Thursday, May 31, 2012

This is my first blog post and I will try and condense it as much as possible to get ye up to speed! After getting the visa, which funnily classes me as an athlete(!) an I-129 allows me to stay in America training under the discipline of dressage for three years. An opportunity like this does not cross a persons path everyday. Learning from one of the best trainers America has to offer and much sought after clinician - Pam Goodrich.
For those who would like to learn more about Pam, I would recommend you read this -  

I first got to know Pam through my dressage trainer back home, Vida Tansey. I visited Pam's in 2009 and fell in love with the place, how Pam taught and the standard of the horses and barn. However that small thing called college was calling, I was due to start what I swore was going to be my last year that September. I returned home, and in early 2010 Vida told me that Pam was coming to Woodlands Equestrian Centre in Sligo to give a clinic. Jumping at the chance to work with her again I booked myself in and through the jigs and the reels it was decided that I was going to go back to work with Pam on a more permanent basis after I finished up in college. The great thing that also happened in the short time that Pam was in Sligo teaching was that she met my life long friend and fellow Irish dressage representative Sarah-Jane Arthur, who is now also here on a permanent basis training with Pam. I could not be happier to have her here with me as between both our families sending care packages we are never short of Cadburys chocolate or have a fear of winding up with an American twang!! She is also writing a positively epic blog which ye should check out!

My time here is split up into two seasons and locations. The end of November to the beginning of April is spent in the equine community of White Fences, just outside Wellington, Florida ( the rest of the year in Boscawen, New Hampshire. Unfortunately this means I never really get to experience winter here, just year round sun - a VERY tough job! Tan lines are hard to even out and fill in ;)

So after much frantic packing, tearful goodbyes and one hell of a farewell party and I arrived at Logan Airport on December 13th 2011. After a week of staying with family, sorting out social security numbers, getting a car and a bank account we made the journey from Boston to Florida in 2 days. The season technically starts in Florida from January 1st to April 1st with a festival that is called WEF (World Equestrain Festival) but you find many professional yards (or barns as they are called here in the US) make the journey down shortly after October. My barn Foster Meadows travels down to Florida shortly after Thanksgiving in November. Due to visas and emigration interviews I arrived in the States a little less then a month after the barn had made the trip down in this baby!

The maiden 'Delia'

25 hours later and numerous food stops I arrived in White Fences, Florida!! Spending Christmas in the sun, and my first one away from friends and family was daunting, but was made so much easier thanks to our barn manager Ali Potasky and her family who made sure I was fed and happy over the holidays!  So after six months here, I feel that the time is right to start the blog, also due to the fact that I have been 'gathering data' i.e procrastinating over starting this!. I have spent five months in Florida and a month in New Hampshire, where I currently am now until November. So far the experience has been nothing short of amazing. I will go into more details about what I got up to in Florida and what I have learnt so far in future blogposts, as to not overload with information! But here are a few snaps of the place to tickle your tastebuds..

My first mount, the gentle giant 'Fritz'

The long arena.

My Christmas Day view

Christmas Day breakfast thanks to the Potaskys!

Myself and herself outside our new digs

On a quick side note - To keep everyone in the loop regarding the sheep - Her name is Maaaaaaaaa-rian. I received her off a friend called Marian (hence the teddys name!) in order to document my travels. It was a fantastic idea and so far Maaaaaaaaa-rian has been places like the World Dressage Masters in Florida to meeting a calf in a diary farm in New Hampshire. Everywhere she goes she proves to be quite the hit and some people enjoy her company more then mine! 

     (Maaaaaaaaa-rian outside the entrance of her Florida home)

I hope this starter entry to the blog has been easy reading, until next time.