Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

2009 USDF Bronze Medallists PDF Print E-mail
Farm News

All of us at Touch 'n GO Farm would like to congratulate four riders who earned their USDF Bronze Rider Medals in 2009.





Lisa Cantrell & Consonare








Peggy Miles and Luc








Rita Dunn & Grand Finale











Lisa Daws







Leanne Roberts & Illusion GA+

January 10, 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Gigi's Journal

It has been a very cold week here in Georgia.  Frozen buckets, frozen ring, frozen tirds everything frozen including Cassidy and myself.   It is time like this that gets you thinking if you really want to be in the horse business.  Then I think back of when I lived in Pa. for 40 years.  What we are going through this week was the normal winter in Pa.  I try to comfort myself as well as Cassidy but we are in Georgia for heavens sake.  I keep thinking how our training has been put on hold.  I must remind myself that when the weather gets better, I cannot make 3 weeks up of work in 3 days.  I think people tend to do that.  We need to think about our horses and realize that they need the time to get back into a good working condition.  We as riders need to do the same.  When I was younger and I missed a few days, a week or even 2 weeks, I just jumped on as if I hadn't missed a day.  Now, at age 55, it does not happen like that.  My old body needs time to get back in the saddle.  Unfortunately, this comes with age. J  I have really been "down" about our training but I have to remember there are worse things in life that could happen.  So, if you are at that place where I am, think of things that could be worse.  That always makes you feel better.  I am going to try to keep this journal going.  I need Scott to show me how.  For now, I hope all of you are staying warm and good riding to you.

January 7, 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Gigi's Journal

Well, nine months has gone by.  This is the first real entry in the journal since last April. I will get better.  2009 was a training year.  I took a 4 day clinic with Conrad Schumacher which was an eye opener for me.  I enjoyed watching each of his lessons.  He didn't match well with Vinny.  He had me put a flash nose band on him and added a controlling rein to it.  I have never ridden Vinny with a flash.  There is no reason to.  He has a good mouth and never crosses his jaw.  I stayed away from them because being a stallion until age 5; he was very backed off when I used one.  I told my concerns to Conrad but it seems that he wants every horse in the same "attire".  He said that he only ever knew of one horse that could not wear a flash.  Well, being a good student, I shut my mouth and tried to train the best I could.  After the clinic, the first day on him at home he started shutting down.  I always knew this was in Vinny but always trained through it.  I lost Vinny's trust over the clinic.  I couldn't blame him for backing off.  So, off went the flash and on went the "Come to Jesus" moments and within 4 days I had him thinking forward once again.  Thank the Lord.

I was very busy this year traveling for clinics.  Once again, it seemed that every day I was home, it rained and rained and more rain.  While I was away teaching the days were beautiful.  Needless to say, my training has not been steady enough to really move along.  I was still pleased with Vinny's changes and his aptitude with collection. 

I took a lesson with Gunnar in September.  He saw Vinny one time last year.  He liked him a lot.  This time his words were "It is time to put a double on him and don't take a year to work him in it".  He said I needed to start slowing down his trot and canter.  Slowing down is him referring to collection.  We worked some with pirouette work and when I got done I knew what I needed to go home and work on. 

A week later, I was signed up for the Poplar Place show.  This was the first and ONLY show we did in the year 2009.  I just wanted to test his work at 3rd level.  I didn't take him off the property much in that year so he was a bit tense for his first show after a long hiatus.  I was quite pleased.  He ended up with a 66 (with 2 rider errors) a 64 (one rider error and a bad spook) a 68 it was tense but good and then his 1st ride the 2nd day was amazing.  He scored a 72.5.  I knew it was going to be a good score.  It just flowed like last years tests.  I don't ever need to let him sit at home so long.  I have to keep him in the show groove. 

I came home from the show and started introducing him to the double.  We had 5 rides in it and he seemed very willing and comfortable.  Then the downpours came and my ring was underwater for much of the time.  Of course with 2 weeks off, I was not going to put him in the double right away back.  So, we worked again in the snaffle.  I have not been out of the snaffle since November.  I just can't get 2 weeks of consistent work.  I have been able to maintain him but not building strength.  Now we sit with the ring frozen from the week of cold weather which is not supposed to come this far south. 

I am hoping that after this, I can get back into a routine and then ride him in the double again.  I am very careful with the double because too many horses are put in them and put right to work.  That is when resistances start.  I usually ride with the double for a week but on contact on the snaffle, then gradually taking the curb.  I don't really work on movements until I have a good feeling that they are perfectly fine in the double. 

My plans are to show at 4th level this year.  That will depend on how much training I can get done between now and May.  I was hoping maybe to be ready for PSG in the fall of this year but I don't think that is going to happen.  As always, I will let Vinny have his say in the matter.  He is 8 this year.   Remember that basics are the key.  Forward and back "stop and go".  I will always remember Karl saying that to me and it is true.  "Stop and Go."

Once again, I will try to be better about writing in my journal.  I am not making any promises though.  Cassidy said she would "remind" me to make passages in it instead of writing a story.

Speaking of Cassidy, she is doing a terrific job with her training.  We purchased a Georgian Grande in June as a project for both of us.  Brandy is 6 years old and had only been on a trail ride 6 times since she was broke as a 3 yr. old.  She had NO mileage or real training.  She never had a bit in her mouth.  She was a clean slate in my opinion.  She is now going under saddle at w/t/c and our biggest mountain to climb is getting her to really reach for the bit.  She has the build of a Friesian and when she looks that head comes up to your nose.  Cassidy is doing a great job with her but once again, consistency is important and we sure haven't had enough of that.  I will be making journal entries about our progress with her.

Cassidy has also received her scores at 2nd level towards her bronze medal.  She rides Sabia, a Lusitano, owned by Marla Washington-Haddon.  She also was also picked to ride in the Region 3 USDF Y/Rs clinic with George Williams.  She had a great time hanging with the other Y/Rs.  Cassidy was the youngest girl at the clinic.  Hopefully in the spring, she will be able to compete at 3rd level in hopes to get her scores for her bronze.  I am so very proud of my kid.  She works hard and has a deep compassion for training correctly but also enjoying her journey with any horse she is working. 

April 5, 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Gigi's Journal

Where to start?  It has been such a long time since I made an entry in my journal.  I am embarrassed about this but life does seem to get in the way.  Please bear with me as I have almost a year to get through.  It's been almost 1 year and much has happened in this time. 

Last fall, Cassidy and I continued showing with much success.  I think the biggest highlight is when she won Res. Champion at training level in our Region 3 finals.  I have to say that I was so proud of her.  She has come so far with Hannah.  Hannah is a very sensitive mare with much of an attitude.  Cassidy rode a very clean and correct test.  She had gone off course the year before and really had a mediocre test.  What a difference 1 year can make.  I watched my little girl in the victory gallop and tears of joy and amazement rolled down my face.  I always thought how wonderful it would be if she could get to take a victory gallop.  Well in Oct. 2008, my dream came true. 

Vincere had a very successful year.  He won Res. Champion Dutch Horse of the Year at 1st level.  He was 13th over all in the country.  I never played the "who's judging" game.  I just went to shows, did our thing and had an awesome year.  I also won Vintage Champion at 1st level in the Dutch and over all Horse of the Year awards.  I really shouldn't brag about being a vintage rider though.:)

Vinny never ceases to amaze me.  At the Region 3 finals we rode in the worst conditions I have ever competed in.  Please go to YouTube and watch Vincere's Raindance.   He was able to hold it together throughout the test.  We ended up tying for 4th place out of a good field of horses.  Considering this was his fourth, 2nd level test, I was quite pleased.  We had a wonderful 1st level championship ride but one judge had me at 65.00 and the other at 73.00.  Go figure.  We ended up 3rd out of a huge class.  That was the end of our undefeated season.  Vinny came home with a yellow ribbon. 

I went to the Young Horse Symposium taught by Scott Hassler.  Vinny, once again went into the ring with a business like attitude.  Scott was very complimentary of his training. It is hard when you work so much on your own to not second-guess yourself as you train a horse up the levels. 

The week after that, I rode Vinny for the first time in front of Walter Zettl.  He too was pleased with his basic work.  He told the auditors "This is they way a young horse's mouth should look".  Vinny always manages to get a lot of nice foam on his mouth.  By this time Vinny had had enough of the intense work. 

I gave him 2 weeks off and took sometime for me as well.  I was so looking forward to the winter to continue training and get Vinny stronger in his lateral work and start his changes.  I cannot tell you how the weather can put a damper on that.  It seemed we had rain every other day.  If it wasn't raining, the ring was frozen.  When it was nice, I was away giving a clinic.  It was quite a frustrating winter for all of us. 

It is so important to remember that just because a horse is doing well; it can easily take a back slide without continuous work.  When I had some decent weeks to improve his canter, walk transitions we started our changes.  It did not take anytime for him to get his right to left change.  The other one............. was a nightmare.  At first he would change 6 strides late behind.  After a month I think we got it at least one stride late.  I kept analyzing his mechanics and realized that I had to get him aligned better on the left.  He has always wanted to fall into my left leg a tad.  It is nothing a grounds person can see but I can feel it.  So, I took a few weeks to really work shoulder left and haunches right, to improve his strength on the left hind.  I think I managed to get it right.  When I started asking for changes, he changed with the hind leg first.  That was FINE by me.  It would just take me a bit to keep his left shoulder and I knew the right change would be complete. 

Now, he is doing little serpentines changing right to left, left to right, clean each way.  I also went back to counter canter after the change work.  I purposely did not counter canter too much.  Vinny is a very smart horse.  Actually, he is the first horse I felt like I needed to keep the counter canter on a small scale until he learned his changes.  So now, when I ask him to hold the lead he does and will often mix up the changes with the counter canter. 

I am still having problems with the walk.  He gets so tense when we start repeating transitions.  It doesn't matter if it is walk, trot, walk, or canter, walk, canter........he just wants to be ahead of my thinking.  The tension is not a hot tension, it is just him saying "I know what you are going to ask for now let me alone darn it".  The walk was great in the shows because I kept my training more focused on 1st level.  But with the 2nd and 3rd level work, the walk has come back to haunt me.  I KNOW I have to keep working on this.  I do believe with time and patience that it will get better.  It got better last year when he understood his job.  I believe it will get better once again when all this new stuff is old stuff.  I do take much time with him sometimes I am on him for a good hour, not that I am working him so much at the faster paces, just that I am doing a lot of walk in between them. 

I have written off showing this spring and maybe even the fall.  I really want to get my training right and when we are ready, go out and compete at 3rd and 4th level.  I need to keep taking him to clinics and shows to ride as a non-competing horse.  A horse needs to keep going places in order for them to stay solid in the show ring.  

For now, I am so content to stay home and train.  I am still having fun with Vinny and as Cassidy puts it, "You are like an old husband and wife team".  I suppose she means we grump at each other but when all is said and done, I wouldn't want any other horse.


Knoxville News PDF Print E-mail
Farm News

In 2007, Gigi started giving regular clinics at Susan Hill's Topperhill Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee.  A core group of dedicated riders have made huge strides in the past two years. Not all of the progress has been demonstrated in the show ring. Some of the greatest successes include better connections between horse and rider, adult amateurs achieving more than they ever thought possible, and horses demonstrating more talent than their owners realized they possessed.


ritadunngrandfinale1_small.jpgSome competitive achievements include: 

Rita Dunn and Grand Finale

  • Earned the USDF Bronze Rider Medal
  • 8th place in Region 1 USDF Dressage Championships, Third Level-Open
  • Earned Fourth level scores towards USDF Silver Rider medal with rides as high as 68.4%




Susan Hill and Liberty Please

  • 2009 USDF All Breeds Award - Performance Horse Registry (PHR), Reserve Champion, Vintage Cup, First Level
  • 2009 USDF All Breeds Award - Performance Horse Registry (PHR), 3rd place, Adult Amateur, First Level
  • Competed at Region 1 USDF Regional Dressage Championships




Kelli Dickens & Urielle 

  • Earned the USDF Bronze Rider Medal
  • Earned three Dover Adult Amateur Medals
  • USDF Merit Award
  • Uri won a Lifetime Silver medal Award with the Belgian Warmblood Association





Ssalliehirternightlight_small.jpgallie Hirter and Night Light

  • The pair earned a 63.9% at River Glen 2009 in Second Level-test 3


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