Keeping Up With The Draftses

When I started this blog I said to myself I said, “Self, now you know you are famous for starting something and not finishing it unless it’s something horse related right?”. To which I replied, “Self, this is horse related, see. It’s even about my horses!” Fast forward to some awkward glaring at myself in the mirror and you get a few months gone by without an update.

So how are things in the world of William and Hagrid (and all of Gallifrey)?

William and I have qualified for the USDF Regional Championships in October for Prix St. Georges. This happened at our final summer show in June at the Olympic Horse Park in Conyers, GA (which just so happens to be our Regionals venue). Not only did we get that last qualifying score but we also earned Reserve High Point Award for the FEI division. I remember hearing my name called whilst using the Ladies' and practically jumping out of the stall before pulling my pants up. Did they really just call my name for a high point award? Surely there is another Samantha Fellin here. Amazingly, there was not. It truly was me and I literally danced back to Barn 6. My draft cross, a high point award winner. It made my heart sing.

After that show I felt William had earned a few months off from showing, which just so happened to be during the two hottest months of the year. While we stayed home, we trained and we trained hard. I met with Felicitas twice and she invited us to Mount Airy, Maryland to work under Morten Thomsen t the gorgeous Wood’s Lane Farm. I hemmed and hawed over it and I tried very hard to talk myself out of it. The thought of that drive to Maryland from Savannah made me sick. 12 hours. That’s a long drive. I hated driving thirty minutes down the street to Statesboro for supplies let alone 12 hours with a trailer in tow. And what about my clients? I’d be gone for the longest amount of time I have ever been gone (gasp 6 whole days, only 4 of which were normal training days). What about the finances to get up there, ride with him and to stay in a hotel that long? My amazing husband, when I told him about the invitation, barely let me finish before he said to take it out of our joint savings. The very savings account we started to someday move out of this one-room apartment in the barn and build a house. Then his extended family, who lived only 30 minutes from Wood’s Lane, said I could stay with them, no problem! Each of my clients jumped for joy for me when I told them I was considering it and told me I had to go. Finally, I put on my big girl pants and accepted the fact that I was driving William, Mikki and I to the “Old Line State”.

Aside from the drive and the traffic near D.C., it was an amazing adventure! Morten worked with us on everything from our canter pirouettes to our changes, leg yields to half pass and beginning of Spanish walk to later be developed into Piaffe and Passage. He is a master: funny, demanding, thorough…even smelled nice, and most importantly didn’t make me feel like William could not do any of what he was asking (but I must be better at asking for it all). Mikki and I sat there all day each day watching Felicitas ride four horses she had in training and other riders on their high level mounts from all over the area. You can learn so much by observing that auditing alone would have been worth the trip. I came away with so many ideas not only to improve William but to start with Hagrid. We also came away with several new friends, thanks to William’s very charming personality (Hi Teri!). It was an amazing time and I am so thankful to Felicitas for inviting me.

Hagrid, my giant goofball, shows his hidden talent a little bit each day. His Friesian sensitivity is coming out in our riding and it’s a whole new personality for me. I have ridden literally hundreds of horses but Hagrid is a new one. He is fiercely smart and brave and he wants so hard to please that he goes a bit over the top. "We cantered here once before about a week ago, I bet she wants to canter here again. Okay here we go, I’m cantering. What? No? Why not?! This is canter spot! Ugh, fine. I’m going to circle here. We circled here once about three months ago. I bet she’s going to want to circle now… what?! NO CIRCLE? Ugh. What does she want?!” I got a swift kick in the pants from my very honest and realistic County saddle fitter, Cindy, when she came to fit Hagrid’s brand new Fusion to him. She told me to stop riding Hagrid like he was William, because he’s not. He’s Hagrid. He’s four. He’s a baby doing what babies do best. The light scolding went on a little longer but what she said rang true. This is a brand new friend, confidant and partner I’m bringing along from SCRATCH. He is so special that it will take longer than any of the plain-Janes I thought were “it” before him. Their flames fizzled out rather quickly whereas Hagrid is only now just starting to spark. I’m so excited for the moment when he finally catches fire that sometimes I can’t even stand it.

#TeamGallifrey is rocking many a sock off with Sarah and her OTTB mare Pretty Tune just about to clinch their go at Regionals for Training Level. We have one more show coming up in a few weeks and I just know with the hard work this young lady has been putting in she can do it. I’m so proud of those two I may just hug the kid when she gets that score! Next year is sure to be a big show year for #TeamGallifrey as I have many clients ready to make their rated show debuts and I am so excited to be a part of it with them.

From here on out, I will try to be a bit more diligent about updating as I do enjoy sharing the happenings of my Drafties and I hope you do too!

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