I applied for and received the Gifted Fund Scholarship from The Dressage Foundation this year. It is a $900 training grant that is awarded to one adult amateur from each USDF Region annually. It was funded from money donated in honor of Carol Lavell’s great Olympic horse, Gifted. The purpose of the grant is to allow adult amateurs an intensive training opportunity, away from the pressures of work/family.I had wanted to do my week of training in January, since I knew that’s usually wet and nasty and I have little opportunity to ride at home. However, December was so very wet, (Thanks, El Nino!) my horses were hardly ridden. I did not want to schedule my ‘training week’ when they were out of shape. Not so important for Faxx and Faeryn, since they’re just noodling around at Training/First, but very important for Fling, who’s doing Third level. January was better, weather-wise, and Fling is quite fit now. So, working around my husband’s endurance schedule, Marta’s schedule, and my co-worker’s vacation schedules, February 22-26 is it. Marta is about 1.5-2 hours away from me, depending on traffic. I am hauling two horses up there, and they will stay at Marta’s and I will stay at a hotel near her barn. Fling will stay all week – midweek I will take one of the youngsters home and bring the other one back. I am also going to ride one of Marta’s Andalusian horses a few times. She has one that is trained to do flying changes (and two-tempis) and is started in piaffe/passage. Mostly I need to experience a horse TRAINED to do flying changes, since I’ve never ridden one, and that will, hopefully, be a big help in my work with Fling. It will also be very strange riding someone else’s horse. I really can’t remember the last time I rode a horse other than my own! I plan to “play tourist” and in the afternoons after riding, shop (there is a tack shop near Marta!), go to the mall, maybe go to movies and generally play like I am a lady of leisure. What an odd concept for me! LOL!