Not to be one of those people who talks about the weather, but…. The story from Queeny Parky was all about the weather, the weather, and the weather!!!!!!!!! With temperatures all weekend at 95 degrees with a heat index at 105, the weather was destined to play a BIG role in everyone’s weekends! Everywhere you looked, horses and riders were sweating standing still, miserable and bogged down by the temperatures. YUCK!!
Basil & Megan in OP, 3rd: I rode Basil again in the Preliminary this weekend. We are a new partnership, and are still learning about each other…. The dressage was pretty relaxed, which I was happy with! Unfortunately the rings were very far from level, and on grass…. This makes for some interesting moments in the counter canter! One competitor tallied that not a single horse in the entire Prelim this weekend made it through the second counter canter without breaking, as the hill was so steep in that locale. I also elected to omit the halt from the beginning of the test, so that 2 points hurt a bit… Oops!!! He was good through the end of the walk, the third movement from the end…. His freewalk was good, but at the medium walk at the end he accidently slipped his tongue over the bit, and we had to end the last 2 movements with our tongue over the bit and our head in the air…. Arrrggh!! He scored a 40.0. The prelim XC fences were small and quite friendly, and Basil strongly prefers BIG, difficult fences. He stepped over all of them as he was quite bored, but jumped nicely at the more important questions—water, bank, and coffin. The rest he stepped over like Novice fences. I’m very lucky that he is easy to keep fit and a light sort of horse, so the heat bothered him less than the heavy horses. I took very tight lines and galloped along steadily, and he loped home an easy 20 seconds under time, never really having to push and never really going all that fast. Little did I know that time was fairly tough to make (WOW, Basil is an amazing XC horse!) and he had the fastest time of the day, without ever really trying. The second fastest time of the day was 20 seconds over time!!! He had the fastest time by 40 seconds! That put him into the lead overnight! The showjumping was, I believe, as difficult or more difficult than you will find anywhere in the US. The grass was very slick from rain, and the ground is very steep and undulating. In addition, the fences are beautiful but very spooky. By the time he entered the ring, he had a 2 rail lead…. The cups were all flat, and the rails all PVC and would practically blow out of their cups. He jumped a good round, but unfortunately we just don’t know each other well enough yet, and we had too many down…. We dropped to 3rd place, which is still a good finish but dissappointing to me. The SJ was so challenging that there were 0 clear rounds in all of the Prelim. Yikes! I am still kicking myself, as I have only had 1 rail for this entire year total coming into this event.
Boscoe & Megan in OT, 7th: Boscoe was a blast…. But that’s no big surprise!!! (Can you tell he’s my favorite?) He loved the fact that the dressage ring was steep and slick, and ate it up. He had a good test for a 36, and I was quite happy. On XC, he is an absolute MACHINE!!! I love this little pony…. He will jump anything you point him at, and he almost drug me over the Prelim water fence! He is so good…. I made crazy turns on him to cut the distance on XC to save him in the heat, as he is like riding a dirt bike and is SOOOO handy to ride. He easily loped home double clean. In SJ, the ground was very torn up for him, and while I was thrilled with how he jumped, he had a couple down. Considering I don’t think this horse has ever had a rail in his career, it was quite a shock. He is SO careful!!! He jumped nicely, but the cups were so flat that we just couldn’t get it done. (Almost every horse at the horse trail had 2-6 rails down in SJ, with several horses falling down in SJ and quite a few eliminations.) I am happy with him, as he was very good in all three phases. He is such a SJ machine normally…. You can count on us that we’ll work hard not to have that again! I still have to be happy with him though…. He is such a training level packer!!!
Sheldon & Megan OBN, 1st place by 5.7 points! By the time Sheldon’s dressage came around, I had already done multiple dressage and XC tests, and it was 2pm. The heat index was 105, and I was starting to get heat sick. I felt faint in warmup, and thus only did on trot circle before calling an end to Sheldon’s warmup. He is such a love…. I just warmed him up on the lap outside the arena before the judge whistled us in, and off we went. He put in his signature winning test, with TONS of 8’s and not a single movement score lower than 7!!! He also got an 8 on gaits! He scored a phenomenal 26.7 to lead the class. On XC, we were next out of the box when a huge rainstorm came and we were sent back to the barns for shelter from the lightning…. But the barns were more than 1 mile away! The storm passed, and we were sent all the way back again. It was so hot and I was still super sick, so we went nearly straight out of the box, just using the mile hack for warmup. He was great on XC, very rhythmical and steady. Sheldon is so brave on XC… Very point and shoot now!! We lost 1 shoe, as the rain made things VERY slick, but the organizers did a great job keeping safety as the priority by sending us back during the storm. He was terrific on XC, and went double clean. In show jumping, we went towards the end of the day, and things were VERY torn up. Plus, it poured rain right before we went in. So things were super slick, and Sheldon is 17.1+++ hands, so it was going to be interesting! He was terrific and jumped super clean with all good distances, and jumped double clean easily to finish on his dressage score of 26.7 to win the class with 5.7 points in hand!!!!! (And to be one of only a couple horses all day who jumped clean in SJ!) Not only did Sheldon win his division handily, but he had the LOWEST winning score of the entire horse trial!!!
Nikki & Oliver in OT, 1st! Nikki and Oliver have become such a cinderella story…. Sorry, but it was not so long ago that I remember Oliver liked to travel like a giraffe who was also incredibly lazy and behind the rider’s leg! Nikki has worked SOOOOO hard to transform that giraffe into a fancy dressage pony, and hard work pays off! Now this pair is becoming a top notch training level team, with great finishes. They had a very good dressage test for a 31, just two points behind the leader, who was a pro and Nikki is an amateur! They easily went double clean XC and made light work of the whole course. SJ had Nikki stressed a bit, but she did a great job mastering her nerves…. She and Oliver had one of the least penalty point training level show jumping rounds of the day with just 1 rail in a gorgeous round…. Thus together they WON the Open Training at Queeny Park!!!!!!! Congrats! What a fairy tale!
Kelly Reiter and Wilder than Syn: 6th in OBN: Congratulations to Team CEO sales horse from 2009, Wilder Than Syn and his new owner Kelly Reiter! It was SOOOO fun to see them this weekend! They had a terrific dressage for a 37 with just 1 rail in SJ to finish a great weekend in 6th place! Congratulations!
Now for the long drive home…. hot, tired, ready for a nap, but oh-so-proud of our horses and riders this weekend!