The day began with one of our beloved working students waking up ill, and needing to be rushed to the ER. (Fortunately she is feeling much better now!) With our other working student in England, this left us in panic! I am riding 4 horses, Andrea is riding 3 horses… EEEK! I can truly say I am so proud of our Team CEO group… When the students arrived to chaos, every single one pitched in relentlessly. Everywhere you looked, someone was braiding/bathing/grooming/tacking someone else’s horse. Let me tell you, the comraderie between this group is like nothing I’ve seen in a group of people before in my life… I absolutely love each and every one of these guys! Long story short, every one of them was incredibly kind, giving, and so helpful. THANK YOU!
Andrea was superhuman today and managed to groom as well as ride three horses. I kept telling her to go away and focus on her, but what can I say? She’s amazing. She rode three young horses to good dressage tests and good jump rounds, and added a total of 4 faults to her dressage score today on the three horses!
But my biggest moment of the day. The XC course at Intermediate was brilliant—big, challenging, galloping, 7 minutes long, difficult but not unfair. A GREAT learning course. I started out on Nemo for the day, and he was amazing. I rode a bit backwards to fence 4 (ditch & wall) and 5 (first water) and he was still good for me. But then we hit our stride and he was PHENOMENAL. He took all the inside lines, all the quick turns, and was incredibly efficient. He came home brilliantly, just 2.4 time penalties. I was thrilled!
Then I came back to ride Hopper as the last horse of the day in a good division. I was heading to the box when Nigel announced the current leaderboard—Nemo was currently in 1st after XC! Too cool. No time to celebrate, as I had a job to do. I wanted to ride bravely forward, gallop, and attack the course. (I’m a very cautious person naturally.) He was BRILLIANT! He attacked the course and improved with each and every fence. I never looked at my watch—just rode every fence the way I needed to ride it, regardless of time penalties, as the time was VERY difficult to make. When I crossed the finish line, I looked at my watch, happy to see I was only 15 seconds over. (I forgot I started my watch at 20 seconds this time). Except then the announcer called out while we were cooling the horses off… “Well, we thought Megan’s last ride was blazing, and it was… She was the only rider to make the time today, and takes the lead to finish 1-2 provisionally!”
I will tattle and say that my dad had to walk away from me right then and there, with tears in his eyes. That made me break into tears. I have had so many doubters in this horse’s carreer… So many people said he would never be an upper level horse. He’s my best friend, my favorite, my baby. I love him, though so many people in my life haven’t even liked him. I’ve loved him since the day I bought him off the killer truck for a few hundred dollars. To date, we’ve won a collection of prelims, but today was his first Intermediate win!!! It meant more to me than I can possibly say. (Of course, I came back to the barn sniffling with tears in my eyes, and I think at first all the students were wondering if I’d had a bad ride! LOL)
So Hopper and Nemo finished 1st and 2nd respectively in the very nice division of Intermediate. Hopper finished on a 39.6 (35.6 dressage, 4/0 SJ, 0/0 XC). He had the lowest finishing score not only in OI, but also every upper level division at KY Classic. I am so proud. I can’t tell you what this means to me, that my darling boy proved them all wrong. I love this horse more than words can say.
And now off to spend a small fortune at the photographers…..
(All photos are of Grasshopper today, courtesy of my fabulous dad, Howard Moore.)