Monday, March 31, 2008

A look at a New Discipline

One of my goals in earning an equine degree is to get exposure to equine disciplines that I would not have access to otherwise. This semester I am enrolled in a class called Driving the Single Horse. Delaware Valley College hosted an open driving competition and our class was required to attend. I arrived at the competition at about 9:30 AM and by this time the competition was well on its way. I walked into the indoor to find an intricately designed cones course that looked different from any competitive equine event that I have ever seen. Just looking at the cones set up gave me an appreciation for the difficulty of the discipline. When the first horse came in I was extremely impressed with the turnout of not only the equipment, but of the horse and driver as well. But before the cones course, the driver performed a Dressage test. Only for this Dressage test, not only did the driver have to memorize the test and be accurate- but he had to maneuver around the cones at the same time. As soon as the competitor completed the Dressage test, the judge gave a few pointers to the driver - about equipment, his driving technique or just a quick tip. She then sent him on his way to complete the cones course. I quickly discovered that speed and accuracy are the keys to this game. With tennis balls balanced on every cone there was no room for mistakes. This part by far was the most fun to watch. All that I could think was how grateful I am that none of my jumper courses have ever been that complicated…how do they even remember which cones are next? Let alone actually getting the horse and carriage through without even tapping the cone. I would have to say that even more impressive than the single horses getting through the cones course was the two in hands getting through. I do have one question that remains unanswered. Are the single and double horses judged separately? Because it seems that there is no way that the two in hand could possibly turn as sharply and as quickly as the single horse could. Even so the competition gave me a feel of how a driving competition is held and now I can’t wait to try again….uh oh - I think I have the bug!

Monday, March 24, 2008

To say the least...I am Exhausted!!

My parents told me once that college is like practice for real life stress that will occur in years to come. Well…if that’s true, I got a few years worth of practice last week!! I know that this kind of activity may be normal for some of you out there but it certainly was an exciting few days for me. Let me share just how a typical college student might spend a mid term…..

Saturday (Day 1) – We have a horse show scheduled at Del Val today. It is run by the first year Horse Show Management class, not an Intercollegiate Horse Show so it is pretty small and almost all of the riders are from the Del Val team. We finish the show around 2:00 and I meet my mom in my room to get dressed for the Spring Formal. Most of the other girls are already on their way to the hotel where they will finish dressing after their hair appointments. But I am counting on my mom to do my hair quickly, then I will put on my dress and high tail it over to the dance on my trusty red 1994 F150. By 11:00 PM I turn in for the night because I know that I have to be up by 4:00AM to meet the team and coaches to travel to the show. But it is definitely worth the effort - the dance was a blast!

Sunday (Day 2)After traveling to Worchester Stables in Warminster PA for the show we begin almost 2 hours late so we all know that it will be a very long day. The only person who was more tired than those of us that were at the formal was my Coach Corey, who is now 7 ½ months pregnant. The show goes longer than any show that I have attended before and unfortunately we don't even win. We head home and when we arrive back at school it is close to 9:00PM. Now to get to that homework……

Monday (Day 3)Today is an exciting day for me because it we hold elections for team officers. We have over 100 members on our equestrian team, so election day is always a crowded meeting. I am elected Captain for next year and the co – captain position is very closely run between 3 of my good friends. In the end Kaitlyn Y. will be my co-captain and I know that 2008-2009 will be a great season. Oh…and I did manage to turn in my English paper on time!

(Day 4-7) Classes, classes, classes….and a midterm exam on Wednesday….

Saturday (Day 8) Today is a horse show prep day. That means as co-captain I need to help the team captain with the horse show set up – painting jumps and setting courses. When we finish, I head back to my room to get ready for a wedding that I am attending. I promised my boyfriend that I wouldn't smell like horses haha silly boy. So once again I do the quick change and hair-do to get out the door and to the ceremony on time – once again driving my F150 in heels! I turn in early once again. The time changes so I lose an hour and have to wake up at 3:00 AM standard time for our horse show.

Sunday (Day 9) - I make it to the show on time and we start our IHSA show at 8:30 on the dot. It looks like we are definitely going to win this show since we win most of the Open and Intermediate classes. But in the end, it comes down to the last Walk/Trot class to decide the winner- and it’s just not our day….University of Delaware takes the show. My mom consoles Kaitlyn and I with a dinner out to celebrate my birthday- I turn 20 on Tuesday- I am no longer a teenager!

So a very busy week ends and another begins…I think I can survive all this…if I can just get some sleep…sweet dreams...zzzzzzzz.