The 2010 eventing season is officially underway! We usually start a bit earlier, but enjoyed a change in schedule this year to stay home with friends and family, do our homework, and get the ball rolling!
This weekend, we went to Paul Frazier CT at the Kentucky Horse Park. The changes underway for the World Games are amazing… They are definitely working hard to have everything ready! Overnight was 31 degrees and absolutely freezing, but as the day progressed, eventually it was 60 degrees and absolutely beautiful… It just took a little longer than we might have liked….
Zissou and Emily… Because this year’s Paul Frazier fell on Spring Break weekend for many of our students, we took only a couple of horses… It was like a mini-vacation! We took Working Student Emily Rosenbaum (from Idaho) horse shopping in November, where she picked out her very first OTTB…. He had just raced two days before! This weekend, he went to his first show. Zissou, her 4yo black 16.2h TB gelding, also known as “Technical Difficulty”, was an absolute doll this weekend…. He tried his very best in every phase, and we were absolutely thrilled with him. In her Starter CT, I’m afraid that the black warmup boots were not noticed on his solid black legs until it was too late—she did her dressage test with them on! She had a lovely test, but sadly scored a “TE” for technical elimination for leaving the boots on…. That is definitely going to be a moment to remember for the “Most Blonde Moment” for the year end awards…. She had a huge crowd with her, and none of us noticed! We definitely learned something–wear WHITE warmup boots on a black horse!! LOL. True to her good nature, Emily laughed it off and took it all in stride, and the show still gave her permission to showjump, where they had a beautiful double clean round. Fortunately she was double entered, and did his first BN CT that day as well…. They had a lovely test with just a little tension, but overall good moments, for a 42.0…. Not a bad start to a horse’s career, not to mention doing dressage inside a racetrack on a OTTB!!! The pair were wonderful in showjumping yet again, with just 1 green rail at the “B” element of the combination for just 4 faults. We are so excited to see this talented pair progress!
Fastball and Jennifer… Jennifer is our newest working student arrival, coming to us all the way from Texas! Her 12yo chestnut TB “Fastball” is a really neat, talented horse, but can be a pretty challenging ride in all three phases. Though they haven’t been here long, we’ve been working hard on some of Fastball’s quirks, and working to strentgthen the canter and improve straightness in all three paces, as he is a bit of a gumby. The hard work is really paying off and I was so thriled for their dramatic improvement. In a HUGE division of 20+++ horses, many ridden by professionals, they scored an excellent 33 in dressage… A really huge accomplishment. The pair went on to make big strides in their show jumping as well, jumping double clean to finish an excellent 6th out of a huge division of very nice horses and riders. This is a great start to the season, and we’re looking for more great things to come!
Boscoe and Megan…. I took my fun paint cross, Color Treatment, in his very first Training Level CT this weekend…. It is hard to remember that he was just doing his first starter CT at this same show last year! He was really excellent, and most importantly, I get the most joy out of riding this little guy… He is VERY unique and unlike any other horse I’ve ever known, but I enjoy him immensely and I can never stop smiling when I’m on him. He is 15.1 or 15.2h hands of paint pony and 18h of heart. My head wasn’t quite on straight for our dressage, as I was dealing with Nemo (see below), and then the ring was running early, so I had the pleasure of going straight into the test without warmup. I just smiled and thought, “Oh well, let’s just have some fun!” Boscoe was overall really, really good. I was tremendously happy with how straight his centerlines were, and his overally connection. He was giving a little too much on the canter circles, and got too low in the poll. We were doing a lovely medium trot one direction, but unfortunately broke to canter in the very last stride, needing more 1/2 halts. We also ad-libbed one flying change at “X”…. His favorite game! Those two moments gained two 4’s and a 5 in the test, but the rest of the work was really quite good, and he still received a 36 in front of an internationally renowned dressage judge, against many very nice horses, and in a tough division. His test had many, many 7’s, which I was really happy with, and an 8 on the free walk, which we’ve been working hard on! He had collective marks of 7 (gaits), 6, 6, 7 (rider), which I was really happy with. The overall comments were that the test had many nice moments with just a minor bobble, and that the quality of the walk was especially good. She commented that it was a patient, quiet ride. I was very happy with that! After all, he’s just turning 5yo and in his first outing of the year, and his first time at this level.
In showjumping, after eventing for probably 18 years, I ran my very first competition round without a bit…. LOL! I have recently decided that Boscoe LOVES to go in a very mild hackamore, as he is so soft and tries so hard that sometimes it is good to tone down the static. When you’ve been eventing for 18years, you don’t end up doing something you’ve never done before very often, so this is a whole new realm for me to learn. Boscoe is small and a little short strided, but very careful and monumentally handy, so I elected to make some very, very tight turns in order to make the time, rather than galloping like mad. He was so handy and brave everywhere, though I did feel him canter to the first oxer and go “Wow, that’s NOT a novice jump!” But he is super brave and generous, so he just ate up the course. I was thrilled with how he jumped, though I’m still learning to trust him, as I don’t ride small horses very often…. I find myself keep trying to put him at the base of every fence, feeling like he lacks scope…. Except he has plenty of scope! We learned more about each other over every single fence. I should have taken a halfhalt to a purple oxer which people were knocking hard all day, but which wasn’t coming down…. I rode too forward off my short turn and he just tapped it lightly, something he never does, and of course it fell… Other than that, it was the only fence he touched and I was very happy with him. He had 4 jumping and 0 time. He was 4th after dressage, and finished the division in 6th. I was really happy to get to learn more about him and how he likes to be ridden (he’s pretty unusual, but a very stylish jumper) and look forward to taking that into Spring Bay HT in two weeks!
Nemo and Megan… I had entered Nemo in the Prelim CT just to knock the cobwebs off… He has been feeling out of this world this week, and jumping and flatting better than ever. Then, of course, right before the show, he uncharacteristically pulled a shoe. It was tacked back on at the show, and he was sound to jog on the asphalt, but was acting out of sorts and a little odd…. We could have iced the foot and gone on, but I absolutely adore that horse and would never ask him to do anything he didn’t want to do. He could have skipped around easily, but something wasn’t quite right, so I withdrew him. It is always dissappointing, but there is nothing more important than his well being. And today he is back out in his lush Kentucky pasture with his best equine friend, munching happily and looking much more comfortable. I’m happy we made the right call to withdraw, but of course not riding one of my two favorite horses was a major loss to the day.
Friends and Family…. Special thanks to Gretchen and Jeri who came out to help! Howard took the red eye in from New Orleans just to be there, and Liz and Meghan T were there sporting cameras…. Jeri and I tried to out mom each other, both bringing lots and lots of donuts for everyone, but were upstaged by Howard bringing everyone lunch! 🙂 Thanks for all of the WONDERFUL help guys!
I’m thrilled with how everyone is looking both at home and away, and can’t wait to see everyone’s hard work and determination pay off heading into Spring Bay HT in two weeks! We are taking something like 16 horses and I’m riding 4, so it should be a busy, busy weekend! I can’t wait!!!!!!!
Hooray for 2010!