Queeny Park was a terrific weekend… It was great to see all of the terrific folks in Missouri, and great to have the opportunity to ride some really special horses. I took four horses to Queeny Park HT this past weekend (busy, busy!) to get them covered for the month so I can focus on students at Midsouth and the local events. It was a busy weekend! The footing in dressage warmup was so wet that we pulled 5 shoes between three horses! The dressage arenas added a bit of terrain to the question, and XC required very fit horses on the terrain. SJ was one of the hardest I’ve seen at the P-BN levels, with the SJ proving very, very influential. There are some very, very nice horses in Missouri!! Overall it was a great weekend!
Nightfall was terrific…. He fell victim to pulling not one but TWO shoes in dressage warmup when he stepped in a hole in warmup… Gulp! Thank goodness he has terrific feet, as he had to do dressage barefoot… And still managed a 7 on gaits! Any other horse would have been lame. He was really good, but the limited warmup from the incident wasn’t helpful. After dressage, he stood just two points off the lead with a 33. 5 and earned five 8’s. He was great on XC, and good in SJ although I didn’t ride him as well as I might hope. He finished a good 4th place in Open BN. I was very happy with him.
When my young paint horse had a little cut this week, I decided last minute to take Vis a Vis instead, essentially catchriding my own horse. I’m glad I did! He was really good in dressage, scoring a 32.5 in front of a different judge, and earning four 8’s. He handily won the dressage, and never looked back. He won the Open BN….. For the second consecutive weekend!!!
ASAP is a special baby for me, and one that I’m really attached to…. He too was victim to a lost shoe in warmup–it was wet and on the side of a very, very big hill. He is only 4yo this year, and shows tremendous potential, but is still green in the canter. It’s hard to fit 17.2h of 4yo in a dressage ring at any time, but when it’s on a hill and the grass is wet, it’s really challenging!! He was really, really good in the trotwork, and tried hard for me in the canterwork. He was 3rd after dressage on a 38, which I was very pleased with. He was terrific on XC, despite losing a shoe yet again. In Sj, the very very difficult course was causing major problems at all levels…. He handily jumped one of a few double clean rounds in his division. When they started pinning the awards, I was so excited for him to finish 3rd! But that was not to be…. I started to walk up to the ribbon presenter for 3rd, but it wasn’t for me! Then second wasn’t for us either….. ASAP WON his division!!! It was so exciting for him… What a special guy.
Hopper was the real highlight of the weekend though, I must say. He was really bothered by the warmup on Friday, and thought we were going XC on the side of the hill, not dressage. I was fairly concerned about his focus level. But my dear friend pulled through, putting in a test that I was really happy with!! Dressage hasn’t been incredibly natural for him, and he’s been working hard. The hard work paid off, and he handily won the dressage with a 32.1. He blazed around the XC, handling the terrain really well and laying down a very fast, accurate, smooth round. But remember how I said the SJ was very, very difficult?? Hopper is more of an old school classic horse….He doesn’t feel the painted poles when they touch his legs. We’ve been working hard on his show jumping, but it’s a difficult endeavor for him. There was a LOT of pressure on my shoulders going in in the lead, in reverse order of standing. All I could think as I was cantering to the first fence was, “You are going to have to ride REALLY, really well. ” Especially after he’d pulled a few rails in warmup… That’s never comforting! But I rode to the best of my ability, and he was terrific. The rails were ROUND and in completely flat cups at every fence… Any jump you touched would fall down. He was terrific, jumping huge over everything and really listening to me for all of the many rollbacks. We touched only a single fence, which fell for 4 faults. I knew I was going into SJ with a 7.9 point lead—not quite enough for two rails, so when that rail fell I knew he must jump the rest of the course perfectly…. No pressure! Perfect he was, and he didn’t need the padding. Just one rail, and still ended up winning the event by ten points after all of the difficulties on the course for other horses. I was so happy for Hopper… He’s been so consistent this year, finishing 2nd four times…. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride! I’m so happy for him to earn his first Preliminary win… He deserves it, and has been consistently at the top waiting for his moment to shine.
I’m also really excited to be concentrating on dressage, which is a big passion for me…. The work is really paying off. In four dressage tests, I earned 8 – 8 – 7 – 7 on rider in front of two different judges, which I was estatic about! I was also really happy with the collective marks, showing all the horses are heading in the right direction…. Hopper earned 7-7-7-8.
We took four horses this weekend, three of them being young and green. We finished 4th, then won three other divisions!! I was very happy with my boys. Special thanks to Howard, Bev, Katie, and Jane for their great grooming this weekend… Eight rides in one day will keep you BUSY!!
And then, in all humbling moments, I blew a tire on the way home and got to change a tire on the side of the interstate…. Isn’t eventing humbling?? 🙂