The boys were sound and well rested this morning, and both passed on first attempt. (Despite a little prototypical spooking at the flowers at the end of the lane for Nemo. J )
In my great levels of consistency, my boys were in 19th and 20th after XC… GULP, since SJ is in reverse order, that might make changing horses difficult!!! The office gave me permission to SJ Hopper as the first horse in the division to give me a little more room. Most horses get a little tired at the end of a three day…. But Hopper just got hot and cocky!!! I learned a lot about this horse this weekend… He is definitely an amazing horse for the future, but the future is still ahead of us. He is a really difficult ride, despite the fact that I love him dearly. I have showjumped him in the last couple outings without a martingale, and he’s been great… He had the first clean sj round of the day at the CIC** at Maui Jim. But this weekend, he thought he was invicible in the show jumping! And being a bit of an old school event horse, he doesn’t mind show jumping by braile. He stepped into the ring as the first to go, and became very strong. He took the golden opportunity without the martingale to invert his head and throw all hopes of a bascule out the window. I’ve been so happy that he has been show jumping really well this year, but this weekend it was not to be…. He felt obliged to rub several fences, while being fresher than a 4yo in april. I’m happy that he’s fit and sound and full of himself, but geesh!! So Hopper finished his first CCI** in 23rd place (of 80 starters) and a clean, confident XC round, so I can’t be too mad about that. But I know which of my horses will be doing jumper shows all winter!!
Nemo showjumped later… It is so difficult to switch between my two boys…. One is powerful and bold with a huge stride but not careful and needs a waiting ride, and the other is stylish and careful but very careful in sj and likes a gallop, hunter ride… Go figure! It took me a few minutes to get my head into the game on the right horse in warmup, but once we stepped into the ring, it was great. Nemo is really starting to grow up (at just 8yo this year) and he and I know each other SO very well…. Since I’ve been his only rider since he was a 3yo. Because I knew him so well, I could really gallop him around the tough course and knew how he’d like to go to the fences. He responded beautifully, jumping like a star (and costing me a small fortune in pictures from the photographer, because I LOVED all 70+ photos!!!!!) . He only touched one fence in the entire round… The triple was a huge triple bar, two short strides, oxer, one stride, oxer. In my entire career, I’ve never seen this before! But he jumped in beautifully…. He had the world’s cheapest rail at the A element… I didn’t even hear him hit it. He was SOOOO terrific though… I was thrilled with our round, for just a cheap 4 faults. Nemo scored a 55.6 in dressage, 25 time on XC (took it slow and safe on XC in the mud—WAY more important to take care of my good friend than make time), and just 4 faults in SJ. He finished in a terrific 16th place…. Out of 80!!!!! He beat some of the nation’s top riders, and placed so well in a field of amazing horses that I was honored to join.
I am so happy with our weekend! I am the most conservative person ever about running in wet footing, but Nemo ran early in the division and Hopper is a warrior who didn’t even notice the mud. I feel so honored to have two horses place in the top 25, and come out of their CCI** sound, confident, and on top of the world. They both had SOOO much fun! (Hopper maybe too much.)
Thank you so much to all of our support crew…. To our terrific folks in Kentucky who kept things running at home so I could run off and play with the big boys…. To our amazing farrier, John, who is the only person who touches Nemo & Hopper’s hooves— My boys were two of only a very few horses who didn’t lose shoes!! …… To our amazing world class vet Dr. Chris Newton, who helps teach us how to keep our horses super sound and fit…. To my amazing working students who worked super hard this weekend grooming two horses, despite pouring rain and much…. To the amazing volunteers at Fair Hill, who I tried to thank each and every one personally…. To my great husband, who puts up with me “missing” at home for weeks on end…. And finally, last but not least, to my amazing Dad, who is the neverending epitome of energy, enthusiasm, and understanding…. He is the best owner in the world, an amazing groom, and a super guy…. Between grooming for my two horses in the CCI D box, he spent his time in the rain helping random strangers carry their stuff into the box and giving strangers a hand.
And just on an off note, my two amazing homemade, off track TB, non-imported non-warmbloods, to whom I paid a whopping $2000 total (between two of them) to purchase from the track, allowed me to be the ONLY rider in the CCI** who successfully finished two horses .
Congrats and thanks to all for an AMAZINGLY successful weekend!