On Friday, we packed up the cast and crew and headed to Gemwood HT in Dayton OH. I have been to this event consistently since the 1990’s, and love seeing old friends and having a great weekend. Perhaps I was enjoying myself a little too much on the drive there, chatting with a student, as I accidently managed to miss a turn off the interstate… I therefore ended up leading my convoy of horse trailers to an entrance of the Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Errr…. Ummm…. Not good. So a few u-turns with multiple horse trailers later, and we arrived safe and sound at Gemwood.
After two decades of eventing, this weekend was the hottest one I’ve ever endured at a horse trial. Being generally intolerant of heat (I apparently love to get sun poisoning), this did not bode well for me. So thanks to my absolutely stellar crew, we managed to wake long before dawn and have all of our work done for the day by lunchtime for the horse trial on Friday. They worked like a well oiled machine, and we were out of the sun before the temperatures had a chance to swell into heat indexes reaching 110. In OHIO! This was a new schedule to a horse trial to say the least for us… After having all the work done by noon, I treated my crew to a hotel room and a nap all afternoon! Then we were back for 8pm coursewalks at the competition, and to tuck the horses in for the night.
So, long story short. HOT days, terrific horses. I rode my young horse, Expedition, in his second training. He is showing signs of brilliance in the trotwork—good enough for 8’s! But being young, the canter is still green, so that is a work in progress at times. It was still good enough for 38. He’s not ready to win right now, but I have very, very high hopes for his future! (Quirky though he may be.) He was a good boy in SJ, with one green rail. On XC, the friendly galloping course was a terrific confidence boost for him, and he galloped around with lots of pats and ears pricked. He loved every minute! He finished 8th. But most importantly, it was a great weekend to help a confident youngster continue to learn and grow… He was terrific, and learned something new in every single phase!
I rode our sales horse, Lovesweetlove, this weekend as well. As my working student put it, “Arrrggh, Buddy is in my division!” 😉 After reaching new heights in his dressage at home this week, he did not dissappoint… Buddy put in a steady, obedient, supple test that I was oh-so-happy with. He is such a rideable horse! He earned 8’s on gaits and rider, as well as numerous 8’s in his test. The comments on the test were: “Steady, forward, supple test. Well done!” He earned a 28 to lead a very impressive division of very good professional riders. In SJ, I was 1/3 of the way around the SJ course when the announcer happened to say, “This is our division leader.” Eeeek! I did not need to hear that right now! So that put a bit of pressure on, and I probably kicked a bit too hard around the course, but Buddy is an absolute doll and just packed me around to a clear round. On XC, he was brilliant. He gallops on a loose rein in a snaffle… Such a pleasant fellow. He jumped happily over each fence, earning much praise from myself and many pats. He was delightful! He finished double double clean, on his dressage score of 28.6. He led the division start to finish, also earning a dressage winning ribbon and the Highest Placed Thoroughbred award for his division. Plus, he ended up winning by over 7 points! Needless to say, I am thrilled with his weekend!
Team CEO riders were brilliant this weekend…. Jeri rode her young mare Pearls n Platinum to her first HT, and I think this youngster has some serious potential for her upper level rider. Lourie finished 4th in her first USEA novice. WS Andrea rode our youngster Berke around to a brilliant weekend in his first outing… Huge potential for these two! Kelly Kramer finished on her dressage score in 4th this weekend for a terrific weekend as well.
Congratulations to Nikki Burgio on her Preliminary weekend…. Against the pros, she was the only rider in SJ to jump double clean at Prelim. She finished with the least penalties added to her dressage score of any rider in prelim—added just 0.4 all weekend for 1 second over the clock, also with the fastest XC of the day. She finished in 2nd in Open prelim! That gives her a 1st and 2nd at OP in her last two outings… WELL DONE!
Thanks to all the terrific crew this weekend… And thanks to the volunteers and organization who did such a great job. It was a great weekend!