not lose hope simply because the road gets a little rocky.

And I am more than happy to report that all our hard work paid off as at the end of March, Balesteros was able to show off just a glimpse of the vast potential this very special horse has, and we won our "M" level class. There are so many things that made this gold ribbon so special, including the fact that this very day was my 30th birthday! And what a wonderful day it was :-)


In more exciting news, my powerhouse mare Santa Maria, has been really blossoming and last weekend she was confident enough to challenge the next level, and she did her first "S" dressage test. And there is a pretty funny story behind our first "S" start. As we were warming up everything was going great and Santa Maria and I entered the ring feeling confident and I decided to check out all gears before the judge rang the bell and we launched across the diagonal in a trot extension,. Then in the middle the diagonal her front shoe flew off! The worst timing ever :-/ Especially because my boyfriend is a Farrier and at any other time we would have immediately been able to fix this dilemma, but as luck would have it all I could do was look at Lars and whisper the worlds "Scheisse!" Lars quickly ran into the arena to grab the shoe and I was able to quickly ask him if I should carry on, and of course (in true German fashion) Lars said "Ja Los!" So, on we went, and despite being a little compromised, Santa Maria truly tried her best and although she couldn't move to her full potential she pulled off a 65% and we placed 5th :-) 

Santa Maria

And now its already April and Easter at that, which brings us up to date. Thank you for keeping up with me and a very Happy Easter to everyone :-)

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Here We Come!

Well here we are at the beginning of another year! My Christmas was truly wonderful because my family from Canada came to Germany for the holidays. Below are some pictures of us all spending some quality time at the barn. 

My mom and me :-) 

Loisl teaching Ross how to knit! 

Jade and Lecoya

Now that 2015 has started I had my first competition of this year last weekend and exciting things are happening! Santa Maria is really starting to shine at the M level and danced through her best test yet and placed 3rd in her class. I am so proud of how far she she come :-) I also showed my Grand Prix mare Fabella who is in great shape at the moment. We competed in the Int.2 and I really wish we could have had our warmup judged instead of the test because she really went perfect! In the actual test we had some mistakes, which I take full credit for... and therefore scored 65%. But as they say in Germany “erfolg es kein zufall” which means, success is no coincidence so of course I’m not magically going to be able to wave a magic wand and then *poof* have the perfect test (although I sometimes REALLY wish I has a magic wand ;-) training a horse to successfully complete a Grand Prix test is a process and I am so proud of Fabella with how far she has come and I am truly enjoy the process of training her. 

 I also took my two youngest horses along for schooling, my newest edition to the team “Charlotte” who is 5 this year and  “Frida Gold”, who belongs to my boyfriend and is 4 this year. Below are some pictures of these two precious gems. 

Frida Gold


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Step by Step... We are getting there :-)

I have this drawing taped to my bathroom mirror to remind me that success is not an easy upwards climb, it also reminds me (daily) to NEVER ever give up when I hit a couple bumps and turns (or double and tripple spins) but to keep on going! In my last post I was so excited to announce that my little super star mare "Fabella" has officially competed her first Grand Prix test, and this past weekend we took another run at the Grand Prix test and I am very proud to report that it was our best test yet! Although we still had a couple mistakes and there are lots of areas where we can pick up some more points we scored a 65.8% and the coolest part is that we both have never felt so confident it a test before.

I would like to share a couple important lessons that I learned this weekend. First is how very important your body language is while you are riding down the centreline. The tiny difference simply the thought "we can do this!" makes. I experienced this first hand as I was cantering towards "X" before our first halt I thought exactly this and I noticed my self sit up that much straighter and as result Fabella also arched her body up that much prouder. The second lesson that I learned during this competition was to appreciate the importance of making mistakes and embracing them as learning opportunities. Making mistakes is actually one of the most important aspects of a learning process, because we often have to figure out what not to do before we figure out the right thing to do. This mind set also changes your body language immensely, because if you are able to let go of your fear of making mistakes you are able to approach challenges with an open mind and body. A big reason why Fabella and I were so much more confident as we cantered down the centreline was because we have previously made mistakes before and we also learned how to fix them. It may sound paradox but our mistakes actually make you stronger, because every time a mistake happens its an opportunity for learning to occur. So next time something doesn't go as planned instead of getting mad and frustrated embrace the learning opportunity, because a mistake is just like one of the loops in the success diagram, and taking an extra learning loop along the way doesn't mean your not getting to where you want to be. And the most motivating part is that once you have figured out how to get out of the "problem" you'll be be moving on and up wards with that much more power and momentum behind you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Big Steps

This past weekend my mare Fabella took the big step into the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special tests. I am so incredibly proud of Fabella because the transition from the small tour to the big tour is not an easy one. Especially because the Grand Prix happens fast!!! There is not much time between movements and to ride everything one movement after the next is a tough! To help Fabella with the transition to Grand Prix, I competed in a couple Int. 2 and the short Grand Prix classes this summer. But until this weekend we didn't feel confident enough to challenge the whole Grand Prix just yet. One of my favourite quotes is "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" and Fabella is a tough little pearl, with a heart of gold!  She tries her heart out every day and all our hard work is really starting to pay off, especially because Fabella is the first horse that I personally have introduced to the Grand Prix. My past teammate, Orion, already had a very successful track record at the Grand Prix level before him and I became a team. This makes a big difference because my Orion really took care of me and showed me the ropes at the top level.  But now with Fabella, its my turn to be the one that leads the dance. Which is why this weekend was so very special because Fabella and I both successfully challenged a lot of "firsts" :-)  We even placed 6th in the Grand Prix Special and that was without having ever practiced it... ever!

In more exciting news, I also competed my mare Santa Maria and she also stepped up to the next league, and successfully did her first "M-A" test (comparable to Third Level in North America). As I wrote in my last post Santa Maria was always in the ribbons in the young horse classes and although she struggled with the higher degree of collection at the beginning, now she is really getting to hang of it! 

Another great quote I would like to share is "dreams don't work, unless you do" and with that I would like to give three cheers to making dreams work! :-) 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Enjoying the Journey

This last weekend, while I was at a competition with my 7 year old mare; Santa Maria, I experienced one of those special moments, reminding me that "success isn't a destination, it's a journey". My strong "red head" mare was very successful at all the lower level classes, but moving her up into the next level of collection has taken a bit of work, and the coolest feeling ever is when all that hard work pays off :-) 
This was the first time Santa Maria went down the centreline and was able to become MORE in the ring rather than freeze up as the degree of difficultly increased. We placed fourth in the class (although red is the color for first in Canada it's the color for 4th here in Germany). But what I am most proud of is that in the victory gallop we were able to turn all of her tension into something positive and her normal tight trot became a powerful and elegant passage! My mother always calls my Santa Maria my 'ace in my sleeve' because she really believes that she will be a strong horse for the future so one of the first things I did was call mom to tell her I think she is right ;-)  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WEG 2014

The 2014 World Equestrian Games are full in action at the moment and wow what an incredible Games they have been so far. The dressage phase has already come to a close but its magic still hangs in the air.

The week before the games began I had the chance to travel down to Aachen, Germany, where the Canadian team held their training camp before departing to Normandy, France. It was very inspiring for me to hang out with the team and watch them to their last bit of fine tuning before the games began. One of the four team members, and also my dear friend, Karen Pavicic, invited me to bunk up together with herself and her daughter in their hotel room, which was so sweet of them. Thank you once again Karen :-)   

Also while I was hanging out with the Canadian team. I had one of those special goose bump moments while talking to Belinda Trussell. Belinda and her beloved horse, Anton, have defeated so many odds to make it on the team. Despite the odds, Belinda never stop believing in her Anton, and it was this belief that brought them, not only to the games, but they also went on to achieve a personal best score at a major games. Congratulations Belinda! You are a true inspiration, and you ignited another flame in my internal fire, and reminded me to never give up and to always believe in ones dreams. Thank you. 

I would also like to extend a HUGE congratulations to the whole Canadian Team and each of the riders individually; Karen Pavicic, Belinda Trussell, David Marcus, and Megan Lane. What a great games it was for Canada!