At the end of May I performed in my first play! I joined the Slightly Off Center Players at the Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Under the direction of Bobby Keniston I played the character Cecily Cardew. Our rehearsal process was almost 8 weeks and boy did we need that time to memorize all those lines! I learned so much from all the other actors, stagehands, and of course from Bobby. Our small cast became such a tight-knit group.

The Cast

I will have many fond memories, especially Lucas with his English rendition of Johnny Depp’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean. I don’t think anyone else could be so flexible when they walked! Teresa Myers did an amazing job as Miss Prism and it was a little scary to see her transform into a stern governess after a lot of makeup. I won’t forget my “pepto bismol” dress-it was ALL pink! But it did fit my character, especially with the ribbon bow in my hair.Anyone who has not seen the play the Importance of Being Earnest is missing out-the cleverness of playwright Oscar Wilde made me laugh and giggle all throughout rehearsals!

The Cast backstage


Here is another video clip created by his owner Jody Cabot. She included some footage of him long-lining, learning leg-yield on the long-lines, ground driving, and his first canter under saddle. Zeppelin just turned three yesterday so his training is coming along quite nicely!

Here is a nice video put together by Zeppelin’s owners, Jody and Ric Cabot. The video highlights his long-lining work, starting under saddle, and the beginnings of piaffe in-hand. Enjoy!

Douwe has been doing very well in his training. He is doing leg-yielding nicely in both directions and has also started doing some at the canter as well. This is helping him to balance in corners and on circles. Recently the exercise that has been helping Douwe the most is the halfpass in the trot. We use the First Level One halfturns to practice. I ask for some shoulder-fore down the long side, do a 10 meter trot circle in the corner and then ride the halfturn asking for halfpass. He keeps his bend well and is getting better about stepping over with the hind legs. Carolyn, my trainer, had me start doing halfpass to help him get his hind legs underneath him. His major issue is to engage and stay connected hind to front. I also do a lot of piaffe in-hand with rein-back as well. He is becoming more animated and loves to rein-back for a treat. He has a long way to go but he is definitely getting more comfortable to ride and lighter in his entire body. I am looking forward to taking him on trails and cantering again, that really helped his strength last summer.

Douwe in the 2009 Dover Parade

Zeppelin has been trotting on the lunge line with other riders as I handle him on the ground. We also do his piaffe in-hand work with the rider on his back. The rider’s job is to just stay in balance while holding the saddle and using no aids. Today we made the transition to me being in the saddle and Carolyn managing the lunge line. At this point the rider needs to start introducing the correct aids to the horse. He was ready for me to use my voice for transitions up and down and also to hold a whip in my hand. He took everything in stride and I found him to be very comfortable and  relaxed in his back. He has no negative training or bad memories to overcome so Zeppelin finds it easy to follow his training. Carolyn also introduced him to leg-yielding along the rail with the long-lines. He really listened and was able to get some very nice steps. She only asked him to leg-yield a couple times up and down the rail so he wouldn’t get frustrated on the first day.

This entry was taken from my trainer’s (Carolyn Sharpe Rose) blog-she did a great job summarizing what we have been doing with Zeppelin so she let me copy her blog entry for my online journal. Carolyn does a great job updating her training blog with a lot of new information-click here to read her blog. http://carolynsharperose.wordpress.com/

Zeppelin has been a pleasure to work with, he is beautiful, as most Friesians are, and very smart as well.  Because he is going to be a driving horse, as well as a riding horse, the training has to taken on a new direction that I haven’t had the opportunity to teach Sandra Beaulieu.  Sandra is his hands- on trainer under my direction.

We split his training into five different phases.

Phase One:  We still begin with free lungeing with his side reins and Sandra doing at liberty half halts.  Zeppelin loves this part of the training as he is able to receive treats.  These are limited in his driving training as you can’t stop, jump out of the cart and hand your horse a treat.

Phase Two:  Then we move on to long-lining.  He has learned to make figure eights at the trot, and this last session we added ten meter circles.  Sandra has learned to change direction on the long lines with ease and grace, never losing the rhythm of his stride in the trot as they do the figure eight.  This takes skill to be able to change rein across the diagonal and to teach the horse to make the turn.  Sandra has been studying with me in dressage for some years and her skill at half pass on the horse’s back  serves her well in learning these turns.  It takes a slight sponge of the rein to create an inside rein on the turn and then to use the outside rein to turn with.  Most driving needs a half pass to control the horses turns, rather than a leg yield.

Phase Three:  Next Sandra ground drives.  He is doing quite well.  In the beginning the challenge is to travel straight without wandering, as we want him to be able to pull a cart straight.  A little half pass comes into play to teach straightness.  After three short lessons, over three days, of about ten minutes each, he is now traveling straight and halting and learning to stand very still.

Phase Four:  Next we put Zeppelin on the lunge line, as he was taught during the initial training, before he learned to long line.  Now we reverse the order during his lessons.   He knows how to lunge, but it is still part of his training to prepare him for riding.  Sandra lunges him a few minutes on each side and then we have a rider mount him, and they continue on the same pattern of twenty meter circles in the middle of the arena.  He is already used to the routine and has no trouble continuing when we stop and add the  rider.  In the beginning we would have someone mount him at the bleachers, which is our station for working with horses before beginning riding or training.  There he would eat grain as we had a rider mount him.  Once he adjusted to the weight of the rider, then Sandra would lead him around, again distracting him from the difficulty of managing the weight of a rider on his back by offering treats.  Now he has moved on to carrying the rider on a lunge line at the trot and without any treats.  Sandra is managing the lunge line to make sure he is safe for the rider.  The rider only has to hold on to pommel of the saddle and do nothing but go along for the ride.   All cues are given by Sandra as she lunges Zeppelin.

Phase Five: The last phase is teaching the horse the introduction to Piaffe.  In the beginning it was just walking forward six to eight steps and halting and backing up two steps.  Because he is going to be a driving horse and backing up a cart is crucial to driving, when doing piaffe he is asked to back up many more steps and we increase those steps in each session.  We have advanced to trotting six to eight steps, halting and backing up eight  to nine steps.  Now this part of the training  is done with the rider on his back.  This teaches him riding and driving skills at the same time.  We end there and Zeppelin gets a treat and pats from Sandy and is told he is a good boy.  He stands with great pride, absorbing his praise and seeming to say, “I know I did a good job and I’m proud of it!”

Doing five phases of training keeps the training session interesting for the Zeppelin and we are able to add something new in each of the five training session.  This way he learns new things each day but it seems like so little as it is broken up in each phase of the training.  Sandra is becoming a proficient driving trainer and I think she will be bitten by the driving passion before we are finished.

As many of you know, my brother is a well-known guitar player in a band called Trivium. He is my younger brother by exactly two years to the day. He was always the entertainer as we grew up, making me laugh all the time! His Jim Carrey impersonations were my favorite! Anyway, he always knew that he wanted to be a rockstar, just like I wanted to be a horse trainer. So I am always so excited to promote his accomplishments because I am very proud of him. Their music is a bit heavy for my taste but they are all so talented that it is amazing to see what they can create together. I do believe this song is featured on a video game called God of War. So here is their new video recorded in Matt’s (the lead singer-a very smart, talented guy) new studio apartment. My favorite part is at the end when they show clips of Corey being goofy. That reminds me of my little brother before he was taller than me and had long hair. Enjoy!  http://www.trivium.org/board_posts/shattering-the-skies-above-official-video