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Posts from the ‘Blog’ Category

22
Aug

Bronze Medal PDD Round 2

30
Jul

Team Blagan T-Shirts

Order a T-shirt to support us on our quest for a World Championship medal in Pas de Deux!

Shirts cost $25 each and come in two styles– women’s fitted v-neck and unisex crew. To order your shirt PM me on Facebook or send an email to megan.benjamin@gmail.com specifying your preferred style and size. To make an additional tax-deductible donation, ask me for details.

The T-shirt logo is inspired by the horses who have and will be there for us every step of the way. Allow me to explain.

Team Blagan- That’s us! Coined by the Mt. Eden A Team, “Go Blagan!” has been screamed loudly before each and every round of competition in the 2012 competition season. Blake and I are known to respond jointly when someone screams “Blagan!” in a crowded room. (The Mt. Eden girls tried this most recently by screaming “Blagan” across the crowded Brussels airport. Neither of us responded to our individual names, but “Blagan” got our attention!)

The King- We fondly refer to Leonardo, my horse and our American Pas de Deux mount, as “The King”. He is spoiled (though not rotten), commands and deserves attention, and is ridiculously good at what he does. He’s a champion through and through, and he knows it.

The Duke- Jarl, our World Championships mount, is “The Duke”. He is the first horse ever to receive a horse score above a 9 (a 9.175 in Aachen). Let’s just say this ex-jumper has found his calling.

The Crown- The simple one in the middle with the squiggly line under it is the Danish Warmblood symbol, since both Leonardo and Jarl are Danish. You’ll just have to guess at the symbolic significance of the other crown.

USA- Most importantly, we are Team USA. It is a great source of pride to wear and carry the American flag at big international events, most of all at the World Championships.

Thanks to everyone for your love and support.

19
Jul

Join Team Blagan (Get a Tshirt!)

While maintaining the financial independence of “real grown ups” has been exhilarating and liberating for us both, it turns out that funding a trip to the World Championships quite costly. We are aiming to raise $8500 before the World Championships begin on August 14th.

If you are willing and able, please donate to Team Blagan and help fund our quest for a medal (preferably GOLD!) at the Vaulting World Championships in Le Mans, France—where Pas de Deux will be featured for the first time ever! Here’s our deal– Donate $100 or more to get a free Team Blagan Tshirt OR buy a shirt for $25. Visit our fundraising site here!

The Tshirt logo is inspired by the horses who have and will be there for us every step of the way. Allow me to explain.

Team Blagan- That’s us! Coined by the Mt. Eden A Team, “Go Blagan!” has been screamed loudly before each and every round of competition in the 2012 competition season. Blake and I are known to respond jointly when someone screams “Blagan!” in a crowded room. (The Mt. Eden girls tried this most recently by screaming “Blagan” across the crowded Brussels airport. Neither of us responded to our individual names, but “Blagan” got our attention!)

The King- We fondly refer to Leonardo, my horse and our American Pas de Deux mount, as “The King”. He is spoiled (though not rotten), commands and deserves attention, and is ridiculously good at what he does. He’s a champion through and through, and he knows it.

The Duke- Jarl, our World Championships mount, is “The Duke”. He is the first horse ever to receive a horse score above a 9 (a 9.175 in Aachen). Let’s just say this ex-jumper has found his calling.

The Crown- The simple one in the middle with the squiggly line under it is the Danish Warmblood symbol, since both Leonardo and Jarl are Danish. You’ll just have to guess at the symbolic significance of the other crown.

USA- Most importantly, we are Team USA. It is a great source of pride to wear and carry the American flag at big international events, most of all at the World Championships.

Thanks to everyone for your love and support.

11
Jun

Look Me in the Eyes

Throughout the domestic season, judges and audience members alike had demanded “more interaction” between Blake and me in our Pas de Deux. With a quick hour of work before the final selection trial, we seemed to appease many, but the pickiest spectators wanted more out of our performance– and we did too. This past weekend, Blake and I worked with a choreographer (the lovely and ever-wonderful Kristin Kusanovich from Santa Clara University) to get over our connection issues.

Before we did anything else, Kristin had us look at each other. Seems simple. With Blake standing and me sitting, she asked us to look each other in the eye and leave our faces blank. We laughed uncomfortably within seconds. Refocused, we tried again. And again. And again. It was harder than all the acrobatics we had tried all year, but eventually, we got the hang of it. We played with different “looking” exercises, seeing each other really for the first time.

Then we got to the good stuff. We added new life to the routine, new interpretation to the music, new interaction. Luckily for us, the routine is now not only physically exhausting, but emotionally exhausting too. We performed the routine about 20 times this past weekend, and I’m confident that the new choreography is already embedded in my body. But there’s still plenty of work to do… like putting it on horseback. Thursday…

And just in case you see Blake and me in what appears to be a stare off, looking each other in the eyes is now part of our warm up. Here’s a picture, just in case he wants to practice.

More importantly than anything, thank you to my man, Michael, and Blake’s woman, Tricia, for giving us the freedom and support to make this routine the best it can possibly be. We love you with our whole hearts and don’t know what we would do without you!!!

5
Jun

Back At It

The domestic season is officially over, despite the lack of blogging throughout it. Since content is king, starting now through the World Championships in Le Mans, France in August, I will be blogging at least once/week. I can’t wait for the international adventures ahead!!

Here’s my favorite picture from this season so far of The King and me. He’s the real champion. Thanks, Kate, for the amazing photograph!

19
Jan

30 Days of Yoga- Day 25

Yogadownload.com Power Vinyassa #5

I almost didn’t do yoga today, but then, as I sat in my computer chair for the millionth time today, my body just craved it. I opted for a 20 minute yogadownload.com episode of power. It stretched all the right muscles and got in all the requisite poses without being redundant or boring. Props and thanks for helping me get to day 25!

18
Jan

30 Days of Yoga- Day 24

Hour of Power with Melissa Carlson

This 7am class is definitely my favorite at Yoga Belly. Good stretches, handstands, challenging poses, and a solid sweat. Perfect!

17
Jan

30 Days of Yoga- Day 23ish

Yoga Therapy, but really, Cheating

Hung out on the yoga therapy balls while watching Daily Shows, then stretched all my worst stuff. Felt good, but wasn’t exactly yoga…

Maybe 30 days was just too much. It didn’t help that our smoke alarm kept chirping at 4am, and for some crazy reason, I drove to Safeway at 4:15 to buy new batteries, installed them, and slept right through morning yoga class. Whoops.

16
Jan

30 Days of Yoga- Day 22

Hour of Power with Jennifer Fu

Last week I took a seminar on “Crucial Conversations”. Most of it was stuff I already knew and used– basically how to have difficult conversations with difficult people, my specialty. One of the key take-aways was that those who are the best at these “crucial conversations” use whatever facts they have and create a win-win story from those details, spinning things in a positive direction and creating opportunity for better mutual understanding between both parties. Today, I had a crucial conversation with myself and practiced the skill of telling myself a positive story during an excruciating yoga experience.

For whatever reason this morning, I wasn’t feeling it. My body didn’t want to and my mind didn’t want to even more. When I realized my negative attitude, I decided to change the story. My body may’ve been feeling less than perfect (my balance and flexibility this morning made me look like a wobbly beginner, major ego buzz kill), but instead of constantly reminding myself that I sucked, I tried to focus on my breath, to focus on the fact that I had made the effort to get there that morning, on the fact that I wouldn’t have to work out later in the day, and on the fact that, despite my ego, I am very often not perfect. It definitely wasn’t the most fun yoga experience, but certainly good practice at modifying my own attitude and perception.

16
Jan

30 Days of Yoga- Days 20 & 21

Day 21

Foundations of Flow with Susan Love

Class went a little slow for my liking, but the woman behind me releasing an epic toot during that quick crazy shhhing belly breathing I haven’t quite figured out how to do made it all worth it. Plus I got my sweat on.

Day 22

Cheating

Two sun salutations and five minutes of child’s pose was what I needed today. Sometimes life is hectic and you just need a few moments to settle down.