First of all I would like to thank my wonderful supporters for helping me stay in the saddle. The biggest thanks, of course, is to my two biggest fans, my Mom and Jim who attend almost every single event, cheering us on the whole time.
As of October, 2010, Robyn places fourth in the USEA 2010 national standings for Adult Amateur Rider in the Preliminary division.
Robyn places first in the USEA 2010 Area I standings for the Preliminary Adult Amateur Division.
After about four months of the feeding/training program Tom and I agreed upon for Mack at the end of last season, I didn’t recognize my own horse! The transformation was incredible - Mack was powerful, energetic and the happiest I have seen him. It was very interesting to me that during the first few years that I owned this horse I was always able to maintain the same level of fitness as him and now, with Tom's fitness schedule, I was struggling to keep up. Martijn came to visit over the winter and was very happy with the work we had been doing and gave us more helpful tips for our dressage training.
In the spring my friend Arielle started helping me with galloping sets and keeping Macky in peak physical condition for our first show of the season, which proved to be a huge success - we came home with a 5th place ribbon! We proceeded to have our most successful season, bringing home three 5th place ribbons, a 3rd place at the King Oak fall horse trials in September, and a 6th place at Hitching Post in Vermont. Not only did our summer really come together, but we also had the opportunity to meet some great new instructors. I recently took a jumping lesson with Babette Lenna who is likely to prove a valuable contact for instruction and coaching at events in the future. I also took a weekend-long clinic with Don Sachey who, among many other career achievements, won the Team Gold in the 1974 Three-Day Event World Championships in Burghley, England. All the trainers I have worked with have something different to offer, and all have very different teaching styles which makes for fun, interesting lessons that contribute on multiple levels to my continued growth as a horsewoman.
During the 2010 season I also volunteered for the ICP (instructor certification program). This program gives instructors all over the country the opportunity to be certified for instruction in the field of eventing. The way the program works is that each aspiring instructor is required to teach a series of lessons which are observed and evaluated by a team of officials. Volunteering myself and Mack as the subjects for these lessons gave me the opportunity to have several lessons with different instructors in the local area, but more rewarding was the sense of giving back to the sport I love by giving these aspiring instructors the chance to test their teaching skills on a great horse and experienced rider pair while earning their certification.
The winter of 2010/2011 will mean further focus on conditioning and strategies for improved success, particularly with dressage, which continues to leave us in catch-up position. Macky shows no signs of flagging energy or enthusiasm for competition, so I fully expect the winter to be a continuation of our joint education with the remarkable trainers we are so fortunate to be working with. We'll set new goals for the 2011 season and work towards them with the same focus and enjoyment that became our routine last year, and I anticipate a 2011 season that will continue to build on our success this year. (Please check the "Schedule" page for our tentative list of events, including our third FEI one-star three day event, and our hoped-for step to Intermediate level of competition).
Horses never cease to amaze me, and I feel so lucky to have such a great teammate and friend in Macky. Thanks again everyone for visiting my website and for your continued support. I am already excited in anticipation of a fabulous 2011 season!
Mack and I had a very successful muscle/strength building year in 2009 as well as a successful competitive season. When the decision was made in the summer of 2008 that
I wasn’t going back down to Florida to train, Tom and I discussed how we could best
use our winter to ensure that spring of 2009 would find us fit, enthusiastic and ready to compete. Most of the training would include both stretching exercises for Mack in the dressage ring as well as schooling jumping exercises to prepare us for the more difficult questions at events. In early May we came out of the start box looking better than ever. We earned 5th place at our first preliminary of the spring at King Oak. Our good jumping scores kept us in the top ten at 4 of 6 other events during the course of the summer, and although our dressage scores were improving, I needed them to be better; as ever, our competitive pattern was that our superior stadium and cross country performances were making up for middle-of-the-field dressage scores.
In July of 2009 I took Macky home to Martha’s Vineyard for the very first time where I spent a week working twice a day with Dutch-trained dressage professional and grand prix rider Martijn Stuurman. He had a lot of informative feedback and during that week
I learned a tremendous amount about the art of dressage, but more importantly Martijn went over my preliminary dressage tests with me step by step and helped pin-point where I was losing points and what I needed to work on in order to achieve better scores. I went back to my event training with lots of dressage homework to do before the next time I was able to ride with Martijn, but thorough training dictated that I had to focus on Mack’s galloping fitness as well as our jumping technique, with, I felt, some of that dressage homework having to sit on the back burner. We ended the 2009 summer season in Area 1 with a fantastic ride at The Green Mountain Horse Association in Woodstock Vermont, despite a hold on course due to frost …. yes, I said frost …and ice! We ended 7th in a very competitive division.
The winter work was now a question again, but being the fantastic coach that he is, Tom had a very specific plan for me and, more importantly, for Mack. Tom put together a schedule for us that would get us through the winter working on all the homework Martijn had given us and more. We decided that muscle building and weight gain would be essential to Mack's achieving our dressage goals. We spent weeks doing slow trots, which emphasizes building muscle over the top of the horse's back and upper crest of the neck, not only giving him the correct muscle to hold his form in the dressage ring but also providing power and strength to both reach up over fences and gallop long distances. I also increased Mack's feed to three meals per day with additional vitamins to gain weight that the training regimen would turn into muscle.
(Opens in separate window)