Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cole and Eli

So 2011 has found me adding two more horses to the string. Tag was sold, but came back which was a bit odd, but he is leased to what I hope will be his permanent future home. Finn is still for sale, but I have faith that he will sell eventually. Meanwhile, for myself, I bought Coleraine, aka Cole. He is a mostly TB (or maybe all TB, but no papers or pedigree history available), 15.2 plain brown wrapper of a horse, but he has been a star (see the previous post about his run at Fair Hill). Right now, he is on stall rest, the result of a splint. This is not the end of the world. Splints happen, most heal, and on you go. Of course, I am sure that it happened because, after our run at Fair Hill, I started planning a show season. Just courting trouble, so stay tuned for more Cole news after a few weeks.

Meanwhile, Eli arrived last week. I was a little bit worried the first couple of days when reports from Caitlin were that he was both very cute and quite naughty, but he has been settling well, getting a bit better each day and yesterday went off on the "baby pack" hack during which Caitlin reported he was happy to be in the front or in the back, jumped a 3 railer and a couple of big coops and crossed streams. Her conclusion, "Eli loves cross country!" So now, I get to eagerly await the possibility of his show season, but refuse to make any plans just to be on the safe side.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In which I compete again for the first time in a long time

Cole and I went to the starter event at Fair Hill on Saturday. It is the first time I have been at an event or jumped an entire cross country course since March of 2010. It is the first time I have done so on a horse of my own since August of 2008 (on Keebler). So I was pretty rusty. Decided to go BN despite Cole having been xc schooling a grand total of once. Off he went into the trailer with Ben and off we went to Fair Hill. Steph was psyched to see that if you go my way, there is a Starbucks en route. When we arrived, Ben got off the trailer and tacked up. Cole was a little unhappy, but not too bad and fine once I pulled him off and let him graze. We headed over to the dressage rings, where he was only interested in grazing and then back, where I was able to tack him up on my own, no worries, no drama. We headed off to the dressage arenas again, where he warmed up as if he went to shows every week and then put in a lovely test (except for the slightly slow canter departs). The judge had nice things to say as we left the arena. I took a few minutes and walked him partway up the path to the xc to let him put his feet in the water. It took a bit of convincing, not too bad and we walked back and forth a few times, but he is definitely not auto about the water yet (xc schooling one time). I zoomed up and walked my sj and xc courses (thanks to the husband of a fellow competitor who ended up giving me rides up and down Saw Mill road in his lovely Mini Cooper). Cole was a bit unhappy about being by himself when I got back (Ben was already off jumping), but again settled once I was there. Tacked up again and headed off to jump. Crossed the little creek on the way up again, definitely braver this time (but there was also a horse a little way in front of us). Warmed up quietly and then headed into the show jumping. One rail due to almost falling down around a corner, but very willing and no issues, so off to xc. Headed out boldly and in great balance. Jumped the scary ditch at #4 with a pop and a twist (I was very glad for my new and nicely sticky Wise-Air saddle). Stopped at fence #7 (I was probably thinking too hard about my strategy for the water and not riding as he had been so good to this point). Turned and popped over no worries. Took him through the water backward first and it was a bit of a battle to get him in. He was very good when I turned him around and sent him through forwards. Another stop at fence #12 (rampy thing with straw stuck in it). He just seemed very distracted. Finished up very well. Walked quietly back and got cleaned up and back in the trailer with Ben. I went and picked up my dressage test, holy moly a 29.5, smashing my prior best score of 34.3. First time I have ever been in the lead (tied in this case) after dressage. We'll get him out xc schooling a bit more and then I'm going to be having way too much fun with this boy!