“Let us then be up and doing with a heart for any fate. Still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labour and to wait.” Longfellow
This is one of my favourite inspirational quotes. I am going to use it to take a look at my winter season in Florida.
Let us then be up and doing.
Mid December; Biasini and I were off down to Florida. This year to a new barn, Standing Oak Farm. I knew that my Florida coach, Lou Denizard, had moved his horses there so that meant it had passed muster with him. Large stalls and good ventilation, each stall with its own fan above the stall and openings on both sides of the stall, so horses can look out into the aisle, and also out to the outside.
But even the most glamourous barns are useless if the staff is not good. So, when I arrived I wondered how they would be. Biasini, likes to paw on the trailer and with more than 30 hours to do this he had made himself footsore when he arrived. I was also to blame as I had his feet trimmed the week before he left home. I won’t be making that mistake again! And in future he will ship with Soft Ride boots on in front.
So here is the new arrival, and he’s footsore. What does the staff do? Miguel takes a look and then arrives with a wheelbarrow of extra shavings. Absolutely the right answer. The other staff members, Erica, Jordan and Davey were friendly, helpful, and efficient. Can’t ask for more than that. Standing Oak farm is a big facility with two outdoor arenas and a covered arena with new footing. A covered arena is a luxury for the riders as it keeps you out of the hot sun and for the horses good footing is important for their leg tendons and ligaments. The verdict…..all good with the new barn.
With a heart for any fate
Before my first lesson I sat down with Lou and talked about what we wanted to accomplish, how things had been going at home and what he felt we should be working towards. We set out our objectives for the training and for the shows. It is simple really, we weren’t planning a mission to Mars, just a season of training and competition. Well, ok, maybe with the level of competition that exists in Florida it can seem like a bit of a mission. But…onwards!
Biasini and I competed in two shows; the first at White Fences Equestrian and the second at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Both had difficult moments but both finished with a breakthrough; White Fences for a personal best score and Global…. we won the class.
I also rode in a clinic with Henk van Bergen for two days. No resting on our laurels! Some very hard work but also very productive.
Then in the five days a week, of training lessons with Lou, we worked on the movements from the Intermediare 1. That and learning how to ride with crutches (see the recent post for more info on that!).
Learn to Labour
If you think dressage is just about sitting pretty and tootling around like you are out for a nice ride in the park you will have to think again. It may look calm and elegant, and that is how it is supposed to look, but five days a week in training is hard work. But it is also fun and absorbing and magical! So, work yes but not really “labour”.
And to wait
Unfortunately, Biasini picked up a “bug” and was not well for a couple of days. I thought it best to scratch from the last show we had entered in. This was disappointing as we were going to have done our first Intermediare 1 test, but I felt it was best not to push him as he needed to be completely well for his trip home. Travel is stressful for the horses and the trip takes over 30 hours. They are comfortable travelling in an air ride transport and are able to move about in a small stall, with hay and water, but it is still a long trip. So, we will have to wait to make our debut at the Inter 1.
There are more shows at home in Ontario over the summer so it will not be a long wait.
We were up and
We were doing.
We achieved and
We learn to wait.