Monday, November 8, 2010


Pharaoh and Blazer both got to go out to Rubicon this weekend. Blazer was first up in the morning feeling great in his dressage. Unfortunately we were on the grass and even with studs he slipped a little in the front during his first halt and felt very carefully and conservative on his feet for the rest of the test. He scored at 32 putting him in second though so can't say I'm disappointed with that for his first time back since young riders. Show jumping was a different story, we couldn't quit agree on a distance to a lot of the fences. Three down is not exactly what I was expecting but we have to start back somewhere. Cross country I wasn't sure what to expect and was kind of ready for it to go any direction out there. Blazer really stepped up though and we got all our distances and he jumped around much better than I had expected!

Pharaoh went in the afternoon and warmed up for dressage great. He's really been improving in his trot work a lot lately but he still gets a little nervous once he gets into a new place. I must say though he settled in much much faster than his last show at Maryland so I'm very happy with that. His test started out with 7's all the way up to our first canter transition where he picked up the wrong lead trotted and fixed it. After that he went right back into the soft frame that he had started with however I guess the judge no longer thought the same and changed what would have been 7's to 6's. I am slightly disappointed with his dressage score because I know that he is a great horse and deserved a much better score than he got because of his one mistake that changed the judges view. This horse is a lot of fun to jump and really knows what he's there to do when he gets into the ring. Unfortunately he thought he knew more for the first couple of fences and decided to ignore my half halts and had a few flat jumps costing him the rails. By the end of the course though I really felt him listening and jumping up and over the fences which is a feeling I've been really reaching for the last few weeks. The cross country was really torn up by the time I got out there since it had rained all day two days before. Pharaoh only has front shoes on right now and so I had to go out without any studs in. The course rode great all the way around and Pharaoh was his normal self taking me right down to a deep distance on every fence without blinking an eye. Fence 10 however was a ditch two strides to a log but before it you slope down hill and then back up. Coming on the down hill was very slippery and torn up so I brought him back into a very slow canter to help him from slipping. Once the hill started to go back up and he saw his fence he opened up his stride and his hind leg slipped. He could have easily jumped the ditch but he was really shaken up by slipping and not knowing where his feet are. Sadly he was already presented to the fence when he slipped and so the circle did cost him 20 points. It's a shame for him because I know that he was not afraid of the jump at all he was simply afraid of losing his footing and he jumped through the second time without a problem and continued on home.

Overall Rubicon was a great experience for both horses. Blazer really needed to get out so I could see where he was going into the winter. Obviously we'll need to work on some show jumping but I'm very happy to know that he still has that bold cross country horse in him. Pharaoh is quickly remembering his job and I have no doubt this horse could easily move up to Training in the spring, he is a talented horse with a great mind that loves his job.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Maryland Starter Trial

Sunday Pharaoh and I headed out bright and early for the Maryland Starter Trial. It has been about four weeks since Pharaoh moved to my place after a long time of leisure. I must say I am very proud of how the day turned out. During our dressage warm up Pharaoh started out looking around and seeing what was going on but quickly focused and went to work. I was very pleased with his test and thought it was very consistent throughout. He recieved a 37.8 which I think was a bit high however that put him in second which I thought was about where he belonged. Jumping him was an absolute blast. I hadn't had a chance to do a full course with flowers and related distances before the show so I wasn't totally sure what I was getting myself into. Once he was in the ring Pharaoh went right to work and jumped every jump right down the middle without even a peak. Cross Country was even more fun, although I may need a stronger bit next time. He doesn't bat an eye at anything, he took everything right out of stride and wasn't going to take no for an answer once he set his sight on a jump.
Next up is Rubicon. Pharaoh will be going Novice again and Blazer will be back in action at Prelim!

Check out our day at Maryland -

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Unfortunate Day at Fair Hill

As I'm sure many of you know, I began riding with Jenn Simmons when I was 11 years old. Jenn has taught me just about everything I know in eventing. She took me through my first novice all the way until my first two star. I was working for her the summer that she got JB's Star and was lucky enough to watch Jenn move him up the levels over the years. JB was always a spunky, happy, and good hearted horse. I know that Jenn will be back smiling and laughing in no time but I also know that she will never forget JB. The two of them had the type of partnership that is irreplaceable. Watching them, it was like they could predict what the other was going to do next. JB was a difficult horse at times, one that many riders probably wouldn't have chosen but I think that's what Jenn loved about him, he was a challenge, he took patience, and boy could he jump! I know that this must be a very tough time for Jenn and I am truly sorry to see such an amazing partnership end so unfortunately. I would not be the rider that I am today without Jenn and JB would not have been the great horse that he was without Jenn.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Always Changing!

Things seem to be changing all the time. Recently I started riding a new horse (pictured) Pharaoh's Tale. He is a 12 year old TB owned by a good friend of mine, Ellie Brooks. Pharaoh has had some time off while Ellie has been doing school and since she is moving in January she asked me help find him a new home. Pharaoh won the AEC at novice with Allison Springer before Ellie bought him. When she asked me to ride him it had been months since he last had a rider on his back. I was prepared for a lot of patience and time before he was turned back into the event horse he was. He moved in to my barn on Sunday and it's now Saturday. After just six days with this horse I have already seen him fall right back into a routine. He stands quietly in the cross ties, hacks to the ring alone, lets me open gates from his back, you name it and I'm sure he could figure it out quickly. I am very excited to be working with this horse and hope to start him back in the eventing world this fall.
OK, now for Blazer...Well Blazer and I were entered to go to Middleburg Horse Trials Prelim this weekend. However, Wednesday night when I went to get him from the field he was favoring his left front. As any horse owner would I thought the worst. I called Dr. Johns immediately and she came to check it out and pulled his shoe. Blazer immediately stood flat footed and looked totally relieved. After removing the pad an abscess burst and so now we are soaking and wrapping him until it heals up. That being said, obviously Middleburg did not happen this weekend and we will have to re-route our fall plans.
I am super excited for this fall and to see where things go with Blazer and to watch Pharaoh progress. I've also been helping out a friend while she is at school by riding her mare who is coming back from an injury. Watching these horses come along reminds me what I love about this sport and working with horses. Getting on a horse and feeling an improvement from the day before and knowing that you made that happen always puts a smile on my face.
As I sit here watching the opening ceremony for the World Equestrian Games I realize how lucky I am to have done some of the things I have done so far with my riding. Although Blazer and I's plans have not been falling into place recently we have already accomplished so much together that a little bumpy stretch of road was due. I know that there is still a lot to come in my future and can't wait to see what comes next.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Overdue Update!

This summer went by really fast! Blazer and I did not have as great of a young rider outing as we had hoped. Camp started out great but I definitely realized the limits of my horse. I was hoping to get an advanced out of him this fall or next spring but I think that I learned to listen more (or maybe Blazer learned how to yell). Following young riders Dr. Johns checked over Blazer physically and didn't find anything more than a hot S.I. joint. For now we have taken a step back and I am letting Blazer have an easy fall. He is signed up for Prelim and Middleburg and that may be all for the fall. Plans are still up in the air for the two of us as of now but I think that he did a lot this spring and said enough is enough and I need to listen.
School has started and online classes are going great. I 've been working a lot at Dover Saddlery and I'm currently looking for a new up and coming prospect. The weather is changing and Blazer is feeling nice and fresh from his time off so hopefully that's all that was needed. I'll be sure to post more after Middleburg but right now I need to go back to my accounting homework!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Blazer and I went to Surefire this morning to run the prelim as our last event before young riders. We scored a 29 in dressage (putting us in first), jumped a double clear Show Jumping and only did part of the Cross Country. Since the ground is so hard due to the lack of rain this summer I decided to retire after the water and the trakehner, Blazer wasn't too happy about this but he sure is sound!
Everything is looking good for young riders. I started blogging for club equestrian and you can check out my first blog here: Blazer and I will keep conditioning and working on our dressage with Sallie until we leave for Southern Pines on July 20th!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A New Chapter

I know most of you read this for horse updates but today I have a non-horsey announcement, I am an official graduate of the Oakton High School class of 2010! This fall I will be attending the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. OK, back to horses. Since my last post Blazer and I have been working on a lot of dressage and we went to the Young Rider clinic to work with coach Lauren O'Brien. This year Blazer and I will be the only two star pair to represent Area II. I got a chance to meet some of the one star riders and they all seem excited and prepared for everything to come. The program is still looking for support from those in the area and anyone who would like to help make this year a success. Information on donating to the Area II young rider program can be found on my website under Sponsorship. Next up for Blazer and I will be a prelim run at Surefire to keep the kinks out before heading on to the NAJYRC. Until then we are working on our fitness and keeping Blazer sound and happy for the long road of us. Lots of changes to come but with a horse like Blazer anything seems possible!
- Laura

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jersey Fresh CCI**

(photo by the Chronicle of the Horse)
Oh wow, what a weekend! Where do I start? I guess it all started with a morning AP Calculus exam...if that doesn't get your weekend off to a great start I don't know what will...after four hours of testing I headed over to the barn to give Blazer his first of many baths for our first CCI** outing together.

As if missing school for horses isn't the best thing I was lucky enough to have my best friend and amazing groom, Erica Jacquay, skip school with me for the weekend. She was an amazing help not only keeping me organized but also keeping me entertained and laughing throughout the weekend.

I know that Blazer and I have the potential to put in an amazing dressage test. The Friday before leaving we had a great tune up with Sallie Spenard, she's giving us all the tools they just need to be drilled into us a little more. With some great reminders from Jenn (who had an amazing 4th place finish on her own JB's Star in the CIC***!!) in the warm up we had a much more relaxed test than usual. I often forget the importance of taking my time in the dressage ring and Jenn was right there to remind me through warm up. Blazer put in an awesome test and scored a 56.3 putting us in 6th after the dressage.

This was my first trip to Jersey Fresh and from what I had heard the cross country can be difficult. After walking the course it not only proved to appear difficult but it also was very long with a long uphill stretch toward the end of the course. Saturday morning came around and the threat of thunderstorms caused for a significant temperature drop. The weather turned out to be perfect for cross country. Blazer ran around without a bobble and did exactly as I asked through everything on course. I couldn't be happier with the day and we finished with only 10 time faults and the long uphill stretch didn't take nearly as much out of him as I'd anticipated. The night he appeared sound as could be and he proved that Sunday morning passing the jog without a problem.

The time faults cross country moved us down to 8th but that didn't concern me at all, we were 2/3 of the way to being qualified for young riders. Show jumping has been a strong point for us the past year and I knew that he could keep enough rails up for a qualifying score it was just up to me to remember the course and stay on!

The weekend started out with me looking for a qualifying score to go to this summers NAJYRC. It ended up being a weekend full of laughs, a solid dressage test, confidence building cross country, and a clear show jumping round. Oh and a 6th place finish at my first CCI**! With everything lined up for Young Riders it is now up to me to keep Blazer sound, happy, and fit for July. Like anything there is always room for improvement and we'll be looking to perfect our dressage, strengthen our cross country, and maintain our solid show jumping record.

As many of you know no success in this sport comes without a great support group. The Area II young rider program has been an amazing experience for me over the past two years that I have been involved. This summer will be my third year representing Area II in the NAJYRC. The support of this program is important in the success of the riders representing the Area. In 2009 Area II came home with an individual gold medal in the one star, a team gold medal in the one star, an individual bronze medal in the two star, and a team silver in the two star. In General, the funds needed to support this program range from $60,000 to $80,000. Each member is required to raise at least $1500 that will go towards their costs to compete and qualify for the NAJYRC. Please consider a donation to help support this amazing organization in its efforts to educate, instill knowledge and leadership skills, and provide a safe environment for team training and competition. Level of sponsorship include:
Bronze Medal: $100.00 or less
Silver Medal: $100.00 to $200.00
Gold Medal: $200.00 to $500.00
Guardian Angel: $500.00 or more
Anonymous: those who wish to donate in private
If you are interested in supporting this program checks can be made out to Area II Young Riders and mailed to me directly. If you have any questions regarding the program or ways to support the team don't hesitate to contact me at Thank you in advance to anyone who chooses to help our 2010 Area II riders!

Until next time, stay safe and sound!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fair Hill CIC**

This weekend Blazer and I entered my first two star at Fair Hill. Having not been there since the CIC* in 2008 I was pretty excited.
Dressage on Friday went very well for Blazer and I other than one mistake in our canter. The week before leaving we had our first lesson with Sallie Spenard and I have to say she made a huge improvement in my riding in just one lesson and I look forward to continuing with her in the future.
Since Blazer and I didn't run XC at Morven this spring I was a little worried about how he'd be into the water and the coffin. When Saturday morning rolled around he was a lot easier into those two questions then anticipated. With those out of the way I think I took too big of a deep breath. We came up to a "log on a bump" type question and this is where I forgot to ride! Blazer came up the hill ears forward but once the ground started to level off I forgot to keep my leg on and Blazer stopped. We turned around and came back and everything went perfectly the rest of the course.
When it came time to show jump on Sunday I decided to use this course as more of a learning tool. After taking a few different lines than I normally would have Blazer and I came out with only one rail. I think this only helped our confidence after a not so perfect XC round.
The stop XC is a bit upsetting for me since this CIC** was supposed to qualify us for the NAJYRC CCI** this summer. After kicking myself for not doing my best on XC I have decided to give the Jersey Fresh CCI** a try in three weeks. Blazer (and I) will be increasing our conditioning for the next couple of weeks and hopefully can get it right this time around.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

March Update

I'm trying to do at least a monthly update from now on, we'll see if this works!

Well I don't know what's better...graduation is three months away or its finally above 50 outside?

This month Blazer and I stayed in Aiken the week before Full Gallop. We got some much needed outdoor work in before our first intermediate of the season. With all the snow this winter I think it's safe to say Blazer was very very happy to be turned out and dirty again.

I could not have asked for a better weekend at Full Gallop. We got the first ride time of the day, 7:30! Apart from waking up early I think Blazer and I worked much better in the larger ring that Intermediate now rides in for dressage. We put in a very steady test but there's always room for improvement in my opinion. As always, Blazer did not fail to disappoint in the show jumping, jumping double clear. Sunday morning he again was spot on with a clear cross country round adding only time faults to our dressage score to end 3rd!

After hauling back home to Virginia we began preparing for Morven. During one of his gallops Blazer grabbed his heel pretty bad and it took a few days until he was ok to put a shoe back on. The last year with Blazer has gone so well I think I began to think that he was unstoppable. This minor setback reminded me of the reality of horses and that every detail needs to be taken care of before we head off to the Fair Hill CIC** in April. Since I need Fair Hill as a qualifier to go to the NAJYRC CCI** this summer I've opted to scratch Blazer from XC at Morven this weekend in order to let his heel fully recover.

The next month should be fun getting ready for my first CIC**, making my final decision on college, and turning 18!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Full Gallop

Blazer and I were 3rd in the Intermediate-A division at Full Gallop over the weekend!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So it begins: Pine Top

This weekend Blazer and I made the long drive to Georgia for Pine Top after a quick stop in Aiken to have a tune up with Jenn.  For our first outing of the year we were entered Prelim. Blazer put in a great dressage test and got a 28.3! He was double clear stadium and clear cross country but we kept it slow and finished 4th! Blazer felt better than ever and hopefully we'll keep it up as the year goes on...Full Gallop's next on the list!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Glory Days Fundraiser

February 1, 2010 – May 15, 2010

When you dine at a Glory Days Grill in Virginia or Maryland, the restaurant will contribute 10% of your total food purchases to the Area II YR Program. Bring your neighbors, friends, and relatives, because the 10% applies to the
total food bill. Simply ask your server for a copy of your guest check (not credit card receipt) and give it to Laura.

Questions? Call Laura at (703) 674-9655 or email

Receipts can be mailed to:
2873 Franklin Oaks Dr
Herndon, VA 20171

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 2010!

Wow 2009 went by fast! After a great fall season of intermediate with Blazer he got a well deserved vacation and loved every second of it. But now that first semester of senior year is over and my first semester of classes at NOVA has started it's time to start thinking spring events! With all the snow we had back in December it was starting to feel like I'd never be able to ride Blazer consistently again. Blazer's starting to do his trot sets again and I think he's happy to be back to doing something after all his time off. We head off to Pine Top at the end of February to run Prelim and get back into things before Intermediate and the road to Fair Hill in April for the CIC**!