Friday, September 2, 2011


It feels like eternity since the last time I sat down with my computer and started trying to think of clever things to say……and now I have a lot of feelings that I’m sure if you could open up my head it would be a huge scramble of overwhelming information not many people would quite know what to do with……that includes myself.

Since our last meeting, so much has happened. We competed at Woodside H.T. and most recently Richland Park Pan Am selection trials.

Woodside was a great show and being able to coach and ride some babies was refreshing! I recently got the ride on a very cute TB Gelding by the name of Top Secret, owned by Krystie Bush. He competed at Woodside in a very competitive Open Preliminary class and won. This little horse has probably the biggest heart of any horse I have ever ridden. He then went on to Richland Park and competed in the Open Intermediate and I went into the show not putting any pressure on the result……well maybe a little. But most importantly I wanted to see if “Sai” was ready for the level. He had competed OI with his previous rider, who by the way has done a great job at getting this guy around. The course was huge to say the least and Sai really had his work cut out for him. He would end up 2nd after cross country with a double clear and go into a very technical show jumping course with no rails to spare. Sai jumped his heart out, but just had the in of the triple combination which was our last fence on the course so we would move down to 5th position in the class. Still not shabby for whom we were competing against! I was thrilled with him and his ability to try harder than any horse! We will come home and continue to work on strength. The next competition will be the Area VI Championships…..I’m looking forward to seeing how that show works out and riding my favorite mare Fleeceworks Fernhill!

This year overall has been so exciting…..consisting of a lot of travelling and I’m assuming its only going to get better. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed because I have some decisions to make and soon.

We headed off to the Pan Am Selection Trial last week. Thanks to a travel grant given by the USEF we were able to fly Dinero this time. He has been on a trailer quite a lot this season and I really wanted to give him a break from the travel. WOW!!! What an experience! Flying is the way to go! It was so easy….Greg at Tex Sutton really made everything so easy! So much can go wrong and these guys were so organized… was a fantastic experience and frankly spoiled me!

I went into the selection trial feeling the most prepared mentally and physically then I have ever felt. Dinero felt the best he has ever felt and the weekend really went well. I believe in my bones this horse has it all. Some might look at me crazy, but Dinero, although a bit difficult sometimes… truly a class act with unending talent!

I was picked first in the division! YES! First…..again! Are you serious!!!! CANCEL! I quickly wiped out of me mind that being first would be a bad thing and focused on how great it would be.

Dinero and I put in a great test! He was very relaxed and his trot work was beautiful! We scored a 47 and that put us just 3 points out of the lead sitting in 4th place.

The cross country as always with good ol Ian Stark was a BLAST! Don’t tell anyone, but so far my favorite course designer! I’ve jumped things in every one of his courses that I had never jumped before. And it always rides perfectly! Dinero was a champion! We ran around the advanced course like it were Novice. Very exciting as I’ve struggled a bit with control this year…..I can thank my good friend and Dineros owner Leigh Mesher for getting the brakes back! THANK YOU LEIGH!!!! We moved up a spot after cross country and I was really feeling confident going into show jumping. The course had some technical lines and was a good track for us both.

Much to my dismay as I entered the ring, Dinero as he usually does got a bit tense. He quickly relaxed going up to the first fence and I rode it very soft thinking and always believing that my horse would and does jump above the standards….we had the first rail down behind. I thought to myself……really!!!?….crap…..well put your leg on a bit more….and the rest of the course Dinero was flipping his head quite a bit….it was clear something was bothering him. We would have another down in the triple combination which I didn’t even hear come down. A huge disappointment as I haven’t had a rail on him in 6 shows. We got back to the barn and he had a slice in his mouth which would make the puzzle come all together and from that point forward it was wondering what the selectors were thinking!

When I stopped and looked at our overall performance I was very pleased! But I’ve never been one to be happy when I haven’t achieved perfection. I felt like it was a bit of bad luck…..but really I’ve been riding Dinero for 6 months now…..trying to develop a partnership at the advanced level and I’m really happy that every show everything comes more and more together.

The best part of the whole weekend was Bec came and groomed for me and did an amazing job, Dave was there to cheer me on and I got to see my best friend and share a great week with her…Heather Morris!

Tuesday afternoon I received a call from the USEF congratulating me on my selection and just 30 minutes after that I received a call from Sara Ike notifying me that I received a grant to compete at Boekelo CCI3* in the Netherlands and that Mike Huber would be calling me shortly with the details.

I’m not sure I’ve had that many emotions flow through my body ever in my life. This is what I’ve worked so hard for……and it’s here! I have so many people to thank for helping me get here and I know it’s just the beginning, but I am the first one to say this….it’s been a long rough road and there wasn’t nothing that was gonna get in my way! I just didn’t realize it would come to fruition!

So now for the decision making… I go to Boekelo and compete in the CCI3* on our Nations Cup Team or hold out for the Pan American Games. It is a big decision and I’m very lucky to be in such a position!

Dinero and I have a fabulous new partnership…..we have many more exciting things to happen in our future and I am very lucky to have Leigh Mesher be such a great supporter and reality check for me. She was one of the first people I called when I got the news…..I was a bit overwhelmed and I guess emotional and she used her new motherly instincts and quieted me down….talked about our options and everything seemed so much more clear.

So this month will be a busy one…..I have some dressage shows, some jumper shows and a couple horse trials to attend. I am looking forward to being home for a bit and getting into a routine….soon to be shaken up with some exciting new adventures.

Again, I can’t thank every one of my friends and family! I know I have a huge pool of people routing for me and it means more than you know!

Thank you to all of my sponsors and I’m ready for this ride so hang on!!!!

Til we meet again...........kick on and stick on!

Closest to the score competition update!!

Congratulations to Connie Bowman for winning the Donation Basket this last weekend at the Pan Am Selection Trials! Her donation was $48.50 and my dressage score was $47.30. Connie won 4 Fleeceworks Baby Pads as well as a signature Half Pad, valued at $380.00. In addition she won boots from Professionals Choice. Very exciting and thank you to all of my sponsors who joined in the last two competitions.
Our next competition will be Boekelo CCI 3* in the Netherlands. Keep following and donate for your chance to win cool stuff!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

HELP Tamra Smith & Mar De Amor.....Closes to the Score Competition......


Enter Closest to the SCORE COMPETITION!!

We are very excited to announce the partnership of Tamra Smith & Mar De Amor as well as an exciting way for you to follow their road to the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico this October, 2011.

Though there are many hurdles to clear as they embark on this journey we invite you to join them….follow their progress and have some fun!

As you follow Tamra & Dinero at each competition, you will have the opportunity to bid on a Next Level Eventing Sponsor Basket valued at $500.00. The basket contains product from Fleeceworks, Professional’s Choice, Adeptus Nutrition, Heritage Gloves, and Soless Visors.

Simply donate a dollar amount equivalent to Tamra & Dinero’s dressage score. For instance, in
a horse trials competition you would donate what you think their score would be…..for example if you think they will score a 32.5 then you would donate $32.50.
If Tamra & Dinero score a 32 in the dressage, and you have the closest guess, you win the “NLE Sponsor Basket”! A basket will be awarded for each competition. So you can play each time!

If there is a tie, then whoever submitted their donation first wins! Remember if the competition is an International competition than the scores will be higher than a horse trials. This way you can “play at home” and not only have the excitement of watching them compete, but win some great prizes for yourself as well.

The closest to the SCORE COMPETITION will be held at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles California. Go to Tamra Smith’s website at and enter to win the “NLE Sponsor Basket”!

Thank you to Fleeceworks, Professional’s Choice, Heritage Gloves, SOLess Visors, and Adeptus Nutrition for their support!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Galway Downs Recap........

It’s about that time to reflect and look onto the future………
Galway Down’s was a very good event….educational and an overall good performance from all of my horses. Of course I’m crazy competitive so I’m never completely satisfied unless it’s a 1st place, however nonetheless, pleased!
John Camlin came to our farm and helped sharpen me up on my show jumping…..a smack on my elbow and my chin and I was sitting and looking up with good equitation pretty quickly. Of course everyone enjoys when they see me get reprimanded. I think it’s a good part of learning, both for my students and me.
 We headed off to Galway and I was able to ride with “The Captain” (Mark Phillips that is) since he was out for training sessions. The insight helped tremendously and I really felt that I made more progress with my riding.
Mar De Amor, affectionately known as “Dinero” or “D$” “Super D” or “Handsome” and the list goes on……of course every horse in our barn has multiple silly names, but it’s what we do.
So “Dinero” is a new ride for me and I’m thrilled to be riding him. Thank you Leigh Mesher!!! Galway was our first 3* together after a short 6 weeks. I am thrilled with the progress we made each day. It’s a process to learn about each other and to develop our trust towards one another but we are getting closer and closer each week. Dinero’s flat work is coming along. He is a very smart horse and has a whole bag of tricks up his sleeve. I think a new nickname might be Inspector Gadget! Nevertheless, Dinero put in a very workman like test and scored a 45.9. We were a little conservative but very obedient and would love to score that any day of the week. The show jumping was the afternoon of dressage and I’m not certain if it was beneficial to me or not having to jump the same day as dressage. I was trying to work out a few new techniques with Dinero so some of my round was very good, and some needs more work. I plan to go take some lessons from Hutch and hit a few jumper shows before we think about moving onto a CCI3*.  The cross country course was brilliant as always. Ian Stark builds a course like the horses he used to ride. Big and Bold! There hasn’t been a time that I haven’t had a blast riding around his tracks! We are very lucky to have an icon designing courses for us here in the United States! The track rode great. Dinero and I had a little miscommunication issue at the “A” element of the angled, skinny brushes; however we quickly regrouped and fixed our communication mishap. The rest of the course rode beautifully! I feel very lucky to be on such a great minded, talented horse. He improves everyday and try’s his heart out at every jump. If there is something that goes wrong it’s because he doesn’t quite understand……it’s very refreshing to be riding a horse that has Dinero’s heart and I’m very excited for the future!
The other horses I competed were Clark Kent and Fleeceworks Fernhill. Clark competed in the 2* and one too many lunges made Clark a little tired for his dressage test. We have worked on a strategy this spring and I just thought I had it down…..I just didn’t realize Clark would actually learn from the last show and be so ridable. A valuable lesson learned! The rest of the competition was brilliant for us as Clark jumped a beautiful double clear show jump and cross country! He really has grown up into a wonderful horse and I see a bright future for him.
Fleeceworks Fernhill competed in the 1* and although our dressage was green, she sure stepped up to the plate in the show jumping and cross country. Fern is such a good jumper and careful…..she really try’s her heart out and it’s so nice to go into the ring and know your horse is going to do her best to jump clean. I have to say that having a good woman on your side is hard to come by…..but when you find it…’s like nothing else! Each competition with Fern gets better and better and it’s been so rewarding producing this mare the last year and a half. She is really coming into her own.
I posted 3 pictures this time….Clark in the dressage halting and me saluting. That will be my salute to Scott Kulhman who will be taking over the ride to qualify for North American Young Rider Championships. Scott’s horse “Chex” unfortunately was injured and will be on a bit of R&R so Scott will take over the reins on Clark for the time being. I’m sure he will have the time of his life as Clark is much different than Scott’s current 2* horse, who can be quite difficult. I expect great things from them and although I’m bummed about not getting to ride Clark for now……I’m really excited at the same time for Scott! I haven’t met too many people as loyal as he and I would do anything he would do!
The other picture is of Fleeceworks Fernhill show jumping. Looking at her form over that oxer gives me goose bumps! It’s really been a lot of hard work from everyone and she is finally figuring it all out! That picture is what makes my job so fun! She has really come along way and I’m thrilled!
And the last picture is Dinero and I galloping! That gallop is what makes Eventing so special. The horse loves the gallop as much as we love it….and when you get to gallop a horse that knows how to gallop it almost brings tears to your eyes! Well maybe because you’re going so fast… it’s not! It’s because it’s an amazing feeling! We all have experienced it….either watching it or feeling it…..or even both. I plan on galloping around a lot of cross country tracks in my future…..and hopefully for my country!
Every year we start out with a plan…..hopes…..dreams…..and every year we sometimes fulfill them…..other times we over exceed them……and some years we don’t quite make them. I have my plans……my hopes…..and my dreams……and I believe that I can attain them. I hope I can this year…..and next year too. I hope that I over exceed them! It takes a lot of hard work…and I think some luck….or maybe a lot of luck……to have a sound and ready to perform athlete on the day that it counts. I hope you all have that and I sure hope I do too!
See you on the gallop lane! J

Tuesday, April 12, 2011