Another competition weekend in the south, which as a change was southernly in the temperature department, a lovely warm sunny weekend. Thursday, I arrived at Ashmore after an early morning flight (though not as early as I had thought, so I got to spend an extra 35 minutes in the airport - note to self: read the boarding pass upon printing it out). Drove up to Rocking Horse with Andre and two horses behind the coach, then back down in the 4 horse trailer with Chris Bradley. Chris took the last two of the 9 Ashmore horses up to Rocking Horse, which I waited for Dr. Scott Langton to take a look at Finn's stifles. A little lunging and blocking and diagnostic x-rays later and the verdict was Finn could continue in work. Apparently, all is good as there has been no stifle stiffness the past several days. There has been a plan for a career change. Finn has made it pretty clear to us that he would much rather do the hunter/jumpers than eventing. He quite prefers the pretty colored poles. So if you know anyone looking for a super cute, almost unbelievably quiet 5 year old, bay TB gelding, you now know where to find one www.ashmoreequestriancenter.com.
So Finn did not come to Rocking Horse this weekend. Instead, I rode Isabelle at Novice and another sale horse, Slim Jim at Beginner Novice. Now Slim Jim has done a few preliminary level events, so beginner novice a piece of cake. The only interesting aspect was laying eyes on him for the first time on Friday and then riding down center line approximately 24 hours later after one ride. Friday evening, Andre made wonderful salmon pasta for us at the coach. Stadium Saturday afternoon after popping him over 7 fences in the warmup. Both practically perfect. He did offer a somewhat enthusiastic canter lengthening in the dressage arena - the downside of beginner novice on the preliminary horse, but we scored 36.2 not too bad for my having no idea how to ride him. Presumably after the slightly lazy Ms Bella, I was a tad too enthusiastic about that canter cue. A nice dressage test with a decent score under the always tough Bill Woods for Isabella in the morning and then a spot perfect stadium round in the afternoon. Isabelle needs to do the jumpers. She is so scopey and easy in the Stadium.
This thought was enthusiastically supported by Isabelle on Sunday. Sunday morning, we left the start box quite nicely, no bucking and locked on to fence number 1. Fence two went similarly well, but at random points throughout the rest of the course (none associated with any jumping efforts), Isabelle announced that she would rather go back to the sand box and jump the pretty colored jumps as she slid to a stop and stood in the middle of the field. I felt rather silly having a time getting her going again, but all the jumping was brilliant. The only problem - that 1 minute and 54 seconds spent at a stand still tacked on to optimum time, oops. Slim Jim had no such issues. Not only was he a superstar, he was a polite and gentlemanly superstar. He asked once or twice if we were going to go faster and jump the real jumps, but was totally polite when my response was, "no, not today" If you are looking for an adorable, cuddly, well behaved, scopey, easy, super event packer, buy this horse!! http://www.ashmoreequestriancenter.com/SlimJim.php Or if you aren't looking, but need to get rid of some cash, feel free to buy him for me :)
Hilda had a very busy weekend, riding 5 horses. Extravagance won the preliminary dressage with a score of 29.6, looking brilliant both in his dressage performance and his glowing overall condition. Extravagance and Vinny finished 7th and 8th in their preliminary division. Godsend had a good go, although Hilda made a wrong turn before fence 17, resulting in a few time penalties. It is easier than it seems take a wrong turn at Rocking Horse. I went through the wrong path to fence 9 on the beginner novice. Luckily, it just involved a somewhat short approach not retracing any steps and Slim Jim didn't mind at all. Shenandoah had a good outing in tough company and Cracker actually managed to lose Hilda having a pony spook at an equipment cart out in the field. Our other BN riders also parted company with their mounts, again due to spooking, not fences, but no harm done. Eddie's Point Two Air Jacket inflated on his fall and we are all thinking that these may be a good thing if you can't guarantee staying in the saddle, which no one can. Buck Davidson had a fall and commented that he didn't think he would have been riding his remaining horses were it not for his Point Two.
After finishing up at Rocking Horse, we headed back to Ashmore and I had lessons on Finn (who was very, very good), Sioux who was a lot of fun, and Godsend who made it very clear when I was riding properly and when I was not. All three are great jumpers, though possibly cover the entire spectrum of jumping and riding style, so it was great for me to ride them all. Finished the evening back at the Cheesecake Factory, which has become this year's hangout.
Meanwhile, in Aiken, the Cairn O'Mount gang was competing at Paradise. Lesley and Hannah each finished fourth and Morgan and Merlin snagged another blue to add to their collection. Aiken seemed to have warmed up a bit as well.
The season feels like it is going fast. Hilda will head up to Pine Top next weekend where Susie also will be running, so I'll have to keep an eye on the scores in addition to hitting the Derby at Rocking Horse.