Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Weekend With David O'Connor

This past weekend I was lucky enough to be part of David O'Connor's West Coast training sessions in Woodside, CA. Located at the Horse Park, we had three full days of Dressage, Show Jumping, and Cross Country. The second night featured a beautiful dinner, hosted by Victoria Klein,  and a discussion lead by David about the direction of the US Eventing Team. His passion for the team was evident in his words, as was it evident in the care he took to instruct each and every rider/horse combination to his fullest ability. Mr. O'Connor certainly did not shrink away from a long day and he expected his riders to have the same fortitude when it came to receiving his instruction. Things were kept running smoothly by Joanie Morris, who was always accommodating to schedule changes and requests. I am deeply grateful to have been invited to participate not just with Billy, but also with Tim. I think I can safely say the three of us grew immensely and look forward to showing David our new and polished moves a few short days from now in Montana at Rebecca Farm.

The theme of the weekend was improving the riders' skill set. This may seem self evident, but if you think about it, most clinics are about improving the horse. While David is surely interested in the horse's learning curve, he was much more adamant that the rider take responsibility. He believes that by creating better riders, the horses will naturally follow. The added pressure of everything being the rider's responsibility was exactly what most of us needed to perform at our best, as there were certainly no excuses to be had!

I, for one, heard a lot of, "Repeat. Repeat. REPEAT!". And an occasional, "Good." and even a, "Perfect." once or twice. You had better turn up your hearing aid with David if you want to hear the compliments, because he is there to improve you not to make you feel like a genius on horseback.

Billy was very excited to be at a "show" again, since he hasn't been out since Jersey, though his exuberance was not totally appreciated on the first day which was meant for Dressage. He held it together though, with no real outbursts, and even kept his composure when David rode him and asked for his compliance.

We hadn't jumped much to speak of since Jersey, so Billy welcomed the bigger fences and the challenging exercises. Though the third day was meant for cross country, Billy and I were able to sneak in another Dressage lesson. It was with great reserve that Billy worked through his Dressage paces, showing vast improvement over the weekend.

Tim was an absolute super star for David. At just six years old, he has felt quite ignorant at times in his training until this very weekend. He must have known to rise to the occasion, because he was focused, supple and light, and eager to do as I asked without resistance.  All three of his phases felt strong and I can't wait to show him at Rebecca.

The West Coast Eventing circuit is a close knit group, with everyone feeling like family and supporting each others endeavors. The camaraderie at the training session made the weekend feel like one big Summer Camp for grown ups... grown ups with the common obsession of horses!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dragonfire Welcomes Summit Equine Nutrition To Our Team Of Sponsors

Have you ever wondered what was the best diet for your horse? What about the right diet for your high level performer? Or your young up-and-comer? What about your retired veteran? Now try to decipher which products out of the millions available are actually worth your money! It is easy to get so confused in today's marketing and labeling of equine nutritional products, that you give up all together.

Luckily for us, there is Summit Equine Nutrition to save the day! Summit Equine Nutrition LLC is an independent consulting company owned and operated by Dr. Clair Thunes PhD. Based in Sacramento California Summit has clients across North America from back yard ponies to US team members.

No more worries about what you should feed your horse for optimal health and performance. No worries that the advice you receive is biased. They will help you create an optimally balanced diet tailored to your individual horse. They are highly qualified, independent and unbiased.

Summit Equine Nutrition and Dr Clair Thunes provide a range of independent consulting services to horse owners and companies both in the US and internationally. Services include; diet evaluations, consultations in person by phone or email, hay testing, farm visits, custom supplement formulations, public speaking, product development, and articles for equestrian publications.

Dr. Thunes' wealth of knowledge and concern about my performance horses has already given me a winning edge. As their work programs develop, the seasons change, and travel schedules fluctuate, I know that Summit Equine Nutrition will be keeping them at the top of their health all the way through. One less thing for me to worry about! I am so grateful to have Summit on my team of DF Sponsors! - Jennifer McFall

Check out the Summit Equine Nutrition website for more info! Click here!

Congratulations Stephanie!

Congratulations go out to Stephanie Popham on her recent purchase of Dragonfire Hopeful. By Dragonfire Kirin and out of Coulee Bend Anticipation, this young Morgan mare is athletic, beautiful, and kind as the day is long. Stephanie and Hope are already enjoying each other's company in and out of the saddle immensely and we know it won't be long before the whole Popham clan will be joining in on the fun for many years to come!

Dragonfire Hopeful pictured as a yearling

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Get Your Team DF Gear!!

Time to order your Team DF logo wear so that you can look slick at all of your clinics and horse shows and show your Red and Black Pride! Just go to this link at BW Products and you can order the jackets on line. You can choose to have them shipped or just go pick them up in Elk Grove, the choice is yours and you can do it all from your computer! Hats are in the works too, so don't be worried, we've got your helmet-head covered.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Team DF Congratulates Cori Davis and Rouge Et Blanc DF

Our team has been hard at work this Summer and hard works always pays off! We truly have the best group of students and owners around, and we are constantly reminded of their greatness by their dedication and support. 

Cori Davis and her stellar partner, A Golden Effort, have been ripping up the circuit this season and just made the "jump" up to Intermediate at Copper Meadows. With no jumping penalties and a scant amount of time added to their score after cross country, Cori and "Ty" came in seventh at their first attempt at the level, and made it clear that they are ready to play.

After getting cast late this Spring and having some time off, Rouge Et Blanc DF is back and ready for action. He was third at the latest Shepherd Ranch in the Novice division with two double clear rounds and plans to move up to Training this Summer at Woodside. 

Cori and Ty show their strength in the cross country phase at Copper Meadows

Rouge Et Blanc DF is double clear after a mini-vacay this year

Roger displays his A++ personality after his clear round

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Taylor McFall Wins Big At Shepherd Ranch

Celebrating her victory in true Taylor fashion.
Taylor McFall and her pony, Mighty Maybelline had an epic showing at the Shepherd Ranch Summer Event in Santa Ynez, CA. The duo was a very competitive sixth place in an Open Intro class with over twenty participates including professionals and adults. With a complementary test in hand (that included a 9!), Taylor went on to have two fault-free rounds to hold her sixth overall.

She also competed for the Legis Optimum Time Award, presented to the individual in each division coming in closest to the optimum time on cross country. After walking her course several times and noting the minute markers, Taylor masterfully kept an eye on her watch to complete the course just three seconds under time to win this award. She was also named the Champion Pony Club Rider from the Intro class, and Maybelline was donned with a cherished "neck ribbon" as Taylor calls them.

We are truly grateful to Shepherd Ranch for hosting such a wonderful venue for the youngsters to shine at. Your well-designed course and fun competitions within the classes gave Taylor many reasons to count down the days until your next show!

Game-face in preparation for the big ride.
On their way to the best time on cross country


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

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