Ten Broeck Farm

Orintha’s Journey to Grand Prix

Journey Part 2

Now we are working on the canter zig-zag. Like me, Lexi loves these, too. She can be so quick that I have to make sure we BOTH breathe. She is quick to the right, and I have to work a little harder going left. So we have to think fade right, and push left…It’s working on a good day. A good day is when I can really sit, and apply the half halts. On a bad day, I start out sitting and then I begin to hover over her like a UFO: Unidentified Fumbling Orintha!!!

Passage to piaffe is proving to be fun and challenging. This is basically the last movement we need to learn. When I said that to my trainer, Paige, she just replied, “Yah, learn this, then you are all set!” Okay, okay, so I may have gotten a little ahead of myself.

When doing piaffe, it feels like Lexi is hardly moving, so I sit deeper, squeeze a little more with my legs, then I hear…

“Would you please sit still and not over do it with her,” says Paige.

“But she is not moving,” I reply.

“Okay, go in front of the mirror and tell me she is not moving.”

OMG, her knees are up to her nose, and her hind legs are so far under her…guess I will just sit still.

So now we have to put this all together…stay tuned!

Part 1

Two seasons ago marked the beginning of an amazing personal journey, thanks to my trainer, Paige Finnegan, and her amazing Grand Prix mare, Karola 1. I want to share that journey with you, including the “downs” as well as the “ups” because, as you probably already know, teaming with an equine partner is never, ever experienced on a straight line.

As 2010 dawned, I had decided to put in more training on a few of my horses, and not show until they were farther along in their education. After I lost my mom that April, I was really at a loss, and Paige mentioned that I should show Karola 1 – affectionately known as Lexi at our farm – while my other horses are in training.

I started taking Lexi out at 3rd and 4th levels that first season. Last year I entered the world of FEI competing Prix St. George and Intermediate 1. While many of us strive for Grand Prix, I really did not think it was in my reach. It’s such a long journey and, let’s face it, I have been working on this, off and on, since I was 17 because that was the year I fell in love with dressage.

Well, here we are, training this winter season for Grand Prix! Paige has pushed me over the last two seasons, because if it were up to me, I would probably still be competing 3rd and 4th level. Every time she pushed me to the next level, I did it, but was not exactly excited about it. More like scared to death. But, I have learned that you need to have a trainer whom you trust completely, a trainer that you believe in. So, after this last season ended, I told Paige that I am ready to start our Grand Prix training. I think she was surprised by my enthusiasm, but I had literally learned that from her.

So, where do we start? With the one tempi’s, of course. UGH! This is hard! I can get four, and then Lexi and I end up skipping to our own tune, in our own count of who knows what. The good news is that our two tempi’s are really hot now! Then comes the passage…can you say “hold on tight and try to keep your seat in the saddle”? This little mare has so much movement, I just have to laugh every time I go by the mirrors and can see the other side of the arena between my seat and the saddle. Oh, her poor back!

Stay tuned for Part 2.


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