Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Focusing on the positive....

What a last month it has been....well.....at least restful. That's the positive way to look at my time off. My leg is on the mend and I'm feeling ready to go.

Since my leg injury I've heard it all....from....."when the going gets tough....the tough get going", "everything happens for a reason", "there's always a silver lining".....and the list goes on. This injury really made so many things much clearer. Sitting back watching the Olympics was one of those eye opening moments that almost feels like someone hit me over the head with a frying pan. I have for years now been determined to ride for my country. But now more than ever the final pieces to the puzzle are filling in. I have to say that after my trip to Europe last year it really brought out a lot of holes I realized I needed filled. In my everyday training, my competition performances, and the team of horses I'm training to bring up the levels. I realized that in order to compete with the best, you have to be your best. Every step, every second you train. Is it difficult to be that disciplined? Not if you want to beat the best. Hard work just isn't enough.

This time off has made me hungrier than ever, but in a good strong way. In a way that makes me feel confidently determined. I want to be the best! I want to compete in Europe and be a contender that wins. It's attainable I know. We Americans right now feel a bit defeated.....the Weg was difficult and now the Olympics. It's a gut wrenching feeling to watch the people who you are routing for not have the results they want or we want for that matter. But unless your there you never know what they are experiencing. I can't wait to see the US after our makeover. We have so many riders who are hungry and excited for the "new" way of Team USA and I'm one of them!

I feel like the Eventing community as a whole is such a wonderful team already. We have excellent resources to make us better. We just need to utilize making our future brighter.

My unexpected vacation from riding has only made me stronger, hungrier, and more determined to being superior to "good". Because good isn't good enough!

We.....the USA did not have the best performance at the Olympics, however it's about what we as a Nation learn from each games and figure out how to improve and aspire to perform better. Change is a must! I don't think that buying trained, expensive horses is the answer.....it always helps to be sitting on expensive horse flesh....however the partnership between a horse and rider is unexplainable. When you find that special partnership I believe that's what is unbeatable. Time again we've seen Olympic Gold Medalist not necessarily be the best riders in the world.

So as Team USA has some time off to reflect on how to become superior, every rider aspiring to ride for Team USA or their own country should keep striving and working hard to be that next Olympian. You just never know what partnership you can develop with hard work!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The calm AFTER the storm

Well it's been a long past couple of weeks! The good news is that I'm virtually pain free and things at NLE have changed significantly.

Nobody can really prepare for when something like this happens but it's great that I've received the amazing out pour of support from everyone!
I can't thank everyone enough for all they have done. My owners, clients, colleagues, friends, family and people I barely know have been so supportive and it's truly flattering and a humbling feeling.

So as I heal I find myself with an entirely different plan than I ever expected.

With my sudden change in plans Makenna Shea and Kelly Loria will be joining forces with NLE and helping me ride everyday. Amy Fox is still the head honcho and she really has developed into a great rider and barn manager. I have a feeling she will appreciate the extra help! ;) Although Amy's time is not entirely permanent she is committed to staying with us until I get back on my feet which will help keep NLE running smoothly.

I expect its not going to be an easy transition to transform from horse rider/trainer to solely coach/instructor.....however I have to thank everyone who has stepped up to the plate! Work is harder and responsibilities are more strenuous and seeing everyone step up to the challenge has been rewarding for me and I hope it will be rewarding for everyone else. They will get taught nearly everyday on every horse and I am looking forward to watching everyone improve.

I now have a permanent cast on my leg. The plan right now is that I will be wearing my cast for the next 6 weeks and then re-evaluating my plan for the fall.

As always, I'm overly optimistic and have a great rehab plan to get myself 100% in record time.

So with that said........... I'm really really really having a hard time with the fact that I can't ride. It's effected me and hit me harder than I thought (tears in my eyes) it really gives me an appreciation for doing what I love.

However, I mustn't focus on those details.....and just focus on healing and keeping my horses going the best they can with the wonderful resources I have.

With that said, it's onward and upward and I can see that small little light at the end of the tunnel.

Keep kicking and lets go TEAM USA!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Still determined!!!

I want to start this blog out with a very positive outlook......The event at Rebecca Farm was a huge success for NLE and everyone is better for their experience no matter what the outcome....and that does include me.

It is unfortunate that my leg is broken but things happen for a reason and I'm looking at the positive that came out of this weekend.

I was leading the 2* with Krystie Bush's horse Top Secret, affectionally known as Sai. He had a great dressage test and a double clear cross country round. Jumped around like a champion! Being in first after dressage was such a huge accomplishment for all of us. It really was a huge accomplishment as well as knowing we have a super horse that ate up the cross country!
Boomerang was brave and such a good boy. I was thrilled with him as well as Fleeceworks Cinco and Irish Blend in the USEA Young Event Horse.
Cinco won and Peanut was 3rd. The weekend was going great! All of my horses were in the top 5 going into show jumping.

Everyone that was riding this weekend from NLE was super and I was really thrilled with everyone's progress.

Brigit Rossbach rode around the 1* course like a seasoned professional! I was so proud of her and all of her hard work.

Alex Cline came back from a fall at her last event and rode smart and got her mare around a challenging course finishing as the top Irish Horse for the weekend.

Kelly Loria was able to conquer some challenges she has been having with her horse and made huge steps to improving their partnership!

Erin Hoffman had a stellar weekend with her lovely horse we call, the "Pineapple". They came so far in such a short amount of time! From training to a 1* and consistently improving at every show.

Kevin Baumgardner gets the award for the weekend for the most improved without any practice. He and Jeff looked fantastic and anyone that watched them could see their progress.

Val Ferraro was awesome and galloped around with 3 solid performances. Watch out for her in the future shes on a mission!!

Joseph Buckley rode amazing all weekend and I think is probably getting very close to moving up to Training level. They have improved so much!

Nicole Mussell gets the worst luck for the weekend.....her horse Mike ended up coming all the way to Rebecca Farm to compete in the Training Level 3 Day and ended up with an abscess, which caused tremendous heal pain and they had to withdrawal after the first jog.

Some people might wonder why we all do "Eventing". But the biggest reason is because not only is the sport challenging....we have the best people around!

I can't tell you all the support I've received. Everyone from friends I barely know on Facebook to truly good friends picking up the phone and offering to help me ride while I'm down.

So as I sit here on pain meds......and anyone who knows me knows I'm not good on anything besides caffeine and candy, I just would like to say a few thank you's!!!

Thank you to the Rebecca Broussard Grant Committee as well as Becky Broussard for her vision of bringing depth into the US International scene and allowing me to receive a travel grant as well as be eligible for "The Big Becky Grant". Thank you Mr. Jerome and Sarah Broussard for keeping Becky's vision alive and allowing riders like myself to have the chance to get the leg up we need to complete our education and help fill in the gaps to making us better candidates for Team USA!

Thank you to all of my close friends who are also my clients but really make my job of teaching, coaching, coordinating and training worth while. I'm really fortunate to have each of you apart of Team NLE!

Thank you to my husband Dave, Tyler and Lana B for being the best support system ever.

Thank you to all of my friends and family that reached out when they heard I was injured and everyone who is routing for me. It means the world.

Thank you to Alyssa Debrotin for stepping up to the plate and being a rockstar all weekend! You are the best head groom there is out there!

Thank you to John Camlin and his crew for stepping in and helping me while I was trapped in the hospital. John was there and coached all of my students as well as his own on Sunday never missing a beat!

And a huge thank you to Craig & Kelly Meuchel for opening their house to me and Brynn and Ashlynn for taking such great care of me. It's been an easy process thus far getting used to laying down with my feet up.

I am on to Plan E now....overly optimistic and never going to give up. I'm in this for the long haul and although my plans are changing I still have my eye on the prize!

Thank you all once again!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 2 of competition at Rebecca Farm

Well the games have begun and we are off to a great start!!

Fleeceworks Cinco won the 5 yr old division and Irish Blend was 3rd in the 4 yr old. I'm really having a blast producing these horses and very excited about their futures!!

Rebecca Farm incorporated a "HALT CANCER at X" program.
The riders are getting pledges to help raise money to fight cancer.

We all showed our support by wearing pink as well putting the pink cancer ribbons on our horses butts. We've been getting pledges as well and if you want to donate, let me know and we can arrange for your donation to be added.

Dressage was very good today. Raffy competed in the CIC1* and is places 2nd after day one.

Cinco was a bit on the muscle in the ring so he defiantly didn't get the score I was hoping for, however I'm thrilled with his progress and his ability to work through his tension.

The cross country courses are beautiful as always, but with Ian Stark as the new course designer there is another feel to Rebecca Farm. I'm so excited to go out there and gallop!

So tomorrow we have another day of dressage. I'm really hoping Sai puts all his cards on the table this weekend ....we have been working hard and I think Sai is ready to show what hes made of!

Its off to the shower and onto the RF cocktail party.

Here are a few pictures I've taken.

Let's hope for a great day tomorrow!


Sunday, July 8, 2012


Having a couple of days of relaxation before the games begin has been great!

This morning we took everyone for a little canter......they were all very fresh! Including Sai who is usually very mellow. He actually leaped in the air and took off with me! I had to laugh because any extra energy Sai has is great!!

All of the horses look and feel great! Brigit received news yesterday that they had to cancel the CCI 1* with steeplechase. There was a brief moment of panic and then we developed a plan so I think things are all going to work out.

Tomorrow we are heading over to Herron Park to school the babies and get one last outing before the show starts.

Every afternoon has consisted of going back to the lake house and either kayaking, swimming, or a boat ride.
The Meuchel's brought over their boat so we are planning a very fun filled week with water skiing and inter-tubing! So life is great!

Again a few pictures for your enjoyment.......and of course ours!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rebecca Farm WE ARE HERE!!!

Yay!!! We arrived last night! Can I just say its beautiful!!!!
Here are few pictures for you to see what a wonderful place this is.....Enjoy....we are!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 2 to Rebecca Farm...

We arrived in Ogden, Utah yesterday....Opps....I mean early this morning at about 3:30am.
Handed the lead rope of a horse I hauled up here to his owner and thankfully the girls had prepped all of our horses stalls......so all we had to do is tuck 6 horses into bed. Sounds easy right. Well, its pretty easy when you have 6 people who know the ins and outs of horse stuff. It's a good thing my honey is hot and compliant! That's completely worth all of the exhaustion.

All of the horses were traveling well so it was a matter of hand walking this morning and getting back on the road.
We had about a 12 hour drive today with no incidents.....oh other than Brigit having a blowout......and other than that I can't tell you how happy we are that we have all arrived at the beautiful Rebecca Farm!!!!

It's the first time my family has come up with me and I think Dave is already in love! The drive is picturesque!!!

We are really looking forward to a great fun filled week and will continue to keep you updated!

I took a few pictures for you all to see! Tyler hand grazed Top Secret while we set up stalls!!! Sai is looking fit and ready!!!

NLE horses thank Fleeceworks for their halter fleeces! Everyone arrived rub free from using these wonderful fleeces.

We also love the Professional's Choice tail wraps! They are great preventing tail hair loss and rubs while traveling long distance and stay snug without circulation problems.

A few more pictures of the scenery just so you can see what this beautiful event is made of!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

We are officially on the road!

Finally!!! We have left Temecula and so far things are running smoothly. We arrive at Golden Spike, Utah late this evening. Luckily a cold front moved inland and so the hot part of the country which is Las Vegas is only in the mid 90's. Typically its well into the triple digits.
So some luck has come our way.....the horses all traveling well.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rebecca Farm or Bust!!!!

How things change with a blink of an eye! Yes, that's basically what happened with our plans.

I would first like to say that I'm happy to be the entertainment of anyone who reads this blog. Get a drink....sit back....and enjoy!

Anyone who travels, goes to horse shows or is involved with horses, knows that there is never a dull moment. You would think that being a upper level event rider my life would be full of excitement, and honestly it is......but for some reason God has a sense of humor and likes to laugh a lot.

Where do I start?!

The plans of going to Rebecca Farms have been getting developed over months of preparation. Rebecca Farm is a destination event for NLE and usually everyone on the team try's to attend this special event along with incorporating some vacation time. There are so many things at Rebecca Farm that make this event so worth while no matter what chaos happens on the way.

I am grateful and very lucky to be a recipient of the Rebecca Broussard Travel Grant. This helps contribute to traveling to Rebecca Farm and becoming eligible for the International Grant to be announced in December. This program is instrumental in developing up and coming riders. I feel like the Broussard Family has not only helped the USET put more riders in the pool to help the future of Eventing with this grant but also with the high caliber event they produce at Rebecca Farm.

We started off wanting to have a family outing up in Montana.....so my family will all be coming to Rebecca Farm.

The last 3 years we have travelled to Caber Farm while in route to Montana and spent a few days getting aquatinted with the turf and of course enjoying John and his team.

Our plans were to leave this past Saturday to Twin Rivers. Compete at Twin Rivers one-day with everyone and then head up to Caber Farm arriving on Monday. We would stay until this coming Saturday and then head onto Rebecca Farm in Montana.

Dave had everything ready to go with the truck and trailer.......I was loaded to the ceiling with our dog "Diesel" in the passenger seat. Gave a kiss to the kids and Dave and was planning on picking them up from Portland Airport on the 4th (the 4th is today). This all sounded like the best plan ever......we had 12 horses traveling from California and another 10 or so meeting us in Montana.
I put the truck in reverse and I knew something wasn't right. I called Dave and knew that it couldn't have been what Dave was saying over the phone. I heard the words...."it sounds like the transmission". How is this possible?!!! Val's transmission is in the shop getting rebuilt, how could we have 2 trucks break before we even leave?!!!
All I could think of was......"at least were still home.....were not stranded in the middle of nowhere with a trailer full of horses!"

The chaos would continue.......
We decided that since we were planning on buying a new truck next year, maybe we needed to put the $ we would spend on a new transmission into a new truck. Sounds like a reasonable enough explanation and solution.....right?! Ok so problem solved! That's where this entire situation becomes comical. I say that because if I don't laugh then I will drive myself off a cliff.

We get the new truck. Get a good price on it.....and end up with more than we wanted so life is good. Mufflers West installs my trailer hitch the next day and were back on schedule. What's a trip without a little bump in the road........
The trailer gets hooked up and off we go to my house to make sure everything is running properly.
Now back to that "bump in the road".
I get home, after feeling like my trailer brakes locked up a bit....maybe had a bump in the road and as Dave is helping me back up into the driveway he says..."where is the side ramp?" What!? Side ramp? WTH are you talking about?!
I get out of the truck and my side ramp has been obviously ripped off my trailer. I look at Dave and start to laugh....like a psycho. Defiantly not a laugh from humor. A laugh that is like Jack Nicholson from the movie "The Shinning!"

So after consulting Facebook.....(gotta love modern technology) I have several friends that offer contacts of where to go......who then gets me in touch with the best little aluminum welder ever! "Kenny"!
Kenny has saved the day! He gets my trailer......and in one day, repairs the impossible and remounts my trailer ramp.
He charged us $800. Dave gave him $900 in cash and a 30 pack of Bud Lite. I gave him the biggest hug and just when we thought everything in the world was right.......the new Dodge integrated trailer braking system is not capable with my Electric over Hydraulic braking system on my trailer.
No fear....Tamie the master of problem solving is here!
I called down to the dealer, spoke to the Sales Manager, Darren and he said we could come down and take out the braking system from our old truck.
So I head to the barn with trailer in tow to ride everyone, teach everyone and pray that Dave and Tim can miraculously install the old brake unit into our new Dodge and of course that it goes smoothly!
We are now onto Plan D and with the attitude "Rebecca Farm or Bust!"

Stay tuned we haven't even left Temecula yet...........