Greater Dayton HT—Day 1 Update from Howard

Four riders (Megan, Jenny, Quin, & Kelly) with six horses (Nemo, Ex, Jerry, Molson, Riddle, & Miko) arrived safely on Friday at Twin Towers. We had the luxury of all six stalls on an aisle in the permanent barn – nice! Megan was the rider rep for the event, and we’re pleased to note that the event was fully subscribed this year – congrats, Laura!

Nemo started the day with dressage at 7:36 a.m., and scored a career best 27.3 with his best trot work ever in front of an R dressage judge. He then performed his usual double clean in stadium and will head into Sunday’s XC on his dressage score. This is the largest, best/most competitive OP class we’ve seen at Dayton in many years!!
Ex was next and performed a nice Novice test we were pleased with. He’s still a year away from full maturity and competitiveness, but his willingness and try are wonderful. He zoomed around stadium for Megan’s second double clear of the day. He’ll also head into XC on his dressage score.

Megan’s ride on Jerry seemed to be jinxed – maybe it was all the spots scaring the other horses. This was Jerry’s first Novice, his first HT away from home, and only his second recognized event. He was excellent in warmup until we noticed the kite being flown over the dressage ring! Then as he made his initial pass down the center line, a loose horse with no tack came galloping right next to his ring spooking him. One giant leap for mankind later Megan put him back to work, and the remainder of the test was quite good. Later, as he entered the ring for his stadium round, THE SAME HORSE (this time with a saddle but no bridle) galloped loose past the stadium ring with similar results. With that scenario, it’s amazing that both Megan and horse maintained their composure for a very nice round with only one cheap rail. Hopefully, that horse will be somewhere else on Sunday during XC!

Jenny and Molson competed at their second Novice and they seem to be old pros at it now! Molson performed his usual brilliant dressage test, needing only “a little more jump in the canter,” and they placed in their usual position after dressage (we don’t tell scores or placings until the event is over – each phase should be ridden on their own merits. “There’s time enough for counting” when the horse trial’s done). Then the pair jumped their usual impeccable stadium round with an unusual single rail falling, dropping them slightly in the standings going into XC. Jenny was surprised that she did not have her usual horse show nerves this weekend – and we know that was because she was too busy riding and grooming 3 horses for Megan to have time for them, as Andrea is home taking care of the Baconator!

Quin and Riddle easily had their best overall performance ever. This partnership just gets better and better – the dressage work was workmanlike and steady and they made easy work of the brightly colored stadium jumps with all the tents flapping in the wind. They go into XC on their best career score and placing. Ask Megan how many people came up to her asking if Riddle was for sale!!

And we’re probably most proud of Kelly and Miko. After a sterling 3rd place finish at Spring Bay, everyone expects great things from this young pair (Miko is only 4, in his second event!). Their dressage was competent and workmanlike, but not as brilliant as it will be. Their stadium round was smooth but two rails fell. Sometimes things just don’t go smoothly! Appropriately, Kelly was very happy with both her’s and Miko’s performances – this is a tough sport and frequently everything isn’t perfect. But they had a great day, two wonderful rides, and XC beckons tomorrow!

The weather was perfect, and lots of pale buckeyes were sporting bright red sunburns by the end of the day. If the rain holds off, footing will be excellent tomorrow.

A wonderful day was consummated by a hot Mexican dinner topped off with fried ice cream and good companionship. Telling and retelling the day’s rides over good food and a drink or three is ALMOST as much fun as riding it! And Kelly’s mom gets the “Star of the Day” award for both dinner and for keeping me hydrated (with beer!).

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About widespreadpanic

Advanced level event rider and instructor at Team CEO Eventing in Lexington KY.
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