It is amazing how quickly things go by, but the season has officially ended and we are back in Indiana. This season was a great introduction to the Florida season and I got to experience some great things while there.
This was my very first time ever getting to be in Wellington/Loxahatchee for the season so I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. I am a big plan person so it was all a bit nerve wracking to come down without too much knowledge of the area and what to expect. I got lucky to be able to live on property where my horses were kept at Laura Ashley Dressage in Deer Run– I am a bit of a helicopter “mom” so this really eased my concerns a lot.
I really wanted to primarily focus this season on training more so than competitions, but Wellington is so lovely to be able to compete at because everything is so close. My sessions with Oded were really eye opening and changed many ways I looked at training my horses. From the get go Oded pinpointed that our focus for the season would be on developing the pirouettes and improving the trot and canter quality. We spent many sessions systematically working towards addressing the issues in these areas and improving the connection and understanding of them. I’d say as a rider the biggest takeaway was training systematically so that the horses are properly prepared to do the movements and confident enough to try to do them and improve them. Additionally, I found that the little changes to the way I rode strongly impacted the horses in a positive way– it was very helpful to have someone so educated to be able to give these tips and remind me to fix the little things.
This season made my horse stronger and more capable to do the work, but also made me think more when riding and training. Everything is always connected, so you must always check the basics at the beginning of the session to ensure the harder stuff will be able to be more successful with less turbulence. It was very special to be able to work through the difficult points of our training with Oded and come out feeling more confident and capable to continue the development that we started in Florida. We were able to use what we were learning in our lessons in the show ring and were able to move up to the FEI Intermediate 1 successfully. There is still so much more to come, but I was really pleased by how our work was translating into more successful and rideable tests.
Apart from lessons, work, and showing, I was able to meet so many great people this season. Being in Wellington for the season is really great because you get to meet people from so many different places who all generally have the same passion– it's incredibly unique! I feel so fortunate for this opportunity and am very thankful to Anne Barber Wallis, Lendon Grey and Dressage4Kids, Oded Shimoni, and many others for helping make this season so successful and an amazing learning experience for me.
Things I learned from riding in Wellington:
Things I learned in regard to just going to Wellington for the season: