A Difficult Goodbye

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While looking back at 2016, I can’t help but reflect on what a year of events it’s been. Winning a CIC3*, finishing 3rd at Rolex and being named traveling reserve to the Olympics….all in the same year?! That’s the stuff dreams really are made of. Now that we’ve entered 2017, I look at the new year as an opportunity for a fresh start and to allow for the next chapter to begin. That being said, It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing that Doesn’t Play Fair has been removed from my care, marking an end to our special partnership together. Cody and I had an amazing ride together, with some incredible results. I had anticipated for us to have many years left together with more great things to come. The injury Cody acquired prior to the Olympic games healed well and he was on track to returning to his previous form. However, the Dofelmier’s have decided to move him back to their home in Washington where they will enjoy him. I hope he brings them the same joy that he has brought to my life.
Cody had been my world for nearly 6 years, as I was his. He got me to my first advanced, my first 3star win, my first 4star and my first shot at being part of a US team. I will forever be indebted to him. I loved all of his quirks and idiosyncrasies because it’s what made him so special and in return, an incredible partner and competitor. Above everything else, Cody has been my best friend, and I will miss him terribly. While I don’t think I will ever have a partner again quite like Cody, I am very confident that I will persevere and given the chance, I will continue to produce horses to be real competitors at the highest level.
While loosing Cody has left me with an array of feelings, I remain thankful to the Dofelmier’s for their support in the past and giving me the chance to ride a certain little horse who, to all of our surprise, ended up making a lot of dreams come true. While 2016 has been a year of great highs and devastating lows, I will remain true to myself and optimistic that when one door closes, another opens. I want to thank all of our family, friends, coaches, sponsors and fans for cheering us on over the years and those who continue to stand by me today. I remain hopeful for the future, and that you have yet to see the best from me.

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“Make Plans, God Laughs”

img_2275-3Well, as fate would have it, my exciting summer plans quickly unraveled as it became evident that Cody was injured following Great Meadow. As heartbreaking as this turn of events was, there’s not much else I can do aside from keep my chin up and look forward to the future. With Cody having time off, I was able to focus my attention on my young OTTB, Mowgli. I think very highly of him, and was absolutely delighted with him winning the very big and competitive prelim division at the AECs this past weekend. I have big hopes for this horse, which is why I have made him available for syndication.
With my fall season looking relatively quite, I have decided to head back to Washington for the rest of the year so that I can reconnect with family, friends and clients old and new. I’m looking forward riding and coaching at some fall events in the PNW and finishing up with Mowgli doing the CCI* at Galway! Anyone interested in lessons or training should email me at mebe999@hotmail.com

Getting Read for an Exciting Summer!

image The horses and I have enjoyed a little bit of downtime post Rolex, but with Great Meadow happening this week, everything is back in full swing. The announcement of the team for Rio has definitely been on everyone’s mind lately, including mine. Being named the traveling reserve is the greatest accomplishment of my career to date. I am truly honored that David and the selectors feel that if need be, Cody and I would be a good combination to step in, and compete for our country in what is the greatest sporting competition in the world. Rio will be a real adventure and honor that I am truly excited for. The selectors choose a fabulous team, and I plan on being the best and most supportive team player possible. Considering I nearly didn’t even apply for Rio at the beginning of the season, after our less then stellar season last year thinking there was no way we would be up for consideration, it’s certainly cool to see how things can change in 6 months. I’m very excited for team activities to get going this week and Great Meadow this weekend! Cody’s feeling great, and he is starting to suspect something big is around the corner… He had a great gallop this morning up the mountain at High Acre, which put him in a great mood for the rest of the day.

Rolex

Well, Rolex has come and gone, and my top 3 finish still has yet to sink in. We have worked toward being able to go into a huge event, like Rolex, feeling confident and capable of pulling off a good result. To actually be able to deliver a top result at an event, that you spent your childhood dreaming of completing, never mind finishing in the top, is truly surreal. The most exciting part of the whole thing is that there is still room for improvement in our performance, AND that Cody came out of the weekend looking great- happy and healthy and ready for his next challenge after his well deserved holiday this month.

Cody’s ride-ability and reliability in the dressage ring has come so far this year! I’ve been able to put some important pieces together that’s made it possible for us to deliver consistently competitive scores. While I was very pleased with Cody’s overall dressage performance, it was definitely a bit of a bummer to miss the last 2 changes in the test and have a less than stellar rein back. He has become so much more reliable with the changes, and with the last 2 changes being the easiest in the test, I don’t think I quite gave him the preparation he needed for them.

Last year at Kentucky, I was happy to get around the cross country safely and cleanly with a sound happy horse. He did get tired towards the end of the course putting a big question mark on if Cody was ever really going to have the stamina to be a true 4 star horse. This year put any of those questions to bed, as he jumped around marvelously and came home so much stronger and full of himself. He has so much heart and loves it so much out there- it makes riding a huge track like that, such an amazing experience.

The show jumping has been a work in progress this year, and I was thrilled with how Cody jumped the tricky track with just one down. He really is a scopey, careful horse, who I hope will have more consistently clear rounds in the future, as long as I can keep him rideable and straight. He handled all the crowds and cheering, while seeming to love the victory gallop!

Rolex this year was truly an event to remember. I can’t thank the Dofelmier’s enough for continuing to support my journey with Cody, as well as my parents, family, friends and sponsors. I’m not sure what will be next for us, but whatever it is, I hope it’s something big!

The Fork

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We made it back to Ocala from the Fork with 2 blue ribbons, knowledge gained, new friends, good stories and most importantly, two happy, healthy ponies! It’s rewarding when all the blood, sweat and tears one puts in everyday, is rewarded with strong results. As in life, especially with horses it doesn’t always go that way.
I was overall pleased with Cody’s dressage test. He started out a bit unsettled in the trot work, and had a couple bobbles by breaking to canter. Aside from that, the rest of the work was pretty hard to fault, it’s come so far- but still has so much more potential. I felt the canter work was more uphill and in better self carriage than Carolina. I was really pleased to have received a 41 from the judges – the best score so far of our career! It’s really exciting to get such a score and still know it could be better by working to eliminate the mistakes. I was also quite happy with our show jumping round. Cody jumped great, in a good balance, frame of mind and he was so much more rideable! Cody was his normal adrenaline junky-self around xc! Leading up to Rolex, we will continue to work on trying to get a bit better ride-ability on cross country. It’s taken a little while and a lot of hard work get to where we are at together, but it’s all worth the journey.
Mowgli put in another beautiful dressage test to score a 24 in the Prelim! It’s hard to believe just a year ago he accompanied Cody and I to this event, but was still months away from actually doing its first event. He is so much stronger and through, and his already elastic movement is getting even better! He ran around this prelim xc as well and confident as ever, and being a OTTB his gallop is so lovely. He really is a brave horse and loving that job. Show jumping was much improved. He was much more rideable with better form after tweaking my ride on him the least few weeks. We had one rail, but that didn’t bother me as he tried so hard and is making such huge progress. It also didn’t keep him from taking the win! He is just the sweetest horse, with an incredible brain and work ethic to boot!
The horses and I will continue to fine tune things leading up to Rolex. Where Mowgli will once again get to be Cody’s sidekick, and my practice horse! Fingers crossed for the momentum from this weekend to continue! Next stop, an A-CT for Cody this weekend to practice the 4* test. And then, ……Rolex!!!
With today being the anniversary of Amy Tryon’s passing, it makes reflecting on the success of this past weekend bittersweet. Amy helped me with Cody while he was a novice/training horse. She was the one of the first to really see something special in Cody. I’m sure she was smiling down on us this weekend, telling me “I told you so, why did it take you so long!” Well Amy, I guess you were right. Thank you for your guidance, support and watchful eye. ❤️

Carolina International

What a wonderful whirlwind of a weekend Carolina International was! From the nearly perfect weather, to the beautiful venue and the fantastic courses, this event gets better every year and has certainly become one of the very best in the country.

I was absolutely over the moon to finish second with Cody in a massively competitive CIC*** division of nearly 80 horses! I was thrilled with his dressage test. He was relaxed, obedient and expressive to score a 43. There is still certainly room for improvement, but that’s always the case! It’s been a long time coming for all the pieces to come together in the sand box, and hopefully we can keep it going. Show jumping I had an unfortunate 2 rails. Those rails were especially expensive as it took me from 1st down to 18th. I’ve definitely still got some homework to do there. Cross country, Cody was an absolute machine around Ian Starks course. Ian’s course rode well and asked some very good questions for an event leading up to Kentucky. It’s so cool to have such a strong partnership with a horse that loves the cross country as fiercely as he does! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my double clear xc took me from 18th to 2nd! It’s so refreshing to see that the cross country phase can stIll be so influential to the final results!

Mowgli had another educational go at prelim this weekend. He continues to put in very solid performances in the dressage ring, where he scored a 27! I had been playing around with him over fences in a hackamore, and decided I’d try showing him in it. It ended up not being the best idea as I couldn’t quite keep him in front of my leg and we had some rails. Mowgli had a quiet run on cross country. Ian put some great exercises on the prelim course that made Mowgli sit up and pay attention. Mowgli was super rideable, fun and brave and answered all of Ian Stark’s questions beautifully.

All in all it was a great weekend. We will be working hard on the show jumping for the next couple weeks! On to the Fork!

photo credit : Jenni Autry and useventing.com

 

Red Hills

imageRed Hills weekend is a wrap and I’m home with two happy, healthy ponies! Cody finished 8th in a big, competitive CIC 3* division. Mowgli finished 5th in the open prelim as well as winning the TIP award! ❤️OTTB!!

My performance with Cody was a bit of a mixed bag- but ended on a great note with XC 😊. He warmed up well for the dressage, but toward the end of it I feel now I needed to do afew more transitions- I know now how to make it even better to have him more on my aids going into the ring. Unfortunately, he went in the ring and broke in the first few trot movements. The work after that was all quite good, and I was especially really pleased with a lot of his canter work. Unfortunately, we didn’t give the judges that good first impression, so they weren’t really willing to give the higher marks in the places I thought we deserved. At least now I know how to tweak his warm up to a format I feel works for him! The show jumping wasn’t what I had envisioned. I had 2 down. He came out quite strong and fresh, which is never good for show jumping him. I normally would have pre-ridden him, however, I didn’t want him to be feeling tired for XC that we were running very shortly after show jumping. He was jumping in good form, which was great, and the rails were really due to the lack of ridability I had at the moment with the 2* XC galloping by us. Cross country however, he was the best yet! He was very rideable and jumped super. The twisty, tricky track suited him, and I was able to make it home in really good time with only about 3 time penalties. While I was really hoping to put together the 3 phases this weekend, I think I’m getting his preparation down to a science, and will hopefully be able to nail that part next time and get an even better result! His owners, Dawn and Jon came out to watch and help and shoe the boys this weekend, and they were happy, which is obviously what matters most!😊

Mowgli was really good this weekend! It was the biggest event he’s competed at yet, with the most atmosphere and he handled it beautifully! He put in a relaxed, obedient test for us to win the dressage on a 29. It feels good to be able to come out on top after the dressage in a good sized field, when you know that the flat work is still going to get so much better! He was an absolute star on XC. It was a tricky, twisty track with a lot of crowds and he was just wonderful. He’s always been brave, but he’s really now thinking about the questions and is just loving it out there!!!❤️ Show jumping was a really tough track, and he had 2 down. He’s still a bit green in the connection, making the ridability still a bit of a work in progress. I was really happy with his effort. He tried so hard all weekend, and I just love riding him!

The boys and I will be working on our dressage and show jumping the next couple weeks, and then onto Carolina!!!

photo credit Eventing connect