Playtime at Fort Fair Hill
Eventing doesn't get much better or much closer than this weekend at Fair Hill International's CIC**. Playtime finished 2nd by less than a point! On the drive home I thought of all the places I could have, over 3 days of competition, scraped over one more point. Jeeze! Danny I think said it best, "It was just one more smooch baby" and yes puckering up next time you better believe! Smarty and I were entered as our last run before Jersey Fresh, and I am thrilled with how the weekend turned out for all of us. Well, not so thrilled unpacking and attempting to dry out the trailer and equipment; but that is another story.
Smarty was getting a little cocky about his dressaging and so I tried a new warm up strategy, quite pleased with how it worked and we will see if I can recreate at Jersey! I was a little worried with the scheduling, they had us dressage over on the International side and I feared that I may not survive hacking back thru cross country after my dressage test! So after unapcking and setting up the tent stabling Thursday afternoon, early Friday morning we repacked the trailer, loaded a confused Smarty and off to Gallaher Road we went. I was really pleased with my test, he stayed focused and with me throughout the entire thing. I was a little conservative I know; but happy that I was still winning with more in the tank! Just wishing now I had asked a little more.....
Cross country day was pleasantly not raining, super hard ground although the horses didn't seem to back off as much as I thought they were going to. The course was I think a fair 2*, lots of new improvements around the course, new fences, new designs at the water and I don't think Smarty had negotiated a mound like that into water so that was a good test. He answered them all with out even blinking yay! He is getting to be such an efficient jumper on cross country compared to a year ago when his pretty boy jumper toes were soaring over all the fences, yes on style points but bad on the clock. Now we brush thru brush and get a toe tap here and there and it is actually a good feeling knowing that we aren't wasting precious seconds (which this weekend were really precious!). It is such a great feeling to look back to the animal you had a year ago, and really feel that all of the blood sweat and tears are really making a difference! I dare say he's ready for blue flags across country!
He came off of the course great, was the best he has ever cooled out and Trisha survived the walk back down the horse path (you have to ask her about pulling out her New England attitude on some ambitious mountain bikers!) and back to stabling where ice and cookies were waiting for him! Sunday morning he was feeling great, or perhaps it was the fact that it was freezing and windy, because he floated up and down the jog strip, such a great feeling hearing "Accepted" before you even walk! He wanted everyone to notice how beautifully Trisha had turned him out! Smarts can really jump and he did a fantastic job negotiating the jumping track even in pouring down rain and temperatures over 40 degrees colder than when we left Aiken two weeks ago! I was taking every inside turn, did the 7 to the sailboat combination, and still had a time fault. At least I put a little pressure on Doug, who went in and did the same clean round with the same time fault! Incredible! The skinny at 6 was absolutely rolling in the cups; but alas, it was not my day and somehow it rolled itself back into the cup. Hope we were saving our good luck for Jersey!