Friday, June 14, 2013

Coming Back

Hi there everyone!! It has been a LONG time!  I am truly sorry for dropping off of the face of the planet, but at the time, that is what I needed to do.  I needed time to heal and reflect on my life, and to contemplate my future plans with horses, or lack of?  The aftermath of the fire and the months/year following were as devastating and life changing as the actual event.  Although I knew that my life was majorly changed, I still thought "Oh I can do this!  I can get right back into everything".  It was a bad way to look at everything.  All it did was cause major pressure to myself and my horse, a complete loss of joy in riding and competing, and an overlwhelming dread and anger at what was gone.  You don't just bounce hard as you try.  In hindsight, I should have bought Phoenix and just enjoyed him and his training while I worked on regrouping and recovering myself.  The fire had many levels of destruction and devastation.  The loss of my beloved horses, the loss financially, the loss of the personal goals that I put everything else in my life on hold for, and then the insecurity of feeling in one moment unstoppable and on top of the world, to the next, where I am back at the bottom of the barrel with my scraggly, fresh off the track thoroughbred who is all I now have to represent me.  I have always had a very green Thoroughbred in my barn.  It is what I do, however I also had Scooby, my bread and butter who showcased where I was at in my own riding.  With him gone, and only being as good as Phoenix can allow, I was in a bad place mentally and it was not fair to him.  He had given me eveything in such a short period of time and although it is was nowhere near what I wanted out of him, it was all he could do.  Everything came to a head in September while I was at a Horse Trial.  I felt so much dread about showing and being there.  I paid so little attention while course walking that I actually cantered directly past a jump in show jumping without even realizing it until Chris told me when I came out.  I have had a TE before because of a genuine "oopsy" mistake, but this was different.  I was done and I knew it.  I was finished with showing and trying to hold onto something that was gone.  I hated it and it was not fair to my horse, who despite his efforts, barely received good boy pats from me. I hated the way he looked even.  He was a rusty Geo Metro compared to the Lamborghini named Scooby.  Yes, things were that bad.  It is almost a good thing that they peaked though.  I had no choice but to stop everything, truly reflect, and then take the time to actually mourn and come to terms with the loss of my horses. 

In about January, things began turning around for me.  I decided that I would no longer event.  The anger about that loss was still there, so I decided to turn my focus on jumpers.  It was something that I have never done with Scooby and it has also been my weaker area in eventing, so I felt it could be beneficial all the way around.  My training would stay the same with a large emphasis on classical dressage, I would just jump a tad more and school lead changes more often.  I think the decision to put my focus somewhere else was the best thing I could do.  Surprisingly enough, as soon as I began doing jumpers, I also started to miss eventing some.  With Phoenix and I in a much better place, I last minute decided to enter Difficult Run Horse Trials for June 7-9th (my very favorite Horse Trial).  Although I still had a few "moments" over the weekend, everything went great and it was a blast!  Phoenix scored a 36 in Dressage.  I was not thrilled about it (I was really hoping for a low 30), but he was somewhat distracted.  I was ok with it though.  He had one rail in Show Jumping (the last fence...Boo!)  I was most likely already relishing in my clear round before it actually happened!  Cross country was awesme!  Despite the slippery footing from all of the rain sustained and not using large enough studs, he still jumped around to a double clear.  In Chris's words "He was a beaaaast!!"  He finished in 5th place and earned his first USEA points!!  What a different place we are getting into.  I love Phoenix now and truly appreciate him for him.  I no longer compare him to Scooby.  I think about my Lamborghini all of the time and do not feel I will ever truly come to terms with what happened, but I do know that I am strong enough to perservere.  Tragedy and grief crushed my world for a long time, but with the amazing support of friends, family, and a special bay horse named Phoenix, things are heading in a good direction again...  I am thrilled to be getting my life back!!

The rusty Geo Metro has transformed into a beautiful Ferrari =)

Penn National,  January 2012

Difficult Run Horse Trials, June 2013 

Here are P's two Cross Country clips from this past weekend..

I have so many more updates to give, but since it has been so long, it will just take time!!! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kate Chadderton wins the first ever "Scooby Who And Cassidy Blue Remembrance Award"

For those of you who do not follow the Facebook Recover Page ( ), this past weekend Chris and I presented the first ever "Scooby Who And Cassidy Blue Remembrance Award" at The Maryland Horse Trials.  This award is something that I thought up the week following the fire.  I wanted to find a way to keep Scooby and Kaz's name alive while honoring what I love so dearly, Off The Track Thoroughbreds.  The award was given to the highest placed/lowest scoring Off The Track Thoroughbred at the Preliminary Level.  I chose Preliminary for the first year because this is where Scooby and I left off in our partnership together.  In years to come, we will switch up the level to give all horses an opportunity to win! 

Sadly, in the months leading up to the award, I had a lot of dread about it...To the point where I never even talked about it to anyone.  Things got so difficult that I emailed Carolyn at The Maryland Horse Trials and told her I just could not get it together to do this award.  The thought of having to write or talk about the horses at all, just hurt so much.  I am so thankful though for her pushing me to do it and letting me know that so many people were excited about it.  With the help of family, great friends (new and old), and a lot of tears, we got it done and to my huge suprise, Saturday was such a wonderful day!  We drove down to Baltimore Friday night and had a great evening with Shane and Mike.  Saturday morning we headed over to Loch Moy to watch the Preliminary cross country and show jumping before presenting the award.  Being there ignited something in me that I have not felt in so long...PASSION!!  Passion for the sport and my future..and passion to go Prelim, Intermediate and Advanced on Phoenix!  I truly felt excited for what I have, not the heavy sadness and dread for what I lost.  We walked almost all of the Prelim course and everything looked totally doable and nice.  It made me want it so badly again!  The anger and sadness still weigh heavy on my life, but to have a moment in a day to feel complete excitement and eagerness was just an amazing feeling.

After the completion of Preliminary, we were informed that Kate Chadderton and her horse VS McCuan Civil Liberty were the winners of the award!  We got to meet with Kate and Liberty, and Kate even went on to tell me that after watching Scooby compete last year, she went to my website to see if he was for sale!  How exciting is that?!?!  A top rider wanting one of my horses?!?! That definitely made me feel good... both as a trainer and the proudness of my wonderful Scooby Who.  It ignited the drive again to keep producing ottbs.  Thank you so much for that Kate!  You will never know how much that is going to do for me!  Kate also blogged about the award ( ).  Liberty sounds exactly like the type of horse I love...quirky and unique!!  I do not think the award could have went to a better thoroughbred for the first year! 

I want to give a very special thanks to all of the 2012 Sponsors:

- Caitlin Taylor from OTTB Designs ( )

- Maryjo Smith from Mane and Tail ( )

- Jen Roytz from Three Chimney's Farm (Jen will be publishing an article about Liberty in the Paulick Report).
( )  

 Here is the link to the article Jen did on Scooby following the fire.  All agree that this is the best segment done on him!


I also want to thank Carolyn Macintosh and Mary Beth from The Maryland Horse Trials.  Such a great group of kind, supportive people!

A very big congratulations to Kate and Liberty!  You will always be dear to my heart =)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

An Exciting June

It has been a busy three weeks since I have posted last.  To start, Briana and I took our boys to Bucks for Kirin's (Martini Please) first outing off of the farm.  They were wonderfully behaved together and Kirin acted like a true professional!  I think he was more mature on his first outing than Phoenix was on his 5th!  Haha.  Phoenix still felt the need to throw a buck or two in!  They both jumped well also!  Phoenix wanted to attack everything (I was super pleased) and Kirin was absolutely perfect for never seeing anything other than the logs at our farm.  Bri and Kirin are making their eventing debut at High Point this weekend and we are all super excited!  They are more than ready and it will be an excellent learning experience for Bri.  She will have to learn to really ride and push over fences at these initial shows to be successful with such a green horse.  Her first event horse "Spooky" was a mini Scooby and I absolutely adored him and his zest for jumping.  We both miss him so much. They were going to do great things together and never got to showcase what we had brewing behind the scenes.  He was Scooby in a 15.1 hand, paint body.  Although we put him over his first fences, he was an aggressive boy and we spent much of our time working on "quiet in, quiet out".  Kirin is going to be a different ride for Bri initially, but she is more than qualified for the challenge and it is so awesome to see her excited again about the thought of competing!

Secondly, Caitlyn got a horse!!  We picked him up last weekend!  His name is Junior and he basically fell into our lap when a client/friend mentioned him to me.  Her aunt breeds Thoroughbreds for sport and he was her breeding stallion for many years.  He was a true Hunter/Jumper, not the ploddy type you tend to see a lot of now.  He is sporty and big moving, and just gorgeous! He is now 13, gelded and bored!  He still wanted to work and they offered Caitlyn this wonderful opportunity to free lease him!  He has been a godsend!  Caitlyn needed this!  A lot of people think about Bri and I, but Caitlyn lost so much as well.  Scooby and Kaz were her boys.  Kazzy was her main man and she adored him.  I think one of the most difficult things about the fire was the realization that I would have to tell her that this had happened.  Despite the termendous heartache, she has been so wonderful since the fire and has been our true behind the scene girl!  She opened her heart to Phoenix and Kirin when Bri and I could barely look at them and were questioning ourselves as to why we even bought horses.  She has been there every step of the way with both horses.  She usually comes with me when Phoenix goes off the farm, she spends many hours watching Bri's lessons, she is my jump crew helper at times and always Phoenix's cool off girl =)  She is just amazing and there is never a person more deserving of this super nice horse than her! 

Lastly, the NJ Horse Trials were this past Sunday....Ohhhh what a day...poor Chris is still sick from being in the heat all day.  Hot was not even the word.  Phoenix handled the heat pretty well though...thanks to that split S2 heart!  HA!  It was defninitely a day of mixed results.  Dressage was pretty bad...probably my worst test in years, but this is where I am reminded by Chris that this is what is going to happen for awhile if I want to compete right now.  Phoenix has only been off the track for 5 months, so I can not expect him to be this experienced, professional boy all of the time.  This takes time and I am ok with that.  I can not say I am thrilled by being at the bottom of the pack after Dressage, but even my rock solid Scooby had his bad tests!  Also, Scooby did not start solid!  FAR from it.  He was crazy at his first shows and to this day, still my toughest horse to initially compete...and look how he turned out!  A Superstar!  Phoenix is a close second with toughness though!!  Haha.  I wish I could say Show Jumping was any better than Dressage, but it was not!  That turned out to be prob my worst SJ round EVER...He warmed up great, but was very looky in the arena.  I was able to get him over everything, but it was tough for the first 3/4 of the ride and we brought down four rails.  He is not a spooky horse, but I was prepared for some sort of reaction because I watched a lot of Prelim and Novice horses having stops at seemingly straightforward fences.  Surprisingly, I was not too phased by the ride (although my ego was a little bruised) and we headed down to Cross Country.  I was about to get my two minute countdown when I realized that I did not have my stop watch....Ughhh....after a detour back to the trailer, I returned and was given my countdown.  Off we went, and oh my god, P felt and rode like a champ!  He just cruised around with ease.  Unfortunately though, he had a VERY slight hesitation at the second water, nothing that I thought would have been penalized though.  He did not step back at all and it probably took me about 3 seconds to get him moving down into the water.  It really was quite uneventful and he finished the rest of the course with ease.  I did not even have a second thought about the water, so when I saw that they gave him 20, I was soooo bummed.  In the scheme of things, I know that it really does not matter.  It's not like he was going to finish high up or anything, but he earned that round and it will probably erk me for awhile to see that 20 on his record.  I did inquire about it with the TD, but I realize that water especially is difficult to judge.  It is very opinion based,  so all in all it was a day of mixed results.  We have a lot of loose ends to tie up with him, but wow is the potential there!  He will be going to a straight jumper show next week.  I plan to do several rounds so I can really work on teaching him how to get into a rythm throughout the course.  From there we will be competing again at the NJ Horse Park.  My hopeful goal is that he will greatly improve on the Show Jumping next time around and then I'll plan to move him to Novice at Fair Hill....Fair Hill....What a big deal last year was for me there....Scooby and my first Prelim!  That was my most proud moment to date.  I am sure everyone on the show grounds heard me screaming as I crossed through the finish flags!!  I say this all of the time, but it is scary how much can change in the blink of an eye.  I was planning this year's August Fair Hill to hopefully be our Intermediate move up...Now I am just hoping to make it to Novice by then...Chris has mentioned that I should possibly take a break from competing and just take some time to absorb everything and move forward.  I am not sure if that is the answer.  I can defninitely gripe and complain, but the truth is, I love eventing and I love my new horse.  I often have moments of envy when I watch others ride and compete their experienced horses, but at the same time, I am very thankful that I have the ability to bring along another horse and you know what...we are doing it!  Things are not smooth and pretty right now (well cross country they are!), but this horse is giving me his all and I can not ask for anything more.  Time and patience is what he deserves.  Not to mention, Phoenix truly loves me.  He whinnies to me almost every time he sees me.  What more can I ask for?   

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Up's And Down's

From about the end of April until the end of May, I hit my absolute lowest point to date.  Depression, anger and frustration took over me.  What has been making it harder is that it has been five months since the fire.  Where has the time gone?  It scares me to feel that I am in the same place as I was in January.  Nothing really sparked a downward is doing well, Phoenix is doing well, and despite my emotional heartache, things have been moving forward.  This emotional roller coaster has been so difficult though.  I will have weeks where I truly feel that things are moving in the right direction and then out of nowhere, something will spark the anger and sadness again.  I have been reading a lot about the grieving process, so I know that this is all normal.  It is just difficult getting through the bad times.  Today actually, I came across my training log from last year.  I look at my writing and notes from Scooby and think "Oh my god, if I only knew then that this would become a detailed memory of our journey together and something that I will cherish forever"...I hate to act like "why me?", but I would be lying if I said that I do not ask this... I miss Scooby so much and it is incredibly tormenting to know that, although I think about his loss every day, there is still nothing any of us can do to bring him back or change the situation...Moving forward is the only option, however, it is just not that easy....I am so fortunate though to have so many people who truly care...and I have Phoenix =)  He is my life saver.  Since I have not posted in so long, here is the quick update on him...He is now eventing at the Beginner Novice Level =)  I did not move him up at Plantation like I originally planned, but waited until Flora Lea.  Despite one stop at the water (Hey, it was a very spooky water =)), he cruised around Cross Country like a champ!  The video is below!  He definitely looked like an experienced boy, however I am sure he was the most inexperienced horse at the entire competition!  It was a very proud day for Chris and I, and it made me remember how much I love the sport of eventing.  If losing one of the most important things in my life has not made me quit, I know that I never will.

This past weekend was a tough one for me though.  We brought Phoenix to Plantation Field on Saturday and I had no idea that competing there would bring so much emotion.  I had competed Scooby there a lot in the last couple of years and it definitely affected me a little.  Dressage went ok.  We didn't have a lot of warm up time, but Phoenix did about as well as he has been schooling at home and scored a 36.  Definitely higher than where we ultimately want him, however, he gave me 100% for where he is at in his training.  He was very focused and performed exactly the way he does at home.  That makes me excited because in a few more months when he is further along, he will be scoring like Scoobs =) Warm up for Show Jumping went very well.  He was a jumping machine.  Even with his studs. the footing felt a bit greasy, so I made my plan for Cross Country to go slow and take wide turns.  When I went into Show Jumping, he was a bit distracted, but not bad...He just turned 5 and has only been off the track for 4 months.  I am realistic.  He jumped the first three fences fairly well, but when he made the bending line to 4 a/b, he slowed a tad at A and got into it deep and with a slight loss of momentum, which despite my efforts to re-establish power, he got into B very much the same and practically threw himself over it.  Not a huge deal for a green horse, but unfortunately, he clipped the top rail of the oxer with his hind legs and brought it down . Again, typically not a big deal for a green horse, but he must clipped himself pretty good because he cantered away from it hitchy in the hind end.  I circled him around twice trying to feel what was going on, if it was my imagination or not.  I decided to pull him up to be safe.  He walked out of the arena fine, but it was the right decision.  Bummer though!!  The bad days are always part of the sport, but still, they sting!  I am glad that P is ok, but it left me with a LONG 3 hour car ride home, consumed with the " long until I compete again?!?!"  I always remember Karen O'Connor saying "You are only as good as your last show".  Let me tell you, it is true!!!!!  I have always felt this way.  You can be flying high one week, then brought down and humbled the next.  I have a huge respect for every rider who puts themselves out there in the competition world.  It is not easy... That being said, I am super excited for the New Jersey Horse Trials the last week of June..

I just want to thank everyone again for their continued love and support through this still very difficult time...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We Are Entered!!!!

Surprise!!  Yes, we are going to Plantation Field in May!!!  As you know, Chris and I have been loosely throwing the idea around of starting Phoenix in recognized competition in May, but the last I left it was that I was going to hold off until June because I am not sure how competitive he will be initially.  Well.....we took Phoenix on his first outing off the farm last Saturday and he was awesomeeeeeeeee!!!!  Of course he had lots of energy initially, so we spent a lot of time trotting a 20 meter circle, but once he settled, he was amazing!!  He met and exceeded all of my very high expectations jumping also!!  He did several BN questions and even a few Novice fences!  He also did two small drops into the water!   He was such a bold pony!  Here are a few pics from the day!!

                                          Phoenix over the Beginner Novice ditch!

Phoenix with Max and Helen (Helen is one of my clients who happened to be at Bucks the same day!)

                                        Who is that handsome guy?!

                           Cait, Phoenix and I sporting the blue and pink!!!

Here are the SEVEN short video clips!  

So from here....we get ready for Plantation!!!  This is what we did in 6 weeks of training, lets see what we can do in the next 4 1/2 weeks!  The exciting part is that he his ready for Beginner Novice now, so I am just going to continue training and enjoying him!  I am planning to take him to another cross country schooling next weekend and will be entering a schooling Horse Trial on May 5th!!  Stay tuned for updates as Plantation nears!! 

Btw, Check out this one last video!  Caitlyn made this for Phoenix =))  I do believe this horse was sent here to take care of me.  He has brought back so much happiness in my life...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Silver Lining

~ Grief steals all the beauty in the world , then gives it back one piece at a time until the house you call your home is built on more hope than sorrow ~

Lately I have been reading a lot of self healing novels and this quote really struck me because it is very true.  Up until January, I had never experienced a true personal tragedy.  I thought I did when my very dear friend lost her husband in a sudden accident (Tom is actually the reason I sport the pink with blue!).  I thought that after living it with her, I could truly feel her pain..I could not though.  I still can not..I have a definite understanding of loss, but on a different level.  After the fire and experiencing the loss of Scooby and Kaz, I am on a different mental level than I ever was before.  I am realizing that the things that I worried so much about, really do not matter...I am also realizing that I need to enjoy this life and the time that I have here, because in a blink of an eye, it can all be gone.  This is something that I always thought I knew, but I had no clue...It is impossible to have this understanding unless you have experienced it.  It is true..This is something positive that I am taking out of the fire.  In between the bad days,  I have these amazing days where I feel empowered and excited to tackle my new future.  I do not have the fears of failure anymore.  When you hear the statement "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger", believe me, it is very factual.  This broke me down to the lowest point of my life, but I am gradually emerging stronger than ever possible.  Having this new outlook is going to be with me forever and that is something to be thankful for...

Now about Phoenix!

                               Can you tell that he is doing awesomeeeeeee!

 I am sorry that I have not posted about him for several weeks.  You all deserve to hear frequent updates on him and I promise to be better about it.  Let me quickly fill everyone in on his training...This is his fifth full week of hard work and he has been nothing short of amazing!  I always forget that he has only been off of the track for less than two months!  His flatwork is doing amazing and his movement is really beginning to open and swing!  He is looking more and more like Scooby every day!  When he is totally relaxed, he feels like Scooby!  He is pretty exceptional...Scooby was definitely looking down on me with this horse...His jumping is coming along very nicely as well!!!  He is showing fantastic natural ability and scope!  He even did his first cross country type fences last Sunday.  Bri's boyfriend, Scott, made us some small log jumps out in our one field, so naturally, I was out there the next day!!!  Phoenix was not phased by anything, but was insistent on giving me some happy hops departing from the first two of fences!  He is definitely Scooby in a coming 5 year old body!  Chris and I are taking him to his first real cross country schooling next weekend, and I am ohhh so excited!!!  From there, we will be planning a second schooling in April and then his first Horse Trial in May.  He is scheduled to do two or three schooling hts in May and depending on how he does, the tentative plan is to make our USEA debut together at Plantation Field in June....Can you believe it?  The strong possibility of returning to recognized competition by the beginning of June?!?!  He is doing so well that Chris and I have even joked that I could have him ready for Difficult Run in May!  That is my favorite place to compete at and if I thought he could actually be competitive, I would prob do it!  Realistically, I am preparing for a fire breathing dragon who will want to zoom around the dressage arena for the first show or two.  I would like to get all of that out of his system before paying the entry fees for USEA comps, so several schooling shows it is!  Did I ever mention that Scooby's first show was quite scary?!  Hahaha...Yes,  I couldn't even get on him in the Dressage warm up!  I had to warm him up in a quiet field and even after trotting for a straight hour, his dressage test was a complete jig!!  I always love speaking to the Dressage judges after those initial schooling shows with green ottbs...HA!  Scooby did go on to become my strongest, most solid and consistent dressage horse ever.  Phoenix has that ability as well..It will just take some exposure to get to that point.

 Enjoy all of our videos =))  I am sorry again that I was not more prompt with these....Btw, the pink helmet cover is going very soon!!!!

This video is from about three weeks ago (3-11-12).  It was his third jumping session.  After the grid, I was working to teach him a correct, slow hand gallop (pushing from the butt and working to stay light up front).  He has come a long way between then and now =)

This video is also from 3-11-12.  I was again working on a correct hand gallop.  He was much better to the left and some of his movement was pretty impressive for a future upper level eventer =)  He is going to cover ground!!!  Phoenix was actually bred for long distances and most of his races were between a mile to a mile and a half!  Perfect for an eventer!!

These next two videos are from last weekend (3-25-12).  It was his  first time jumping cross country type fences =))

Today I should be competing Scooby and Kaz at Morven Park...I had worked very hard up until the fire for this weekend.  It was in my thoughts every day and I was so excited to debut Kazzy to the eventing world.  Although I have not even checked the scores because I feel it will be too hard for me, I am doing surprisingly well... I spent the rainy morning with Phoenix and had another great jumping session!  I will never get over the loss of my boys, but by having Phoenix and developing a very different outlook on life,  I am beginning to see the Silver Lining of this tragic experience...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Wonderful Tribute To My Scooby Who

I came home on Saturday to find a package from GRC in the mail.  Those of you who are not overly familiar with  Area 2 eventing, GRC is the top photographer for us.  They take tons of photos at each event and always do a fantastic job.  There is always a lot of excitement the week after a horse trial just waiting for them to post the photos!  Enclosed in the package from them was a USB Drive labeled "Rebecca Greene and Scooby Who".  Chris told me he was not going to give it to me right away, but since I already saw the package, I may as well look at it.  I have been having a pretty rough, emotional week, so I totally get why he was not going to show me it.  I opened it up and enclosed in the USB Drive is what I feel to be the most beautiful tribute to Scooby and I.  It has competitions from every year that we have competed together..from Novice-Prelim.  The first few photos are from the first Horse Trial that he won.  It was at the Novice Level.....As the video nears the end, several of the photos are from our last Horse Trial together.  If only I knew that would be our last ride is a very touching tribute.  Definitely difficult to watch, but so dear to my heart.  Chris and Shane put the entire thing together.  Shane picked out all of the photos....How did I get so lucky to have people like them in my life?  Shane and I met four years ago when she purchased one of my horses.  We became quick friends with a strong bond...She has been there since the beginning with Scooby.  I had only owned him for a couple of months when she bought Caesar.  She has watched us compete several times in the Maryland/Virginia area and has always a strong support system for me...I am so thankful for her and the huge support she has shown me through this horrible time...

In the four and a half years we were together, Scooby and I completed almost 50 Horse Trials.  We had a wonderful journey and although it is now over, I am so thankful to be able to share it with all of you...Please enjoy =)

Ohh Scooby....How lost I feel without you.  You were my world and I miss you more and more as time goes on.  What I would do to have just one more day with you...