US “A” listed event rider Kristin Schmolze is competing at the Badminton CCI4* for the first time this year with her longtime partner Cavaldi. In this blog Kristin shares her exciting journey as she prepares for one of the toughest three-day events in the world!
'Badminton blog'.......I still can not believe I'm writing this! It's a bit surreal to be writing and talking about a dream I've had since I was little girl watching videos of my idols competing at Badminton! We are now just a month away from the start of competition on April 21st!
(Above Left: Kristin and Cavaldi participating in the USEF Team Training Sessions at Three Runs Plantation in Aiken, SC. Katherine Erickson Photo.)
After having a solid finish at Fair Hill 3star last fall, I got the 'ok' from Phillip to start thinking about Badminton. So we started our winter with a trip to Wellington, Florida to get a jump start on training. I was very lucky to be able to work with Betsy Steiner in dressage and Katie Prudent in show jumping for two weeks of intense training. It was a great way to get going. As always, I learned a lot!
(Right: Cavaldi poses proudly in his Five Star Tack bridle. Katherine Erickson Photo)
Back to Aiken in February, the training sessions with Captain Mark Phillips started right away. He has been very helpful in stepping up our game, paying more attention to details and technique to improve on the work we have done, and as always for Joey, making him more rideable on the flat. These sessions, along with regular lessons with coach Phillip Dutton, are making me feel pretty lucky to be getting some of the best coaching I could possibly ask for!
It’s exciting, yet a little scary, that Badminton is only a month away. In 2007 I was able to compete at Burghley with Joey, which was an amazing experience to say the least! Joey was a star and jumped around clean. After that accomplishment, you start to think about what other goals you have, and you start to want a little more! Joey is a stellar cross-country horse and for my first Badminton he’s definitely the one I want to be sitting on.
There are now six of us on the east coast and three on the west coast from the US and Canada who are aiming to compete in England. We’ve gone back and forth between flying out of Newark or Atlanta and now it’s looking like Atlanta is more likely. Unfortunately on this British Airways flight, you have to be certified to fly with the horses, so we will not be on the plane with Joey, but will try to be on a flight about the same time so we can meet him when he lands.
(Above Left: Cavaldi shows off his flying changes for Capt. Phillips. Katherine Erickson Photo)
It’s been a great year to sign on with new sponsors Haygain and Mushroom Matrix. This is the most I’ve ever asked of Joey and I think both products make a huge difference in their overall health and well being. I’m very detail oriented in their care and this is stepping it all up a notch. Joey is tough to keep hydrated when he is this fit and with the steamed hay he is getting more moisture all the time. Our new supplements from Mushroom Matrix, (they have human, horse, and small animal), have got Joey and I both feeling at the top of our game!
Ecogold is also graciously sending saddle pads and boots for the competition, and my ongoing sponsors, Gene Freeze of County Saddlery and Jaime Greene of Five Star Tack, are sending some new products as well, so Joey will be all decked out!
(Right: Kristin’s saddle pad showing off her sponsors. Photo courtesy of Kristin Schmolze)
I was able to meet with the USOC trainers back in February to talk to them about fitness, nutrition and sports psychology, which gave me some great ideas. I’m probably doing more than I ever have for my own fitness: I've always had a gym membership here in Aiken, but can honestly say that I have a much better routine/plan this year with my fitness. I've been taking advantage of some classes that the gym offers: spin, yoga and strength and cardio. It's been helpful for me to get some instruction on my own fitness, I’m there just about every evening and actually enjoying it quite a lot! I’ve been a long time fan of Pilates, (which I still do every day), but adding yoga has helped my riding, especially on the flat.
I’m trying to time Joey’s fitness just right so he doesn’t peak too early. He feels good and gets to run advanced at Southern Pines this weekend which will be another good step in his fitness. We have access to a wonderful property here in Aiken, a friend of Joanna’s (Joanna Hall Glass owns Sporting Days Farm, where I am based for the winter). Margie and Tommy have been very kind to let me work my horses on their beautiful hay field each year. It is probably the best footing and hills for fitness work here in Aiken!
More to come next week after Southern Pines!