Thermal 2012, Week 1

Just a week ago, Emma Tyrrell and I, got to the barn bright and early in the morning to load up Larry, Felicity and Jerry for our drive to Palm Desert. The horses were loaded by 5am…and we were off and driving. Our only concern was going to be the rain, but nature was good to us…smooth sailing! Emma was a great co-pilot…playing movies (and Connie…I did listen, but did not watch), making snacks and lunch. The drive went by quickly. We arrived in 9 hrs to a temp of 75 and plenty of sunshine.

After our arrival, the horses were very tired, thirsty and hungry. We gave them a couple of hours to settle into their stalls. Typically, horses are not interested in drinking on road trips, unless it is extremely hot. Emma and I toured the facility. One of our first stops was to pick up our golf cart, as this facility is HUGE! It often takes about 10 minutes just to walk to your ring. We then went to the office to check in and after that we checked out the ring locations. After we wandered around, we took each of the horses out for a stroll around the facility…they were alert and happy.

Thermal had about 1200 horses for Week 1. The quality of horses and riders was top notch and being here is always inspiring.

Emma Tyrrell had her first week with a brand new horse, Palladium (aka Jerry). Thank you to Joan Curtain for finding us this great horse from Spruce Meadows. And a big thanks to Emma’s parents, Kate and Joe, for supporting Emma’s passion. Emma and Jerry looked great together this week. We played in the 3′ Eq and Medal rings. Emma and I felt it was I important to spend a week of ‘getting to know you’ time…and that they did. The highlight of their week was the 5th in her Equitation Over Fences. They just kept getting better and better…so fun to watch!

Rebecca Fahrendorf also had a fantastic week! Rebecca brought both her horses…Larry and Felicity. Larry is her new horse and he was AMAZING! Becca was 4th in the Foxfield, 3rd in the Farnam Medal and 5th in the Ariat Medal. In the Farnam Medal Becca had an amazing round, but was not called back to the work off (I thought she would have), so, I headed to Emma’s ring to do a class…and when I came back I found out…she was in the work off! The judge mixed up the numbers…3 riders worked off, then they found the error. Quickly, Becca had to learn the work off and get into the arena…WHEW, nice ride!!! Becca also rode her horses in the large and very competitive AA Hunter Division…so awesome! They both got fantastic ribbons and looked beautiful. Larry, on the last day was 2nd and 3rd…and SECOND in the AA HUNTER CLASSIC! Awesome riding and a great horse!

We have just ended week 1 and the horses, riders and trainer are taking the day off. Jesus, our super groom, will be taking the horses out for a couple strolls, Emma is going to catch up on homework and Becca and I…maybe a pedicure, a run, hang by the pool, maybe just be a little lazy or all of the above.

We had such a super week! Thank you to Kate and Becky for cooking over the weekend and for making such great cheerleaders:) Also, thanks to Emily Johnson and her family for coming down to cheer on Team KMT.



‘From the Judge’s Perspective’ by Connie Buckley

From the Judge’s Perspective

It was a beautiful, sunny day at Shiloh West as mom’s, dad’s, spouses, amateur’s, junior’s and guests of KMT came together to participate in a clinic with Connie Buckley. Connie generously shared her knowledge of judging, backed by her 30+ years of experience, with our eager group of onlookers.

The first part of the clinic covered topics like qualities of a good judge, what a judge’s job entails, and what a judge looks for in certain types of classes and divisions with consideration of the horses and the rider. Connie explained to our participants that there are different qualities a judge will look for in a horse/rider in a lower, entry-level division, compared to that of an upper-level division.

In a Walk/Trot, Crossrail or Short Stirrup Division, safety is the most important factor. In the 2’6”-3’0” division safety and manner of going is key, and a horse at the upper-level divisions needs to exude “brilliance” and superior quality. Participants learned that the horse is judged in a “Hunter” type class, while it is the rider who is judged in an “Equitation” type class. Connie explained the rider’s “position” and importance of communicating properly with the horse through that position to make the overall picture look like one of harmony.

The second hour of instruction was held outside where the participants watched demonstration rides given by Kelly and Alison. A mock Hunter Under Saddle and Flat Equitation class was held. Participants were give practice judge’s cards and told to score the class, which was then discussed. A little humor was thrown into the mix as Kelly demonstrated some undesirable equitation traits. The participants then had the opportunity to judge a Hunter over Fences class and an Equitation over Fences class, with discussion afterwards. Connie was excellent at sharing the positives and negatives of each round and asked participants to share their opinions, which is certainly what a judge’s job entails. It was a wonderful learning experience for all!

Two key points that Connie pointed out: 1) Make your courtesy circle count! Build your PACE and keep it to your first fence so you can avoid that “first fence blah”. 2) Enjoy the process of riding and improving. Being judged means you are getting the judge’s opinion for “that moment” on “that day”. If you feel you did well and accomplished a goal for that round or that show, be pleased about it.

Written by Alison Potter

Enjoying the Process

Often times in sports we work towards goals. These goals motivate us to work hard so that we can look forward to a positive end result. This end result in the equestrian world could be as big or as small as you make it; maybe you are learning to canter, qualifying for a Medal Final or riding in a Grand Prix.

Over the years many lessons are learned. As a junior rider I rode with several amazing trainers and one of the most important lessons I learned was to ENJOY THE PROCESS. When I look back over the years and at my personal highlights, what I remember and truly loved was the process of growth. I remember how hard I worked on a daily basis…riding with out irons, begging for extra horses to ride and sitting and studying the professionals showing. Now don’t get me wrong, it is a great feeling winning that medal final…what a rush! But, let me tell you, that is only a moment in time and if you are not truly enjoying the process to get there, you are missing out.

Enjoying the process also pertains to enjoying the challenge of problem solving. What this means to me is leaving frustration and negative emotions out of the process. In other words, when you come out of the show ring and had a bad fence, work at losing comments like, “that was horrible” or “that was such an ugly round”. First, this is a time to problem solve. Again, go back to the process. In other words, how can I solve the problem of the “fence gone bad”. Was I too slow? How was the path I took? Was I in balance? Did I lose a contact lens on the approach? Remember, it was just a fence!

In the end, you will become much less disappointed when you learn to find value in the whole process of riding. At the end of the day, you will become more productive, less emotional and a more confident competitor.

So, the next time you ride, look forward to perfecting your rides by problem solving in a more positive way…and, ENJOY THE PROCESS:)