Featured Rider - Debbie Rosen
|Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3|
My name is Debbie Rosen and I ride The Alchemyst (“Al” or “Albert” around the barn). This will be our third trip to Rolex.
Al was purchased for me as a gift five years ago by dear friends, the Shevin family. This act of tremendous generosity has enabled me to live my dream of completing Rolex. Al was owned by Jackie Blackman and successfully ridden by Doug Payne, whose talent for riding the difficult mount is widely acknowledged. I did not feel up to the task at first, but Jackie saw the ingredients of what was to become a true partnership. She provided the opportunity for me to ride Al until I was comfortable. Next, it took coach Andrea Pfeiffer to put the pieces together. My partnership with Al is built on compromise, mostly on my end, and the person on the ground needed to understand that. Andrea has the unique gift of being able to get inside the heads of both horse and rider and I am lucky to have her. Since Al can be a bit scary, she also helps to keep me brave. The crew is complete with Christie Wise and Lynn Hergenrader who volunteer to care for Al (and babysit me) and Doug Hannum’s team who pretty much do the same thing. Add to this, my assistant Kara, supportive students and friends who make it possible for me to leave work for the extended trip, and you have the village that got Al and I where we are today.
By Christmas I was back in the tack and by mid-January we were tackling the homework given to us by Coach Andrea. I also had to practice a rather infuriating exercise of jumping in small circles using only the inside stirrup. While incredibly useful and highly recommended, that exercise is only fun for those watching…thank you, Mr. Wofford.
Our first outing was at the Galway Downs Fundraiser where I was fortunate enough to get a dressage lesson from Ian Stark who graciously offered to have on sit on Al. Watching Ian ride him left me longing for a greater degree of finesse (okay…and maybe some boy muscles) but it gave me much to work on and a deeper understanding of where I need to go. We also spent a couple of days in the cross country field practicing our newly-acquired submission skills!
Which brings us to last weekend and the season opener at Galway. We ran in the Intermediate division along with pretty much everyone west of the Mississippi. It was great to see all of my friends and the horses looking so good and ready to start and everyone ran well. Christie had suggested over the winter that perhaps I needed to come up with a new warm-up plan for cross-country to dissipate some of the rudeness. As she is most always right, that is what I did: Al was lunged and then hacked for 45 minutes in the morning before cross country and show jumping, as well as his usual 45 minutes or so before starting those phases. Not only did I have enough horse, but that horse was actually ride-able! He jumped double clear in both phases and I remembered my course. I couldn’t ask for more!
So now we get down to some serious hill work and as Andrea has boarded the single stirrup jumping bandwagon…guess I’ll be doing more of that. Next event is Advanced at Twin Rivers at the beginning of March. Until then, keep dreaming big!