Florida – Here we go again!!!


Horse Trailers en route to FloridaWe made the trek down to Ocala on the 19th of January.  It was a fairly easy drive in that we didn’t lose any tires on the way or have any issues with any of the horses or the trucks.  However, it still took longer then it should have due to weather and an accident that happened about 2 miles ahead of us on the interstate that had the whole highway shut down for 2 hours.  SO long story short, 32 hours later we were FINALLY at our destination!


Unloading hayWe are back at the same farm this winter in Ocala, FL.  It’s a great farm close to lots of good hacking, which the horses really enjoy on their easy days!  It’s also close to training camps, which is handy, and we have some pretty great neighbours here that doesn’t hurt!  It’s really nice to arrive at a farm that you already know your way around…makes the set-up and unloading a lot faster.  We had a couple of slow days for the horses to let them adjust to their new home but they were not slow days for the rest of us.  We had hay to unload, a barn to set-up and handful of other tasks and chores before the farm was really settled.


Everyone settled in well however, not long after getting down here it was decided that Missy should have her splint bone removed because she had a very large active splint that was starting to interfere.  It is kind of disappointing as we were really excited about her for this season.  But the good news is she will make a full recovery and be back in action in no time and if there is a silver lining I guess it’s that my credit card will take a little less of a blow without her entry fees!!

We have been to 3 competitions so far.  The first show was at Florida Horse Park and Rocco and Shags both ran in the Intermediate.  Shags (Shigatzi) had a great first run finishing 2nd!  Rocco (Diamond Cut III), well he showed that he had some room for improvement!  He always shows his little quirks at the begging of the season, which he definitely did in fine form at this event.  He was not that ridable in the dressage, jumped clean in the show jumping but was not the steadiest between the jumps and was pretty nappy on the XC.  BUT the good thing is, I think we got that all out of his system!!  I also rode Sandra’s mare Laila (Ukelele) in the training.  She can be a hot red head in the dressage but also has the potential to win.  On this day she was a bit hot, so not the greatest score on the flat but she was a machine to jump!!  She reminds me a little of Manny but luckily not nearly as strong!  I then rode Tagalene, a stallion that Curtis Barbour rides, as he was away at a destination wedding soaking up the sun, drinking and from what I hear belting out some stellar karaoke!  I’d ridden Tagalene once before for about 5 mins. so we spent most of the weekend figuring each other out.  However now that we’ve done that I wish Curtis would go away more often and hand the reins over to me because he is a really fun horse!!  A big congrats goes out to Gabby Ledger who was 2nd in the prelim riding her own Frankin, who is now better know as SuperFrank to all his fans!  Franklin stays with us at our barn and Gabby is here for 2 weeks and then goes home to work for 2 weeks and then back down.

Rocco show jumping at the Florida Horse Park

Rocking Horse was the second show for us this season. Indy was scheduled to run in the prelim but came up foot sore after Ocala, so we thought that Manny would enjoy getting out so we put him in Indy’s spot.  And he did!!  His dressage was ok but he doesn’t quite understand that you can go across the diagonal at a canter and trot at x!  He kept waiting for me to ask for a change and so we lost some marks for things like that!  He was great show jumping!  The next day was XC day and boy did he know it!!  They are so smart these horses.  He had the runs all day until he was done the XC then he was very content.  Sandra’s horse Laila started off her dressage test beautifully and I was thinking this is going to be a winning test…she must have decided I was getting a little too cocky and blew the last 3 movements! After that Laila was machine in the jumping phases!!!  At this event I also made my beginner novice debut!!  I rode Gabby Ledger’s horse Southpaw.  He is a horse she has had for a while however, due to a series of unfortunate events he has not done a lot.  He was a good boy and finished the event with more confidence to go onto his novice this weekend at Rocking horse with Gabby.

This past weekend was Pine Top Advanced and we took Shags and Rocco.  This was Rocco’s first show at this level.  They both did great dressage tests for where they are in their training and I was quite pleased.  My downfall in both tests was my walk pirouettes.  So I now have a new-found admiration for pirouettes and will love them soon!!  (I hope :s) They were both in the top 6 of 2 very competitive advanced divisions.  We had some bad storms all afternoon on the Friday while we were supposed to be going XC, so they had to move the XC to the next day directly following our show jumping.  This ended up working out well because the footing was excellent after all that rain.  They both show jumped really well and Rocco handled the new heights with ease and seemed pretty comfortable.  I was so busy trying to keep good rhythm as well as keep Rocco straight between the fences that I incurred time penalties not thinking about shaving strides of my turns.  I will know better for next time and did not make the same mistake on Shaggy!  I love the XC at Pine Top as it is BIG and galloping with a few good questions mixed in. Rocco was the first to go.  I was nervous, but took comfort knowing that he is a strong athletic horse and that gave me a lot of confidence in him.  And he didn’t let me down, he was fantastic!!  He was a little surprised at the beginning of the course with the width of some of the fences but definitely answered all the questions with ease.  Shaggy was pretty perfect and such fun to ride until the last water where we had a little communication error to the corner out.  I was saying whoa and he was pretty sure I was saying go!  So we missed a bit but made it!  Our super vet Dr. Ober came and watched them jog up today and was happy with what she saw….ALWAYS a good thing!!!

Sandra, as always, has been doing a super duper job of caring for all the horses and having them turned out beautifully.

Training Camp We have had 2 training camps so far.  The first was mostly David getting a feel for where the horses are at and letting us know what the next steps should be.  He was very pleased with where Shags is starting off this year…much improved from last year!  The second training camp started with dressage lessons from Jacquie Brooks.  I started working with her at home this winter and it has been amazing!  She has really helped me get a lot more out of the horses by focusing mainly on the connection and the engagement and thus getting better quality in all the paces.  This has giving me the tools to weight the hind end and elevate their frames from their shoulders and withers….magic!!!  Day two was show jumping.  David was focusing on a lot of different lines with many related distances, as this is becoming the demand in our courses now.  Accuracy is highly stressed and reacting immediately to what is happening under you.  Day 3 we did a judged dressage test at Longwood.  Shaggy scored a 22!!!  Wish Peter Gray could be our judge more often.

This coming weekend we are off to Rocking horse again.  I’m running Manny in the OI, Gabby, Shawn and Curtis have horses in the Prelim, Sandra and Christina in the training, and Gabby and Shawn in the novice.  Should be a busy weekend of coaching and smiling riding Manny!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 Responses to Florida – Here we go again!!!

  1. donna bannon says:

    Thanks sooo much for the synopsis. I would have prefered to have been there

  2. carol rolph says:

    Just read your update and really loved your descriptions of your events etc. Way to go DI- you sure are one amazing gal!—but I knew that already!. Ride safe.

  3. Mike McDiarmid says:

    Hello miss Burnett. Wow! I’m so proud of you. Been a long time since we mucked stalls together. Even when you could barely hold the fork, you were determined to do the chores and dedicated to the horses in the barn.
    You are living your dream and that is absolutely wonderful.
    You were special as a child and have grown into an amazing woman. You and the family have always had a special place in my heart.
    Congratulations in all your successes thus far. Keep going girl!!!