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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We made it into March edition of Equestrian Magazine!

The Susan Treabess Para E-Quest Fund

It's official! The Susan Treabess Para-Equest Fund now exists through the Golden One credit union. But it isn't charitable, so sorry, I can't be a write off! It was too complicated to get all of that together. You may have noticed the handy-dandy "Donate" button at the top of the blog on the left. That button is a link to the fund through PayPal so people can help Moneypenny and me towards our Para-Dressage goals. And with a credit card too!!! If you don't want to use PayPal, just email me and I'll let you know how to donate directly. And yes I know, purses and shoes won't help me make the team so I will be sure to spend those pennies wisely.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Picnic Day Parade & First Fundraiser 4/19/08

Some of you may remember Craig Reynolds from our wedding. If you do, this won't surprise you. Every year, during Picnic Day (UC Davis open house extravaganza) Craig and his lovely wife Cass host Picnicstock, a battle of the bands reminiscent of late seventies burnt out hippy parties. It is always THE party to be at on Picnic Day and it is THE place to rub elbows with all of the Yolo County and Davis who's who. Well, this year Craig and Cass have offered up Picnicstock as my first official fundraiser - with only one catch: I have to ride Moneypenny in the Picnic Day Parade. So, with the help of Eva (sense a theme here?) we are entered in the Picnic Day parade with eight people and three dogs. All we need is a banner. If any of you have interest in coming to either the parade or the party, details will follow soon. And we'll be sure to post pics of the aftermath!

First Show!

Well, I had my first show and it went great! My friend Eva and I went to Denville Kanani in Pleasanton with "horse show husband" Scott. It was a medium sized show, but was a three star meaning that it was recognized but the US Equestrian Federation (meaning nationally recognized).
My first ride went well, but I definitely didn't give 100%. I was really nervous; it was my first show in years and my first show ever at third level. The horse was great of course. I rode really conservatively and I think I held my breath for the entire test. Needless to say I rode a little "stiff." So I had a few bobbles, but I still won my class and received a 65% which is actually a really nice score.
Before my second test, I was able to review the judge's remarks and regain composure. In the second test I felt like I was actually present and riding. And I made sure to ride better in all of the movements that were weak in the last test. Low and behold my mental presence paid off as I received a 71%! Again, we won the class.
Just to note, Eva received a 69% in her class and also won, so it was a good day for her too!
Scott and Eva were great! Eva groomed for me so I didn't get my white clothes dirty, and Scott received the title "horse show husband" because he brought chairs, a table, a cooler with beer, cheese, nuts and fruit AND was once again my personal paparazzi with two cameras snapping away. Could I ask for more?
And then there was Moneypenny. Words cannot describe what this horse has done for me. She is wonderful. She is amazing. She knows how to show and she definitely gives 100%. And she is VERY competitive. So she'll get the next two days off so she can eat grass and frolic in her pasture, then back to work we go!
P.S. We looked great dressed in our show clothes all braided, and I think the top hat had everyone convinced that we were the team to beat! Pictures to come……

The beginning...

70 degrees, sunny and pleasant. The Southern California weather was perfect for riders, horses, and spectators alike at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Para-Dressage training session held at San Juan Capistrano’s Shea Center January 19 and 20. Conditions were ideal for this newcomer to Para-Dressage, a competition that tests the combined skill and training of riders with physical disabilities and their horses.

Though I have ridden horses since I was 5 competing in hunter jumpers, combined training, gymkhana, western pleasure and dressage as a child, I only learned of the program from Dennis Callin just over a year ago. I was immediately convinced I had to get involved.

I was born without my left hand, but don’t consider myself disabled. The lack of a left hand has never stopped me from tackling an obstacle or goal. Ever. Most of my adult life I've ridden for fun and for the partnership a rider forms with a horse. I have had the opportunity to learn from incredible horsemen and women and I have spent the past 10 years honing my horsemanship and riding skills.

But it wasn't until Dennis approached me last November that I thought I could put all of that hard work and love of horses to use at an internationally competitive level. With the help of Dennis and my life mentor and regular trainer Ellen Eckstein, I was able to meet Katy Peterson, a professional from Salinas who offered to loan me her Prix St. George mare, Moneypenny, to compete towards the Para-Dressage events at the World Equestrian Games.

The pace was dizzying. After just one week together, Moneypenny and I were off to Shea Center for our first Para-Dressage training session. We arrived on Friday to find not only a state-of-the-art therapeutic riding center but also a refreshingly "green" philosophy in stable keeping. They treat their entire run off and the stalls are equipped with "comfort stall" mats among other things. The arenas were beautiful and the footing was light and fluffy: heaven for horses.

Training began the next day bright and early. I rode third and had a great first lesson. Everything was new: the horse was new to me, I was new to the horse, we were both new to team coach, Missy Ransehousen, Missy was new to us, and we were in a foreign facility. So we took it easy.

Missy was great, full of knowledge and experience. Best of all she had a great sense of humor. Because of our newly-formed partnership, she worked on simple yet important things like suppling, bending, accuracy, and forward. It was a great start to the weekend.

On the second day, Missy upped the anti to see of what I and Moneypenny were made of. My ride was fantastic, and I started to feel our potential as a pair. The other riders also had great rides and it was amazing to see the US team’s blossoming talent.

The weekend was a success and I now have an understanding of how important and competitive the USEF Para-Equestrian program truly is, which makes it all the more amazing that the staff and other riders were not only talented but genuinely friendly. Missy was a true professional and Pam Lane as well as the people from Shea Center. Sandy, Lauren and Dana were really helpful.

It was also a pleasure to meet and work with the other riders: Holly Bergay, Adria Di Maria, Elain Evans, Barbara Grassmyer, and Erin Waddle.For riders like us, the Para-Equestrian program is an amazing opportunity we might not have had otherwise. Speaking for myself, I left the experience wanting more and eager to dive into international level Para-Dressage.