Monday, July 18, 2011

CIC* Win for Playtime at Cosequin Stuart HT

I am not going to sit here and lecture; but in life you have two choices. You can focus on the positive or you can focus on the negative. I think I speak for my entire Blue Clover Eventing crew when I say that we had a great time at Stuart! Stuart is one of my favorite events of all time, and I was lucky enough to get interviewed by a TV station up there and tell them the same thing. It has the most supportive, cooperative, and accommodating volunteers and organizers out of any competition I think we attend. The venue is great, the cross country always challenging but in a good kind of way. I was happy to be back this year and you can count of me for 2012!
Playtime aka Smarty convincingly won the CIC* division and I am so thrilled for his owner Chris Ellis who is one of the most enthusiastic owners an eventer could ask for. We have had Smarty in the barn since February and this weekend was a personal best for the chubby little chestnut. He has all the talent in the world and all the ego and attitude that you would expect for a horse named Playtime and nicknamed Smarty. I guess he likes Stuart, however, because he was excellent. We got there on Thursday with quite the truckful, Morris Smarty Richard Jackson Trisha and I. Marian and Gunsmoke were I think quite possibly the only things left behind! We had jog-ups Thursday evening and both boys jogged great, and Trisha had them looking great. He got a little stiff and tense in the dressage; but still moves like a million bucks and is getting quite rideable in there and we were sitting 4th Friday night. The 1* cross country was really an intermediate with green squares! Smarty really rose to the occasion, it was the first time where I had a track to really gallop and get him to focus, have time to set up for the combinations....I think he is going to be quite a 3 day horse. He jumped really well, had a lot of fun galloping, and actually did come back on command! He finished cross country looking for his next fence, just a couple of seconds over the time and there were plenty of places where I could have saved seconds here and there. There was a lot of talk about footing, many people scratched, I chose to be a bit conservative. I had a good looking, good feeling horse Saturday night and he was the same way Sunday morning when it was time to jog. Thanks to Matt Flynn for prancing him down the pavement for me, he was accepted with no hesitations and on to the jumping we went. I was so sore from my fall on Morris (more to follow) that I didn't do too much in warm up. The warmblood in Smarty appreciated that as well and the next thing you knew we were in the ring. He was a little tired and tapped a couple of rails, taking two down actually; but I had them in hand and still won by over 9 points! How lucky is that! It was the smoothest, most consistent show jumping round we have had to date and as soon as he is a little stronger I am going to have quite the horse. I am really looking forward to his future!
Plenty of other things to recap from the weekend. Trisha did a super job grooming at her first FEI competition, there is really only one way to learn a lot of the rules and that is to get thrown right into them, and she was there with a smile on her face! She has been a super addition to the Blue Clover Eventing team and I hope to have her for a long, long time! A couple of other unsung heroes from the weekend would be Richard and Jackson. I got so beat up from falling on Morris that I was quite worthless from about noon on Saturday until now. They were able to do everything, including changing our flat trailer tire Sunday night on the side of 15 while tractor trailers were flying by eek! And now I guess I will quickly recap Morris' weekend. I was so looking forward to competing him again, he hasn't run since VA HT, and his dressage was really good! He stayed very relaxed and got 7s and 8s on his walk hooray! Cross country was going to be a great track, the 2* asked a lot of great questions and he came out of the start box with his ears pricked. His confidence in his new jumping form has really been growing and I was thrilled to be on him after having such a good go on Smarty. The first two combinations went well, and we galloped out to the back field, got a good jump at the corn feeder at 9 and set up for the coffin. Great stride, good line, felt like a good jump and instead of landing on the way to the ditch we were skidding sideways across the ground. Turns out, Morris made a mistake, I guess he is allowed from time to time; but there is really no good time for things like this. When you look at the pictures, his right front leg never left the ground. Perfect form with 3 out of 4 and unfortunately that just isn't going to work at a vertical set of airy rails on the lip of a hill one stride before a ditch! Luckily he was up and moving right away, more so than his rider. When you fall together like that the air vest doesn't blow up because you aren't far enough away from the horse and I am still some kind of sore. Nothing wrong with anything important just seriously sore everywhere. I am going to be just fine by tomorrow, have a truck load of babies heading to Olney HT this weekend, and it just makes for that much better of a story when describing Smarty's victory!

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