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!