Happy Easter!

The Von Handorf Grandchildren
Wade with one of his many Easter baskets
Kate with one of her many Easter baskets
Kate and Wade coloring eggs
Kate and Wade coloring eggs

Pictures of Spring Bay Horse Trials

If anyone is interested in seeing some hysterical x-c pictures of “the water jump from hell”, you can check out the photographer’s website.  I laughed out loud when I saw some of the pictures of horses launching themselves (and sometimes their riders) into the water.  They are pretty interesting.  Gus and I were in black and white (with a light blue saddle pad).  We were #85.  There were several greys in our division, but if you look for one with dark points on his legs and black boots, you should find us.  They captured me laying on his neck after he leaped into the water and then came almost to a stand still.   There are also some really cool pics of him jumping the huge brush jump —you just can’t see the terrain that went with it.  He did just what I suspected—-jumped the whole brush jump.  The brush on the landing side was about 5’6″.  Someday maybe he will learn to “brush” through. 

There are also pics of stadium.  I am really excited about all of these pictures because for the first time in my life (BECA– USE OF MY AWESOME SADDLE) my legs are where they should be…….finally.

The website is www.vwperryphotos.com    Look for “spring bay 2011”.  We are in the training level proofs.

On Our Way to Our First Training Level 3 Day Event

My entries are finally in.  Gus and I will be competing in our first training level 3 day event (the long format) the first weekend in June.  I am REALLY, REALLY excited about getting to ride the classic format.  Dorothy Crowell is doing all of the competitor classes and steeplechase schoolings.  Gus will do his first Preliminary event on May 21-22 and have a few weeks  to get ready to head to Indiana for the 3 day.  My groom, Erica, has groomed for 3 days before, and is looking forward to helping out a new horse and rider combination.  Nothing will be better than sitting in the 10 minute box getting ready for x-c!    

Gus did his first gallop sets today in preparation for the show in May.  He is doing extremely well in both his sitting trot work (which was absolutely HORRIBLE last year) and his jumping.  He is in great shape for Training Level, but I have bumped up the conditioning work for Prelim. 

Things are good.  Everyone had a great jump school today.  Erica and Celine put in a really nice ride today, and worked a little bit on coursework.  McCrae is happy again now that his saddle has been adjusted.  Oreo and Michelle jumped better today than ever.  Rhyland was quiet, relaxed, and jumped the 2’7″ course with ease.  Gus thought about being silly, but after walking some fences for awhile, he made the quick to decision to get over himself and get to some real jumping.  He was fantastic (albeit a little fast at times) after that. 

Tonya and Armani had a great dressage lesson.  He is learning to get round, and he is going to be SUPER CUTE!  Kelli and Cavalier worked on the lunge line without stirrups.  She is bound and determined to make it to Gemwood in July, and I am going to help her get there (though she will not be able to walk tomorrow).

Today was a good day all around……..and tomorrow it rains, and rains, and rains, and rains, and rains……..

A trip to Waterford….

Joy and Kate
Joy, Wade, and a T-Rex
4 couch potatoes at the Detroit Science Center
The view of the lake out of my bedroom window Monday morning
Kate, Joy, and Wade
Mom, Ame, and Kate

As soon as the horses were out of the trailer on Saturday, I put my kids in the car, picked up my mom, and headed up 75 toward Detroit.  My sister lives on a lake in Waterford, and it’s always a great place to visit.  We spent Sunday at the Detroit Science Center looking at the “Dinosaurs Unearthed” exhibit.  We all enjoyed the exhibit, and Wade was in his glory.

We spent the rest of the weekend playing Wii, eating, sleeping, watching movies, and just hanging out around the house.  It was a great visit, and I know the kids were thrilled to see their “Auntie”. 

I did, however, wake up to 3-4 inches of snow on Monday.  Talk  about depressing.  When we left Waterford at 12pm it was in the 30’s.  By the time I pulled into my driveway 4 hours later, it was 76.  Good to be back in Ohio.  Michigan is not for the fair weathered.

Hilltop Hunter Show

Kelli, Julie, Elizabeth, and Lauren at McDonald's

Last Saturday we loaded up Lakin and Cavalier for the first Hunter show of the DLSC season.  We had never taken Lakin off of the property before, so we weren’t really sure what to expect.  Lauren and Elizabeth had braided her the night before the show, and she couldn’t have looked any cuter!   They both did  fantastic in the flat class, earning themselves a blue ribbon (among a large group of riders).  Doing her “over fences” classes all alone in the indoor arena proved to be too much for Lakin, and she got really nervous (and fast!).  Lauren did a great job, but had to circle her many times to keep her under control.  She gave it her best, but Lakin just couldn’t stand being in there all by herself.  We had Lauren ride “HC” in one last class with me in the arena with her.  She did a great job and was able to make it through the whole course with no circling.  Great job, Lauren!!!  She is planning to ride her again at the Stillwater show in May.  We hope that the outdoor arena setting will prove to be less scary for Lakin.

Kelli and Cavalier “cleaned up” at the show.  I couldn’t keep track of all of Kelli’s ribbons.  She rode in the ground poles, trotting crossrails, and cantering crossrails divisions.  She ended up with mostly blues, a few reds, and a few yellow ribbons.  All of those points added up to being champion in the trotting crossrails and cantering crossrails divisions.  Not bad for a girl who has never cantered more than 2 fences in a row before Saturday!  Now it’s on to cantering bigger fences and getting ready for Gemwood Horse Trials in July! 

Great job, Lauren and Kelli!

Thanks goes out to Elizabeth, for not bringing McCrae to the this particular show (ha ha), and for all of your help with Lakin and Lauren!

After spending the whole day out in the rain and the cold, we had a celebratory meal at McDonald’s.

A perfect day for cross-country schooling!

Today was a perfect day for riding.   Not too hot, not too cold, with a nice breeze and lots of sunshine.  The day started off with a few lessons here at the farm, and then a quick jump school on Gus.  Then the girls (Jessica, Erica, Elizabeth) and I headed to Subway for lunch.  We then loaded up our horses and headed to Twin Towers for a schooling around the BN course.  Rhyland was fantastic today!  He jumped around the entire BN course with almost no issues.  McCrae has grown up dramatically over the last several months, and is ready to roll in May at his first event of the season.  Oreo looked like a horse who is almost ready to move up to Novice.  The girls rode really well, and are looking forward getting back out for one more schooling before Greater Dayton!

Spring Bay Horse Trials——so much to say, so little time

They almost make my water jump look inviting!
How many times can I take this phone out of my backpack????
Could he be any cuter?
If only Gus could have jumped in the water as well as my kids!
HELPING me walk the x-c course
Joy and Gus after stadium
Gus jumping the “block” jump
Gus doing his lengthening canter circle
Kate and Wade—show team helpers
Gus all braided for dressage
Kate and Wade Jumping from bed to bed

When I found out that “MAN DIEGO 2011” was scheduled for the same exact weekend as Spring Bay, I knew I was in trouble.  Jeff and several of his high school buddies get together in San Diego each year for some sort of “Man Contest”.  This year just so happened to be the “Bike and Beer” Challenge.  They were all to meet  in San Diego to ride bikes for 50 miles through the mountains and down by the ocean while stopping every 10 miles for beer.  Sounds like a great plan huh???

In the meantime, I was scheduled to compete at the Kentucky Horse Park all weekend.  And although my mom volunteered generously to watch my kids for the weekend, I figured that she could use a whole weekend of peace and quiet.  I, on the other hand, was in for something totally different.  My new groom Erica had told me awhile back that she had previous plans for Spring Bay weekend and wouldn’t be able to do this one.

No problem.  I can totally handle it…..well, maybe……Okay, I’d better see if Elizabeth can go with me to act as nanny/groom .  Luckily for me she accepted the challenge.  So after packing everything but the kitchen sink, Elizabeth, Wade, Gus and I picked Kate up from school.   We made it to the Horse Park in time for me to ride Gus, get his stall set up, and walk my stadium course a few times.  We ended up eating dinner at one of my favorite restaurants “Fat Catz”.  After a good pizza and some Mt. Dew, it was time to head to the hotel.  So far, so good.  Nothing but smooth sailing. 

We checked in to our hotel and carried all 35 bags into the hallway outside of our room.  We opened the door to the hotel room to find a “slept in ” bed and somebody’s stuff on the table.  We let the door slam closed while we tried to figure out what just happened.  We are pretty sure that we nearly escaped seeing the occupant come out of the bathroom or something.  I was just glad that there was no one in the bed or we may have been scarred for life.  Anyway, we used this uncomfortable inconvenience to get a discount on our room.   Not too bad afterall. 

We carried all of our baggage to our next room where things seemed to be normal.  The kids proceeded to jump like maniacs from bed to bed.  Elizabeth got a taste of parenthood being cooped up in a small room with only one TV and 2 small kids.  “You mean we can’t watch TV?”  Not unless it’s kid friendly…..so pretty much “no”.  Kind of changes things…..

We got up early Saturday morning to be at the Horse Park by 8am.  We bathed Gus, cleaned tack, and braided.  Elizabeth and the kids followed me down to the dressage arena while I got warmed up.  I put in a decent dressage test.  I knew when I saw who was judging my division that I shouldn’t get my hopes up.  I was right.  I ended up in 10th place after dressage.  I was pretty happy with my test, but slightly dissappointed with my score. 

While Elizabeth disappeared to the playground with her charges, I rode Gus back up to the stall to get him ready for stadium.  I was scheduled to ride at 1:30pm, so I had a little time to get the kids fed, bathroomed, and sunscreened before I had to do stadium. 

God had other plans……

After the kids got back from the playground, a monsoon hit the horse park.  The wind and rain were so strong you could barely see.  We were soaked from the “wundies” up.  The lightning was so bad that they delayed the start of stadium several different times.  By the time that Gus and I made it to the warm-up, I was totally frozen and wet through and through.  The kids were frozen, everything we had was drenched, and stall area was nearly flooded.  It was the perfect time for jumping!

Gus had a fantastic warm up for stadium.  He was quiet and listening.  We entered the arena and had the best jumping round we have ever had.  He jumped double clear and did it effortlessly……..even fence #1.   I couldn’t have been happier with my ride, and  I moved up to 8th after stadium.  Gus was covered with wet sand, and went to his wash rack for bath #2. 

Then the sun came out, and it became really, really, hot!   

The kids, Elizabeth, and I then packed up our stuff to go to Masterson Station for a “quick” walk around the x-c course.  They were going to walk it with me the first time, and I would walk it myself the second time.  We happen to see my friend Jim at the start box.  While I was talking with him about the course, he smiled and said …”Um….Wade has his pants down”.  And so he did.   I glanced over at him, standing “BESIDE” the porto pot peeing on a bush. ” Yeah,” I said.  And this would be why you don’t see Karen and David O’Connor with a herd of children.  After 5 phone calls, 75 math questions from Wade, some whining, and 2 hours, we finished walking the course for the first time.  I promptly ditched Elizabeth and the kids after that and told them I would meet them at the water jump after my second walk.  I put on my headset and turned my music up as loud as possible as I nearly sprinted away from them and on to the start box for round 2.  It was a much more effective walk by myself, and the kids had a ball playing barefoot in the water jump.

We headed out to dinner at Cracker Barrel where Elizabeth was able to get her precious “chicken and rice”—-she had definitely earned it.    We were thrilled to get back in our hotel room and into our beds for the night.  The kids played a lot of “angry birds” on my phone while I studied my x-c course.  

Wade  slept with his feet in my face all night, so I didn’t have the best night’s sleep.  I woke up feeling like I had been beaten.  Wade was saying “I think I peed myself”.  And he had.  So I put him in the tub to wash him off and change him out of his pee clothes.  He hasn’t peed himself in a year, but I think he was so tired that he couldn’t even wake up. 

So once the clean up had been complete, I headed out the door to go feed Gus.  I left the crew at the hotel……kind of nice.  Gus was glad to see me, and the park had already started to clear out at 8am.  They were all headed to Masterson Station to run the last leg of the event.  I went back to pick up the kids and Elizabeth.  We hooked up the trailer, bathed Gus yet again, and left for Masterson Station.  I was supposed to run x-c at 1:30, and we arrived at about 11:30.  We listened as people had a lot of trouble on the course.  Dorothy had a fall in the warm-up, and we helped catch her horse as it galloped past our trailer.  She was fine, and went on to do really well on the actual course.  We heard that the medics were called in because a girl’s horse flipped over on her and broke her legs.  We ate some snacks, sunscreened the kids, and did the next round of bathroom breaks.  Gus got tacked up, I put in his studs, and we hung out until it was time to go warm up. 

Warm up did not really go well.  Gus was dragging me around the warm-up.  He was trying to gallop off with me around the outside track.  We ended up having to walk several crossrails.  He decided to grab the bit and lean on me, so when I threw him away at the base of the solid warm-up fence, he slammed on the breaks and nearly slid into it.  The second time around he picked himself up and jumped it well.  As I warmed up, I could hear the announcer talking about all the refusals at  the water.  I was a little worried about it already because of the way it looked.  It looked unnatural and uninviting.  I had heard Cathy Wieschoff say that she had a stop at the water, and so did Dorothy.  Great.

We made it out of the start box with almost zero help.  That was a big deal in itself.  Gus jumped fences 1-4 like a champ.  Fence #5 was a huge brush fence with brush that was as tall as me.  Gus doesn’t believe that he can “brush” through the brush, so he jumped the whole dang thing.  The landing on the far side was down hill.  I got jolted on the landing and lost a stirrup.  I was about 3 strides away from the water jump (big log on a bank) when I finally found my stirrup.  I kicked and whacked for all Iwas worth, but Gus was having no part of that water jump.  It was white sand and cloudy water, and he wanted nothing to do with it.  I did a tight circle and trotted him down into it.  Off we went.  The rest of the course rode extremely well.  There was a lot of terrain,  and Gus handled it with ease.  I finished just a hair over Optimum Time, but I was really happy with 99% of  the course. 

I spent the $30 extra dollars to take Gus back out to the water to school it after the show ended.  He refused it a few more times before he got back in the water.  By the time I left, he was jumping the prelim water and anything else they had to offer.  I was really happy as we headed back to the trailer to go home. 

We bathed him and wrapped his legs. Elizabeth got the kids gathered up and packed while I ran down to turn in my penny.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at the scoreboard…..I was in 7th place.  What???!!   I had a stop and still moved up.  That is how bad the course was.  One half of the people in my division had major problems with fences and time on the course.   The person that had been in 6th place actually ended up in 1st.   What a day. 

I was pretty happy with the outcome.  Not exactly the way I would have liked for it to play out, but nothing beats the way I felt after that clean stadium round.

Steak and Shake on the way home was the perfect ending to a not so perfect weekend.  The kids and I survived all of the quality time together.  Elizabeth may just find that being a single, childless, college student is the only way to be.  Jeff found out that a good bike seat is of utmost importance on a beering and biking weekend with the boys.  And I am just as tired and haggard as I was before the weekend began—-but now I have my first clean stadium round of the season under my belt.

Headed to Lexington…

This has been a great week of training for me and Gus.  Although he has been fighting what might be a cold for the last 2 weeks, we put in two really nice dressage rides on Monday and Wednesday.  Dr. Miller  was out last Friday and again Wednesday to listen to his lungs and treat him with some medication for his breathing. 

After our short dressage ride on Wednesday (and Dr. Miller’s visit), I trailered Gus to the Sugarcreek Reserve for a quick ride through the creek.  He hasn’t been in water since our show at the Florida Horse Park, so I figured it might be a good idea to get him into some water before this weekend.  We had several other riders join us.  Kelli and Michelle made the maiden voyage in their new trailer( with Oreo and Cavalier on board).  Jessica took Aragon on their first ride together since Jessica’s surgery a month ago.  I rode Gus, and Erica rode Rhyland for me.  All the horses were great, and I think they were extremely happy to be out of the ring for awhile.

Tuesday I did gymnastics and some light jumping, and today I put the fences up to full training and preliminary size oxers and verticles.  Gus jumped like a champ through the triple combination and everything else he attempted.  I am really excited about how he is coming along, and I can’t wait to run x-c this weekend! 

Tomorrow I will load Gus, pick Kate up from school, and hit the road to Kentucky.  Elizabeth will be acting as my groom/nanny this weekend.  Both of my kids will be with us all weekend to keep us busy in case we thought we might get a minute to relax! It should be interesting to say the least.

Go Team Wetherbrooke!

An interview with Wade


1.  What do you like best about your mom?

“that you have ANGRY BIRDS on your phone”

2.  What is your favorite part of the day?

“I get to play”

3.  Why do you like living on the farm?

“because I get to pet the horses”

4.  What is your favorite TV show?

“Wild Kratts”

5.  What is your favorite thing?

“A rainbow”