Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials
With our farm horse trials just a week away and many of the students saving their horses for that outing, Midsouth PC HT was a bit of a vacation this year!!! With just 6 horses running, things were ultra-relaxing and it was hilarious… Though I did miss all the smiling faces!
Four of the six horses that we took were all at the Preliminary level…. Ali on Alex, Chelsea on Basil, Maddy on Bernie, and Megan on Hopper. There were 42 preliminary level horses running this weekend, and the two strongest preliminary divisions I’ve ever seen…. The divisions were filled with numerous professionals on their intermediate and advanced horses… This was a Prelim division to contend with!
I was so proud of all our prelim horses…. They all contested these horses with great class. Chelsea showed an improved dressage tests and we’re very excited for their potential! Maddy had a terrific dressage test with Bernie, to earn a 40.0 against all the pros…. Without the error they had, they would have been i the 30’s! Ali has been working hard on Alex’s dressage, and it paid off, with a 36 and a very good test. I had entered Nemo to run a Prelim as his return to eventing after his short time off after his pasture injury, but unfortunately he’s still not back to 100% fitness. I ran Hopper last weekend and typically don’t do back to back weekends, but the prior Prelim didn’t take anything out of him, and he was happy to step up to the plate for Nemo this weekend… Hopper was terrific in dressage and I was so happy with his test! He usually scores in the top two or three, but unfortunately we drew the one dressage judge that never scores him well, and were relegated to a 37.1 in dressage, despite having one of his best tests. Oh well!
The cross country looked solid, not terribly easy and not terribly hard. There was a bending line between two skinny houses to contest with, as well as a bending line from a table to a corner. The course included a toothbrush, as well as two trakehners. The water was a skinny, over a mound, then a skinny in the water. I thought it was a very fair course, but there was plenty to do and plenty to keep you busy with 26 fences and several combinations. Maddy and Chelsea were both doing their second Prelims, and they both had terrific clean rounds and a foot perfect course. I was lucky enough to see nearly every jump on their course, and they both rode so very very well!!! The time was very, very, very tight, and though going fast was not her goal, she scored a very competitive time of only 20 time penalties (a great run at prelim!). Chelsea managed a very quick clear round with only 12 time penalties—Basil has a huge stride! Ali and Alex scored a great clear round, and Ali was able to cut alot of distance off the course…. She did a terrific job, and managed to score one of the fastest times of the day with only 10 time faults, moving her up to 6th after XC! After Hopper’s dressage score, I was on a mission to make up ground. He is becoming such a reliable cross country horse that I was able to make some really, really difficult lines work well, not wasting any time and galloping well between each jump… Hopper came in a very accurate 5 seconds under time, becoming one of only THREE horses out of the 42 to make time. I was so happy with him! It was really neat to see the photos…. The photographer caught a great photo of Hopper angling a table to be able to make one of my crazy lines… He was so good!
In Show Jumping, the course proved very challenging, with much of the same issue as the day before… The time was near impossible to make! With about 9 rollbacks on the course, the course demanded that you make some crazy inside galloping turns to make the time. Our working student Jane is from the jumpers, and saw the course and said, “Oh! A power and speed course!!” Our response was…. “uh oh.” There were quite a few rails, and almost every preliminary rider had time faults. Ali and Alex started out a little sticky, but once they got in the rhythm of the course after fence 4, they were brilliant and I think they learned alot from the course. Chelsea and Basil had a gorgeous round… Every jump was smooth and out of stride! They had one very cheap rail at fence #9 and then the first rail of the triple when the distance wasn’t quite right… But I was so proud of them and it was gorgeous! Maddy had her best round ever, with just one very cheap rail and no time penalties! They were GORGEOUS!! Hopper went into the ring in 3rd place after his cross country ride, and I knew I only had two points over fourth. Much like last week, I cantered up to the first fence thinking about how well I needed to ride to help Hopper showjump clean, since this is by FAR his weakest phase. He was so terrific….. The time was so hard to make, so I was working to make the hardest lines possible…. He was amazing, jumping high over everything and trying SOOOO hard! He let me take some very difficult turns, and he jumped really well…. We felt like an old married couple, knowing what the other was thinking before they ever thought it. I enjoyed him so much…. He jumped double clean!! One of only a few horses of the day. He finished 3rd, and it turns out the course was so hard that he earned a 13 point lead over 4th place after SJ! I really enjoyed, too, that he finished third to two people who I really like, Emery and Meghan, and that made it really fun. Congrats to Emery for her terrific win!
Kim and Trooper were doing their very first Training this weekend!!! They were amazing, scoring 40.0 in their very first attempt at this level. They had a terrific cross country round…. Kim was very worried about the giant trakehner on fence #4, and while it was all well within her reach, this was a challenging course! The course included a trakehner, coffin, log into water, and a real corner on Training! Kim and Trooper had one peak at the trakehner at 4, but he jumped really well afterwards and I was so proud of them! They jumped with just one stop, and clean on the time in a really pretty round. Then, in the tough show jumping course, she pulled off the rare Clean showjumping round, just 3 seconds over time! CONGRATS to Kim for her very first Training!!!!
Hannah had a great weekend… All the divisions were Open this weekend, which left my 12 year old kid competing against intermediate and advanced level riders! Aaack! She and Vaughn had a stellar dressage test that I was very happy with! But with all of the pros in her division, she wasn’t placed as highly as she would have been in a junior division… But that’s okay. She had a beautiful sj round minus a little navigational issue. But Hannah and Vaughn had an amazing cross country round, foot perfect and they looked terrific!! Hannah was so cute, and after XC she said “That was easy!”
I was so proud of everyone…. They were stellar! Special thanks to Howard, Jane, Katie, and Quin for supportive help this weekend. And at the end of the weekend, I found out that Hopper was the ONLY horse of the 42 preliminary horses to finish on his dressage score, adding 0 faults on XC or SJ!!! Go Hopp star!