Monday, August 9, 2010

Millbrook Photos Videos and Tales!

Some quick pictures from Millbrook over the weekend. Morris did a great job of jumping around clear and had a personal best show jumping round. Freddie made the trip as a non-competing horse and did a ton of growing up between Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning, let me tell ya!
Here is Freddie, incarcerated. And then an hour or so later when he thought for sure he would never be allowed to leave his tent stabling! We also documented his longe sessions, of which there were many, in various locations all over the show grounds. Also, a good shot of the happy people that walked around the Preliminary PRO sponsored course walk with me Friday afternoon. Hope I gave them all some good pointers! Richard filmed a little of Morris' XC on Saturday and Lara captured his fine SJ performance on Sunday.... find it at this YouTube link:

And now for the running commentary. Was really pleased with how both Morris and Freddie handled the atmosphere at Millbrook. It's a big show, beautiful venue thanks to the efforts of the Duchess Land Conservancy for whom the show benefits. Stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast, bad news was it was forever away. Good news was it was a beautiful drive to and fro! But I digress...
Friday was dressage day for Morris and he won the warm up. Unfortunately you don't really get scored on your warm up; but nonetheless he was great. Very relaxed in a crowded arena, and much better than on Thursday when I tried to do his warm up in a large grass field too close to the cross country! You have to walk across the road to get to the larger arenas at Millbrook, and Morris just didn't have a lot of time to acclimate to his new surroundings before doing the test. Which, actually, is the reason that he went to this that he can have lots of experiences like that. Let's face it we aren't going to get to school in the actual arena at Rolex prior to our winning ride :) Since this was our first trip back after a long vacay and the 2*, I had Morris entered in the preliminary which has a significantly less involved dressage test. Morris didn't believe that we just were supposed to trot and canter around and go all the way down the long sides without doing any of his fancy maneuvers. If anything, he tries too hard! Rather than relax and flop down the long side Morris was waiting for just the slightest hint of what we were doing next. Annoying, but there are far worse problems to have! That afternoon we stayed pretty busy...Freddie was on a longe and ride kick where I think we worked him in any and every possible flat and sometimes not so flat area at the show grounds so he could get used to his future. Also on Friday I was asked to lead the PRO sponsored course walk for the preliminary course. PRO does a great job of making all of us professionals approachable and accessible to all competitors, owners, patrons, etc. so that together we can really promote our great sport. I was happy to walk around the track and share my thoughts about how you should approach the different fences, where to save time, where to be conservative, etc. Hope they all did well!
Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day with all the tracks riding really well; but very difficult to make the time. I really didn't have any intention of pushing Morris for a fast round and just wanted to go out and practice a few things, namely setting him up well in front of the fences so that he has a good shape while jumping. Morris was fairly unimpressed, I must admit, by the preliminary questions; but this was very good practice for making him jump in text book style. The coffin was a tough question early on in the course, a skinny up against a bush, 2 long strides to a trakehner and then 2 short strides to a skinny hanging log on top of a ramp. I was very pleased that he just cruised right thru the exercise, and really all of the exercises out there.
Show jumping Sunday morning was probably the highlight for Morris and I. He warmed up really listening and stayed very rideable, jumping in great form really from his first warm up fence and then from there on throughout the entire course. He focused well in the main arena, complete with gazebos and judge's boxes and patrons tents. I am thrilled that I got good distances to every fence!! which for me doesn't happen too often the first time around a show jumping course. I took two of the outside turns just so that I had a positive, smooth round and picked up a few cheap time faults. No bother, however, as my pony jumped well and it was just the round I wanted.
Funny side note involving Freddie Mac and the show jumping. Rode him Sunday morning right aross the street from the main arena. He did a good job of understanding that he had to pay attention to the boring flatwork that we were doing instead of watching the exciting jumping rounds from the competition! However, the one thing the poor boy did NOT understand was why, every 2 minutes or so, there was a large eruption of clapping and whooping from the crowd. He really didn't know what to do or where to sad being a baby! I told him that he would learn to thrive off of a crowd and that most certainly he would be getting a lot of applause in his own bright future!

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