After a great fall season in 2012, the horses and myself have had a really nice break and vacation. Thanks to Ashley Harvey for looking after the ponies and Jackson while I was traveling and enjoying my time off. In 2011, after the Pan American games I went out on my own to and started my own Eventing business. The first thing I did was take my horse's shoes off and let them have a 2 month vacation. This also allowed me to take time off, reorganize and recharge for the upcoming year. This is something that a lot of eventers don't really do anymore, because of the luxury of being down south in the winter time and events continuing into December. I was really happy with how my horses came back into work recharged and with a better work ethic so I decided to make it an annual plan. I was reassured after hearing that Mary King does the same thing every year with her horses!!
Once again, I'm thrilled with how my horses have come back into work this year. I let them winter in Ocala as opposed to freezing up north like we did last year and they are even more relaxed and ready for the big year ahead.
I have some exciting sale horses added to the team this year and I'm also looking forward to continuing competing my horses from last year.
Harbour Pilot, owned by Jacqueline Mars, had a great vacation and is heading toward Ocala II for his first event in 2013. I really feel like a lot of the exercises I struggled with last year are so much easier for us after our time off. We're hoping to aim him at Saumur in France later in the spring.
Danio, owned by Neapolitan Holding Co., is much quieter after his time off and is going to start at Ocala II also. I plan to keep him at the Intermediate level until he can progress in the dressage and relax into his job. He is a bit of an over-achiever and takes his job VERY seriously! I'd love for him to flow and enjoy his work rather than be nervous about making mistakes.
Woodbury, owned by Jannice Aaron, had a great 2012, going to the AEC's with OCET family member Calvin Ramsay in the Training division and finishing on his dressage score. This little horse is truly remarkable and although not having the best start in his sporting career, has become so confident and a real teacher to younger riders. My working student, Ashley, has also moved up to Training on him and is going to compete later this month at Rocking Horse I. Woody is now for sale and would be wonderful to have a career with a young rider looking to move up the levels. This horse has unlimited athletic ability, the key with him is having a solid relationship with his rider. Videos to come.
Mainstay is a new addition to HSB Eventing. This is a lovely OTTB, 6 yrs old, 16.2hh gelding. He is beautiful and equally talented. He's going Training at Longwood HT this weekend and Rocking Horse I. Here is the link to some videos of him on YouTube:
Just Bailey is the newest addition to our crew. He is an adorable and talented TB, 12 yrs old, 15.2hh gelding. He has competed very successfully at the Training level with a young rider and has plenty of scope for preliminary. He would also excel in pure show jumping and schools 3'6"-3'9" easily. Bailey has lots of personality and really wants to please. Here is a link to his video on YouTube:
I'd like to thank all of my owners and everyone who makes my career possible. I'm excited and look forward to a productive and successful year. I'm also looking for anyone who would be interested in owning an event horse and going on the exciting journey of competing abroad and hopefully representing the USA. Please email me with any interest in this and/or the horses I have for sale at HSBurnett@gmail.com
Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing everyone out competing and supporting our wonderful sport and horses in 2013!
We made the 10 1/2 hour drive up on Monday night and arrived safe and sound to Richland, Michigan, home of one of my favorite events: Richland Park Horse Trials. Ashley, Jackson and I were a bit tired from the overnight drive but happy to arrive early and have time to settle in. The horses shipped well and as usual, Danio was exhausted from standing up for so long (he's a big fan of naps!) and had to be fed his dinner while laying down!
I am competing Danio in the CIC**, Harbour Pilot in the Advanced, and Ashley is riding her mom's horse, Donatello in the Novice. Jackson is busy chasing other dogs around and trying to ride golf carts with complete strangers.
William and Danio competed in dressage yesterday and I was pretty pleased with the day. Danio was a lot more ridable and quiet than he's ever been and although his score doesn't reflect it, his test was a big improvement. William was his usual steady self and put in a nice test. I could've ridden for more expressiveness and been a bit more precise with the last two flying changes but there can always be improvement!
Ashley does dressage this afternoon and since she is from Michigan, her family will be out to support her. I went around the courses yesterday and they look really fun. Plenty of ditches under fences and forward riding techincal combinations that will prepare the horses nicely for the fall 3-days.
I'd like to thank the Vitkus' for letting me use their amazing truck for this trip because mine is wanting to break down on us! Also a big thanks to my amazing sponsors and owners. I wouldn't be here without your support!
I'll be checking back in soon!! (Aren't you proud I've been blogging so much?!?!)
While David O'Connor has been off to the Olympics, I have continued to work on my show jumping with all of my horses. I have been taking lessons with Scott Keech on Harbour Pilot and Danio and I'm thrilled with the progress. Here's a video of the Twilight Jumper's Mini Prix a few weeks ago.
I have to apologize for not blogging in a while! I am going to start to keep everyone up to date on how the horses are going and upcoming schedule.
We've been pretty busy around HSB Eventing lately. There's a new exciting member on the team--Ashley Harvey, from Michigan. She's a working student and also lives with me in Middleburg, VA. She has brought her mom's horse, Donatello, with her to train and compete. Ashley used to do Hunters and Jumpers and is excited about her future in Eventing. She recently completed her and Donnie's first Novice at Stuart Horse Trials and we have some fun events planned for the rest of the summer and fall!
Stuart is one of my favorite events. From the wonderful volunteers greeting you from the moment you pull into the venue to the fantastic cross-country courses at all levels. The show jumping gives you a real "big-time" feel and the whole event runs like clockwork.
I ran Danio in the CIC** and also had another student, Sara Vitkus there riding Galactic (whom I used to campaign at Preliminary last winter.) Sara had a great weekend, finishing 3rd in a very competitive Junior Training division. Sara will take Galactic and her preliminary horse, Season O' Reason, to Millbrook in August.
Danio had a pretty good weekend. I am still trying to figure out his ideal warm-up to produce a good test with him. He can get hot as he goes but also needs enough work to let go in his body and work over his back. I didn't get the warm-up quite right at Stuart, and the dressage arena can have a bit of an electric feel there, so we didn't have a very good test. After I decided that our chance of getting a good score was pretty much shot (at the 4th movement!), I rode the rest like a schooling test and he actually got much better. He was relieved when dressage was over and the fun began with cross-country the next day. I have been trying different bits with him as he can be quite strong but also very sensitive mouthed. I recently got a hackamore/happy mouth and that has been working great! He ran around really well and although the rainfall has been slim to none in West New York, the work they have done on the footing paid off and all the horses looked happy and sound on Sunday morning. I love show jumping anyways, but show jumping Danio is really a blast. He has such a powerful jump and tries so hard to leave every rail rub-free. He put in one of his quieter rounds for a double clear. Overall, I am happy with his progress and will continue to work on his dressage and getting rideability in higher-stress situations.
Here's the link to Danio's Show Jumping round:
William has been doing really well lately. He had a bit of a break after Bromont and we have been focusing on our show jumping as our round at Bromont was less than stellar. The biggest change we have been working on with David is changing my position in between the fences from our of the saddle to sitting and using my seat and body to control the length of stride and pace. One of the best things about William is his bravery. One of the most difficult things about William is his bravery!! Nothing backs him off, no matter the size of difficulty of a fence or combination. The way I used to ride him was to try to let him make mistakes in front of the fences to try to make him back off a bit so I could then ride him forward. We had to re-evaluate this method when it stopped working at the Advanced level and David showed me that he needed to listen to me instead of responding to the fence. We worked on going really forward and using my new seated position and then halting and reining back. It sounds simple and it really is--and it's made a massive difference in my show jumping. After establishing that he must really respond when I ask him to slow down, we incorporated that into jumping. We only jumped 3' the first couple weeks until it was really solid in both mine and William's mind.
I had the opportunity to ride William in the Mini-Prix at Twilight Jumpers a few weeks ago and we had a very good round with one down. David and Ms. Mars were able to come and it was really fun to see the progress we made with our new plan. I will jump him again in the Mini-Prix next Friday and then we will compete in the Advanced at Millbrook the following week.
Woodbury has had an interesting early summer with a difficult Surefire, where we had trouble in cross-country and I opted to retire him. He wasn't feeling himself and really didn't want to play. I backed him down to the training at MDHT 1 and he had a great weekend and won. Afterwards I had him looked over by our vet Dr. Ober and we decided to test him for EPM and he came back positive. Thankfully, we have great treatment for EPM now and he will be back competing in a month or so. I'm so happy we found the reason for his strange behavior because he wasn't showing the normal signs.
We have 2 new additions to the barn! One is a beautiful TB mare, named Wellesley, who has played Polo for a year after being a racehorse. She just arrived on Tuesday and is starting her new career as an Event Horse. The other newbie is a 3 year old, unraced TB that Ashley and her mother adopted from New Vocations in Lexington, KY. He is adorable and quiet and is related to Ashley's horse Donnie! Kendyl Tracey is shipping him to Middleburg for us on her way home from Young Riders.
Phew! I think that covers everyone! Hope to see you at upcoming events! I'm taking horses in for training and open for taking on more students if you're in the area. Shoot me an email if you're interested! HSBurnett@gmail.com