Sunday, October 9, 2011

Muddy Morven, Lovely Loch Moy

I don't know exactly how it goes from 40 and raining to 80 and sunny in just one week; but let me make it clear that I am not complaining! And I would love to know how I can place an order for this fabulous weather to stick around right thru Fair Hill this coming weekend! Oh I hope hope hope...

Quick recap of our past week starting with Morven Park. Poor Trisha, I would like to start with an apology to my groom....I left the dog at home knowing that he would be miserable. And there Trisha and I were, ready to stick it out for two days straight! We had 4 horses going and it was a fairly big competition for them all in a way. I was determined to have a good ride on Morris, aka get him in the ribbons, after my stupid mistake of jumping the wrong fence at Plantation and robbing him of his win. He so deserved that and I have yet to get over it! Luckily, he had more than a monkey on his back this time around and we finished 4th. He was a very, very good boy in awful conditions. We were the last to run cross country out of the entire preliminary division and we were basically taking out the flags on basically every fence to get him the best footing. Obviously I didn't have too many choices at some of the combinations; but he is so light and agile on his feet he never felt for a second like he was struggling. He is the fastest horse in the world, although today was not a day to prove that. He had some time faults that we credit to horsemanship and I have a happy and healthy pony ready to run another day! The pressure was on Smarty as this was his final run before Fair Hill and technically under USEF rules he had to have another qualifying score to get to the CCI**. A pretty huge accomplishment that he is there on the minimal qualifications and jumps just brilliantly. A collective sigh of relief I think from all of us when he get a qualifying score in the dressage, by next spring he will be in the Top 3 every competition and right now he just needs to get stronger. He tries so hard and I can't wait for him to start getting the top marks that I know he can get. Show jumping was just phenomenal as he was clearing the fences, out of deep footing and puddles, by at least a foot. He was quite proud of himself, I assure you lol. He came back on Sunday to cross country and although I took it slow, I rode all of the combinations forward and direct and he was right there to live it up. He even added his own degree of difficulty at the last very tough question on the course at the Quarry. He spooked at some beginner novice log that had been drug half way into the woods and on our approach to the very skinny skinny he was leaping and spinning in the other direction. Nice. I think I have him fit enough for Fair Hill......
The baby brigade made an appearance on Sunday in dismal conditions as well. They should consider themselves lucky that Richard and Gunsmoke were also in attendance to cheer them on. Don't tell them that they were actually there to watch the Advanced cross country.....Nonetheless they were pretty super. Lucky was the real star, putting in a great dressage test in a tough arena with a swamp for warm up and then added nothing to his dressage score to finish 3rd! He is such a super horse for the future. His new prospective owners were there watching and I think they really liked what they saw. Splash was perhaps the one with the most pressure, she has won EVERY event she has every attended other than one second place finish that tarnished her undefeated record! Splash was her usual winning after dressage and then disaster struck in show jumping. Apparently our little princess has never had to show jump in such conditions and she was so freaked out by the puddles at take off and landing! Poor little thing, so unfortunate that her show name is Splish Splash ha ha ha because she wanted to neither Splish nor Splash anywhere in that show jumping arena. I was ready for her out on cross country, where for whatever reason she wasn't phased one bit by the mud and cruised around double clear. That's horses for you.
And luckily Splash got another try not even a week later at Loch Moy, where the conditions couldn'tve been more perfect. She was great in the dressage, perhaps not as dazzling in her canter work as she could have been and that left us vulnerable. She was a jumping fool around both show jumping and cross country this time and finished in 2nd, just .9 behind the leader. Oh so close! She is off to the Novice Championships in Lexington, VA and I'm feeling pretty confident that we are gonna be in the money....Bijou Noir was our other novice horse at Loch Moy and she, too, finished on her dressage score. I think she had the unfortunate advantage of being the very first novice horse in the dressage because her test would be hard to improve and she was just a hair out of first point-wise. Placing wise, she ended up fourth. We still decided to love her and bring her home :)

Stay tuned for an action packed Fair Hill week, we are off on Tuesday and ready for an adventure!!!!