Monday, July 23, 2012

Lovin' Loch Moy!

I have so many positive things to say about my experience at the MD HT II at Loch Moy Farm. I realize that I might be ever so slightly biased by super excitement to compete Fernhill Whatever for the first time. I say with all confidence, however, that I could not have picked a better first competition for my dear new boy!

I have been competing at Loch Moy since the very very beginning - parking in that lower area and nearly dying trying to hack to and fro will forever haunt me ha. In all seriousness, however, I don't know of a venue that tries harder, and here it is a small family owned and operated dream barely an hour from my barn. The layout of arenas is fabulous - did you notice all of the bleachers and tents for spectators?! The way that it flows for food, vendors, scores and parking? The amenities for horses also amazing - cooling tents and fans for even beginner novice! Watering and dragging of arenas during all breaks! A gentleman in a gator picking up poo from warm up and horse paths HELLO where have you been all of my life!! Add in a top notch secretary with Mary, and a fabulous vet crew (unfortunately my working student had to deal with them on Sunday and even that experience as good as it could possibly be) and I'm happy to go back. And I did. I went schooling there today! And might I add when we got there a crew was picking and raking rocks from the side of the arena and one of the staff was able to plug my flat outside dually tire - another story in itself.

I know that sounds like a paid advertisement, I promise it came from the bottom of my heart. And so does the praise that I have for my horses students and owners that attended the MD HT II! Obviously the headliner would be the newbie, Fernhill Whatever. It was a complete fact finding mission, poor guy gets here from Ireland in time for a heat wave and even though I had him in the prelim he had jumped maybe twice and done not even an entire trot set for fear of killing him in the humidity. He rose to the occasion, like any great Irish horse I believe would do lol, and absolutely turned heads from the moment he walked off the trailer, literally. He was a dream in the dressage, the right amount of puffed up from warm up that stayed with him into the test. So fabulous to have a horse so straight forward in there. For so many, the performance anxiety creeps in well before the 1* level so what a lucky girl I am! I thought the judge was a bit tough on him, and I realized that all of the scores in that arena were a bit grumpy so not going to dwell on that. I learned in show jumping that I need a slightly different warm up strategy. My only complaint of Loch Moy is that the SJ warm up area is too deep and I find myself not wanting to jump more than 5 times. And then the efficient side of me galloped into the arena and promptly thru the start flags, I think my boy needed a moment to acclimate. He jumped fine; but he is a superb jumper and I need to find a way to make that happen in the ring. I started changing my plan en route and that resulted in my absolutely burying him at the skinny, my rail, he forgave me. Good boy. That's what he gets the carrots for ha ha ha. Cross country was like running a horse in the last two minutes of a 3 day track. His ears were up, he was happy to do the job; but there was no extra spark in the tank. He was honest, obviously loves it, just needs more fitness work. The courses were fair for an early season test, with most people getting going again for the fall. There were enough questions that I got a feel for where he is, and I think I'm gonna keep him in the 1* ranks for a bit until I can school him more and determine when his move to Intermediate will take place. And hopefully Linda and Karen get home soon from that Olympic thing and I can have a lesson or two :_)~

The other highlight of the competition would be Trisha and Bailey absolutely being awesome in their 2nd prelim! They finished 5th in an Open division!! Her dressage was so smart, rode the entire thing and got even point out of the test that she possibly could - well done! Show jumping she was a little lucky here and a little unlucky there, so with a 4 fault round I think we should be pleased. Cross country, they really were fantastic. She's been working so hard on finding her distances and making the job easy for Bailey, and it looked like they were on their second trip around the course! I don't think I've ever had a girl work harder, for me or on her own riding, and it is certainly paying off for her now. I'm very excited about the future things to come from that pair. 

On Sunday the training level crew showed up ready to strut their stuff, which mostly they did. Brew got robbed, robbed I tell you! in the dressage although typical Brew didn't seem to let a thing get in the way of finishing on his dressage score and winning a ribbon. He is just the most game horse I have ever ridden and he is such a blast to just bomb around on here there and everywhere. Felix put in his usual lovely dressage test, and it was probably the most focused he has ever been on cross country. Proud of him for that. Unfortunately for Stacy her weekend came to an abrupt end when Snick injured his hock galloping in between fences out on cross country. It was ultimately quite serious, we got him over to Spurlocks where they took excellent care of him and he is now back with his mom wondering why he's missing out on the fun. We are wishing him a speedy recovery and keeping Stacy very focused on her future! She is a very good rider and I'm sorry she didn't get to prove that to the world at MD HT II. Lots of time, however, to prove things to the world and it means we were just saving it for a later time and place :)

We are enjoying no competitions here for a bit as we ramp up for Millbrook and everything else happening in August. Stay tuned for Whatever may be!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Summer to Remember!

So far, I'd say that the summer of 2012 is going pretty well for Blue Clover Eventing:
 A great time was had by all at Fair Hill, especially if you ask big winners Sarah and Alex! Luckily they competed in separate divisions so we didn't have to have a Grace/Tanner show down ha ha ha. Nicholas and Tatanka also rocked their division, finishing a super second and were by far the smartest looking pair in their division:
 I was proud to call each and every one of them my students, they were well turned out, prepared, and looked like they knew what they were doing out there! Even though we had some exciting moments, I think that we were excited for all of the right reasons by the time everyone came home safe and smiling through those cross country finish flags. I can't wait for their next outings!

We've also been busy doing circles and more circles. Last weekend I had the opportunity to compete another lovely Beall Spring Farm horse, Beall Spring Baccarat, for owner Steph Sullivan. He's been very rewarding to train and compete and made his Second Level debut with rock star scores at the PVDA show last weekend at the PG Equestrian Center. This boy can really move!
We have new horses, new students, people and ponies going here there and everywhere. I'm so lucky to have Trisha and Stacy working for me right now, I don't know what I'd do without them and I hope the feeling is mutual lol. I'm looking forward to competing Fernhill Whatever this coming weekend at MD HT II at Loch Moy. We have a bunch of first time dressage competitors going to a competition later in the month and I can't wait for great scores! Then it is off to Millbrook before we know it. Can't wait!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Welcome Whatever!

Congratulations to Greyside LLC on the exciting purchase of Fernhill Whatever! I am beyond thrilled to have such an amazing horse to compete. Thanks to Carolyn Jolley, in nothing less than whirlwind style, I was on a plane and back again with arrangements made to bring a new pony to Blue Clover Eventing! Not just any pony; but a gorgeous grey 16.2h Irish Sport Horse...and I assure you he knows it!

Carol and Fraser at Fernhill Sport Horse Centre both did an amazing job of finding this guy and bringing him up to win at the the 1* level. His breeding, movement and jumping ability all scream upper level event horse and that's exactly what we had in mind with his purchase. He's been here two weeks literally to the day, and I've set a schedule that would get us to the 2* at Fair Hill, I'm anticipating that he's as much of an over-achiever as I am :) I feel badly that the poor guy leaves an unusually cold and wet Ireland and arrives in the North East in the midst of a record breaking heat wave. Trisha did one of her 'usual' amazing clip jobs and that combined with the fact that he is just an amazing athlete has allowed him to make the adjustment fairly easily to life in the States. He seems to approve of our chow at least! and seems to respond to us even though we don't have nearly as cool of an accent as did his former humans. He was highly suspicious of treats although we seem to have gotten over that after the first week, group effort ha ha ha.

I look forward to a little cross country school tomorrow at Morven Park, and if that goes well off to Loch Moy we go this weekend to run the prelim at MD HT II. Can't wait!