Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Wacky Waredaca

When it rains it pours, I don't know really where that saying comes from; but seems very appropriate for our weekend last weekend at Waredaca. Not that I am complaining about rain - it has been the first time that Morris and Smarty could gallop out on a hill in months - I'm just saying that torrential downpours and delaying ride times were not what we had in mind when we signed up for an August competition at Waredaca!
Saturday started bright and early with Playtime making his Intermediate debut. He was such a good boy! Dressage is tough for him, he just isn't strong enough or broke enough yet to pull off the collection and fancy maneuvers all while flicking his white toes simultaneously. He had some lovely moments, and the rein back was much better than anticipated. I did enjoy getting to ride him in the large dressage ring and I know he found it much easier as well. Not that his opinion much counts :) Show jumping was lovely, he was still a little touch and go after some of the lines and combinations; but again so much improved from the horse we had in February! He was great for the skinny at the last, although he got a little confused as to where the last fence was....after the liverpool you cantered more than half way around the ring towards the in/out gate where a very vertical set you up 6 strides out from the triple. I went to put him together for the vertical and Chubbs that he is figured he must be done, so he trotted! I quick kicked and spurred and pulled him together and he jumped the 4' vertical perfectly out of a stride and a half of canter. Only Smarty! Cross country was really a highlight. Really from fence 6 on I don't have a single complaint about how anything rode. There were plenty of skinnies for him to feast his eyes upon, and he recognized them all as jumps, and jumped them straight and in great form all on the first try! He is so brave, down a massive drop, bounce off a bank into the second water, two massive trakehners, and he didn't hesitate for a second. I am really looking forward to his future. Short term, Seneca Valley. Then Plantation. CIC? Horse Trials? Who knows!
Smarty got the best weather of the day, and from here on it was kinda chaotic. Lucky was in the Young Event Horse, warmed up the best yet for dressage and sadly as he started to go around the outside of the dressage arena, gigantic rain drops, people scurrying all around from show jumping, and although he was pretty good it paled in comparison to what I had in warmup just two minutes earlier. The confirmation section he again fell victim to Mother Nature; it just started absolutely pouring right before he went and a mis-announcement over the loud speaker brought probably 30 horses and people all trying to get into the indoor. I can't blame them, it was miserable outside! But poor Lucky couldn't figured out why these people were swarming him and he didn't put his best foot forward to trot on the triangle. The jumping phase felt like it took place hours and hours later although it was worth the wait. He was great! Drop, ditch, water, and getting to show off his gallop were among the highlights of Lucky's whole day.
Highlights of working student Marian Herbick's day would be her 25 in dressage that had her over 5 points in the lead!! in the training rider division. She deserves it, been working so hard on Tanner and his circles and it is really paying off. Now, we need to start working on applying these dressage skills at a minimum of 470 meters per minute, because her time faults on cross country cost her the lead! Oh how sad; but I think she is going to be plenty fired-up for her next run at Seneca, which will also be her first preliminary.
And speaking of fired up, that would pretty much summarize Trisha's attitude I think after her competition on Sunday. It was her first ever Preliminary, and just like Marian, Trisha has really taken her horse and her riding to a whole other level since joining the team in June. Her dressage had some good moments and the mistakes that were made are easy to fix and will come with time. That, or else feel better soon because the Advanced dressage tests don't ask for counter canter, only the prelim tests lol. The courses were looking great for her horse, Bailey, and she was well on track 5 jumps into show jumping. And then annoying disaster. It was going to be a little long or a little short and Trisha just leaned a little too far forward while Bailey was finishing making up his mind. He rapped a rail and took it with him and had to twist in a very awkward manner to miss it on the landing side. I thought Trisha saved it, we all did, and then two three four strides later she is getting farther and farther away sideways from Bailey's neck. And then with the "POP" of an inflatable vest we knew it was over and Baiely's preliminary cross country debut was going to have to wait. It did wait, until Tuesday. We went back to school and Trisha did the entire course start to finish and we celebrated as she galloped across the no longer there finish line! You will see this pair in action also at Seneca. I think, actually, you are going to see pretty much every Blue Clover Eventing horse in action at Seneca! Except for the headliner, Clifton Jade himself. We are headed out to Richland, MI this coming Wednesday to go run around some blue squares. Haven't run advanced since May and boy oh boy are we both looking forward to it! I promise good pictures and good stories! Until then....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Millbrook Wrap Up

I hope that I make a blanket statement for Blue Clover Eventing when I say that a good time was had by all last weekend at Millbrook. The Hudson Valley I think is one of the prettiest areas and this year we managed not to get the rig stuck on those bright green hills surrounding the stabling :) The weather was quite nice, the footing great for galloping, and we even had a little celebrating to get done as Richard's birthday fell on that Friday!
Our week started off with a little bit of excitement, after scratching Morris from the advanced I assumed that I would start on Friday. Surprise, when we got times, I had two dressage tests to do on Thursday! Kudos to Trisha and Marian for packing like lightning and not forgetting a single item. They continue to be great girls to have around and I know the ponies and Gunsmoke feel the same way. Although I am certainly much improved from my stupid fall at Stuart, I am still essentially useless around the barn, so they have been picking up my slack as well and I know I owe them!
It was Lucky's Big Top adventure...the baby's first time in tent stabling, no turn out, and 300 or so horses going every which direction. He was excellent! He stayed focused during warm up as well as during his actual performances. He didn't come home with a ribbon, although he felt like every bit of a big horse galloping around cross country. To say that the competition was tough is an understatement! Lucky and Smarty both fell victim to 4 faults, and with that they plummeted down the standings. Smarty's preliminary was extremely ridiculous....I was sitting 4th out of 30 or so on a 24, and 4 faults later I went down to 15th on a 29!!!!! Craziness I tell you. I am actually quite proud of Smarty and his 4 faults. I have been dreading Millbrook's world famous slide for oh say 3 maybe 4 weeks. Mind you, I've gone down it plenty of times; but never on Smarty. Much to my shock and relief he actually TROTTED! Like a sane, self-preserving animal! So when we got to the bottom I kept trotting, then slowly picked up a canter, then got him back up to cruising speed in time to take a lovely jump at the skinny 3 from home. It cost me about 10 seconds and I couldn't be happier!
Also getting some costly time faults were Morris and I, although again premeditated. He felt good in the dressage, although sneaking in a beautiful flying change in the Intermediate test doesn't get you bonus points, Morris. It kills you on your submission score lol. Anyway, he was feeling very good, and there were quite a few daunting things on the course. Everybody was talking about the water, and I of course was counting the number of ditches or ditch-type fences. Morris really was good, jumped great and had what must've been one of the best rides thru the water all day. Made it look like a gymnastic and was full of running at the end. Lots of fun to watch the video at the competitors party and I'm glad that I was a trip we were applauding :) I just never let him really get into flying between the fences, wanted to make sure that I had his brain and his undivided attention at each and every fence. Mission accomplished! He even showed up the next day for show jumping and really jumped up and around the combinations, something that we have really been working on and I'm glad that it paid off. You had to jump a big old triple bar and gallop down to the in and out in 4 strides; a year ago we would have gone bowling and this time at Millbrook there wasn't even a touch of paint on his toes!
What's next, you may ask? Well, what an excellent question. I am crossing my fingers and toes that I get at least Morris into Richland. It must be the first and only event in 3 years to fill before the closing date! We are waitlisted and that would be a terrible blow to my fall schedule. I will remain optimistic, however, aiming Morris for a trip to Michigan and the rest of the crew will be headed out to Seneca in a couple of weeks. Keep an eye out for the Waredaca results this coming weekend....Playtime is making his Intermediate debut and Trisha is going to give Preliminary a crack, it will be a first for both she and Bailey. Exciting stuff!