SO MANY CHANGES!!!!

Hello all! 

There has been quite a change since the last post I made almost a year ago now. I know I've neglected this blog, I think that was partially due to not quite knowing where things were heading business-wise for quite some time. This new year has brought many changes to GGES that all started last year. I'll begin with a recap...

Plum Lucky and I, USDF rated 1st level, Spring 2015

Lucky continued to show last year a few more times bringing in consistent scores in the 60% range with myself to give me the scores I needed at 1st Level to not only put towards my Bronze Medal, but to also qualify me for the 1st Level Musical Freestyle, and to get her awarded 5th place by the American Holsteiner Horse Association for the 2015 USDF All Breed Awards in Open 1st Level! I am thrilled with her! Now the plan is to see about possibly putting together a musical freestyle this year.... 

Welston (Wyatt) and I, USDF Rated 2nd level, Fall 2015

Knowing that Lucky wouldn't have the movement to go past 1st Level, my trainer, Carol, offered me the chance to ride her horse, Wyatt. So I spent the Fall working on learning the art of the correct dressage position (still a work in progress as my bones don't go where I want them to go) and Wyatt and I showed at 2nd Level a few times. He helped me consistently get scores in the mid 60% range which gave me my 2nd Level scores towards my Bronze Medal! The plan for the winter was to work hard on my position so that I could effectively ride Wyatt better and show him 3rd Level in the spring. That plan went a little awry though when another portion of life got in the way....school. (More on that shortly.) 

Personally I decided that I needed something to bring in some more money consistently since teaching on the east coast has it's down season during winter if you don't have an indoor ring. That decision lead to me getting certified as a Pilates Instructor last fall and since then I've been teaching at Body Benefits Pilates Studio a couple days a week. On top of that I've been going to school as well, trying to finish up my degree on a super fast track by bumping up my classes to "double full time" status. Full time is 2 classes per 8 week term, I've been taking 4 per 8 week term. Slightly killing myself but that's okay because the end is near! My estimated graduation datewas supposed to be Spring of 2017, but I will be done August 9th of this year! Almost a full year ahead of schedule!

With focusing on school and beginning to plan for the future I knew I needed a new plan so with the spring weather has brought a new plan on the equine front, and professional front. 

New plan….equine-wise. 

Chester - day 1! 

Chester and Scooter have been on “hacking around” status since last spring, and they both had a solid three months off since winter hit. With the better weather though they got back to work with me, both seem to be happy to work a little again so that’s a good sign! With Chester I went back to square one of his training with the intention to slowly build his muscle back up again and take him back to basics to try to rebuild a good foundation again. So far it’s working well, there haven’t been any major fire-breathing-dragon outbursts! He will be heading to a fun little hunter pace with me April 2nd. Scooter was of course a perfect gentleman when I first hopped back on him and he’s on the “fitness plan” to turn the rest of his fat back into muscle again. The plan for him is to start teaching on him again so he has a job! 

Lucky began showing some signs of intermittent lameness in her left front last summer which upon flex testing her looks like it might be an arthritic deal in her left front fetlock area. While not working full-time means I don’t have extra money coming in, it’s meant that I have had to hold off on getting her to the vet to get some x-rays done and most likely a joint injection. So while she waits for my savings to keep growing she’s going to hack around and do some light fitness work to get her back in shape again without putting too much stress on her until I can get that joint looked at. She’s quite content with that plan for the moment though, it still affords her to do her signature butt tuck and fly backwards kicking at Chester in the field on a daily basis when she’s bossing him around. Silly girl! 

On the professional front….of course my life wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t have a million things brewing in the fire at one time! 

With the intention to finish school in August, I have begun looking at internships or jobs involved in either the publishing world or social media marketing. I’ll keep teaching pilates because I thoroughly enjoy it, but I have also begun another venture outside the equine world, writing. Green Gate Publication is my newest “venture” which has begun to take shape slowly in the form of my own novel writing. Yep that’s right, a novelist. A dream I’ve always had, but have never quite found the gumption to do it, until now! 

Am I giving up the horse industry one asks? Nope. That’s a silly question! Partnering up with a great client of mine, I have spaces opening up for lessons at her new facility in Vineland, NJ! So of course there will still be plenty of equine business in my life as well as all the other extras I’m putting on my plate! That’s what keeps it interesting though!

SGSDS Schooling Show Recap

The show season kicked off last weekend with a dressage schooling show hosted by SGSDS at Fidler Run Farm on March 29th. I ended up taking Lucky for her first show in a couple years and decided to use this show as a test run to figure out what kind of horse I would have at the shows from here on out. She shocked me quite pleasantly! We trailered over with my dressage trainer, Carol Conner and her young horse, Dewey. Lucky and Dewey were civil in the trailer and no one tried to kill each other so that was a good start to a chilly morning! 

Lucky warmed up great in the little indoor and was very well mannered walking about the property. Stepping into the ring for our 1st level test 1 test around 12:30pm we had to negotiate some oh-so-scary puddles that had accumulated randomly in the ring from rain the day before. Despite some "creative puddle avoidance maneuvers" (judge's comment) on Lucky's part, she put in a decent test and we got a score of 63 putting us in 4th place for that class. The judge was a little generous I thought, but she did give good feedback! 

A few moments later and a quick mental run through of my second test, Lucky and I stepped back into the ring for our 1st level test 2. She was much more consistent through the puddles on the second test and put in another decent ride to get us a score of 66 and set us in 3rd place for that class. All in all I was very pleased with Lucky for putting on her game face and doing the job especially since it has been a very long time since she was in a show ring with me! 

Ending the day with a quiet ride back home I recapped my rides and read through the judges comments on my tests. Our homework for the next show is to find Lucky's lengthened trot, a bit more consistency in her tempo through all her gaits, using our corners more effectively and setting her up for each movement a little more fluidly. 

Looking forward to the next show this coming weekend! First rated show of the year and hopefully we will get our two first level scores we need to go towards our Bronze Medal! Fingers crossed! 

GGES Has Moved!

Green Gate Equine Services has big news this month, we've moved! While it was a long cold winter I spent the winter spreading my time between driving to Medford for work, driving to Bridgeton to ride and train Lucky and Chester, and living in Millville. Too much driving! 

I was offered a fantastic and affordable spot not long ago and I couldn't pass it up! Now Lucky, Chester, Scooter and Sky, plus Kimber, June and myself all have relocated to Bridgeton right around the corner from Carol Conner's, Blue Moon Dressage! The puppies and I have a cottage at the back of a large twelve acre property. Our view looks out onto the neighboring nursery where I can hack the horses through and take the dogs for walks. The horses have two lush grass fields that total six acres and a dry-lot paddock that is connected to an oversized run-in shed. There is a small two stall barn with hay storage and a tackroom. I am still in the process of setting up the tackroom, after moving everything in the other day I realized I am in need of becoming a drill owner! Attempting to hang bridle and saddle racks with a hammer and nails does not work for a long term solid solution! 

As for riding space, I have a nice flat part of the one field that is great for riding, plus the other field has a great hill for hill-work. The nursery has been amazing to have to hack out in with it's maintained dirt lanes grid-worked through the trees. And the best part, I am a ten minute leisurely hack through the nursery to get to Blue Moon Dressage where I have access to Carol's amazing indoor ring and full-size outdoor dressage court!  

Everyone has settled in great! We are looking forward to spring finally taking over and making everything colorful and green again! Pictures will certainly come as the scenery changes! 

Lucky and Chester in the barn. Stalls are 12X15, nice and roomy! 

Lucky and Chester in the barn. Stalls are 12X15, nice and roomy! 

Kimber on the back deck.  

Kimber on the back deck.  


New Year, New Goals!

Hello all, 

As I sat down to write this blog I realized this is my first post in the 2015 year. Happy (VERY) belated New Years to everyone! 

With the New Year came some new changes. 

Scooter returned from his lease at the beginning of November and has now had the whole winter to enjoy relaxing, being a five year old pony, and bossing Frank around in the pasture. He is going into "pony bootcamp" with the start of March and (hopefully) better weather. He will then be ready to start teaching lessons again or be leased out again around April 1st! 

December 1st Chester and Lucky moved to Blue Moon Dressage for the winter so that I could keep their training going forward and progressing even with winter weather arriving. That plan was put into action, but shortly afterwards I fell ill with a multitude of issues that left me down and out for the count for a solid month. So Chester and Lucky enjoyed living the plush lifestyle sans work at Blue Moon Dressage while I recuperated. They went back to work in January and have had a on and off working winter as the brutally severe winter temperatures have hindered some work days. This winter has just been awful as far as frigid, beyond ridiculously cold temperatures go! I can assure all of you that this horse person, along with every other one here on the east coast is counting the days till spring more eagerly than normal this year! 

The lack of color in winter here on the east coast is something I will never get used to! 

The lack of color in winter here on the east coast is something I will never get used to! 

With the beginning of the New Year, I also did some goal evaluating for my personal and professional life. My biggest goal that I set for myself is that I am going to begin to work towards achieving my scores for my USDF Bronze Medal this year in hopes that MAYBE, just maybe, I can obtain that medal by the end of 2015. The long term goal is to achieve all my USDF Medals and Musical Freestyle Bars. This goal I have had in the back of my mind for quite awhile, though lacked the means, financially and otherwise to attempt this goal. My father has been one to step in and realize that this is a part of my version of "college" (the equine aspect anyways). He has been super supportive since I mentioned this goal as he has with most other endeavors I've had in life. With his help and some help from family I am hoping to make this goal and dream come true. In addition, Carol Conner, my dressage trainer, was very receptive and supportive when I told her my goal ideas. She has been so kind to let me step in as a part-time working student a few mornings a week in order to work off more lessons and get more training time in to work towards my goal. Lucky and Chester begin this journey with me this year as well as the other part of my "support team." Both Lucky and Chester will attend a schooling dressage show at the end of March to get their feet back in the show ring so to speak. And then April Lucky will begin showing rated at first level, and Chester will begin showing rated at training level. The hope is that Lucky will for sure be able to compete successfully at first and second level, with the possibility of putting in some scores at third level. With Chester the plan is to take his training very slowly due to the fact that he has the gaits and possesses the talent to potentially go far, but has a bit of an attitude and we hope to not fry his brain by pushing him too far too fast. Each day has been a journey so far and I know this is just the start of a journey that I have a strong feeling will most certainly be one to remember! 

The USDF Medals journey begins! 

The USDF Medals journey begins! 

Stay tuned for more as the days go on! 

Cheers, 
Paetra 

Well-Being

Hello all, 

The time change has seriously affected me in the last twenty-four hours since it occurred, as I'm sure many fellow horse people have felt the same way. For horse people it's nice to fall back that first morning because it means that one extra hour of sleep that you crave and can rarely acquire. Though come evening it is quite painful to see the sun disappearing before you have finished that last ride of the day or the last chore at the barn. I've had to get used to riding only on days when the weather is good, considering I don't have a ring to ride in here, and now with the time change I will have to alter my schedule again to make sure I've ridden before the sun sets and I run out of daylight. It has been wonderful having my horses right outside from where I'm living again though, I thoroughly enjoy being able to walk out my back door and enjoy the first morning rays of sunlight on the dewey grass and feed in the chilly morning air. 

Fall has very thoroughly arrived here on the east coast and the leaves have all turned a brilliant wash of color, adding a different kind of light to the world each day until the grayness of winter arrives. With fall came some other changes as well! I started working for Manuel Show Stables about a month and a half ago now. It has been a very welcoming facility full of many friendly faces and fantastic horses to ride! I love the job immensely as I had hoped I would! I am the main exercise rider for the facility, it is a predominantly jumper oriented barn, with Katia Manuel-Adams as the head trainer. I have had the privilege to ride a lot of amazing talented horses since starting my work there, and Katia and her father, Claude, have been very helpful with fine tuning my position and keeping me in top riding shape! I am very excited to be part of their team and to see what the future might hold for me with them! 

In addition to the new job I have also picked up a few training rides on a couple ponies and horses on my days off that I don't work at Manuel Show Stables. This has allowed me to keep my business goals going on a smaller scale as I had hoped! 

Here at the farm, Lucky and Chester have been enjoying getting fuzzy, though Chester will be getting body clipped here in the next day or two. Chester has been making weekly trailer trips with me to train with our new trainer, Carol Conner of Blue Moon Dressage in Bridgeton, New Jersey. She has been a fantastic help for him and I am excited to get him out in the dressage show ring starting this month! My Sinatra, aka: Sky, is still here at the farm with me and has been continuing his dressage training as well, and making leaps and bounds of progress! He will be completing his first two training level dressage tests at a schooling show in a couple weeks and will hopefully peak the interest of someone who would love to buy him and give him a great future of competing. 

This coming Friday we also have two more fellow four-legged equine friends joining us again! Scooter is returning from his lease for the winter months and Rebecca Korab's, Frank, will be joining us in semi-retirement/light work! I'm excited to have these boys coming "home!" 

Mega Life Changes

I haven't written in a few months due to some drastic, life altering changes that have been occurring in my own personal life resulting in professional life changes as well. At least once in your life you need to learn as a human being that things do indeed change in life and you cannot control them most of the time. This learning experience also has to teach you to just roll with it and let yourself follow the path that opens up for you. In the horse world this I feel ends up happening a lot for many young professionals trying to find their way and follow whatever opportunity best presents itself at that time. 

Back in about the middle of June I began the process of getting divorced, the big bad ugly D word that no one really ever wants to be subjected to in their life time. This decision forced me onto a path that meant I would be changing my residential location as well and also it meant I would be giving up my beloved business and clients. Two choices that unfortunately went hand in hand with the first big decision. While I had a hard time leaving behind what I had built in Central Pennsylvania and the people and horse I had come to regard as family, I know that my path wasn't meant to stay there and I had to accept that fact. 

Now, almost 3 months later I have begun a new journey, still involving horses of course! I will still be keeping my business in some regards and working with a couple training horses a month so this blog will continue along with my website. My focus at the moment is turning towards getting my bachelor's degree, something I had put on hold for awhile. In addition to going back to school online, I will be working with my training projects and pursuing my dressage medals with both Lucky and Chester. 

I began riding with a fantastic trainer about a month ago and she's been great in helping me work with Chester to achieve suppleness through his back and teach him that he has to have his own carriage and suppleness without it being a battle. He's latched on to the long low suppling work wonderfully and to feel his back lift on his own without my prompting is an amazing feeling coming from the little Arabian that couldn't make it around the ring without bucking, rearing and being a jerk just a year ago. With his gaits and his drive I am very excited to see how far he may go in the competitive dressage ring! 

As life has it's own way of doing things, just throwing you onto the path with it and expecting you to go along willingly, I came to expect change in my life many years ago. This is just another of those path altering instances that I'm experiencing and I'm embracing it willingly. Stay tuned for more about the new path as it unfolds! 

Working Student Search!

WORKING STUDENT POSITION AVAILABLE! I am looking for a working student/personal assistant to add to the team! Individual must be at least 18 years of age, have a drivers license and reliable mode of transportation, and have some knowledge of horses and tacking/grooming for an english trainer. Position would be M-F 8/9AM-1/2PM (flexible hours depending on the day) and possibly some weekends for grooming at shows. Individual would be tacking/untacking horses for myself, doing some general organizing, cleaning tack, etc., lunging and possibly some exercise riding. NO STALL CLEANING! In exchange for work individual would get training and lessons with myself on their own horse or one of mine in either dressage, eventing, hunters or jumpers or a mix of any of those disciplines! Potential live-in position MAY become available in the future. Also, I don't deal with drama! So please only contact me if you are interested in this position and you are a drama-free individual that has good people skills! We have a GREAT group of boarders, riders, students, etc. and I don't want to throw the balance off with someone who will be tough to deal with! Please email - phennigar@sbcglobal.net, or call 707.266.8919 if you are interested! Thank you!

Cross Country Schooling at Stonewood 4.26

After a few months of waiting for good weather and the ground to cooporate we finally made it to a cross country schooling! Sarah Knellinger took along Lexie Yunggebauer's mare, Sadie for her first schooling ever and Emma Cassat took Chester for his first schooling too! It was a windy afternoon, but bright and sunny thankfully. The facility we chose to go to was Stonewood down in Dover, Pa. It was the perfect starter course for teaching both horses and students how to ride cross country!

We began with a warmup over all the fences in the outdoor ring and then moved into the fenced hunter field. This field offered a great variety of jumps to play with, including a bank complex, 3 different ditches with movable rails, different levels of coups, and some moveable fence rails that made nice inviting verticals. Chester rocked around and LOVED every second of it! He had his ears up the entire time, needless to say that's not normally the case for him! With some slow convincing Lexie allowed Sarah to jump some little stuff with Sadie and slowly worked our way up and again it was a shock to everyone that Sadie completely enjoyed herself! Normally just a ring hunter/equitation horse, we weren't sure how Sadie would take big open fields and different looking fences! 

We moved on from the hunt field and hiked across the property and out into the open cross country course which wound its' way through the woods, up and down hills, into fields, and back and forth across a stream. There were jumps ranging from elementary all the way up to some larger novice height stuff with some training level questions which was a nice course to play with for both horses and riders! Everyone had a fantastic time and we can't wait to go back again! 

Chester  and Emma coup. 

Chester  and Emma coup. 

Sadie and Sarah over the novice roll top 

Sadie and Sarah over the novice roll top 

Emma and Chester off the down bank. 

Emma and Chester off the down bank. 

Sadie and Sarah over the chicken coup. 

Sadie and Sarah over the chicken coup. 

Emma and Chester over the novice bench. 

Emma and Chester over the novice bench. 

Rolex Fundraiser Jumper Show Recap

Hello all! 

Show season has started which means the show recaps will be posted regularly! 

Almost a month ago (yes I am a little late on posting this one), we kicked off the season with a show down in Upperco, Md at An Otherwise Perfect Farm. It was a fundraiser schooling jumper show for two Rolex riders, Kate Chadderton and Daniel Clasing. Emma and Chester were the pair to make their showing debut at this event and it went well all things considered! 

We went into it completely blind as to how Chester would do in a show ring/show environment. Not knowing his background we didn't know what to expect, he hopped right off the trailer though and warmed up fantastically in the outdoor ring no problem! Going straight into the indoor sight unseen and seeing all the spectators not the side, the banners on the walls, etc. Chester just got a little spacey Arabian-eque. He was just so distracted by everything else that he forgot how to jump momentarily and after a couple sticky first courses and a little change in riding style we figured out how to manage him and Emma piloted him around her last course very nicely! It was a great first show experience for him and it gave us a good idea of what to expect for the next one!  

Kimber

We have a new addition to the Green Gate Equine Services family, Kimber! About a month ago (I'm very behind on blog writing I know!) we welcomed an 8 week old, female, black lab puppy into the house! Kimber was a mutually agreed upon name, different and unique but easy to pronounce! Kimber spent the first few weeks learning the ropes and she's still on the learning path, as we know she will be for awhile! She's a smart little girl though! So far she has already mastered, "sit", "stay", "lay down", "sit and say please" for her dinner, she's quickly figured out where "outside" is to go to the bathroom, and while we are still working on "come" (sometimes she has selective hearing or ADD "oooo a leaf!") she is coming along quickly! As time progresses you will see her at the barn from time to time and as the weather gets warmer hopefully more outside barn time will come! 

Kimber in Aiken, SC 10 weeks old. 

Kimber in Aiken, SC 10 weeks old. 

Farewell

Sadly a week ago we had to say goodbye to a beloved member of the Green Gate Equine Services and Ritter family. Foxy, our beloved aged Corgi made one last trip in good health with us to Aiken, SC and then a couple days after returning she went downhill quickly. It was her time to go to heaven, at 14 years old and paralyzed in her hind end for the last year she was a fighter and it was a very sad parting but she went very peacefully. Foxy was given to me 4 years ago from my dear friend, Madison, who knew I wanted a Corgi and had needed a new home for Foxy. I said I would take her in a heartbeat and immediately she became my best friend and my shadow. For the last 4 years she has traveled with me everywhere, from horse shows to across the country, she was my companion. We will miss her greatly always and will always keep her close in our hearts and fond memories.  

Foxy 4 years ago at Fieldstone Farm in Santa Rosa, Ca

Foxy 4 years ago at Fieldstone Farm in Santa Rosa, Ca

Foxy and her buddy Angus at Alliquippa Stables in Malvern, Pa 2 years ago - she LOVED to swim! 

Foxy and her buddy Angus at Alliquippa Stables in Malvern, Pa 2 years ago - she LOVED to swim! 

Foxy in Aiken, SC March 1, 2014 soaking up the sun. 

Foxy in Aiken, SC March 1, 2014 soaking up the sun. 

Pictures from Aiken, SC Winter 2014

Below are just a few photos from the Aiken trip! For the full album go to the Facebook album following the link below! 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.737690056264331.1073741837.532353450131327&type=3

Lucky jump lesson #1 

Lucky jump lesson #1 

I love her :) Hanging out watching Sally school horses. 

I love her :) Hanging out watching Sally school horses. 

Dressage lesson #4, working on the cantering spiral exercise. 

Dressage lesson #4, working on the cantering spiral exercise. 

By the end of the week Lucky decided Emily was a good egg! 

By the end of the week Lucky decided Emily was a good egg! 

Lucky jump lesson #2

Lucky jump lesson #2

Lucky jump lesson #2

Lucky jump lesson #2

Lucky jump lesson #2

Lucky jump lesson #2

Recap of Aiken, SC trip!

Ending the trip to sunny Aiken, South Carolina was slightly painful but we arrived home from Aiken LATE on Tuesday March 4th at about 11pm to a dark barn and temperatures in the teens again. 

Backing up slightly to pick up where I left off with the last blog...

Wednesday Lucky and I took another dressage lesson, really enjoying a normal horse again. She was really soft and through in her back to start with that day so we really worked on her leg yields and making her really cross over with her hind end to achieve more elasticity in her movement. 

Thursday dawned bright and sunny and I was on and ready to ride for my 9:30am jump lesson. I hadn't jumped Lucky in almost a month and a half due to the winter weather at home the last few months, and we haven't jumped anything of substantial height in a couple years due to focusing more on her dressage work, not having an eye on the ground, and protecting her joints. Sally started us off with a grid that was a single fence and eventually build up to four fences, a one-stride to a one-stride to a two-stride. She said we would build as we went and just play it by ear as to how Lucky was jumping and feeling. Starting out little, the grid quickly grew and by the end we had the last fence set to around 3'3 and Lucky was jumping amazingly! We did a few mini courses and single fences to finish and then called it a day to not overdo her too much. I was on cloud nine that entire rest of the day! It was a fantastic start to a day! 

That afternoon we spent at Jumping Branch Farm, a facility with a great cross country course just about 20 minutes away. Sally took a few groups of several students out as well as a horse of her own to school some cross country. The first group was one of Sally's youngsters schooling beginner novice and a couple of her students schooling training level fences. The second group consisted of a few novice level horses that were working on confidence building fences and having a good positive ride! 

Friday was the big test to see how Lucky would feel the next day after jumping, she pleasantly surprised me with another great dressage lesson and felt just as sound and supple as before! With a bit more of a tired horse on Friday we focused on a spiraling exercise with her canter to get her to move in and balance, compressing her stride down to a small circle almost 10 meters or less then opening her back up onto a larger circle again. 

Saturday we spent the day at the Sporting Days Horse Trials grooming and lending an extra hand to Sally who rode two horses at training level and three at prelim that day! Each horse had to do a dressage test, then a stadium jumping round, followed by a cross country course all in the same day. For a Californian like myself doing all three events in one day is a foreign concept. Usually we have dressage and stadium on one day then cross country the next, or each event on a separate day. I can only imagine how exhausted doing all three in one day on five horses must have been!!! At the end of the day I took Emily out to walk the beginner novice cross country course as if she were to ride it the next day, I showed her how to start reading the different types of fences and what to look for in the terrain. A little bit of an introduction to three-day eventing! 

Sunday was the day we had originally planned on leaving to head home, with a potential "massive snow storm" heading right through VA, NC and up into PA we decided to postpone leaving to head home and spend a couple more days in the great weather! We spent the late morning/early afternoon sitting out on cross country at Sporting Days again watching the novice horses run around the course. Later that afternoon Lucky and I had a dressage lesson when Sally returned from the event. We focused on the canter spiraling exercise again and worked on perfecting her medium trot just that much more, ending with some great leg yields and transitions.

Monday was a little on the chilly side, with clouds and some drizzly rain most of the day. We watched Sally school some horses in the morning then spent some time organizing and packing the trailer for the trip home the next day. I got on Lucky for a jump lesson in the afternoon and despite the rain and drizzle she still performed fantastically! We did a lot more course work and only had one "oops" fence. Lucky had landed off of a single and had to take a solid moving eight strides bending line to a significant sized skinny. Well.....she landed the first fence, dropped her head and started slowing way down thinking she was done with the course and wasn't listening to my insisting that she pick her head up and move her feet to the next fence. That skinny popped out of nowhere and thank goodness she still jumped like the pro that she is but it was definitely not the prettiest fence ever! She was very mad at herself after that one and after that each fence she jumped way higher that was actually necessary, but she was listening! 

The alarm went off at 4am WAY too early on Tuesday morning, Emily and I packed up the dogs, hooked up the trailer, fed Lucky and after some protesting from Lucky (I'm pretty sure she knew she was heading home for the cold and didn't want to go!) we loaded Lucky up. We ended up picking up my friend, Liz Hart's pony, Kestrel on our way out of town and with Liz following in her truck we began the long journey north. About 13 hours after we left at 6:30am we arrived in Baltimore, MD to drop off Liz and Kestrel. Then another hour and a half later we dropped off Emily in York, Pa and finally another hour after that Lucky, the dogs and I arrived home in Carlisle! Exhausted and cold, I unloaded Lucky in the dark, dropped my trailer in the driveway to unpack in the morning and took off for home...already starting to plan my next southern migration to Aiken for a couple weeks next winter. :) 

View of the paddocks and jump field. 

View of the paddocks and jump field. 

Aiken, SC

Hello all from sunny Southern Carolina! 

This is my first time staying in this state and I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far! I was invited down here for a couple weeks to ride and train with Sally Cousins who is currently the Leading Lady Rider for United States Eventing. She's held this title 6 times now and is by far a fantastic trainer and rider! When I was invited down to ride with her I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity! 

I decided to bring Lucky and my working student, Emily Springer, along with me to help out grooming for the week and puppy sitting for both Foxy and the newest member of our family, 9week old black lab, Kimber. Emily and I were supposed to leave on Feb. 16th, though due to ice, snow, tornado warnings, and frigid temps our trip leave date got postponed until this past Saturday. 4:30AM Saturday morning both of us got up, loaded up the car with bags, dogs and junk food, hooked up the trailer, wrapped Lucky and loaded her up and hit the road! Finally a week later! Better late than never!  

The nine hour drive turned into thirteen hours with multiple gas stops, puppy potty breaks and Lucky watering breaks. Though we finally arrived late Saturday night around 9pm to a dark barn where we unloaded Lucky and headed back to our motel room in Aiken that we are sharing with another fellow rider, Beth! Now the motel accommodations aren't the best, smells like the building hasn't been aired out in many years and there are some sketchy characters staying/living here, but we have beds and a hot shower each night which is appreciated! 

Sunday was the first day of riding for myself and Lucky, I opted not to lesson that day knowing that Lucky would probably be a little crazy, I was right. We warp nine trotted around the giant field for a solid hour, then cantered for awhile till she finally felt like a normal horse again. The whole "no fenced arena area" thing really threw her for a loop! She got a full scrubby bath that day and we spent some of the afternoon watching Sally teach some of her other students. 

Monday was my first lesson at 2:30pm. I was tacked up and on warming up a solid 40 minutes before thinking Lucky might still be crazy, sure enough I rode a fire breathing dragon the entire warmup and lesson. Though we did start to establish a good beginning to some counter canter work and small collection work which was nice! 

Today was another beautiful day at almost 70 degrees, a little breezy but we couldn't complain! We watched Sally school some of her own horses in the morning while lazily sitting in the sun and soaking up some great Vitamin D. Then at 3:30pm I had my second lesson of the week. Another flat lesson, only this one started out with a nice quiet walk warmup and I rode my normal horse today!  Lucky was much better and quieter, having finally settled with the idea that there are no fences around the rings. We worked on some great medium trot work and established a better collected canter today while working on some 10 meter circles, finishing with some great leg yields and counter canter work again. 

It's off to bed now but we'll keep everyone updated for the week as the week progresses! Look for more blogs soon! 

Paetra :) 

Getting Excited!

We are kicking off the start to our Winter Show/Clinic Schedule this coming Saturday with a Dressage and Pilates clinic held at Crescendo Training Center in Ephrata, Pa! 

Due to bad weather we've had to postpone the start of our season, but hopefully weather will hold out for us this weekend and we can get off the property! 

Emma Cassat will be riding FT Winchester (aka: Chester) my 9 year old Arabian gelding. They will be schooling some training level/possibly first level stuff! 

I will be taking Lucky with me to work on some 1st and 2nd level stuff in the clinic as well, very excited! 

Emma and I will both be participating in the pilates group session at noon as well, and we will be accompanied by Emily Springer and Lauren Brown who is traveling in from NJ for the weekend! 

We are all looking forward to this outing! Look for a follow-up post after this weekend is over! 

Aspirations

Having spent yesterday indoors due to the single digit weather and bad road conditions I had a lot of time to catch up on some reading, research and paperwork. I was pleasure reading through some Flip articles on my iPad and I came upon an article that triggered something in me that I have tried for years to keep in my own mind and I've tried to keep reminding students and fellow riders of for years. That is the fact that as riders most of us grow up with Grand Prix and Olympic dreams....and most of us don't get there in the time frame we want to make those dreams happen. Though by all means that does not mean we are failures in any way shape or form. 

The Young Rider dreams and Junior year medals and finals that are out there to be won are something that so many young people hear about and dream of, and yet without the extensive funds to pay for show fees, travel, training costs, pricey high end horses, etc. those dreams are hard to meet. I grew up dreaming of Grand Prix's and Olympics as well but with a very limited budget, and having to work my way up through whatever I wanted to do. As a rider I learned that there's no rush to get to those Grand Prix and Olympic dreams done,  there's no time limit on those dreams and as a rider I've learned that having to work my way through things and really try for what I want is a good thing. It makes you appreciate all that you have accomplished, from the training in the young horse you bought, or the rescue horse you took on, to the riding position you worked for years to acquire and the eye that you had to work on to get to the point where you could see your distances. Each thing you had to work on over the years is something you appreciate forever in the years to come because you put the time and effort, the blood, sweat and tears into making it happen without it just being handed to you and taking everything for granted as so many people do these days. 

As a horse person I've learned that the horse industry needs as many people as it can to do all the different jobs out there, from being a perfectionist groom, to a nutritionist, to a rider and a vet. The horse industry is much more like a small entrepreneurial business in the aspect that if you want to be successful you have to be innovative and ahead of the game, offering something that the next person doesn't offer or changing your business just that little bit so that you have that skill that no one else in your area has. I've tried to make my business that way by creating my own riding and training career that is well rounded and focuses on a variety of training aspects that allow each of my students to pick and choose what they want to do riding-wise. If one of my students is a hunter and wants to try dressage I by all means will encourage it. That was the best way I learned was being a well rounded rider and being able to get on anything and make the magic happen, from young green horses to fully trained upper level Grand Prix dressage horses, eventers, or hunter/jumpers. 

As a rider and and a horse person you learn as you go that the learning process and education of your own skills is never ever finished. Any trainer that "stops learning" or thinks they are at the top of their game is behind the curve. You also learn that the goals won't go away, they just might be put on hold until opportunity presents itself. I still have goals to reach, I would love to go to the Olympics one day, and train upper level riders. Being as young as I am I know there is still plenty of time to accomplish these things, and I will never stop myself from dreaming those dreams and working towards them every little step at a time. ALL riders should remember these important things and keep them in mind with their own riding careers and keep their dreams alive no matter what. Take time to enjoy the ride and the journey along the way is the biggest part of it all. 

"An Open Letter to Junior Riders (or Anyone With Aspirations of Greatness)" 

http://www.horsejunkiesunited.com/?p=76441

Scooter and Lymes

As some of you may know, my small lesson pony, Scooter, has been off since Halloween battling with an eye issue. Right around Halloween he started "seeing ghosts" in the ground (best way to describe it, no Halloween pun intended). He was spooking at shadows in the arena sand made by hoof prints, and light beams in the indoor on the ground, very irrational behavior for him seeing as he is not a spooky pony and never has been! 

I immediately called the vet out when his behavior continued for three days in a row, I knew it couldn't be behavioral. Sure enough, Scooter had unknown large pink discs in his eyes right above his retina that shouldn't be there, and the fibers going into this eye were crunched up and shriveled looking. Dr. Kraybill and I discussed potential causes, Leptospirosis was our first thought, that test turned up negative. After some regular antibiotics and topical steroids for a few weeks, Scooter got a recheck and his eyes looked better but they weren't 100% yet. Dr. Kraybill thankfully after talking with some other vets about Scooters unknown condition asked me if we could do a Lymes test. Eye issues are rare with Lymes disease so Dr. Kraybill hadn't originally thought of it, though there apparently is a small percentage of a chance that eyes can be affected with the disease! So we tested and sure enough he came back all kinds of positive for it! Two weeks ago we started Scooter on a heavy dosage of Doxycycline twice daily.

Yesterday was the first day I ventured onto Scooter in months and I was VERY pleased to lunge him before without any spooking, then I rode him all around the indoor in all three gaits with no spooks whatsoever! Thank goodness! So tomorrow I go back to the vet to pick up another two week supply of Doxycycline for Scooter and hopefully in just another couple weeks I will have my perfect lesson pony back and he'll be ready to rock and roll! I know there are several little girls who are just dying to get back on him for lessons!

Welcome 2014!

Hello all! 

Welcome to 2014! We celebrated the Holidays and then the New Year in a blur and now we are already almost  halfway through January! We just wanted to say welcome to 2014 and we hope everyone's holidays were wonderful. We are very excited to see what this new year will bring!  Last year brought us to a new facility that we now call "home", Mountainview Horse Farm, and a new "barn family," plus new students, horses, clients and friends! We are looking forward to another year filled with horses, learning, new experiences, shows, clinics, camps, fun and much more! 

Happy New Year everyone!  

From, 

Paetra Ritter and the Green Gate Equine Services at Mountainview Horse Farm team! 

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Just Fun Stuff "Fun" at Winter Camp

Photo courtesy of Alexis Yunggebauer 

Photo courtesy of Alexis Yunggebauer 

Fun - 3'Jump school  Photo courtesy of Alexis Yunggebauer 

Fun - 3'Jump school 

Photo courtesy of Alexis Yunggebauer 

For the past two weeks Just Fun Stuff aka: Fun has been at Winter Camp here at Green Gate Equine Services. Fun's owner, Beth, decided that it would be a good thing for Fun to do for a couple weeks since the holidays arrived and threw everyone's schedules out of whack, including my own. I have been riding Fun for Beth since she fractured her hand fox hunting in Ireland a few months ago, driving down to York to ride Fun during the holidays wasn't in the cards though. So thankfully Beth agreed to let him come up to our farm for 2 weeks for "winter camp." 

Winter camp for Fun has involved about 4 days a week of riding, 2-3 days he does dressage work, and 1-2 days he's been doing some jump schooling. Then he's been getting to do one day a week of hacking out down the road, into the gamelands and around the surrounding area. Fun has decided that he likes this schedule quite a lot! His 21st birthday also occurred last Wednesday on January 1st and he spent the day getting to hack around and having lots of cookies and treats afterwards. 

We will be sad to see Fun go home this week but we know he's looking forward to having his mom back on him again! And thankfully it sounds like her hand is healing and she'll be back in the saddle in just a few days! Fingers crossed! 

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My ride with Sally Cousins!

So I recently have been riding a horse named, Just Fun Stuff aka: Fun, for his owner since she fractured her hand while she was fox hunting in Ireland a month ago. Fun is a 21 year old Thoroughbred who competed at the Rolex 3-Day Event years ago with his old owner Melissa Hunsberger. He has quite the story behind him, originally starting as a timber racing horse when he was young, then he formed his upper level eventing partnership with Melissa and after fracturing his scapula at an event his eventing days looked like they were over. Really good rehab and vet-work brought him back and Beth Rahn purchased him and began eventing on him. Currently he is 21 years old and still competing successfully at training level! That is darn impressive! 

I began riding Fun here and there for Beth when she learned that I had been an eventer growing up and she knew I would have an appreciation for a horse like him. Sure enough, from the first time I sat on him I loved him! He has all the upper level dressage buttons, from half passes and extensions to canter pirouettes and some amazing gaits! I was given the opportunity to jump Fun a little in a lesson last winter, we just did some small exercises with some low fences and I could tell that jumping was where is true heart lies, though I didn't feel him at his top in that lesson. I knew there was more in there though! Sure enough I found it yesterday when I jumped him again in a lesson with Sally Cousins! 

Beth was extremely nice enough to offer me the opportunity to take a lesson on Fun with Sally Cousins (who Beth has trained with for several years) in exchange for the exercise riding I've been doing with him. I've always grown up with several great trainers I would love to ride with and Sally is one of them so it was amazing to finally have that opportunity! Sally Cousins has been on the Leading Lady of US Eventing Leaderboard for 6 years in a row now and is currently attempting to qualify for the World Equestrian Games in 2014, she is a great rider and trainer! 

Yesterday I met Beth and we loaded Fun up and trekked off to Rolling Acres Farm in Maryland where Sally was teaching lessons for the afternoon. I was on and warmed up, ready to go by my 3PM lesson time. We started out with some simple single fences off of different turns and worked our way through some bending lines, rollbacks,  and courses of different turns. From the first fence we jumped to the last, Fun was right there under me, ready to go, ready to do his job and having fun while doing it! That horse truly LOVES to jump, it was a pleasure to have the privilege to sit on a horse of his training, quality and experience again and remind myself why I truly do enjoy eventing as one of the sports I grew up learning. Fun has just as much talent, scope and drive jumping the full height fences as I expected he would! I had a blast yesterday and I wish I could do it again every day! Hopefully I'll have another opportunity to do so in the future! 

Fun and I doing some dressage a few weeks ago.

Fun and I doing some dressage a few weeks ago.