Event Clinics Presents: Road to the Three Day

From Kate Rakowski: 

I know, I know, eventers are hardy; we ride in all weather, no matter what. But it’s a drizzly and cold Friday afternoon after a few loooonnnggg weeks. The catalogues went out from the tack shop and I worked extra afternoons there. Progress reports went out today (which probably means many e-mails and phone calls waiting when I get back to school on Monday) and I gave the first chapter test which I now have to grade. Cider’s standing in the barn all snuggly in his rainsheet and I don’t wanna. So, I’ll just go feed, then write an update about how things have been going in preparation for the 3-day.

2 weeks ago, He got new shoes and there was no sign of bruising which is what kept us out of the 3-day last year – let’s hear it for Shock Tamers! Then I decided at the 11th hour that Eric Smiley shouldn’t miss out on a chance to see me 3 times this year, so I joined the show jumping day of his recent clinic at Hitching Post Farm in South Royalton, VT. I did XC day of the June Clinic at Ledyard Farm in MA with Eric. I’ve done 2 clinics a year with him for about the last 5 years or so and I never go away without something new to ponder. For a variety of reasons, Cider hadn’t been ridden in 4 days and I hadn’t ridden in 5 days. His owner, Melissa, keeps telling me that I should be vary wary of getting something with Arab in it this fit in fall weather. I don’t listen well. I thought we’d be fine without the running martingale. I had what my friend, Jocelyn, called “dragon pony” for about 5 solid minutes at the beginning of our jumping exercises. He was throwing his head, rearing, running sideways, spinning, etc., and when I finally pulled him up sharply, he snorted loudly several times. Thankfully, he was then quite well behaved for the rest of the lesson. Would you believe that the reason I have been struggling to find jumps out of the canter without having terrible distances or making major pace changes in the last 2 strides is because of the lack of a quality canter? I’m guessing that’s not a shock to anyone who’s ever given or taken a jumping lesson; why did I not recognize that? Because someone needs to keep instructors in business.

From the clinic, Cider headed off for a flashback to his previous career as an endurance horse. A young friend was scheduled to go to ME for a 30 mile Competitive Trail Ride but her horse had an unexplained muscle cramp. Did I think Cider could do it? What the heck do I know about how fit a horse needs to be for 30 miles? I said, give it a shot. He was fit enough. He won. He was a superstar. He’s like that. Try to kill me at a clinic, be wonderful for a 30-mile ride. It all depends on what he thinks is fun. However, that does give me a confidence that he can handle a paltry training level endurance day.

Now, I just have to get through a week and a half of teaching, write sub plans for 4 days, judge both Saturdays, pack everything I need, do one more good jump school, go to a few after school meetings, figure out what to do for my husband’s birthday and decide how long I can hold off before I turn on the heat (it’s only frosted once here and we just got new windows so we’ve been ok so far. There’s a long winter ahead.)


But first, I went for a lovely hack/dressage school today on the sunny Sunday following the yucky Friday. How can you have a bad ride with a face like that on a day like this with that kind of foliage? Now you wish you lived in VT, don’t you.


The Road to the Three Day series is brought to you by Event Clinics. For all of your clinic and schooling show entry needs, visit http://www.eventclinics.com. Event Clinics is a Platinum Sponsor of the Waredaca Classic Three Day Event.  


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