Bellany Rock - winning the OI at Stuart Horse Trials 2012

Selena and Bellany Rock - winning the OI at Stuart Horse Trials 2012.

The season has finally begun for O’Hanlon Eventing. On Friday last, Selena rode Bellany Rock, Foxwood High and A First Romance in the open intermediate at Rocking Horse in Florida. Dressage first, they were all great. We were particularly pleased with Solo (A First Romance) who put in a really solid performance to get a 36.8. Selena has been working hard on her dressage with Solo as it has been his weak point. After show jumping, at the end of day one, Solo was 5th in his division and Woody and Rocky were 4th and 7th respectively. Selena was very happy with her trio.

Saturday dawned bright and hot. Selena had committed herself to slow rounds on XC, as it was the first run of the year for all three. She took time to move down to 8th and 11th with Woody and Rocky, both of whom did beautiful XC rounds, especially Woody who is turning into a real superstar. Unfortunately, Solo having done such a wonderful job in the dressage ring, was not in the mood for the two corners and eliminated Selena while he argued about the way they looked…sigh…you get the dressage right and the XC starts to slip a little….EVENTING!!!!

So far Selena has attended one training camp with the new team coach Clayton Fredericks. Solo was not given a spot (until his dressage improves) but Woody and Rocky had great sessions on all three days. Straight from training camp, Selena went immediately to a dressage clinic with Jennie Lorriston-Clarke, Britain’s president of the Dressage Society, and my coach when I lived in the UK. Jennie saw a big improvement in Woody, especially in his muscling and strength. Woody had three lessons with Jennie and Rocky and Solo had one each. Selena is looking for sponsorship to help her with the costs on Rocky and Solo, both of which are fully funded by O’Hanlon Eventing. With sponsorship she would like to be able to compete a little more and take more advantage of the amazing opportunities to take lessons from the best in the World while training in Ocala.

Back at Balsam Hall the snow has been swirling. We have all taken advantage of the fluffy new snow to go out in droves to hack around the fields. Our young horses are working at home this winter, with two three star horses being funded in Florida, the youngsters get to stay in Canada and struggle with the temperatures like the rest of us. They are being ridden by Balsam Hall’s staff, Anne Marie Duarte, Emma Rafuse, Kate Sykes and Tori Morgan, all of whom are doing an amazing job of bringing them along one exercise at a time. In January we worked hard on ten metre circles and this month is lengthening month. Its not quite the same as getting an Ocala season under their belt, but they are going to be a lot farther on with thier education in April than they were in November.

On Saturday, we ran a theory and demonstration clinic – Poles for Dressage. We had a great turnout with a fabulous hot lunch prepared for us by the clinic organizer, Elizabeth Hay. I have a sneaky feeling there were a few that just came for the AMAZING lunch, it was a great day and the weather gods saved the icy blast until we had finished.

Anne Marie already has her flights booked to go and groom for Selena at Redhills, Talahassee, the first of the big three star efforts this Spring. Selena has her own three three star horses, a one star horse she is riding for someone else and a gorgeous Hanovarian/Irish Draft which will debut in Ocala and is for sale. Lots to do but she is in a great place to ride. This year the horses are stabled with Bruce Davidson at Chesterland South and Selena is finding it a huge help to ride under Bruce’s watchful eye. He IS the master! Also based at Chesterland South is the amazing International dressage coach, Gerd Zuther. He and Bruce have been very instrumental in the big improvement in Solo’s dressage.