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Monday, June 21, 2010

Big News...or at least it is in my world

Hopefully, this blog post does not come across as self-centered. (But if it does, I apologize profusely.)

Let me start with the reality that in my life I have been incredibly blessed. My family is awesome – supportive, encouraging and fun. Having grown up on a farm has been a wonderful, priceless series of life lessons, great experiences and very much a defining facet of who I am. The privilege of growing up alongside high caliber horses that my parents bred and trained is one detail that cannot be overlooked. It is an honor to be able to have been a part of their lives and that aspect is multiplied with having been part of the breeding, raising, training and competition phases…I have been blessed with a wonderful family of four legged friends as well as my wonderful human family.

The world-class equine athlete is a wonderful creature and it is a rare privilege to have had so many in our barn already. There is a strong sense of obligation to maximize their individual potential with dedicated training, competition and daily attention. The relationship between a horse and their rider is that of partnership and acceptance with an unspoken daily dialogue building trust and obedience while performing more demanding and intricate exercises upon request. Each horse is an individual and much like a relationship between people, sometimes the chemistry is ‘just right’ and the training process flows like a stream over a series of small smooth pebbles…it is just easier with that particular individual to make minute corrections and advance at a faster pace than is the norm. Advancing the training of an upper level horse is a time consuming effort as there is no substitute for hours of training and sweat for both horse and rider but in cases where the bond between horse and rider is just ‘right’, the effort is reduced and the work is fun.

At this time, there are several super stars advancing in their training here at the farm that I personally have ‘clicked’ with and I would like to concentrate my riding efforts on more solidly. As we have been breeding horses since the 1970’s, there have always been lovely youngsters coming along in their schooling and we have offered them for sale and they go on to delight their new owners and enjoy great success. At the moment, we have quite a few promising horses that are brilliant prospects for different areas of sport (dressage, hunter/jumpers, eventing) and it is lovely to see so many bright examples of the breeding program preparing for their careers. But I find myself resenting these lovely, talented youngsters for taking my energy and focus away from my ‘favorite’ rides each day.

As a Young Rider there were some competitive highlights that I would like to think were just the beginning of my career. I enjoy the energy found in high-level competition and the focus that is required of both horse and rider. The challenge of being able to bring the best out of your horse for the world to see is a thrill like none other.

There were some bumps in the road of my life since those days and it is with great joy I can say that my job is my passionate love. The hard work and daily effort are still a challenge that make me bounce of out bed in the morning and in the evening I find myself counting the hours until I can go ride the ‘special’ ones on the list for the following day. There are two horses in particular that I would like to concentrate my efforts on with the goal of the World Championships for Young Horses in 2011. There is also a youngster that should be ready to do the Developing Prix St. Georges over the winter with the National Championships in the summer as a very real and attainable goal for him. And two Dressage Royal offspring that deserve to be campaigned as contenders in the USEF Four Year Old Tests for the National Championships. All of these particular riding goals require me to maintain a high level of fitness (thank you to the delightful event horses for reminding me to gallop and jump more often), cut back on the ‘extra’ horses on the riding list and concentrate more fully on what each particular equine star student needs from me as a rider.

So in order to come within spitting distance of these particular goals, most of the horses that are on the Sales Pages of the farm website will need to find new homes and delight other people each day with their particular gifts and skills as riding horses. They are fun to ride, gifted and athletic...but the rapport is not there for me with all of them and there are only so many hours in each day. That makes the big ‘news’ on the farm from where I am typing is that we have some really nice horses for sale at the moment and it would be lovely to have them find people who are interested in having talented, athletic horses to enjoy for themselves.

Some people might think that this is just a sales pitch. Perhaps it is in some respects. But the reality is that it is not every day that the most talented horse you have had the privilege of sitting on crosses your path - let alone to have several at the same time out of the same breeding program all at slightly different levels in their training. For me, as a rider the obligation exists to maximize their potential to the best of my ability, so hopefully this post conveys the sense of urgency and joy that make up the start of each of my days here at Watermark Farm.

So if you know of anyone who is looking to purchase a new equine partner, please have them contact my mother, Anne ( .

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