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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WEG Wrap up

Team USA

Holy cow! Its already the middle of January! Well I guess no time like three months after the even to provide a wrap up!

Overall Team USA put in a good showing at the WEG. Moneypenny and I finished 10th overall with a 69% in the freestyle. We were the highest scoring US pair! I'm very content with our performance in our first international event. The experience was unbelievable...its hard to put into words.

We set out on this journey almost 5 years ago and it was a true test of will. There were many ups and downs, but once I walked into that stadium for opening ceremonies, it all became worth it! The quality of the competition was amazing. I thought there might be 10 top horses. Instead there were at least 60 top notch international horses. As one US judge said, "these horses were eye candy for any rider." I was glad to see so many Americans recognize how competitive Para-Dressage is on the international level. I hope this awareness will lead to support of the up-and-coming US Para Team riders. The riders winning medals at the WEG are heavily supported financially.

Whats next? The London Paralympics of course! But first I'm dedicating my time and energy to building my small training business in Winters. I have very supportive clients and I'm really excited about helping them with their goals. At the same time I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a horse to campaign for London while competing with MP in the FEI able-bodied shows, and bringing up my two young horses Verite and Amigo.
I would like to take the opportunity to all of those who helped me on this journey. My family and friends, coaches, veterinarians, therapists, sponsors and moral supporters: I could not have done without the huge support system that we call Team MP!
Here are a few photos: all of our WEG photos will be published at
Ellen & Susan spectating
MP being interviewed by Sam & Glenn
Ellen coaching
Erin, Robin, Mary & me!

Friday, October 8, 2010

2 out of 3 tests complete...

Here are Susan's results so far:

Team Test 63%
Individual Test 64.8%

The next and final test is the Musical Freestyle, which doesn't happen until Sunday. Surely they'll get another good score, as her freestyle is full of personality and class - even with the sexy flapper music!
In Susan's first test, the Team Test, Moneypenny unfortunatley got her tongue over the bit, which made their canter work a bit challenging, but in talking with Ellen, spectators couldn't tell. They were able to perform a very solid test, despite MP's roaming tongue. The second test, the Individual, went very smooth, and there were even parts of the test Susan felt like she just nailed the movement, and couldn't stop from smiling during the ride. She said MP was more up and round than she'd ever been before in competition, so she was very pleased with that.

Overall, Susan is in the middle of the pack as far as scores go, which is very respectable considering this is the WEG! Susan is having a great time, and is very happy with MP, and still proud as ever that she is representing the US. She said she's learned so much leading up to, and at the WEG. She was even talking to a fellow para rider that has really cool adaptive reins, where she can operate the snaffle, the snaffle and curb, or just the curb, and she has one arm. Pretty impressive. Susan also watched some of the vaulting, and she said it's so entertaining! The athletes are like cheerleaders, with muscles and great athleticism to go along with that very peppy attitude!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Competition Starts Today!

Moneypenny, along with all the US horses, passed their jog, and are fit and ready for competition, which starts today. Susan rides at 6:30 pm Eastern, 3:30 pm west coast time.

A "fan" of Susan's asked me to explain how the Para Dressage Competition works, so here it is...There are three tests, the Team Test, Individual Test and the Musical Freestyle. Competitiors are divided into specific grades according to their abilities, and are asked to perform a specific test according to their grade. To determine the team placings, the scores for the Team Test and the Individual Test are combined, and the top 3 riders from each nation are then added together to determine placing. The Individual Test and the Musical Freestyle are both individual rides, so the best score wins. Hopefully that explains the "fans" question.

Susan reports that she is so proud to be competing at the WEG, representing the United States of America. She feels very good going into the Team Test, as MP in in her "element", fit, happy and ready to strut her stuff! Susan is so happy to have a group of cheerleaders there, made up of her family and friends.

Go for the Gold Susan! We're all rooting for you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Susan Says It Best...

Because the World Equestrian Games is such a huge deal, in the Equestrian World at least, I thought Susan's email to me last night said it best, so I've decided to just copy and paste. Enjoy...

"Hello! All is well here. I had my first session with Ellen today, MP felt FANTASTIC. I cried and jumped for joy when she got here, its so nice to have someone that knows me and the horse so well. It felt so good to just ride and not have to think. Opening ceremonies was on Saturday and was an amazing experience. I have never been involved in something quite like it. The US uniform was Ariat jeans, boots, and shirt topped with the US blazer, belt, scarf and cowboy hat. Actually, several nations wore cowboy hats. Prior to the ceremonies, they had each discipline take team photos and then they sent us inro a staging area. Altech provided their famous Kentucky Burbon Ale so everyone was having a very good time. We got to meet many riders from the other nations and other disciplines, and we chatted quite a bit with Anne Gribbons, the US Dressage Team coach. She is SO nice! When the vaulters started throwing each other in the air, we knew it was almost time to go. Staff began walking through the athlete crowd with signs for the individial nations. Athletes followowed their sign and thats how the precession began. It was very moving to line up behind the US flag and when we got outside the staging area we could here the bluegrass music coming from the main stadium. I had chills walking from the staging area all the way to the stadium. We could hear them announcing the nations and we could hear the crowd cheering. When we rounded the corner before entering and saw the jam packed stadium, I had a very wierd out of body experience. I couldn't believe that I was really about to walk with our country in a parade of nations for the World Equestrian Games. It was sureal, the feeling of emotion and pride. When they announced the United States over the loud speaker the crowd went wild! It was so crazy in the stadium. Everyone was signing and dancing and cheering. After we all made the lap around the arena, they led us to athlete seating so we could watch the show. To be honest I dont remember much from there - not because of the beer, but because I was so overwhelmed. I hope I get to do this again, because next time I will bring a good camera! So now we train. Other events are going on, reining and dressage. Endurance finished yesterday. We are going to try and go see some of the other events tomorrow."

And if Susan does "this again", it will most likely be the 2012 Olympic Games, of which I promised her I will attend! I can do "on the site" blogging. Until next time, GO USA, GO SUSAN AND MONEYPENNY!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Heaven, Safe & Sound

I'm happy to report that MP has made it safely to Kentucky, and is settled into her beautiful stall, drinking and eating happily. Susan calls the Kentucky Equine Research Center, "the horsey motherland"! MP enjoyed turnout this morning on 5 acres of rolling bluegrass, and thought for sure, this was heaven. The KER facility, owned by Joe & Anna Pagan, is beautiful and it sounds as though every need is being met, complete with automatic waters that tell you how much your horse is drinking!

Susan went for a light ride this morning, and is pleased to report that MP looks great, feels great, and most importantly, seems happy. MP is already wooing her neighbors, she's such a tease. She likes to be wanted.

The team should all have arrived by tomorrow, and they start their "processing" where they get their accreditation's and US gear, which Susan is very excited about!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Up, Up and Away!

Hello friends of Susan and MP! This is Susan's friend, Eva, hijacking her blog to bring you breaking news and photos of the event we've all been waiting for, the World Equestrian Games!

Scott dropped Susan off early yesterday morning, with a huge suitcase, named "Bagzilla", so that she could arrive and get settled before Miss MP made her arrival. Scott and Devon then dropped MP off at some insane time this morning, before the sun came up, for her flight. I don't know a lot about transporting horses via air, however, it's a big deal! The horses are put in boxes and then lifted up to the plane and loaded. They stay in their boxes the whole time, and they have "handlers" which accompany them during the flight. When you think about how horses spook at things like hoses and birds at home, it blows my mind to think about driving them to the airport and loading them on a plane! But MP is a champ, and she knows she deserves all of this hoopla!

Until the next post...GO SUSAN AND MP!!!