Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hawley Hits A Home Run At Dragonfire!

What a truly successful weekend we just had here at Dragonfire! With near perfect weather, a group of eager students of all levels, and an enthusiastic and seemingly tireless clinician in Hawley Bennett, Dragonfire kicked off the new season in a big way.

Hawley's action packed lessons kept the horses' feet moving and the rider's heads turning looking for the next task at hand. We were so EXTREMELY PROUD of all of our Dragonfire riders for representing us so well and showing Hawley what we are made of. We are also thrilled by the performance our baby three and four year old class gave....man- what a bunch of stars for the future! Having some of the wonderful riders from around our area come in and enjoy the Dragonfire facility was also a treat. Hawley was very complementary of all of those that participated in the clinic and she is eager to come back and see how we've improved in the future.

We had some much appreciated help over the weekend with the Deer Creek Pony Club providing jump crew and a snack bar on both days. Michael Votaw was our official electronics nerd at our dinner at Mikuni's and kept Hawley's videos of her rounds with Gin N Juice and Livingstone rolling while our giant party had a grand time eating sushi. And Ride On Video generously made a great movie to remember the weekend by.

Thank you to all of our participants, our volunteers, and to Hawley for making this clinic a smashing success!

Here are some pictures of the great team here at Dragonfire....

Taylor McFall and Roses Are Blue
Natalie Jensen and Wrigley
Kammy Bhala and Ragtime White Magic
Jennifer McFall and Lady's Comet
Cori Davis and Willingness
Mia Bouslough and Hailey Popham looking beautiful at Mikuni's after great rides in the clinic

Meghan Allen and Oscar of Penzance
Makena Graber and Mr. Chew
Merissa Underwood and Danny California
Earl McFall and Rouge et Blanc DF
Tracy Felt and Infinite
Maddy Rau and Aurio Secto
Caroline Dein and Lucid Opposition
Earl McFall and Highland Empress
Jennifer McFall and High Times

Hawley Bennett-Awad: As Seen By Makena

Here is the second of our Guest Bloggers, Makena Graber. Makena started her riding career here with Melissa in The Academy @ Dragonfire and took her very first "official clinic" on a brand new horse for her, a green OTTB, "Mr. Chew". This is what Makena had to say about her weekend with Hawley:
feeling accomplished

Let me just start off by saying, what an AMAZING weekend!  The much anticipated Hawley Bennett Clinic was a great success thanks to the generosity of Jenny and Earl and the hard work of the riders and Hawley herself.
It wasn't until the first day of the clinic that I started to get nervous. And this being my first clinic ever, it was a new experience for me. I was very thankful that on the first day, I didn't ride until later in the afternoon, so I had time to watch the other riders and get a feel for what it was going to be like. Before I knew it, it was time to go fetch Mr. Chew from the pasture. Walking into the arena was like walking onto a stage, there's this superstar standing there and a bunch of people are watching everything. Once we started the lesson, my nerves went away and my adrenaline kicked in. The jumps weren't too high, but the exercises were tough and it made me realize how much I had to work on. One of the high points for me was Hawley's teaching style; very blunt and direct, yet positive and encouraging. We were all exhausted after the lesson was done, but we still had enough energy to head to Mikuni's just a few hours later.

At dinner, Hawley shared with us videos of her and her mare, Gin N' Juice, and her experiences on getting to work with such an incredible horse. Hearing Hawley's story inspired me a TON because it was so close to mine: both being in Pony Club at age 15,  Hawley doing her first event at 16 and I'm hoping to have my first event this summer. It just went on to show me that you don't have to start riding when you're four years old to accomplish what Hawley has.
The second day of the clinic was probably my favorite day of the two. We worked on many things the day before, but now it was time to elaborate on those things and raise the bar, literally. The jumps were noticably bigger and much, much scarier. With tires, trees, and boxes underneath the jumps, the horses were definitely more looky. As for Mr. Chew, he LOVED it! The scarier and bigger, the better! As the lesson wore on, Hawley made me realize what an amazing horse I was sitting on. It was because of his willingness that the lesson went so smoothly. By the end of the day everyone was bushed, and ready to go home. It was an awesome weekend with barely any hiccups, and for that I am grateful.
triple bar to vertical in six

baby group

This was for sure the BEST first clinic a girl could have! I am truly blessed to be around such amazing people and talented horses. Being taught by Hawley was an experience in itself, and I hope to have the honor of being taught by her again someday. I am grateful to her for coming out and teaching us so many things, and to Jen and Earl for being hospitable to everyone and providing the space and resources to make the clinic a reality. It was quite an experience to be had and I'm sure that it's not going to be the last!
what an experience!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Hawley Bennett-Awad: As Seen By Meghan

We recently hosted a wonderfully successful Hawley Bennett Clinic here at Dragonfire Farm in which I asked two of the participants to write about their personal experience. The first here for your reading pleasure is from Meghan Allen, a college student from Fresno who has just gotten into the great sport of Eventing. From Meghan:

Hey everyone,

I cannot even began to explain how excited I have been for this clinic.  I had been waiting for this weekend for at least a month and finally it is here. I am also guilty of bragging about being able to have a lesson with Hawley Bennett!

When I arrived at Dragonfire on Saturday morning everything was set and the first group of girls were almost ready to ride.  I still had last minute things to do like wash Oscar’s whites and clean tack.   After the cleaning was done I sat on the berm to watch a few groups.  One important aspect for me is watching others perform.  You can learn a lot just by watching others ride.  I stress that everyone takes time once and a while just to watch others.

a view of day one

Around 1:15 it was my group’s turn to have a lesson with Hawley.  I felt really good about my warm up, my leg was feeling very secure and my horse was on the bit.  However, once we started our lesson we had a minor mishap in the grid that left me eating a little dirt.  After that I had one of the best rides I have ever had on Oscar.  Hawley was extremely constructive in her feed back while staying positive.  Her teaching style really helped me understand exactly what I was doing right and what I needed to change in my ride.  My favorite part of the lesson was that Hawley kept the courses interesting and different.  We never repeated a course more than once, we only repeated certain parts that needed fine tuning.  

day one

Saturday night we all went to dinner at Mikunis.  Great fun was had but, of course we were all eager to learn about Hawley.  We watched videos of her on her mare, Gin and Juice.  I could not get over how big the fences were out on the cross country courses she was jumping!  And to think she was jumping those fences on a small 15.3 mare!! One thing I learned is that size does not matter all that much if you have a horse that has clean footwork because footwork is key.

dinner at Mikuni's

Sunday’s focus point was a course based off cross country like aspects.  Hawley set up things like a coffin, chevron, table and a house.  She also incorporated a bounce, a tall vertical with tires under it and we even jumped the christmas tree!  I found today’s lesson to be very beneficial since we took all our footwork exercises from Saturday and utilized them in a course.  From the outside looking in it might have seemed like an easy course with lots of time in between fences.  However, Hawley set it up so that after a long gallop we had to really collect our horses otherwise we were in jeopardy of pulling a rail.

the coffin on day two

day two

Everyone put in beautiful rounds today and I believe this was all do to the footwork we did in our lessons yesterday.  I had a great weekend at the clinic and it was definitely worth the long hours and lack of sleep.  I want to thank Hawley Bennett for taking time out of her busy schedule and sacrificing 75 degree weather for a brisk 60 degrees.  Also to Jen and Earl for supplying everything that was needed for this weekend and to Nancy Dein for taking pictures.  The weekend went so smoothly and it could not have happened without everyone’s positive attitudes.

Meghan Allen 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Go Billy Go": FEI Diary For High Times

Hawley helps Billy understand that Dressage happens whether you want it to or not

What a gift I have been given. I am blessed with a life that allows me to learn and grow on a daily basis surrounded by two and four legged friends and supporters. How many people can say that? The opportunity to build onto my foundation as a rider is what I relish, and I know that the opportunity only surfaces when you have a horse capable of taking you there and a dedicated team of coaches and family invested in your success. The gift, I believe, is the wisdom to finally appreciate this and enjoy the journey. For all of the times that I may not have fully appreciated my situation, I promise I am in FULL appreciation now and will squeeze every last drop of pleasure out of the road I am on.

Billy and I have an exciting few weeks ahead of us, which we kicked off with a double shot of private lessons with Hawley Bennett-Awad down at Galway Downs in Temecula, CA. This quick trip down involved an 18 hour round trip drive courtesy of Earl, for a total of an hour and a half of intense learning for me. I have been dealing with a minor injury that makes sitting excruciatingly painful, so my darling husband drove the whole way while I laid in the back of the truck. All of this on our twelve year wedding anniversary. We are such romantics!

making short work of the one stride drop into water

working on our fear of ditches

The ditch in front of this skinny was no problem!

This weekend we will be riding in our own Hawley Bennett clinic here at Dragonfire to work on the finer points of our show jumping and general good behavior. Earl and I will also be riding a few of our future stars in the clinic, something I know both of us are really looking forward to.  Then it will be off to Galway again for our first Intermediate run. 2** look out...here comes Billy!!

Jenny and Billy

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Did It Again!

Dragonfire Fourth Dimension is as good as it gets
Dragonfire has hit the mark again in it's breeding program with Dragonfire Fourth Dimension. "Demi" is going to go all the way, just like her brother Dragonfire Timeless. The only question is...who will be the lucky rider in the irons when she marches down victory lane?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nothin' But Class

Roger loving his jump training
We have been so thrilled with the way that our young Rouge et Blanc DF, aka Roger, has been developing. From the beginning we knew that this flashy boy by Dragonfire Kirin and out of A Buccaneer's Life (TB) was destined for greatness. As a yearling, he started to prove to the world that our breeding program had hit the mark when he scored an impressive 81.0% at the USEA Future Event Horse testing in Paso Robles. As a two year old, Roger was the Overall Two Year Old Champion at the USEA Future Event Horse in Fresno. Rouge et Blanc DF is truly a class act that embodies the modern day sport horse.

Now we eagerly await this striking chestnut's debut under saddle as a performance horse. His three year old training has gone very smoothly, and his interested and kind temperament keeps everyone heading to his stall first every day.

Not just another pretty face

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ride Times For Hawley Bennett

This Could Be You

Okay guys, are you ready to lay some more bricks down on your path to Rolex? We are so excited that the date is fast approaching for the Hawley Bennett Clinic at Dragonfire!

Please be warmed up and ready before your ride time starts so that you can get the full benefit of your time with Hawley. The Deer Creek Pony Club will be on hand with a snack bar including lunch items, so you will be able to stay the day and watch the rest of the lessons without starving to death. Also, we have reserved the private room at the Elk Grove Mikuni's so that everyone can spend some quality time with Hawley and ask her all kinds of questions about what it feels like to represent her country in International Three Day Eventing. Please email Jenny at dragonfirefarm@frontiernet.net to let us know how many in your party are planning on coming to dinner ASAP so that we can give the restaurant a heads up.

Saturday 1/28                                                      Sunday 1/29
8:00: Kammy Bhala  (dressage)                           8:00: Kammy Bhala (dressage)
8:30: Lindsay Naas (dressage)                             8:30: Lindsay Naas (dressage)
9:00: Group 1                                                      9:00: Group 6
10:15: Group 2                                                   10:15: Group 5
Lunch                                                                 Lunch
12:00: Group 3                                                   12:00: Group 1
1:15: Group 4                                                     1:15: Group 2
2:30: Group 5                                                     2:30: Group 3
3:45: Group 6                                                     3:45: Group 4

Group 1: Julie Flettner, Caroline Dein, Merissa Underwood
Group 2: Lauren Branagh, Jen McFall, Natalie Jensen
Group 3: Tracy Felt, Hayley Sullivan, Amanda Blake, Meghan Lawrence
Group 4: Maddy Rau, Meghan Allen, Tayler Ravenscroft
Group 5: Jessica Peterson, Jen McFall, Earl McFall, Makena Graber, Cori Davis
Group 6: Hailey Popham, Mia Bouslough, Taylor McFall

Let's learn and grow! Onward and upward!!

Kentucky Horse Boots Sponsors Dragonfire

trusted by top eventers

We are thrilled to have Kentucky Horse Boots join our team of illustrious sponsors! These boots are the top of the line in Europe and are the only choice of protection for the elite in our sport. You will give your horse the best tendon support and strike protection available, along with keeping his legs cool, by using the boots in competition and on a daily basis. AND, as a friend of Dragonfire, you are entitled to a discount!! Email Jenny for the promo code to get the best for less!!!

protect your champion with Kentucky boots

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Small Stature, Big Heart

Dragonfire Lotus as a three year old at her first show
Lotus at a recent cross country school

Have you watched Lotus in her Dressage video over and over wondering WHEN IN THE WORLD were you going to get to see her jump? Well never fear, the wait is over! This dynamo in a petite package has been such a blast schooling over fences, that I'm surprised there hasn't been a fight in the tackroom when deciding who gets the ride every day. Check her sales page on our horses for sale, five and over page.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don't Blink

Mr. Chew
Don't blink or you might miss your chance to... oohh... you BLINKED! Well, you just missed your chance to purchase Mr. Chew as Makena Graber of Rancho Murieta, CA already snapped this handsome devil up. Makena and Mr. Chew have a wonderful chemistry going and we just can't wait to see their Eventing career take off this year. Congratulations Makena, you certainly have a fabulous partner to start the next chapter of your riding career with!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Introducing Manhattan Jubilee

Manhattan Jubilee

This mare is going to win some serious money in Futurity Alumni Program this year! As a coming four year old, "Jolie" has the makings of a top class Sport Horse, with talent for both Dressage and Jumping. She is by the incomparable Sport Stallion, Dragonfire Kirin and out UVM Columbine, a World Champion herself in Hunter Pleasure. Sweet, willing, and down to business, Jolie captures that real Morgan essence of heart and beauty all wrapped up in a darling able body. She made her show ring debut last year at the Motherlode Morgan Show and was crowned the Grand Champion Sport Horse Mare In Hand. She is wonderful to handle and loves any job you throw at her. Sensible on her hacks out, we just know she will be  a star across country as well. 
Jolie showing serious talent over a fence

Here is Jolie as an early four year old under saddle

Jolie as a two year old

                                                                   Baby Jolie

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pretty Please, With Sugar On Top?

Sugar loves play time around the barn

Get ready to answer your kids with a resounding "Yes!" when they beg you for a horse. Horses like this aren't available very often, so don't hesitate to ask about her...that's right, Sugar is available for purchase. Sugar is a "First-Time-Horse" extraordinaire! She is super sweet, smooth gaited and willing to do anything you set your mind to. She has brought her young owner thru the ranks of the Academy @ Dragonfire brilliantly: teaching her the ropes and picking up blue ribbons along the way in Equitation and Pleasure from Academy Shows to Class A Rated Morgan Shows. Sugar also loves the trail and is darling over a fence. She is also a proven broodmare who is guaranteed to throw color, producing an outstanding buckskin colt in 2009. Sugar is safe, fun, and a loving partner looking to bring a new rider along!

Winning Equitation and Medal horse

Get ready to have a blast at Summer Camp!

Space is Limited: Reserve Your Spot With Hawley Bennett-Awad

Dragonfire is most pleased to be hosting a Hawley Bennett-Awad clinic January 28-29, 2012. With her extraordinary accomplishments on all of the Canadian Teams including the Pam Ams, WEG's and the Olympics, this elite equestrienne hardly needs an introduction! Her drive and her youthful energy is not only unsurpassed in the industry it is also infectious as she has had a hand in several top young rider's careers.

With her keen eye and direct teaching style, Hawley will undoubtably give you a clinic to remember.

The clinic fee is $215 for two days of intimate sized groups that will guarantee that Hawley will be able to give you the attention you need to improve. The Dragonfire facility also boasts a fantastically large ring with several types of stadium and cross country type obstacles that will give you the challenge you desire. Auditors will be just as pleased with the large seating area on the raised berm and a sound system to hear all of Hawley's instruction. The auditing fee is $10 per person for both days.

Be a part of this sensational rider's team as she continues to set the international scene on fire and learn from her vast experience. Send payment to Dragonfire to reserve your spot now, along with your experience level. Limited stabling is available for those traveling over distance.  We are also planning a fun dinner with Hawley at Mikuni's in Elk Grove Saturday night. Let us know if you would like to attend!


About Me

My photo
Wilton, CA
A full service equestrian facility offering lessons for all ages, training, showing, breeding and sales.

Blog Archive