One of the main goals of the newsletter is to help Area 1 riders connect with each other, to share our successes and our struggles, to help build a stronger community. To further this, we have invited Area 1 riders to contribute to the newsletter updates of their experiences in this competition year as we all try to figure out our new normal. This year, we would like to introduce you to Kelly Rooney and her young thoroughbred Tigger. They are going to update us on their progress throughout the year; look for updates in each edition of this year’s newsletter – and say hi if you see them out and about in the area!
Our focus this Spring has been to develop a solid foundation with Tigger. We spent the first 6 weeks together doing groundwork exercises. This was in part to establish good ground manners but also due to the fact I had just returned from 5 weeks in Aiken and couldn’t muster up the good ole’ New England spirit to ride in the bitter cold. Our first ride in the beginning of April was uneventful (as it should be!). We walked and trotted for a few weeks before he figured out how to go without having a whiplash inducing trip at least once each ride! I am very grateful for my MIPS Charles Owen helmet that I bought in Aiken this winter. After a few weeks trotting and as the stumbling subsided we moved onto some canter work which again, was uneventful! He’s really such a steady, well minded baby horse!
We’ve done a few low key field trips including one to a farm down the road to pop over some baby XC logs. After the ‘Landsafe’ clinic was canceled from my agenda in early June I emailed Margie at Larkin Hill to be waitlisted for the Tik Maynard Clinic. I had participated in clinic with Sinead Halpin at Equine Affair in 2019 with my mare, and devoured Tik’s book a few years ago and had hoped to do the Tik clinic but didn’t want to cancel my students’ lessons 3 weekends in a row (struggle of trying to maintain a lesson program, a full time job, a baby horse and a husband!). The weekend before the clinic we were given a spot. I was so excited! We learned a lot at the Tik Clinic, such as how we need more lunging and arena familiarization time to take some baby jitters off or else we have a sideways moving, jigging, sometimes cantering baby red head! But in all seriousness it was a very successful first outing, I was able to audit nearly all day both days and absorbed many great ideas, tips and lessons to experiment with. I was very proud of Tigger for handling the atmosphere and also hanging out on the trailer like a seasoned pro while I audited. I highly recommend a clinic with Tik!
Since the clinic I can tell a change has occurred with my baby ottb! He’s growing up! We are starting to dabble with some work while in a frame and our right hand corners have become more sweeping and less motorcycling! The canter no longer feels like what I can only imagine riding an emu must feel like! In fact, just the other day we jumped our first oxer in a nice little grid. I’m very proud of how far we’ve come since the spring and I look forward to experiencing more this summer and fall. Up on the schedule is the FEH clinic at Larkin Hill, Stephen Bradley clinic at CS&W and hopefully a trip to Genesee Valley at the end of August for the FEH class and possibly an intro division debut!
More about Kelly: I have been riding for over 25 years and while I dabbled in various English disciplines, eventing has always been my passion . In order to fund this passion, I am a high school science teacher by day and a riding instructor after school, so technically a professional in the eyes of the USEA. I recently trained my mare to training level (eventing) before leasing her to an adult amature at the barn for a carefree (dressage) life and purchased a 4yo OTTB in February from Ballyclare Thoroughbreds in Virginia. I look forward to sharing our journey this year with everyone, from the first ride to hopefully the first event in the autumn season!