Friday, February 18, 2011

Starting The Year with a Bang at Galway!!


Well, Hawley Bennett Eventing has started the year with a bang!!!  In January I had my fabulous coach and friend Buck Davidson come out for an amazing clinic, and he always sets the horses and riders up for success. It was a great clinic to get the horses listening and jumping well!

The following week, the fab Ian Stark came to Galway for the annual fund raiser clinic. This is a very cool clinic that Robert Kellerhouse organizes by recruiting multiple trainers to donate their time to teach for the two days. In return we as trainers get to meet some new students and raise some money for one of the best events in the country!! Another bonus, we get to have 2 lessons with Ian, and I always come away from his lessons feeling like I could jump anything!! He spent some extra time working with Ginny and I on the flat which was very helpful and now I feel totally ready for the show season to begin!

I am very lucky this year to have some cool horses to ride and compete, and as always feel that the more horses I ride, the better I will become.  Our first show of the year was Galway Downs, located across the street from the barn where we train. Most people think that this is an advantage.... definitely not!!!  Gin and Juice has a hard time focusing in the dressage ring because all her friends are across the street!! Sometimes I feel like I should have my Point Two Air Jacket on for is blue and would match my helmet!! 
"Ginny" actually behaved herself quite well and we were in second after dressage in the INT! I also got to compete Ginnys little brother "Five O'clocksomewhere" in his first start at INT!! He tried very hard in dressage and I made a few tiny mistakes, but those tiny mistakes add up at the upper levels!! 

My plan for both horses was to have good confident go on the XC.  I wanted Ginny to go slow and be relaxed, and if you have seen my little mare, that does not happen very often! The last time she ran XC was on the green grass in Kentucky for WEG!!  She was very fired up and thought it was the best day ever, but after about 3 min, she took a deep breath and relaxed.  I was very happy to cross the finish line for my first XC ride of the season and it was perfect (attached picture compliments of David Nydes)!

I remembered to unhook my Point Two Air Vest before hopping back on my second INT ride.  "Five O'clocksomewhere"  aka "Chunky" is a little different ride from his sister!  He is such a talented little horse and galloped around those red numbered jumps like he had done it his whole life!!  He is much more of a cool customer than his sister, as he just takes everything in stride.  I am hoping to take him to the Pan Am Games this fall :) 

Throughout the day I rode 6 horses and did not deploy my Air Vest once, so it was a safe and successful day!! The next day we got to SJ on grass, and for us West Coasters, Galway is the only event that jumps on grass, so it was a great opportunity.  All the horses jumped great and I was very pleased, and I could not have been more pleased with ALL of my students!! Each and everyone of them were champs!!!  Natalia (who grooms for me) did an awesome job keeping everything organized with the other girls and horses.  It makes my life much easier when I don't have to worry, I can just ride and coach.

I've got another blog coming up stay tuned!!  ~  Hawley

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