I can officially check "meeting Mary King" off my bucket list. Sure, it was a short meeting where I mumbled my name and she scribbled it into my copy of her autobiography but listening to her talk for a day and a half at the Area VIII meeting did not disappoint. I just have to add that I think I was the only one that brought my own well-worn copy of her autobiography ..... nevermind the 3 other books I had in the car or the dvds and tapes that I've spent hours and hours watching that I didn't dare bring into the meeting. Stalk much?!:)
She spent all morning on Saturday talking about her life and I felt very inspired by this woman. From finding a way to ride any pony in the county during a poor childhood leading up to a (hopeful!) Olympic contender for the 6th time while raising two children.
The afternoon session consisted of her talking about her training methods including her fitness regime with her horses and her breeding program. I like her no-nonsense approach to training and couldn't find anything to disagree with and found many similarities to the way I've been taught by Jill Sackett and John Hamilton.
The evening speech talked about her quest to her 6th Olympics - a feat that will match only that of Mike Plumb's. With several strong contenders in her stable, including one she's bred and trained herself, I'd be very surprised to not see her on Britain's team this summer. It was very interesting to hear her talk of past Olympics and get the "insider's view" to something that many of us will just dream of.
Sunday morning, we returned for the "virtual clinic" where she viewed DVDs and critiqued them. When we still had time at the end, she generously offered to critique her own riding through YouTube videos, including falls and mistakes, and proved that even those at the top mess up sometimes. She's a humble, charming, funny woman at the top of our sport who should be an inspiration to all.
I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions but I do know that I need to do a better job of keeping up with my blog so now seems as good a time as any. Of course, in the midst of the first real cold snap we've had this winter, it's easy to be inside sitting at the computer!
We've also been inside doing some major renovations in our 1892 farmhouse. Currently, we've overhauling our one and only bathroom which is a huge undertaking that involved tearing out the tub and stripping down the floor to the studs. I think it will look good when it's all done but I would much prefer to be outside - even in the 20 degree temps! Not to mention that I'm grateful for our port-a-potty by the barn when I hate to interupt a tiling job or the plumber!
My horses are enjoying a winter break. Piccolo's pregnancy seems to be progressing well judging by the size of her belly. I'll be excited to see her foal this spring. Podge's belly is also growing but he doesn't have the same excuse. He's hairy and covered in mud most days and has just been doing some hacking out and light dressage rides. It's nice to have some boarders here that are doing some quality work with their horses. The new partnership of Chelsea and Specter (pictured below) seem to be going great. He's so happy to have someone that so much quality time with him and she's so happy to have a horse again after a couple of years. Julie and Legend are our other new pair and it's always fun watching the greenies develop and figure out what their owners will put up. At just 4 years old, Legend is quickly learning that his new mom is not putting up with his occassional bad manners on the ground and this pair is really starting to look great under saddle together. I've seen Jessy out riding Willow bareback after their very successful season at novice and it's nice to visit with Becca when she comes out to scrape the mud off of Steele (not a good time of year to own a gray horse!)
Hope everyone stays warm this winter!