and Sport Horses
1995 Dutch Warmblood Mare
Fair Play (Ulft) ) X Esprit
de Corps (Rubinstein)
Bred by Mary Weiler, Brookshire, TX
The Divine Miss N
Nanja's nom du plume. If she could, she
ask for a fancy browband with a big "N" and a matching saddlepad with a
big sparkly cursive "N" a la LaVerne and Shirley. She is
a diva - but she has good reason to have a "superiority complex." She's
a tremendously talented horse, especially when it comes to lateral
Flying Changes -- and some
passage! It was a 'two for one'
night...worked a lot on just the boring old basics of getting her to
bend correctly to the right, and keep her haunches where they _belong_
instead of _out_ which is where the Divine Miss N prefers to carry
them. And in the process did lots of turn on the haunches.
then, she was so energized, Brooke said "I bet she'd passage right
now." So with Brooke directing, I squeezed her together with
legs and just sort of held onto the reins and got a few steps of
passage....walked a bit....tried it again, and again got some passage.
Wow! I always _knew_ she had it in her! And she does! Then Brooke said,
"Ok, let's canter and do some changes." So we did steep
half-pass to the right...didn't get the first time...but got it clean
the second AND third times we tried....and by that time we were both
dripping wet so we quit and Nanja got cookies. I can honestly say that
the stuff that always 'intimidated' me about dressage (before I ever
did it) - half pass, changes, etc. that I thought would be so
"hard" are EASY compared to the durn basics....or maybe that stuff IS
easier because we've worked so HARD on the basics. Which came first,
the chicken or the egg? ;)
Today Nanja's canter was really up off
the ground and ROUND in our lesson, so Brooke said "Let's work on
changes." Me: "HUH?" Now, I have never even ridden a TRAINED
horse through a flying change, much less try and get all the timing and
aids right to get a change on a horse who's never been trained to do
one. But, as I have learned from Brooke, the horse determines what you
work on each day...it's not like you can go out while you're saddling
one up and say "Well, I'm going to work on half pass today."
That's a sure recipe for failure! You just have to figure
the horse is "ripe" for a certain exercise sometimes. And then be bold
and ask for it. And today was Nanja's day to start changes. With me,
even! So, Brooke had me canter her down the center line and do a steep
half-pass to the rail and then as I got to the rail, steady her on the
outside rein, change my seat and sit on the inside and ask for a slight
haunches in. The first few times, I got a disunited change and had to
go around the short side before I got her to change in back. But then
it's like a light bulb went off in Nanja's head, and the next two I got
CLEAN and right at the wall! Woo Hoo! We stopped, gave her treats from
her "on board" treat pouch and QUIT for the day.
Nanja went to the Oldenburg
inspections and strutted her stuff.
ended up with 102 points - just 3 points from premium and the
second highest scoring mare of the day. And, of course, she was entered
into the Main Mare Book. There were no premium mares.
giving Nanja a final
going-over with a rag and brush
just before she goes in the ring. I think Nanja was puzzled."Looks like a show, feels
like a show, but
where's the saddle????"
rare shot of Nanja with her
ears up! (Thanks to my husband Mike for all these inspection
I got home, since she was
all braided up,
put her double bridle on her
for some photos!
Between being sick and the excitement (and extra work!) of a new foal
on the farm (plus the steady stream of friends coming by to see the new
addition) Nanja's had light duty this week. Last weekend, I took her to
a Pam Fowler Grace clinic. Nanja was good and Pam gave us some helpful
tips on how to keep her active and focused. Pam correctly surmised that
Nanja is a horse who needs to be "kept busy." She really needs to be
kept totally on your seat and "through" every single stride. She also
has to be really kept 'in the reins.' The minute she gets a bit long,
she tends to 'pull apart' and I lose her hind legs and she goes "splat"
in front. Nanja really was rocked back on her hind legs
every stride of the clinic. I am getting better about feeling when
she's "getting away from me" and am better able to apply correclty
timed half halts before she gets to that 'point of no return.' ;)
rode her and I got her totally through for much of the time - it's a
feeling where it seems the reins are a big rubber band between us and
the tension/weight is perfectly balanced between her mouth and my
hands....like a seesaw perfectly balanced on the horizontal. Not only
was she really through, but she was very active and light...more of
that addicting "dressage crack." Nanja is not an easy horse
ride, but I'm finally learning. And what a journey. When she is right,
it is the most wonderful thing I've ever felt... truly like dancing
with my horse. And it's a feeling I've never felt with any other horse.
Yep, more of that 'dressage crack.' "Hi, my name is Cyndi and
a dressage addict."
June 16, 2005
night I had one of "those" rides. We started
off in trot and right off the bat, it was an incredible feeling.She was so round and really propelling
herself up off the
ground. I could really FEEL her hind legs underneath me....the
contained energy was incredible... I could almost feel the energy
coming from the hind legs right into my hands. Every stride felt like
all that energy was just barely contained ... like dancing on that line
between brilliance and losing control. My
trainer and I laugh and call these moments "dressage crack."
what keeps us plugging away...you ride for a week trying to hone your
basics and get the straightness, throughness and impulsion that will
give you "dressage crack" for 15-20 minutes. ;) Ah, but
glorious few minutes. And, of course, they never occur anywhere near a
show arena. ;)
June 8, 2005
We're really "upping the ante" on the level of work and Nanja doesn't
quite know what hit her! I am sure she is wondering "Hey,
did I enlist in the army?" cuz it's been a little bit like Boot Camp!
However, physically, anyway, the work agrees with her. Her
is nicely muscled along the top and she's completely lost the bit of
muscling she had underneath her neck in 2003. Most noticeable, though,
is the development of her hindquarters. She has grown one impressive
rear-end in the last six months! It's
riding her regularly in the double bridle now, and we've both gotten
the hang of it. My trainer, Brooke Cramton, has been riding her
occasionally. Last night, just goofing around, Brooke asked for a
flying change and she got a clean one.... so she cantered a bit, then
asked for another one, and got a second clean one. Woo hoo!
not even going to think about showing just yet - Nanja needs to be 200%
at home first. The problem, though, is that my standards keep changing.
;) Work I would have been thrilled with even six months ago
just doesn't seem quite 'good enough.' ;) Dressage is
that way. ;)
Nanja wins the 2003
Second Level Championship from Houston Dressage Society
This makes the third year-end
she's won. Basically, she's won the year-end championship at every
in which she's competed. (In 2002 we did not compete - we spent the
training.) Her year-end average was over 65%.
Nanja undefeated at Second
during '03 show season!
OK, it was only at schooling
but a gal's got to start somewhere. After a perfectly respectable debut
in September, she just got better! In October, she competed
Paula Howard at Second 1 and 2 at the Solstice Farms schooling show and
got a 62% and a 65%. Later in October Nanja competed at the Rancho Los
Ecuestres Dressage Schooling Show, where she earned a 62% and a 70.5%
judge Pam Grace. And then, to finish up the show year, she showed at
Stables on Nov. 16 and got scores in the mid 60s despite the fact her
rider went off course in each ride, and twice in test 2.
2003 - Houston Dressage
Year-End Champion, Second Level Schooling Show Division, year-end
2001 - Houston Dressage
Year-End Champion, First Level, Schooling Show Division, year-end
2000 - Houston Dressage
Year-End Champion, Training Level, Schooling Show Division
In 2001, Nanja's sire, Fair
(who once stood at Iron Spring Farm) won the Get of Sire
the prestigious Devon Horse Show, beating out the top stallions in the
country! Congratulations, "dad!"