Sizzling Summer News

Surprisingly enough I think I can honestly say for the first time ever that this summer has truly not been that unbearable. It’s certainly been hot but it doesn’t seem nearly as hot as previous years. Maybe after almost 30 years in NC I am finally adjusting to the heat, who knows.
As always things have been bustling away here. In major news, I am thrilled to finally (because I am horrible at this blogging stuff) formally introduce my new assistant trainer, Collette Zimmer. Collette has shown through 3rd level and has extensive experience working in some top Florida dressage barns and with breaking/starting young horses. She is taking on a select few students and horses in training and we will be offering a discounted introductory rate for lessons and training with her. She is fantastic with beginners and timid riders and we have some exceptional school masters to learn on. We are very excited to be teaming up to offer even more to our students and clients.
I’ve got a couple of extra horses here in training right now which is fun. One of them is my student, Jen Fales’ mare Party who is here for a few months tune up while Jen is sidelined with a wrist injury. I really like this mare so I’ve enjoyed working with her. The other is an absolutely adorable warmblood gelding named Teddy. He is coming back into work after a lay up so we are taking things very slowly but he has shown through 2nd level in the past. I really like him too and I’m excited to see how he progresses.
Cosmo has been some what laid up lately while we sort out some saddle fit issues with him but thankfully we seem to have found a saddle that is comfortable for him and he is back working really well again. I could not be more thrilled. He really is the most special guy and as crazy as it sounds my world seems off tilt when he isn’t right so I am beyond thrilled he’s back so happy.
Brandon went off to “coitus camp” last month and he was collected for the first time and bred to one of Sarah’s exceptional and very proven broodmares. She is a gorgeous Contucci daughter who always has wonderful foals. She was confirmed pregnant on the first try and his semen was evaluated to have fantastic volume and motility and shipped great. Fingers crossed sometime around June 1, 2015 we will have our very first Brandon foal on the ground. I am so excited, like maybe more excited than his owner. I really love and believe in this young stallion and feel he has so much to offer as a sire. He truly is the whole package, beautiful, athletic, talented, sweet and has the greatest brain I have seen on a horse in a very long time.

Next up- updates from the Raleigh Summer I&II dressage show!
Happy riding, Bri

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(Cover Girl, in foal to Brandon RF for a June 2015 foal)

Mid-season updates!

So, of course in typical me fashion things have been going at a million miles an hour and I have done a less than stellar job of keeping everything updated. Therefore I need to backtrack a little bit!
The last weekend in April we went to Carolina Horse Park for Budget Friendly Dressage. It was a super laid back show for us and we had a blast. I only rode Brandon, as I didn’t think Pop needed to get out again until DIS. Lysa showed Bogey, Michelle took Mimi to her very first show ever and Kelly Farmer came down from VA with Diaz. Everyone had a great weekend over all. I wasn’t feeling great on Saturday so I didn’t give B quite the ride he deserved but he still scored in the mid 60’s and was 2nd in his class. I rode him much better on Sunday where he scored several points higher and won the class. Lysa had a great weekend full of overall growth and solid mid 60’s scoring and she really pushed her comfort zone in terms of riding her tests. Michelle and Mimi had a great weekend. She won all 3 of her classes and acted like she had been off the farm a million times before and never set a foot wrong. I could not love this precious little mare anymore than I do. She has such a great brain and a heart of gold. I can’t wait to see her and Hailey out cleaning up together in a few years! And Kelly and Diaz had a great weekend back in the ring for the first time since last fall. She had scores in the 60’s, at least 1 blue ribbon and even walked away with a “10” on her last centerline!!! I am so glad there are shows back at CHP again, I love showing out there!

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(Michelle Martin and Remember Me looking so gorgeous together and Kelly and Diaz’s 10!)

Then, 2 weeks later on Mother’s Day Weekend we all headed to the harness track in Pinehurst for the big Dressage In The Sandhills show. This was a super busy, but successful weekend for everyone and I was very proud! Stacey was there with her crew which was great because I was able to have some eyes in the warm up! Michelle showed Pop 4th level on Friday and got one of her scores towards her silver medal, and Josiah showed Pyper at 2nd level on Friday as well. He was 4th and 1st in his classes and got one of his scores for his bronze too! He would have gotten both except he rode in front of the same judge for both tests but so proud of him. He is 1/2 way there :-)! Lysa and Bogey had a fantastic weekend. She was riding bolder and with more confidence than I have ever seen. I’m not sure where that person came from but I’m certainly not complaining!! Bogey and the judges weren’t either. She put in 6 super solid and consistent tests over 3 days and broke 70% on Sunday!!! Ellen and Monty had a great weekend too. These 2 are learning more and more about each other with each outing and their rides are getting better and better! I am so proud of them! My boys both put in solid shows. I wasn’t super thrilled with my test on Pop on Saturday. He still scored a 62+% and 5th in a large class but I didn’t feel like we were working together like we normally do. The whole thing felt disjointed and tough to me, not the usual cohesive feeling I get from him. I was able to bring him out again that evening for a brief school with Stacey and I think that helped a ton! We were able to get back on the same page and I felt much better going into our test on Sunday. I left a ton of points on the table with silly inaccuracies riding the actual test but my main goal was to get both of our confidences back up in the ring after the day before and that we did. Even with my bobbles we scored over a 65 and 3rd place. I was super excited that the quality of the work was that much better because I know I can ride an accurate test. Now I’m determined to break 70% with him this season! 🙂 Brandon was great all weekend. His test on Saturday seemed to be the ride of the mares. Poor boy was sandwiched in the warmup around over 20 mares (yes, I counted). He was fantastic about it all though and really held himself together very well but was understandably a touch distracted in his test. He finished up 4th in the class and while I felt the scoring was quite harsh it was consistent across the board considering where he finished. Sunday he came out ready for redemption. He went in the ring (at 7:30 no less, ouch!!!!!) and aside from one moment on his entrance he threw down the best test I had ridden on him to date. It was still good enough for a 68+% and first place. It also qualified him for BLM’s too. He went in the ring a few hours later and put in a gorgeous, relaxed, focused and confident test to score over a 72% and another win. That was the horse I knew was in there and was waiting for him to figure out. He marched down the centerline with so much confidence, it was a blast. He is really starting to put it all together and man is he something special.

Briana and Brandon RF 20140525-210605-75965279.jpg

Michelle Martin showing HRH Popstarr at 4th level 20140525-211426-76466764.jpg

Briana and HRH Popstarr showing PSG 20140525-211427-76467171.jpg

Ellen Bradford showing King’s Mount at training level 20140525-211617-76577665.jpg

Josiah Bryant showing Pyper 2nd level 20140525-211732-76652951.jpg

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect at 1st level 20140525-211753-76673803.jpg
Everyone went home for a few days of well deserved rest before the much anticipated Axel Steiner clinic the following Wednesday and Thursday. I was of course incredibly excited to work with him again after my experience with him last fall. He certainly did not disappoint. The transformation in both horses was amazing but Brandon impressed me the most. (I Know what I have in Popstarr but with Brandon there is still a lot to discover!) He really stepped up to the plate and owned the work and pressure so much better than I ever could have expected. By the end of our ride we were working on the start of some half steps and working canter pirouettes. Even Axel was very impressed, especially with how he handled the pressure as a young stallion. That was a lot to ask any horse but it’s a whole different ball game with the young boys. B proved he had what it takes to hang with the big boys in a big way and I can’t wait to see where we go! The difference in him from when he got here the end of Feb to now, 3 months later is incredible! I can’t wait to see the powerhouse I’m gonna have underneath me by the end of the year!! Pop was of course exceptional as always and Axel really liked him. He pushed us in a fantastic way and we were schooling some super fun stuff (piaffe/passage, stepping the pirouettes up, half pass zig-zags etc) and in record breaking news I managed to not ride the tempi’s like a moron and we actually schooled them really well! (Yay for not totally embarrassing myself!!) the quality of the work we were getting was phenomenal and it was so fun to really feel things stepping up and us owning the upper level work! I can’t speak for everyone else who rode but I know for myself it was a great experience not only as a ride but a trainer as well. It was awesome to get the positive affirmation that my students were on the right tracks and also great to get advice on how to help them through their problem areas more. We already have plans in the works to try to bring him in again this fall before regionals and nationals for another tune up. Hopefully Cosmo will be feeling better by then and will get to ride too. Axel was so instrumental with him last fall that I really want the chance to ride the big man with him again.

We were planning on heading to the CDC in Raleigh next weekend but we all felt a bit run down after the 2 shows and clinic all so close together so we decided to sit this one out and head back up to Raleigh in July for Summer Dressage I&II. Until next time…..B 🙂

Photos from the Axel Steiner Clinic:

Rhonda Dretel riding Demaskus 20140525-214911-78551284.jpg

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect 20140525-215236-78756270.jpg

Potluck dinner and q&a with Axel Steiner 20140525-215300-78780196.jpg

Natalie Horton riding Cameron 20140525-215320-78800901.jpg

Clinic auditors 20140525-215421-78861193.jpg

Briana Atwell riding HRH Popstarr 20140525-215538-78938531.jpg

Mr. Axel Steiner teaching 20140525-215610-78970738.jpg

Briana Atwell riding Brandon RF 20140525-215610-78970457.jpg

Liz Bromberg riding Magda during a torrential downpour! Who said DQ’s weren’t tough? I know this one sure is!!! 20140525-220800-79680107.jpg

March Magic with a bit of madness thrown in!

Last weekend we all packed up and headed east to my favorite show facility for our first show of the year, March Magic Dressage Show. We were all desperately hoping for a lovely spring weekend especially after the rough winter we have all endured. Well mother nature had much different plans on this front that we did but regardless of the nasty weather we still had a fantastic show.

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It seems like it has been so long since BLM’s in November so we were all super excited to get back together and back in the ring. It ended up being a huge show, much bigger than it has been in years past which is very exciting but on some levels was a bit intimidating since we are coming off such an inconsistent winter. We were super excited to know that we could come off a winter like the one we had and play with the big kids so to speak and in horrific conditions no less. It wasn’t bad on Friday but it was a monsoon all day on Saturday (seriously, sideways down pours all.day.long) and was about 35 degrees with 30+ mph winds on Sunday. Can you say hello crazy horses? Needless to say I was not at all complaining that Popstarr was inside both days or that Michelle was smart enough to bring an extra pair of muck boots so that my feet weren’t soaking wet all weekend.

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(Somewhere beneath all of that is a trainer trying to stay warm while coaching students)

I started working with Stacey Hastings of Statesville, NC a few weeks ago on Popstarr and it has been just incredible. First of all Stacey is truly one of the most (if not the most) beautiful riders you will ever see on the back of a horse. Truly incredible. So, who better than to try to emulate? I have been wanting to get over to work with her for a while now but with the winter and the trailer issues I just couldn’t make it happen. Well, I finally got all the pieces in order and am getting a schedule set up to work with her. I am so excited to watch Pop develop with her assistance. She is a fantastic instructor and I am having a blast working with her. I was able to get one lesson with her before the show and then a school with her on Friday in Williamston. I think it was without a doubt helpful because Pop was able to score almost 6 points higher both days than he was in the fall at PSG and finished 6th both days in HUGE HUGE HUGE open divisions with world class horses and riders. I was really happy with his test both days. Of course I think there is always room for improvement in them but I am feeling great about where he is compared with last fall and I feel like I have a much stronger horse underneath me now. I expected there to be some “I haven’t shown in 5 months crazies” in the ring but he was fantastic both days. I had just enough pizzazz from him but didn’t feel like I lost the rideability! YAY! I just love this horse and riding and showing him makes me feel like the luckiest girl alive. He truly is such an amazing guy.

HRH Popstarr competing at PSG in 2014

HRH Popstarr and Briana 

I also decided to throw Brandon on the trailer and take him with us. I wasn’t sure when I made this decision if I was insane or not. I figured it would either go rather well or rather bad. I’ve only had him back in work for about 6 weeks now and he is still just a baby. This was a big show with an electric atmosphere and there were mares coming into heat all over the place. I knew it was going to be a lot for him to handle and was curious to see how he managed it all. I could not have been more proud of him if I had to be. He had SO MANY cards stacked against him over the weekend between the weather and the atmosphere, just coming back into work, and us building our partnership etc. He stepped up better than I could have ever expected him to all things considered and was fantastic all weekend long. When I got on and said go to work he said “OK”. He went in the ring for the very first time ever at one of the biggest shows on the east coast at 8 am in 35 degree weather and howling winds and was a total gentleman the entire time and won his very first test ever. What a super star. I walked away feeling so incredibly excited about him for the future as a dressage horse and a stallion. I really felt after this weekend that he has the brain to manage being a stallion and competing. I am so incredibly excited about him and the more I ride him the more I love him. He has the cutest personality and is really a giant goofball. I really adore this gooberhead.

Brandon RF winning at Training Level

Brandon RF winning at Training Level

Now- for my incredible students….these guys sure know how to make me proud! 🙂

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(Briana and Josiah sporting their matching tiaras)

 
Josiah and Pyper showed at 1st level this weekend. The goal was for him to get his scores at 1st level for his bronze medal which meant he needed to break 60% in 2 out of 3 of his tests this weekend. This was Josiah’s 2nd show ever, first recognized show, first time at 1st level, and first show with Pyper….basically it was a weekend full of first for him. What a super star he is. Not only was he paramount in helping me all weekend and being my right hand man with Brandon and Pop but he was such a calm cool competitor all weekend and still managed to keep us all laughing all weekend long. He didn’t ride until 5:00 on Saturday evening and by the time he went in the ring it was POURING down rain, the ring was under water and it was just over all disgusting out there. He went in the ring in these conditions and he and Pyper both just buckled down, went to work and got the job done. He scored right at a 62% and easily got the first score he needed towards his bronze and a 3rd place finish. On Sunday he went in the ring and scored a 69% (HELLO), was FIRST place in the JR/YR division and in the Custom Saddlery Stakes he was 3rd out of over 30 horses including all the top pro’s on their incredible young horses. Wanna talk about making me proud? Good way to do it right there. Obviously that easily secured him the 2nd score he needed at first level for his bronze. Then he went in the ring and rode the harder of the 2 test he entered and scored a 64, improved on the stuff we wanted to see improved on from the other tests and finished 2nd. I’d say he has made a pretty solid impression on the dressage world. I’m telling you, look out for this guy- he is going places.

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(Josiah and Pyper winning their first level class)

Ellen came out with her new boy, Monty and really stepped up for a great weekend. They too are very very early on in their partnership and there has without a doubt been a learning curve transitioning from Boomer to Monty for all of us, myself included. Boomer and Monty could not be more opposite from each other so without a doubt Ellen is having to learn an entirely different ride. On top of this Monty has only ever been to one other show before and it was at a much more laid back facility so he had a lot to take in with the atmosphere. This included getting thrown into the coliseum (with 2 rings crammed side by side) because they had to move a ring in there due to the weather. We of course did not even school him in the coliseum because we felt he had enough to take in at his first show and it wasn’t critical because he wasn’t showing in there. Oops. He was fantastic all weekend and took in all the atmosphere and surroundings like a pro. We were so incredibly proud of him. Each test she did got better and better and better and by the final test of the weekend she was throwing down beautiful test in the freezing cold, wind and I swear it was snowing by this point too….that was not rain coming out of the sky! This little horse is going to be incredible as he gets more miles on him. Michelle and I were joking around over which one of us was going to show him FEI first. I totally call dibs on that one 😛

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(Ellen and Monty in the cold, wind and snow—I swear it was snowing too!)

Lysa and Bogie have made the official jump up to first level and did it beautifully too. I was so impressed to see how far Bogie has come over the winter. Lysa’s hard work was, as always, ever apparent. I schooled him some on Friday and was blown away by how much stronger and lighter he is in the bridle now than he was in the fall. He was wonderfully behaved all weekend too, leaving Hogie at home this weekend (Appreciate that Bogie!!!) totally stepping up and dealing with the conditions like a seasoned competitor. I can’t remember exactly what her scores and placings were over the weekend but I know she scored right at 67% in one of her test, 62% in another and was 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in 3 of her test. I can’t remember the other 2 scores and last placing. Overall though it was a successful weekend for them and the great start to the year!

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(Lysa and Bogie)

Jen and her ASB (woohoo) mare Party came out for their first recognized show too. Dressage is a brand new adventure for both Jen and Party but they are off to a fantastic start. You would never really know she has only been doing this for a couple of months now. She showed intro both days and not only did she win her classes both days but she was high score ASB of the entire show and walked away with a beautiful neck sash. She too handled the atmosphere like a seasoned pro even when she got switched into the coliseum that we didn’t school her in either.

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(Jen and Party making their dressage show debut!)

Congratulations to everyone. I could not be more proud of all of you and excited for our year together. You know you have the most amazing group of students/owners/clients/friends and really truly love what you are doing when even with the disgusting weather and everyone and everything being totally drenched from the rain (I still a week later have some stuff that hasn’t dried out yet haha) everyone had a huge smile on their face the entire time, we were laughing, joking and genuinely having a blast together as a group and with our horses. We all walked away feeling like it was a hugely successful weekend and a total blast which was not the sentiments of everyone there (some were just not having any part of the weather). Leave it to the village to not let a little nasty weather rain on our parade! 😀 Love you all, can’t wait to do it again next month!!! <3Bri

Briana and HRH Popstarr showing PSG:

Josiah and Pyper riding 1st Level Test 2:

Bring on 2014!!!!

Wow- I can’t believe it is already 2014. How is that even possible? Y2K was seriously 14 years ago. Unreal. Things have been a bit quiet around here lately. We all had these huge plans to get lots of training done over the winter and have the horses all really advancing forward. Well, it would appear that mother nature has plans of her own and they don’t actually include much riding at all. This has been hands down the worst winter that I can remember. We have gotten significant amounts of snow on at least 2 separate occasions. Both with well over 5” each time. In fact just yesterday we got a nice accumulation of disgusting ice on everything. Yay! I could have sworn it was March, but maybe not?? Anyways- we’ve all been working as hard as possible given the current weather conditions and have at least managed to keep everyone going. Our first show of the season is March Magic Dressage in Williamston, NC coming up in just a few short weeks. We are all incredibly excited to get cranked back up again! 

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(The farm after one of our delightful snow storms!!)

Unfortunately we lost a very special member of the village in January. How D Black Pistol (Boomer) Ellen Bradford’s gorgeous black AQHA gelding some how got cast in his stall at the end of December. For a couple weeks it appeared that he was going to be ok and we were all incredibly excited about his recovery. He very quickly took a turn for the worse and upon a trip NCSU in Raleigh, NC it was determined that his right hind leg had severe necrosis all the way through the bone due to the prolonged blood loss while being cast. They gave him no chance of recovery to even live a happy life turned out so sadly the very heartbreaking decision to let Boomer go was made. It was so hard on all of us, most of all of course Ellen. 

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(Ellen and Boomer)

However, on a brighter note, we are very excited to report that we have found a wonderful new horse for Ellen. While no horse will ever be able to replace Boomer we are very excited about the new role that King’s Mount (Monty) will play for Ellen and all of us in the village. Monty is a 7 year old, 15h, dark bay, reg morgan gelding. He has the greatest personality and is a pure blast to ride. He is like a little sports car. I just love riding him and he and Ellen and already fast friends and developing a great partnership. I can’t wait to see them out and about together showing this year and cleaning up. This guy is a special one, look out world! 

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(Ellen and Monty on their very first ride together!)

Josiah has been working over time with me over the winter and has been pivotal in actually being able to get everyone ridden. On days that the weather only gives us a very small window of time to ride and teach it is paramount to have additional qualified hands to help get everyone ridden. He is half leasing Michelle Martin’s Pyper for the season and they are working really well together. I think this young man really has something very special about him with the horses and really has what it takes to give it a go in the horse world. I am very excited to be a part of this development. The goal is for him to get his bronze medal this spring with Pyper. They will be making their showing debut at March Magic later this month at 1st level. We are all really excited. 

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(Josiah schooling Pyper on one of our many “gorgeous” days this winter!)

In January we went to the NCDCTA HOY banquet at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Raleigh. It was so cool to see Ellen, Lysa and Michelle’s hard work in 2013 rewarded with awesome year end placings. Lysa was champion AA at training level and Ellen was reserve champion, and Michelle was champion AA at 3rd level. Way to go ladies and what an awesome and fun night we had together!! 

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(Lysa, Ellen, Briana, and Michelle at the NCDCTA HOY banquet!)

We were finally able to get Brandon out of the frozen tundra that has taken over Kentucky and get him down here to get him ready to rock and roll this year. He is a very VERY special young stallion and I am incredibly excited about our partnership and his future. He has a great personality and is really a very funny guy. We’re loving having him around and he is def keeping us entertained with his playfulness! Look for him out and about this spring. 

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(Brandon and I on one of our first rides together. Such a handsome boy!)

Mimi (Remember Me) has been started back under saddle and is getting ready to start showing in 2014. She will be 4 in May. I started her very lightly last spring/summer for about 45 days and then I turned her back out for the rest of the year to grow up. I am so excited to report that she has picked right up where we left off and is without a doubt the easiest little baby I’ve ever started. I really am incredibly blessed to have such wonderful horses to ride every day and I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m still taking things very slowly with her as she obviously still has a lot of growing up to do and has all the time in the world. Between the fact that I don’t want to do too much with her now for those reasons and the horrible weather it’s safe to say she has been started back very lightly. That being said she comes out every day I work her focused and ready to go to work and totally no nonsense. In fact, all the big horses have been a bit shall we say…..WILD this winter and she has been just fantastic. Such an amazing brain. I just love that little baby head. She is shedding out like crazy too and is looking so much more grey than she was last year. I’ll be sure to get pictures of her when she is finished shedding. ❤ that girl

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(Mimi on one of her first rides back under saddle!)

Well, I think that pretty much wraps things up around here for now. My big boys, Cosmo and Pop are doing good and are getting ready to come out this spring at PSG/I1. Hope everyone else is staying warm and surviving this awful winter! Bring on spring!!! 🙂 Bri

Here is some entertainment courtesy of Brandon and his yoga ball for you to enjoy if you’re stuck inside like we are!!!! Enjoy! 🙂

2013 Season Wrap Up

Everyone has had such a fantastic year, in some ways it doesn’t even seem real but in other ways with all the hard work we have all put in it seems very much real. There isn’t going to be anytime for rest over the winter. We have lots of exciting stuff planned including a couple trips to Florida for some awesome training and maybe a show or two as well as some incredibly exciting new horses and people being added to the village. Stay tuned for more details about that! In the meantime here is a recap of everyone’s hard work and success over the past year. I am so proud of everyone and so incredibly lucky to be part of such a supportive village. Each of you are so much more than just students and/or clients but wonderful friends as well. We really are a family. Thank you so much to each of you for your dedication, hard work and support over the past year and congratulations to everyone! <3Bri

Briana Atwell Dressage Training

2013 Show Results

 

USDF/USEF Recognized Shows:

 

Southern Pines Horse Trials:

 

Farrin Wallace riding Miss Mayhem:

JR/YR Novice: 18th

 

 

Spring Break Dressage I:

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 1st

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 1: 1st,

Training Level Test 2: 5th

Training Level Test 3: 1st,

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding My Party Dress:

Intro Test B: 1st

Training Test 2: 3rd

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding Wayne’s Blue Sapphire:

Intro Test B: 2nd

Training Test 2: 2nd

 

 

Spring Break Dressage II:

 

Briana Atwell riding Double Shot:

Training Level Test 2: 1st

Training Level Test 3: 1st, 1st  

 

Farrin Wallace riding Miss Mayhem:

First Level Test 1: 5th

Training Level Test 2: 1st

 

Farrin Wallace riding Double Shot:

Dressage Seat Equitation: 5th

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 1st, 1st

Third Level Test 2: 1st

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 2: 1st, 3rd

Training Level Test 3: 1st, 5th

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding My Party Dress:

Intro Test B: 2nd, 1st

Training Level Test 2: 1st, 3rd

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding Wayne’s Blue Sapphire:

Intro Test B: 1st, 2nd

Training Level Test 2: 2nd, 1st

 

 

 

Dressage in the Sandhills:

 

Briana Atwell riding Cosmic Confidant:

Fourth Level Test 1: 2nd, 5th, 3rd

 

Briana Atwell riding Double Shot:

First Level Test 1: 3rd

First Level Test 2: 4th

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 1 Amateur Sweepstakes: 3rd

Training Level Test 2: 2nd, 3rd,

Training Level Test 3: 6th, 3rd

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 1 Amateur Sweepstakes: 8th

Training Level Test 2: 7th, 5th,

Training Level Test 3: 4th, 4th, 8th

 

 

Lumber River Horse Trials:

 

Farrin Wallace riding Miss Mayhem:

Novice: 15th

 

 

NCDCTA Capital Dressage Classic:

 

Briana Atwell riding Pyper:

2nd Level test 1: 3rd

2nd Level test 2: 2nd

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level test 2: 2nd, 5th, 2nd  

Training Level test 3: 3rd, 2nd, 4th

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level test 2: 2nd, 5th

Training Level test 3: 1st, 3rd

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 1st, 4th

Third Level Test 2: 2nd

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding My Party Dress:

 Intro Test B: 2nd, 2nd, 2nd 

Training Level Test 2: 2nd, 2nd, 2nd

Dressage Seat Equitation: 2nd

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding Wayne’s Blue Sapphire:

Intro Test B: 1st, 2nd, 4th

Training Level Test 2: 1st, 2nd, 2nd

 

 

Summertime Blues:

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 1st, 4th

Training Level Test 3: 3rd, 2nd

 

 

Rise ‘N Shine Dressage:

 

Briana Atwell riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 2nd, 1st

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 2: 2nd, 2nd

Training Level Test 3: 6th, 4th

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 3rd, 1st

Training Level Test 3: 2nd, 3rd

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 2: 3rd, 4th

 

 

Raleigh Summer Dressage I:

 

Briana Atwell riding Popstarr:

Third Level Test 3: 3rd

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 2nd

Third Level Test 2: 2nd

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 2nd

Training Level Test 3: 4th

 

Celeste Barker riding Just William:

Training Level Test 2: 3rd

 

Farrin Wallace riding Miss Mayhem:

Training Level Test 2: 4th

Training Level Test 3: 3rd

 

 

Raleigh Summer Dressage II:

 

Briana Atwell riding Popstarr:

4th Level Test 1: 1st

 

Isabelle Martinez riding Just William:

Training Level Test 2: 4th

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding Wrapped In Ribbons:

Intro Test A: 2nd

Intro Test B: 4th

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 4th

Third Level Test 2: 3rd

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level High Score Award and NCDCTA rider High Score Award

Training Level Test 2: 1st

Training Level Test 3: 1st

 

Celeste Barker riding Just William:

Training Level Test 2: 3rd

 

 

Early Morning Blues:

 

Briana Atwell riding Cosmic Confidant:

4th Level Test 1: 2nd, 2nd

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 1st, 1st

Training Level Test 1: 1st,   3rd

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol

Training Level Test 2: 4th, 2nd,

Training Level Test 3: 5th  6th

 

 

NCDCTA Labor of Love:

 

Briana Atwell riding Popstarr:

4th Level High Score Award

4th Level test 2: 1st, 2nd

 

Briana Atwell riding Wrapped in Ribbons:

Training Level Test 1: 3rd

Training Level Test 2: 2nd

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 2: 2nd, 3rd, 4th

Training Level Test 3: 2nd, 3rd, 4th

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding Wrapped in Ribbons:

Training Level Test 1: 3rd,

Training Level Test 2: 2nd, 3rd

Training Level Rider Test: 1st

Dressage Seat Equitation: 2nd

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding Wayne’s Blue Sapphire:

Training Level Test 1: 4th

 

 

Cool Down Dressage:

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

High Score Adult Amateur Award, Swat ‘N Sweat Series Reserve Champion Training Level

Training Level Test 2: 2nd, 1st

Training Level Test 3: 1st, 1st

First Level Test 1: 1st,

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 2: 4th, 3rd

Training Level Test 3: 2nd, 2nd

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 3rd, 1st

 

 

Pinehurst Fall Dressage:

 

Isabelle Martinez riding Just William:

Training Level Test 2: 1st, 1st

Training Level Test 3: 1st, 1st

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 2: 4th, 5th

Training Level Test 3: 6th, 3rd

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

1st Level Test 1: 1st

Training Level Test 2: 1st, 1st

Training Level Test 3: 1st, 2nd

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 2nd, 1st

Third Level Test 3: 3rd, 2nd

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding Wrapped In Ribbons:

Training Level Test 2: 1st

Training Level Rider Test: 1st

 

 

Harvest Moon and NCDCTA Championships:

 

Briana Atwell riding Popstarr:

Prix St George: 1st, 1st

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding Wrapped In Ribbons:

Training Level Test 2: 6th

Training Level Test 3: 4th

Training Level Rider Test: 1st

Training Level NCDCTA Championships: 4th

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 2nd, 3rd

Third Level Test 2: 2nd, 3rd

Third Level NCDCTA Championships: 4th

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

AQHA AA High Score Award

Training Level Test 1: 6th,, 5th

Training Level Test 2: 1st, 2nd

Training Level Test 3: 5th,  3rd 

Training Level NCDCTA Championships: 3rd

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 3rd, 5th

Training Level Test 3: 1st, 3rd

Training Level NCDCTA Championships: 5th

 

 

Autumn Leaves and CBLM Championships:

 

Briana Atwell riding Cosmic Confidant:

Prix St. George: 3rd, 6th

 

Briana Atwell riding Popstarr:

4th Level CBLM Reserve Champion

Prix St. George: 3rd

 

Briana Atwell riding How D Black Pistol:

AQHA High Score Award

1st Level Test 1: 4th

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 1: 3rd, 5th 

Training Level Test 2: 3rd, 4th

Training Level Test 3: 5th

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training level: 4th, 5th, 5th, 10th CBLM Champ

1st level: 5th

 

NCDCTA Horse Of The Year Awards:

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding My Party Dress:

Intro JR/YR: 7th Place

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level AA: 1st Place

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level AA: 2nd Place

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Ususal Suspect:

Training Level AA: 1st Place

 

 

NCDCTA Recognized Schooling Shows:

 

 

Pinehurst Dressage Schooling Show 1:

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding My Party Dress:

Beginner Novice Test A: 2nd

Training Level Test 1: 6th

 

Emily Grace Swinson riding: Real Tough Cricket:

Intro A: 5th

Training Level Test 1: 4th

 

Farrin Wallace riding Miss Mayhem:
Training Level Test 2: 1st

Training Level Test 3: 5th

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training level Test 1: 5th

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 4th

Training Level Test 3: 1st

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 2nd

 

 

Pinehurst Dressage Schooling Show 2:

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 1: 2nd

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 2nd

Training Level Test 3: 3rd

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 1st

 

 

Pinehurst Dressage Schooling Show 3:

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 1st

Training Level Test 3: 1st

 

Michelle Martin riding Pyper:

Third Level Test 1: 1st

 

 

Running Start February Horse Trials:

 

Farrin Wallace riding Miss Mayhem:

Novice B: 8th

 

 

Antares Dressage Schooling Show February:

 

Farrin Wallace riding Miss Mayhem:

Novice A: 4th

Training Level Test 2: 5th

 

 

Pinehurst Dressage Schooling Show 4:

 

Ellen Bradford riding How D Black Pistol:

Training Level Test 1: 1st

 

Lysa Hodgson riding The Usual Suspect:

Training Level Test 2: 1st

Training Level Test 3: 2nd

 

 

Antares Dressage Schooling Show June:

 

Rachel Medley and Valkyrie:

In hand suitability: 2nd

 

Rachel Medley and Freya:

In hand suitability: 3rd

 

 

Heather Ridge Farm July Schooling Show:

 

Isabelle Martinez riding Norman:

Intro Test A: 3rd

Intro Test B: 3rd

 

Hailey Atwell riding Gingersnap:

Leadline: 1st

 

 

Antares Dressage Schooling Show August:

 

Josiah Bryant riding Ricco:

Intro Test A: 2nd

Intro Test B: 2nd

 

 

Heather Ridge Farm August Schooling Show:

 

Alexis Morris riding Miss Mayhem:

Leadline: 1st

 

Hailey Atwell riding Gingersnap:

Leadline: 1st

 

 

Antares Dressage Schooling Show September:

 

Briana Atwell riding Popstarr:

Prix St. George: 1st

 

 

Antares Dressage Schooling Show November:

 

Leslie Slabaugh riding Mellowdramatic:

Training Level Test 2: 3rd

 

Josiah Bryant riding Sugarland Star

Intro Test A: 1st

Intro Test B: 1st

 

 

Final Tally:

 

First Place: 69 times

Second Place: 60 times

Third Place: 44 times

Fourth Place: 30 times

Fifth Place: 22 times

Sixth Place: 9 times

Seventh Place: 2 time

Eight Place: 2 times

Tenth Place: 1 time

Fifteenth Place: 1 time

Eighteenth Place: 1 time

High Score Awards: 6

Series Reserve Champion: 1

 

248 Total Places for everyone in the Briana Atwell Dressage Training “Village” for the 2013 Season. Way to go everyone and congratulations on an amazing year!! Let’s see if we can top this in 2014. Going to be a tough one to beat but I know with a team as amazing as ours we can do it! 

Season Wrap Up!!!!

Last weekend was a big weekend for “the village”. We packed up and headed back east to Williamston for the Autumn Leaves Dressage Show and Col. Bengt Lundquist Memorial Championships. As awesome as the show was it was a bit sad to not have everyone with us. We all have so much fun when we are together so needless to say when someone is not at a show with us we really miss them.  Popstarr, Cosmo, Bogie and Boomer all showed this weekend.

Lysa and Bogie had a huge show together for a number of reasons. They have been working so hard all year to overcome some show anxieties and this weekend really showed how far they have come. Lysa was able to warm Bogie up herself all weekend, I did not have to get on him at all and she obviously was doing something right because not only did she have scores over 73+% at training level but she finished 10th in her gigantically huge championship class, got to attend her first awards ceremony and then on Sunday successfully made the jump to first level putting in a very respectable test. Ellen and Boomer had a great show to finish out the year at training level putting in 5 clean tests all scoring in the mid 60’s. Boomer is such a neat little guy; you would never expect this little quarter horse gelding to move the way he does. Let me tell you, Boomer is a HUGE mover. Honestly he is the most exhausting horse I have in training to ride, his trot is massive. Ellen really deserves some credit for doing as well as she does with him. While he is certainly capable and deserving of some large scores he is also very tiring to ride and you definitely feel it when you finish your test on him. She has worked really hard this year with him and it showed in a big way this weekend in both him and her. I was one proud trainer of both of these ladies all weekend just as I have been all year. It was really great to see their hard work paying off at a show as big as this one.

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Lysa, Bogie and I after her CBLM awards ceremony

I showed Cosmo, Popstarr, and Boomer over the course of three days. Cosmo made the huge move up to PSG this weekend, which I was so incredibly excited about. He is such a special horse that I am so lucky to get to ride everyday but this past year has certainly been a rough year for us having to over come our fair share of issues. This time last year (heck, even a few months ago really) we were literally running backwards under saddle. I’m not talking backing up a little here and there; I’m talking bolting backwards with all he had. He was clearly in some sort of pain but was not lame at all and we were having the hardest time figuring out what was going on with the princess and the pea. We ultimately got everything solved and finally got his confidence in himself built back up (this was the most important and time consuming part). To watch Cosmo go you would think that he is the most confident horse in the world. On the surface he seems so full of himself and such a major show off but once you actually get to know the real him it becomes very clear that he is actually not confident at all and really relies on his relationship with his rider (which of course he and I were still developing when everything fell apart with him) for his confidence. He has seriously almost shown PSG for several years now even back when Becca was still living here and riding him but one thing or another always happened that would prevent it; so to FINALLY get to canter down the centerline at PSG with him was such a long time coming and he SO deserved to have a hugely successful weekend. Heaven knows he and I have certainly put in our fare share of hard work. His first test on Friday was a really solid showing, finishing 5th in a large division full of much more experienced horses. It felt so wonderful to finally be able to call him an FEI horse, a title he has worked so hard for and certainly earned. His test on Sunday was tons better than Friday’s and thankfully the judges agreed, scoring him several points higher than his previous test. The parts that were better were much much better even though he did have a couple of “explosive” moments; mostly in his first canter pirouette and the extended canter. That being said he came right back to me after his “explosion” to score an 8 on the following movement, which I was super pleased with. The more time he spends in the ring the more confident he will become and will be able to hold himself together easier so I have no doubt those moments will become fewer and fewer. The PSG is a rather long and unrelenting test with tough movements stacked right on top of each other and no real “breathers” so to speak. I was a bit concerned about how his fitness level was going to hold up over a long weekend doing a test this hard. He is such a big mover and horse in general that he really has to be extra fit in order to really succeed at this level. I cantered down the centerline for my final halt on Sunday with TONS of horse left underneath me and he jigged and jogged all the way back to the barn so pleased with himself. Talk about a great feeling. Over all we were all incredibly proud of the little guy, especially himself ;-).

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(Cosmo in his PSG debut)

Popstarr and I have also been working really hard preparing for this weekend. To watch Pop in the show arena you would never know that I pulled him out of a field (where he had been for over a year totally out of work) a mere 5 months ago. This boy is in dang good shape and he is full of himself. I showed him in the PSG on Saturday, mostly as a warm up for our championship class on Sunday. To say he was on his toes would be quite the understatement. He put in a solid, clean and accurate test that was shall we say “expressive.” I showed him in the snaffle all weekend and it was pretty darn impressive that I got him through the test on Saturday as well as I did in it if I do say so myself. I don’t know too many people who would have braved that one. Thankfully he was a bit more chill on Sunday although still not quite as much as I would have liked. He spent the entire test trying to do more every chance he got; clearly he needed more of a challenge than 4-2. However, while not our personal best performance it was still good enough to earn us reserve champion at 4th level in the CBLM Championships, which is really rather impressive considering how long he has been in work and how long we have been partnered together. I can’t wait to see what 2014 is going to bring for this incredible horse.

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(Popstarr and I after his 4th Level CBLM Awards Ceremony!)

On Sunday I showed Boomer in his first attempt at first level. I know I said it earlier but I really adore this little horse. He is so cool and such a little powerhouse. The first level tests are considerably longer and more difficult than the training level ones and he could certainly tell a difference, but he hung in there like a trooper never giving up on me. This was obviously the hardest test of the weekend for him and his 6th test in 3 days but he still managed a gorgeous and fluid test that was good enough for a 67+%. He also easily earned me the final score I needed for my bronze medal as well as the open high score quarter horse award for the entire show, so now Ellen has a matching set of directors chairs since she won this award at the last show.

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(Boomer and I in his first level debut and on the way to winning the AQHA Open High Score Award)

Overall I had a weekend full of incredible rides on incredible horses. Some days my life doesn’t even seem real and I have to pinch myself. I am beyond lucky and grateful to not only get to ride these incredible horses but to have the amazing clients, students and sponsors that I have. None of this would be possible without all of them and I can’t thank everyone enough for believing in and supporting my dreams and me. It truly does take a village to make this happen and although I might be a bit partial I certainly think we have the most incredible village there is and each and every one of you plays an integral and irreplaceable role in this adventure.

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Unfortunately I have a bit of bad news to end with. I am heartbroken to share that I very suddenly had to say goodbye to my old horse Sutter. Apparently the effects of old age caught up with my special boy much sooner than any of us would have liked. He has been such an integral part of the farm and my life not just as a rider but as a person as well and to not have him here anymore is devastating. It isn’t the same going outside and him not being there. He has truly been my best friend and partner for over 13 years and was hands down the horse of a lifetime than will never be replaced. With him I was able to accomplish things people can only dream of, not only did we compete through the international FEI levels in three-day eventing but also in dressage. There aren’t too many horses that hold the credit of competing through FEI levels as an event horse and then successfully transitioning to succeed as an FEI dressage horse all with a then teenage rider no less. I literally trusted him with my life and he saved my tail on more than one occasion out on cross country when I would mess up and he would always get me out of trouble and home safe. In all of our events we never had a single cross country jumping penalty from training level through intermediate and we only pulled a rail once maybe twice in stadium. After he retired from the upper levels he went on to teach numerous people the ropes including my timid beginner mom and starting my daughter out the right way from before she could even sit herself up. Even though he had a knack for making them work really hard and never gave them an ounce they didn’t earn he ALWAYS took amazing care of everyone who rode him keeping them safe no matter what they did and I trusted him explicitly with anyone and everyone, always. To see peoples faces light up with joy from experiencing their first flying change, half pass, piaffe or passage or feeling what it really meant to soar effortlessly over their first giant oxer with the greatest of ease was truly one of the greatest gifts he could have ever given me. Sutter was there for me through some of the best moments of my life as well as some of my darkest days; he always had a way of making me feel so much better no matter how bad of a day I was having. It was amazing how he could put his head in my lap and his soft warm muzzle against my face and all of my problems would just melt away even if just temporarily. To think that I will never have those special moments with him again is just more than I can put into words. He certainly did things his own way and had a special way about him right up until the very end there was nothing “normal” about him and everything he did was his own degree of special. Needless to say there is a huge void here on the farm that will never be filled and we are all broken hearted with him gone. He truly was the horse of a lifetime and there will never be another horse as special as him. Godspeed my special boy, I know there was an extra special place in heaven waiting just for you. ❤

Briana and Sutterby Good, prelim at the 2002 Virginia Horse Trails

Briana and Sutterby Good, prelim at the 2002 Virginia Horse Trails

Lot’s of news!!!!

Things continue to be busier than ever as the competition season powers ahead through the last few shows. We are in the final push to round out the year with a fantastic finish. First, a few updates about some other details.

One, congratulations to Erin Thomas who is now ½ leasing Pyper from Michelle Martin while Michelle is in school. We are super excited to welcome Erin to “The Village” and look forward to her having a successful partnership with Pyper. He is such a great boy and has a lot to offer her. Michelle is continuing to ride Pyper half the time as well and will spend then next year focusing more on training for the FEI arena and a bit less on competing.

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(Erin enjoying her first ride on Pyper)

Two, HUGE HUGE HUGE congratulations and major thanks are in order to Marion Hughes Roger of Jersey City, NJ. She and I are the proud new owners of H.R.H. Popstarr! We could not be more excited about this. Marion is fulfilling her lifelong dream of owning a horse (and what an incredible horse to own) and I am so overwhelmingly grateful to her for making it possible for him to not only continue to compete with me but also becoming ½ mine.  There truly are no words to express my gratitude. He really is the horse of a lifetime and I am so excited to be able to share this journey with my long time friend, Marion.

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(Marion enjoying her first ride on Popstarr!!)

And three, Popstarr and I are so incredibly excited to welcome our newest sponsors, Black Country Saddles and Dynamic Saddle Fitting. Major thanks to Brita Rizzi for making this possible. Popstarr and I are now riding in the most amazing new black country eloquence. I could seriously go on and on and on for days about how wonderful these saddles are. I have ridden in them for several years now and not only is the craftsmanship exquisite but they are so so so comfortable. They put the rider in a very correct position but also allow you to move and feel with your horse. The difference in how Pop went once he was in his new saddle was incredible. He was even more up and through and swinging through his topline than before. No denying what a difference it has made for him. I can’t recommend these saddles enough. If you are in the market for a new saddle please check them out, I promise you will not be disappointed. We are so lucky here in the sandhills to have Brita Rizzi of Dynamic Saddle Fitting locally to keep our horses saddles in top shape. She is a certified independent saddle fitter so even if your saddle is not a black country she can still help you. She is so knowledgeable and passionate about saddle fit, really going the extra mile above and beyond to make sure you and your horse are as comfortable as possible. If you are located anywhere near the sandhills and are in need of a saddle fitter please please please contact Brita. I have been in this business for a long time and I can assure you there is no one out there who will do a better and more thorough job than Brita. I am so proud to say she has taken care of all of my horses and student’s for over 4 years now.

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(Popstarr’s new gorgeous black country saddle!)

            Ok, moving on to some show updates. September 20 and 21 we were showing here locally in Pinehurst at Pinehurst Fall Dressage. This is a Sporting Services show and Sue and Marty really do the most amazing job organizing these shows. They are always some of my favorite shows to attend because they really go the extra mile and it comes through in everything they do. I also really love these shows because Sue offers a jr/yr scholarship, which consist of basically a free show and a stall for the weekend for the jr/yr who is awarded the scholarship. I am so proud to report that Isabelle Martinez was one of only eight applicants to be awarded the scholarship for this show. She has worked so hard for so long and it has been so fantastic to see her hard work being rewarded. She showed William this weekend and had a clean sweep, winning all 4 of her classes. In some of the classes she not only won against all the jr/yr’s but also the aa and open competitors. She really went all out this weekend and boy did it show. William is not always the easiest horse to ride, in fact he is often one of the hardest so for her to go in the ring and score as high as 69% on him I could not be more proud. This girl is seriously going to be one to lookout for in the future. I’m telling you we will be seeing her in the Olympics one day. Mark my words…. Emily Grace showed Laira on Saturday only and had a fantastic day. She had some huge scores up into the mid 70’s at one point, which is just incredible. I can’t remember exactly what her scores were but she won both of her classes as well. Michelle and Pyper had some lovely test both days and Pyper was really letting Michelle ride him more than he has in past tests. She won at least one of her classes as well and had some solid scores. Ellen and Boomer had a great weekend as well, they are really working through some issues well and it is starting to really show. He is coming along wonderfully and we’re looking forward to starting to work towards making the jump to first level in the near future. Lysa and Bogie had another fantastic weekend as well including doing a first level test on Saturday. She has done such a fantastic job with Bogie and I am so proud of all the hard work she has put into her partnership with him.

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(Isabelle and Just William on their way to one of their four wins of the weekend)

Two weeks after Pinehurst Fall Dressage we packed up and headed to Williamston for a weekend of adventure. And boy what an adventure it was, really one for the record books. Ellen, Michelle, Emily Grace, Lysa and I were all riding. Ellen and Michelle drove ahead so they could spray down our stalls with disinfectant and get them all set up for the horses. Lysa and I drove a little bit behind them with the horses. The trip started out great, until about Cary where I blew a tire on the horse trailer. I feel like it is worth noting that I should be a member of a nascar pit crew because I managed to changed that tire in less than 20 minutes and we were on the road again. I think that is pretty darn impressive considering those tires weigh more than I do! 😛 Never mind that the tire that blew was a brand spanking new tire, literally bought on Thursday, blew on Friday. Best 150$ I’ve ever spend. Not. Well, after that excitement we were back on the road headed east. Once we got to Williamston and dropped the ramp on the trailer I was able to see that my floor had literally buckled in the horse trailer, the steel beams were bent and the boards had broke loose and buckled up and were there like loose stacked lumber. My rubber mats were the only things keeping a couple of the horses from putting their feet through the floor. {Insert epic panic attack and meltdown here} Inevitably from the tire incident when it went up under the trailer it caused all of this. When we stopped I looked into the trailer to check on everyone and they all seemed just fine. As best as I can tell I was unable to see the floor because the mats and the shavings in there at the angle that I was looking down over the side ramp into the trailer made it look totally fine, I wasn’t able to really see the bubble in the floor until I dropped the ramp and was looking eye level at it. Thank God that all the horses were fine and walked away unharmed. That could have been such a horrific nightmare and I am just so thankful it turned out like it did. God was no doubt watching over all of us. Huge thanks go out to my awesome friend Brianna Spence who came to my rescue and drove her truck and trailer to the show on Saturday and left her trailer for me and took my trailer home to start the repair process. Lysa had one extra space in her trailer so Boomer caught a ride home with her, and a neighbor had an extra spot in her trailer so Pop went home with her and I took Pyper and Laira back in Bri’s trailer. We really live in such an amazing town that pulls together for people so well. I had so many offers of help for my trailer, it really was overwhelming.

Ok, now on to the good stuff, the actual show part! First awesome part of the weekend was that Marion was able to fly down from NJ and meet her boy for the first time. It was so cool to see her reaction when she met him and I think it’s safe to say he is everything that she thought he would be and more. J He and I did our first PSG together this weekend and it was a great start. I put him in the double on Saturday and he really didn’t need it at all (I swear one day I will get it right) so he wasn’t as steady in the connection as I (or the judge) would have liked but he still won his class so I’ll take it. I put him back into the snaffle on Sunday and he was so much better in the contact and felt great. The judge I rode for was being pretty tough on everyone and I still managed to bring my score up several points and win the class again so I was certainly not complaining. We are no where near what we are capable of yet but considering he has only been in work for basically 3 months now and we are still building our relationship together I could not be more proud of him. Ellen and Boomer had a HUGE day on Saturday. They did 3 classes and managed to WIN a HUGE championship class in addition to doing super in her other classes as well. I was so excited for her that I was literally jumping up and down squealing when they announced that she won. She has worked so hard and it was so wonderful to see it be rewarded in a championship class no less. She ended up placing 3rd in the NCDCTA Championship also! Michelle and Pyper had a great finish to their show season. She was 4th in her NCDCTA Championship at 3rd level and put in some great tests with some solid mid 60’s scores to finish in the top placings in all of her classes. I’d say it was a fantastic finish to her 3rd level year. Lysa and Bogie had a good weekend filled with lots of growth for both of them. Atmospheres like Williamston are tough for Bogie, especially with full, crowded warm-ups but he and Lysa handed everything like pro’s and managed to do wonderfully in all of their classes as well, including winning some too and she was 5th in the NCDCTA championships class. Emily Grace rounded out the weekend for everyone with a successful show as well. She was 4th in a large NCDCTA Championship JR/YR class and had some really lovely test all weekend. I am so proud of how much she and Laira have grown over the last few months. I am such a fan of Laira’s and what is there not to love about Emily Grace? I’m so excited to see how these two improve over the winter and what 2014 has in store for them. All in all it was a very good weekend, filled with some ups and downs of course but ended over all on the upside. Not to mention we had a great time hanging out as a group and had lots of laughs and jokes.

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(Popstarr and I on our way to winning the PSG)

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(Popstarr, Marion and I)

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(I’d call this a successful weekend!)

           We have ONE more show this season. Just ONE more. We head back to Williamston again in 2 weeks for the NCDCTA Autumn Leaves Dressage and CBLM Championships. On some levels it will be a very small show for us and on other levels it will be a huge show. Popstarr and I are the only ones competing in the CBLM championships. We are doing the 4th level champs as well as one other PSG class. Cosmo is having a HUGE debut this weekend coming out for the first time at PSG. After the rollercoaster year he and I have had together I am really hopeful it will go well and he can finish out the year on top. Ellen and Boomer are doing 5 tests over 3 days at training level and I will be bringing Boomer out at first level for the first time on Sunday and Lysa and Bogie will be showing as well, also making their “official” first level debut. Everyone else is staying home this weekend and getting some much needed rest. However, we are super excited that Melanie will be in town a few days before the show and will also be able to go to Williamston with us. I am so excited to have a couple days of intensive eyes on Cosmo and Pop as well as some help in the warm-up all weekend. Hopefully it will be a wonderful weekend and we can finish out the year as great as it started! Stay tuned for a full report……BImage

(Cosmo working hard to prepare for his PSG debut)

 

Summer Wrap Up!

Things have been going at a million miles an hour around here. This is I suppose better than things being dead quiet but man, I have to admit, I am ready to take a deep breath and chill for a moment. That being said, everything that is going on here is just fantastic and I am so excited about everything. Gonna try to pick up where I left off last time. That would be at the Early Morning Blues Dressage Show. It was a pretty quiet weekend for us. I took Cosmo 4th level, and Lysa and Ellen both rode as well. Cosmo was a bit lackluster on Saturday. He really has a hard time on the footing in Pinehurst for whatever reason. He ended up 2nd in the class on Saturday but I came much more prepared for battle on Sunday having a much better idea what to expect from him and while he was 2nd again his score was much improved and had much more promising work. While it was still no where near what the “little guy” is capable of it was certainly a step in the right direction. Onward and upwards with him. Ellen and Boomer had a promising show coming back from Ellen’s surgery in fine style and Lysa and Bogie looked as good as always. It was a successful weekend for everyone which is always the goal! 🙂

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Cosmic Confidant and Briana showing at Early Morning Blues in Pinehurst, August 2013

We were all lucky enough to sneak in a couple days of lessons with Melanie Southard at a perfect time right before LOL in Raleigh. It was a blast getting to work with her and focus on myself for once. It has been a really long time since I have really been able to be on the other end of the headsets and it was great. I really love to take lessons myself and always love to learn from others so this was fantastic for me. Especially because she knows Popstarr better than anyone else so who better to learn from on him than her? I was also able to work with her on Laira which was great and Ellen/Boomer and Michelle/Pyper were able to get some good rides in as well. Sadly Cosmo was a bit sore while she was here so we didn’t get to do anything with him, but certainly will next time I can get her back in town.

Next up for us was the Labor of Love Dressage Show in Raleigh. I decided at the last minute to bring Popstarr and try to qualify for BLM’s at 4th level. This ended up being a super idea. He was a total Popstarr all weekend long. I had a VERY exuberant horse underneath me on Friday but he still scored right at a 64% to finish 2nd and qualify for BLM’s which was the ultimate goal. However, he came out Saturday totally on his game. He was poised, confident and on FIRE. Not only did he win the class with right at a 68% but he was also 4th Level High Score of the entire show which was so incredibly awesome. He is such an amazing horse and I am so lucky to be able to ride him. I also showed Emily Grace’s Wrapped In Ribbons (Laira) on Friday since she was not able to miss school so early in the year. She was such a good girl and handled the electric atmosphere like such a pro including showing in the coliseum like she had been doing it all her life. She ended up 2nd and 3rd in very large open training divisions with me. I could not have been more proud of her. Emily Grace showed her on Saturday and Sunday and did nothing but improve throughout the entire weekend. I think she really learned a lot about Laira and their partnership really blossomed over the weekend. They were able to tackle some serious challenges (like a howling wolf, a loud school bus with a huge group of people screaming and yelling, and a torrential downpour to name a few) and rise above them each time like total pros. These two are really going to be a team for the future. I could not be more impressed with the 2 of them if I had to. She also was able to slide into a class on Missy on Sunday afternoon which was awesome and she did a fantastic job. Ellen also had a great weekend filled with major breakthroughs with Boomer which was so great to see them just get better and better throughout the weekend and put in 6 solid performances. Overall it was a super successful weekend and we all had a blast!

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Briana and Popstarr on their way to winning the 4th level high score award at LOL

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Emily Grace and Wrapped In Ribbons (Laira) in Raleigh at LOL

The following Thursday I was incredibly fortunate enough to get to ride in a clinic with Axel Steiner on both Popstarr and Cosmo. To get to work with Axel on any horse is amazing but to get to work with him on BOTH of these amazing horses was truly a chance of a lifetime. They are both very different but amazing and talented boys. It was an experience I won’t forget anytime soon that’s for sure. Sarah and I left bright and early Thursday morning so we could spend some time auditing as well. Axel has an amazing ability to focus not only on the quality of the work but also on how it applies to your test riding. I rode Cosmo first and Axel didn’t waste anytime putting us to work. I was so incredibly proud of Cosmo for working so hard. We rode for well over 1 hr 15 min with very minimal walking during the entire thing and we were focused on the stuff that Cosmo struggles with the most and there was a ton of pressure being put on him. He stayed so incredibly focused the entire time and worked so so so hard, constantly giving us more and more and more right up until the very end. We were able to work through everything in the PSG and it was great quality. Axel really liked him and felt confident he could do the work. (Even if he did question why I had to have such a large horse. HAHA!) Then I rode Popstarr with him. I think Pop was still a bit tired from everything in Raleigh the weekend before but he pushed through like the pro that he is. We worked through all of the 4th 2 test since that is what I have to ride at BLM’s. He really liked Pop as well and had nothing but great things to say about him. He was very encouraging that BLM’s should be my last ride on him at 4th level and that we should be moving up to PSG very soon. Super exciting news! 🙂

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Pop and Cosmo both working through changes with Axel Steiner. Similarities much?

Then right after the clinic we were back in Pinehurst for the Cool Down Dressage Show. Ellen, Michelle, and Lysa all rode. Ellen and Boomer looked fantastic. I was so proud of her for being able to carry over the breakthroughs she had in Raleigh last weekend to the show ring this weekend. She was working really hard and it really showed in the quality of her riding. Michelle and Pyper have over come so much this year trying to make sure Pyper is at the top of his game and feeling as wonderful as he possibly can. He was feeling great all weekend and had way more energy throughout the show than he has had in the past which is great news. It was fantastic to see Pyper back looking more like himself all weekend! And Lysa had another solid weekend with Bogie including completing her first test at first level which is so very exciting for her and all the hard work she has put in and everything she has overcome with him. Unfortunately I did not feel that the judging was where it really should have been this weekend. The scores were rather low consistently for the entire show which is a bummer but always a bit reassuring when it is across the board that everyone is scoring low and not just some here and there.

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Ellen and Boomer in Pinehurst

At any rate onward and upward we go. We are in the final stretch and have every intention of finishing out the year with a bang!!! In 2 weeks we will head back to Pinehurst for the Pinehurst Fall Dressage Show. Ellen and Boomer, Michelle and Pyper, Isabelle and William (Who won one of the few junior scholarships for this show which is amazing and I am so proud of her for doing), Emily Grace will be riding Laira and Missy, and Lysa and Bogie will all be showing here. I am not going to be riding anyone, will be busy enough coaching :-). After this we head to Williamston for the NCDCTA Championships and Harvest Moon Show the first weekend in October and then back to Williamston again the first weekend in November for BLM Champs and Autumn Leaves Show to round out the year. Then we will spend the winter training and preparing for 2014.

I have some AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING news in the works and will be sharing it in the next week or so. Stay tuned for some huge and very exciting announcements!!! Until then….:-) Bri

Summer Shows

We have been busier than ever around here. Lots and lots of fun things going on and even more fun coming up. July 13 and 14 was the Rise and Shine Dressage Show in Pinehurst. It was a pretty small show for us. Ellen, Michelle, Lysa and I showed. Ellen and Boomer had a great show and ended up with 2 seconds, a fourth and sixth. Lisa had another great weekend with Bogie, scoring over a 74% on one of her training level tests. She ended up winning one of her classes, placing 2nd in one and third in two of her classes. Michelle and Pyper were third and fourth in their tough 3rd 2 classes and I was first and second showing Pyper 3rd level as well. It was a good weekend overall for everyone. 

Then we headed to Raleigh with a big group for the Raleigh Summer Dressage I and II shows on July 27 and 28. The only thing missing from the Raleigh show was Ellen and Boomer who sadly had to sit that weekend out because of a surgery Ellen had. Thankfully she is already back good as new and will be showing this coming weekend in Pinehurst with us! 🙂 Popstarr and I had our big debut, just 4 weeks after he arrived here. He was a super star all weekend and is just a pure delight to show. I really adore this boy. He ended up 3rd in a huge 3rd/3 class and won his 4th 1 on Sunday. Really looking forward to the future with him. He truly is a world class horse. I am so lucky to be able to ride him. Michelle showed Pyper 3rd level again and ended up 2nd in 3 of her classes and 4th in one. Lysa and Bogie were totally awesome all weekend, again scoring well into the 70’s. She was 2nd and 4th on Saturday and came back on Sunday to win both of her very large classes!! Farrin and Misty had a solid weekend placing 3rd and 4th in Training 2 and 3. Especially considering Farrin had all 4 of her wisdom teeth surgically removed from her jaw a week before the show. Celeste Barker and William competed in their first recognized show and put in 2 outstanding tests to place 3rd both days in their very large divisions. Isabelle was horse show groom extraordinare. She worked so incredibly hard all weekend long and was an invaluable asset to everyone. I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to show without her by my side again! Luckily we were able to squeeze her into a last minute scratch on Sunday after to show on William. She hasn’t ridden William before really and only had about 10 minutes to learn her test and about 20 minutes to warm up and get to know William. She is the ultimate competitor and held it all together like a total pro and put in a beautiful test for a 4th place in a large division. I could not be more proud of her. Emily Grace and Laira showed together for the first time, and Laira was at her first show ever. She is such a good good girl and was a delight all weekend long. Raleigh is a fairly electric atmosphere and she was so good. You would never have known it was her first show. Emily Grace did intro A and B on her and placed 2nd with a 69+% and 4th with a 67+%. Over all it was a fantastic weekend and lots of fun. I have the best students and clients anyone could ask for and we certainly know how to have fun at shows.

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Michelle and Pyper looking fantastic at 3rd Level

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Farrin and Misty

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Celeste and William on their way to a 3rd Place finish!

Image Popstarr and Briana

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Lysa and Bogie winning their large training division with a 73+%

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Isabelle and WIlliam putting in a stellar performance!

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Emily Grace and Laira scoring a 69+% for a 2nd place finish!

Next up for us is the Cool Down Dressage Show in Pinehurst this coming weekend. I am showing Cosmo 4th level, which should hopefully be a lot of fun. He is going incredibly right now, so it should be a lot of fun! Ellen and Boomer as well as Lysa and Bogie will also be competing. It will be another quiet weekend for us, but should be a great one. 

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Cosmo and Briana schooling at home! 

Stay tuned for some other exciting updates that are in the works! Looking forward to sharing some great news with everyone soon! 🙂 Until next time, stay cool! Bri

It’s Officially Summer!

You can always tell when it is officially summer around here. The farm is over run with teenage girls. I love it. Everyone has been getting lots of work and attention and we are getting tons done. Now if only we could figure out a way to convince mother nature that we don’t need a deluge of rain everyday we would be doing much better. I am waiting for our farm to just flat out wash away. I really think it is only a matter of days before it happens. It’s unreal how much rain and washing we have had lately. Needless to say, the arena is NOT dusty. 

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(Hailey, 4, enjoying a ride on Gingersnap on a hot summer day!)

At any rate, like always things are busy busy busy around here. Joey has sold to a fantastic new home with Heather Stiffle in Maryland. She and him connected right away and he really seemed to “pick” her. I am very excited for their future together even if I do miss his sweet face in my barn. I apparently miss riding him too because I tried to put him on the schedule every day this week and Farrin had to remind me that he wasn’t here anymore. He left for his new home on Saturday and I left bright and early Sunday morning to head to Florida to pick up a new and exciting horse! His name is PopStarr and he is every bit of a Popstar! He is an imported 16.3/17H KWPN gelding by Cocktail out of the same dam as Idocus (obviously making them half brothers). He has shown through PSG and has scored well over 70% through 4th level. All I had heard before I got him was how delightful he was and what a nice boy he was. I knew I would be getting in a nice horse but I had NO idea he would be THIS nice! Wow, this boy is beyond words. Not only is he gorgeous, but he is the biggest sweetheart puppy dog on the ground with perfect manners, and he is out of this world to ride. He is so incredibly correctly trained and so fancy and fun. There really are no words. Until you sit on him you really just have no idea. I can’t wait for this boy to get back in shape and in the show ring again. His owner, Melanie Southard, has done all of his training on him and what an amazing job she has done. It is not very often a horse comes into my barn and I don’t have to correct anything about them. In fact, I’m not sure that has ever happened before. He is a huge testament to the quality of riding and training Melanie provides. She is now living in Texas but is planning to come out here in the next few weeks. Primarily to help make sure Pop and I are on the same page, but I am super excited to get her help with everyone while she is here! 🙂 

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(PopStarr in his first school here at SCF)

Leggs is doing so well too. We have started him over fences and he LOVES it. Including a trip to go XC schooling where he was a total rock star. This youngster is really going to be one for the future. I have really enjoyed bringing him along over the last month or two and I know he is going to make someone super happy. Someone is coming to see him from Rhode Island next week. It sounds like it could be a fantastic match for him so keep your fingers crossed that he and her are a match made in heaven. He is really such a cool guy, what’s not to love about him? MiMi continues to do well even though we haven’t been doing as much with her lately. It is been so hot and rainy that she is of course the first one on the schedule to get bumped because she really doesn’t have to be working right now and still has so much time. I have another training horse here for the summer. Her name is Laira and she is a lovely 8 year old, grey, ISH mare. She is strictly a dressage horse and is still quite green but going to be a real show stopper. She will be Emily Grace’s next mount. Looking forward to Emily Grace being able to come out and work with her some during July as well. Farrin officially bought Anya which is very exciting. They are going to really be a team for the future. We took her XC schooling a few weeks ago and she was just foot perfect over everything. A real champ. Cosmo and Norman are both going really well. Hopefully I will get them both out and about at some point next month. 

Image(Anya and Farrin on their first XC school)

 

 

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(Leggs and Farrin XC Schooling for the first time)

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(Laira’s pretty face)

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(Leggs free jumping for the first time)

Lysa showed Bogie at the Summertime Blues show a couple weeks ago and did wonderfully. I can’t remember placings right off the top of my head but she rode fantastically and Bogie was a total rock star. I was super proud of both of them and how far they have come in such a short amount of time. And Ellen was amazing at the SVD Symposium. She came home so excited with a ton of lightbulb moments. It was really great. 

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(Bogie trying to steal some kisses from his littlest fan!)

Our next show will be the Rise ‘N Shine show at the harness track. Michelle and I are both showing Pyper 3rd level, Ellen and Boomer are doing training level, as are Lysa and Bogie. It should be a good weekend, but hopefully not too hot! 🙂 

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(MiMi looking stylish on a hot summer day!)

I think that should cover mostly everything that I can think of off the top of my head! 🙂 Until next time…..Bri

 

Anya’s XC schooling video: