Friday, March 30, 2007

Review of Poplar Place Horse Trials 2007

So we are back from Poplar Place Horse Trials where Jamie and Frodo ran Advanced, Alex Intermediate, and Dollar ran the CIC* (preliminary level). The whole weekend was a little awkward as a few mishaps occured along the way which caused a few headaches for Cyndi and I. First, the day before we left for the horse show, Alex pulled a shoe in a jumping lesson which quickly turned into a nasty abcess. Also, this year the organization of the horseshow was quite poor leaving many horse and riders overly warmed up for their dressage tests. This was the case for Dollar. On Friday, everyone's dressage tests went somewhat smoothly, although Jamie and Dollar left a lot to be desired in the ring, due to the disorganization of the show. Frodo and Alex, on the other hand, were competitively placed after their lovely tests. The following day, cross country day, I decided early in the morning to pull Alex from competition just to make sure that he wouldnt hurt himself if were to compensate for his abcess on another leg. Jamie had already been predetermined to just run a combined test which left me with two horses left to finish the event: Frodo and Dollar. Frodo was a star running around the course within the time and no jump penalties to lead his division with over three rails in hand in the show jumping phase. I was pretty excited about that. Dollar was a star as well. Because he wasnt placed competitively after dressage, both my coach Buck and I decided that for training purposes, I ought to run him slowly, so as to not encourage him to get stronger and stronger on course. Red Hill was a field day for Dollar, as he was allowed to run as fast as he could. I guess you could say Dollar wasnt the happiest of horses when he kept getting held back to a canter after every fence. However, when Dollar came through the finish the vets took his temp and heartrate and were astounded at his fitness level. In over ninety degree weather, Dollar came in at a 101.0 temp, and he was deemed the best conditioned horse of the show. Not too bad for a horse going to the killers a little over a year ago? Show Jumping day turned out to be a little bit disappointing for me. Dollar had two rails, which had stemmed from his pulling from the day before. I wasnt too upset about the rails because he isnt one who normally has them and are a quick fix for me in the ring. Jamie jumped around like a star and had one of only four double clear advanced rounds of the day. All was set for Frodo to take home the blue but my inexperience and nerves got in the way and we lowered a five rails (all my fault) which robbed us from the blue. Having said that, although I am extremely disappointed with the show jumping phase, all mistakes were on my part which is far better to have than to be one of the horses. All my horses performed like stars and were true competitors and have been this whole season. They are such pleasures for me to ride, not to mention great friends who teach me as well as allow me to teach them. So, Poplar Place is under the mat, now it's time to push on to the next big event in three weeks: Ocala three day event. This will be Dollar's first three day event and he will be doing the CCI* and I will also be competing Alex in the CCI**. Both of these guys are MORE than ready for this level and I hope to be hanging two more blue ribbons on my wall. Hope everyone is doing well in their season and look forward to updating you on some good news from Ocala. See you soon!!!
Jamie in Show Jumping- double clear!!!
Dollar on XC-clean jumping, 10 time penalties
Dollar Dressage- 59.1
Alex in Dressage- 35.2
Frodo on XC- double clear!!!
Jamie in Dressage-43.8

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Review of Red Hills

Well, it's now officially five weeks out until Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and all of my preparations have been, for the most part, quite promising. Last week was Red Hills, which turned out to be another thrilling weekend. My Rolex horse, Eight Saint James Place ("Jaime") put in a foot perfect round across country (the fastest horse in all advanced divisions) to end up 2nd place because of an unfortunate three rails in the show jumping. However, I was extremely happy with his level of fitness at this point. My coach, Buck Davidson, always warns me that you never want your horse too fit way ahead of the BIG DAY, as their peak should be at Rolex, not at Red Hills. With that in mind, all my boys were on the right track. My two CIC** horses, Frodo Baggins and Anthony Patch ("Alex") were also stars. Alex was the only horse to finish on his dressage score to place 6th, and Frodo finished 10th, again because of some unfortunate rails in the SJ phase. Both of them also had the fastest cross country rounds of the day in their division. I have to say I was the most proud of my prelim horse, Keep the Change ("Dollar"), who is also CO-owned by Joanna Jenkins and the James River Riding School. Dollar put in a superb dressage test which put him on top of the leaderboard from day one. He put in a speedy cross country test (the fastest of all the preliminary divisions), and with a double clear show jumping course, he certainly proved that he was the "horse to beat" of the weekend. I am so excited about how well he is improving and learning. His body and attitude have changed so much as he steps up to the tasks of being a top caliber event horse. You bet I had a smile on the drive home from Red Hills. The next stop was to be Poplar Place for my horses which is run over March 22-25, 2007 in Hamilton, Georgia. However, my working student asked me to catch ride her mare, Divine Intervention in the Open Preliminary, as she had been having some troubles in the show jumping. With two days to prepare Divinity for the show, one could say I had my hands full. The weekend turned out to be a great success, however, with a decent dressage test, only one rail in show jumping, and a flawless and quick cross country round, which landed "Diva" and I in 8th place...not too shabby I might say! So now, I am writing you with Poplar Place in mind, where I have the same four who went to Red Hills. Jaime is doing the Advanced, but will only run a combined test since Rolex is inching closer and closer. Frodo too will run Advanced, but will do the full horse trial. Alex, in preparation for the Ocala CCI** will run the regular intermediate, and will do so in an easy and safe fashion. Dollar will do the CIC*, as he prepares for his first CCI* also held at the Florida Horse Park. So, with four horses in the trailer, a dog, Cyndi and I crammed in the truck, we are pushing off to sunny Georgia in hopes for some confidence building rounds,
elegants dressage tests, exciting cross country rides, and of course, some more RIBBONS! Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Preparing for Red Hills

Hello everyone!

Well, thus far the season has been quite demanding, yet lucrative in the area of ribbons and awards for all my horses. Next weekend, four of my guys are getting prepared for Red Hills. The event is held in Tallahassee and is known for its spooky dressage rings, numerous crowds, difficult cross country courses, and intense show jumping. All in all, it's my favorite event. As I write, I am actually in VA (Crozier) teaching clinics at James River Riding School, Dollar's old home, and the Manakin Sabot Riding Center. So far, the clinics have been a success and everyone has left with smiles on their faces. Cyndi (my groom) is back in Ocala getting all the boys ready for next weekend, hour long trot sets and endless gallop intervals, as well as getting soaked herself...the weather, as I have heard, has been pretty miserable. She has been such a help to me this year. It is so nice to be able to leave a barn full of horses with someone you trust so sincerely. She is not only a groom and a student, but a friend and one of the most dependable people I have ever had the honor to work with. Also, I met with the President of Stubben on Friday afternoon and he has decided to sponsor myself as well as all of my ponies so I am looking forward to building a solid and perennial relationship with them. As for Red Hills, everyone is looking ready for the challenge. Eight Saint James Place (Jamie), is doing the CIC***. Since the beginning of this year, he has really shown a vast amount of improvement in his area of weakness: dressage. Every time out he has performed well in the ring and earned the scored to boot! I am hoping for a low dressage score in the upper 50's (FEI test) as well as a clear cross country and show jumping with him. Frodo Baggins (Frodo) and Anthony Patch (Alex) are both doing the CIC**. Frodo is a pro at this level and basically I would like him to be in the upper placings. He is very competitive in the dressage as well as the cross country, and although he struggles with the show jumping phase, both he and I have made giant leaps of improvement in that area. As for Alex, I have VERY high hopes for him. He is probably one of the most fancy horses on the East coast, however, it's a matter of getting him to want it as much as I do in the flat. He is far too happy to trot around with his head relatively down and plod through all the movements. I think when he gets it right, he will be unbeatable. He is my best show jumper out of all the boys so I hope for a confidence building go around a tough xc course. As for the Dollar Man (Keep the Change), he is steadily improving by massive strides. His hardest phase thus far is in the flat, however, not because of unwillingness to perform the tasks, simply he just has a lot of learning to do. His jumping phases are both superb, and he is another one that will be unbeatable once all three phases are honed in. Anyhow, that's it for Red Hills. All in all, hoping for safe and confidence building rides. It's always nice to come home with happy ponies!!! Hope everyone has a safe weekend and I will be in touch after the show!!! Take Care!