Wide Eyes at #WEF

If you have me on social media (instagram, facebook, twitter) then you’ll know that I’ve been frequenting the Winter Equestrian Festival, and Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Fla this week. If you don’t have me on social media- go follow me and then finish reading this post (katmah1- instagram, Katmah Training & Performance on Fbook, and Katbee13 on Twitter).

With two days left in Wellington, my eyes are finally returning to their normal size. For a prairie girl who’s only really see horse shows in Manitoba (they aren’t that exciting) and New Zealand (much higher quality.. but not WEF), getting to live every rider’s dream for a week here in Florida has been pretty epic.
Why am I here?

Again, you’ll know the answer to this if you watch my media accounts. I’m here in coordination with Stable & Spice, and Heels Down Magazine as we launch the new fitness and nutrition series. Throughout the week we’ve been filming myself working with high level, big name riders here at WEF who frequent the dressage, hunter, and jumper rings. Why are we doing this? For only the most obvious of reasons.. there is a HUGE gap in rider education when it comes to injury prevention, fitness, and nutrition. As many riders will know first hand… it’s not uncommon to see a rider of any level living off coffee or redbull, and even smoking while walking courses. Why is this an issue? We’re athletes- but we aren’t acting like it. Many of us, anyway. This new series is meant to bring awareness to this issue, as well as begin educating young riders (and not young) about keeping themselves healthy and fit. This has been my personal vendetta for a while- and now with the help of these two media powerhouses, we’re making it a thing.

This has been an awesome first stint here in Florida, even if it took me a few days to get my bearings. I pretty much felt like I was walking into a movie the first day I was at the show. Seriously. Even driving around to different barns I was awestruck. This is where all the people with money and horses go. Being the nerd I am I’ve been grabbing all the real estate books on the properties here, so I can continue to dream about my $16mill farm one day. After those few day of either staring out the windows awe-struck, or wandering around with wide eyes at the shows- I slowly adjusted to my surroundings. The first day we filmed with Schuyler Riley, a grand prix show jumper based here in Wellington. The oldest, and wisest of our subjects. It was my first day on camera, so I did a lot of learning on the fly. “Talk to Wisconsin” aka, talk LOUD was my first reminder to put my teaching voice on, even though I was technically working with only one person. First we did fitness, without getting specific (you’ll have to watch the videos when they launch 😉 ), I taught Schuyler some exercises she hadn’t seen before (she’s a huge advocate for rider fitness and nutrition already!) and we got some great shots of her dog napping during the session. After the fitness we moved to her kitchen where we shot a cooking show. She didn’t need much help, a near professional cook herself, and this being my first time ever hosting a cooking show- I kinda let her take over.

If that wasn’t exhausting enough, day 2 of work here we shot two riders in one day. The first, Mary Lauritsen of Millenium Dressage, and then Brittni Raflowitz- another grand-prix rider/trainer. Both these riders were closer to my own age, the first with minimal experience in either cooking or fitness, and the second with a long exercise history and absolutely no cooking experience. A couple days off, exploring food trucks, swimming the hotels awesome pool, and avoiding potential tornadoes (the shows got evacuated on day 4 because of a storm and a tornado watch), grocery shopping in a power outage (I still found peanut butter oreos.. I love shopping in the USA!) – brought us to today- my second last day here in my first week.

Today was awesome! I spent the first few hours wandering WEF, watching and drooling over the hunters and perusing the shops. Then we met up with Tori Colvin.. The Tori Colvin, to film. I’d never met Tori before, and until this week I honestly didn’t know who she was. When we heard she had signed up I did my obligatory internet creeping and found out she’s a pretty big deal.

 Here I should mention that the fitness portions of these videos are all based on my own evaluation of rider’s equitation and posture. True to my style I made a unique intro program for them each and taught it to them on camera. A totally new experience for me (the on camera part, anyway), but thankfully by the time we got to Tori I was getting more comfortable. The highlight of this session was naming an exercise after her, one I developed and basically made up specifically for her.. so keep an eye out for “The Tori” in upcoming video releases through Stable & Spice and Heels Down!

Tonight, as I write this, I’m watching the Freestyle Dressage at Global Dressage Fest from the media lounge. My first time watching this level of dressage live and in person! Tomorrow we film one last rider in this stint and spend some more time in hunter/jumper land. I’m still a little star struck from my session with Tori, to be honest.

 With a day and a half left here.. I’m not exactly looking forward to returning to my -30C hometown right now… but I’m resting assured that I’ll be back later in the season for more sun and film experience.. and making even more connections! I already feel so blessed to have my business make it here in the first place!

Stay tuned for a post on the common rider mechanics issues I’ve seen here this week!

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