Monday, March 12, 2012

winning ribbons, losing shoes

Hard to believe there are only 2 more Ashmore weekends left. Already thinking about what happens back in PA and how to get Keegan home to Blue Hill, but meanwhile, this past weekend was great. In addition to the riding, I fit in running, the Bar Method in Winter Park, group kick and yoga at RDV. The riding was great. I had a super lesson on Keegan, who seemed not to have forgotten anything in his 16 days of shoeless no riding. I also rode Finn a bit and Hilda shot more video. Someone really needs to buy this guy. Saturday, we headed off to Rocking Horse for the schooling show. The plan was to see where we are on the journey toward training level, doing the Training Level A dressage test and both the 2'11 and the 3'3 show jumping. He was quiet and attentive as we warmed up for dressage and we headed into the ring feeling pretty good about things (despite the recognition that we don't have lengthenings yet and the test calls for 3). Two moves in and the whistle blows... WTF?! I'm sure I'm doing the right test. And I was, the judge had the wrong test in front of her due to a little ride order randomness ala schooling show. So, we started over, all went reasonably well (though there were no lengthenings in either trot and the canter transition was a little logey). And then the whistle blew again. This time because I had forgotten the canter lengthening, so we picked up, got the tiniest bit of lengthening, but then no downward transition. Quite a good halt. We ended up with a 44, so not bad, but not quite ready for prime time. It did get us a little schooling show 3rd place ribbon (out of 5 horses). Onward to the jumping. He totally rocked the 2'11. We ended up winning that one. I thought there were 14 horses, but 3 were riding HC (why do you ride HC in a schooling show were there don't seem to be any rules about who can be in the division)? Anyway, it was super easy and he was super good. We watched a a bit of Annalise's dressage test, though they had a couple issues. You can see the test here:

I headed back over to warm up for the 3'3. Considered not warming up, but thought I would just jump one vertical and one oxer. On take off to the vertical, Keegan threw his shoe and that was the end of our day. Oh, well. Mark is coming out today to put the shoe back on. Todd is going to have fits when Keegan gets home. Despite supplement, Keratex, etc, his feet just aren't that good at this point.

Saturday night, I had dinner with Jeff, Bonnie and Annalise at Mitchell's Fish Market in Winter Park. Quite yummy. They did the key lime pie with a macademia nut crust, which might be an innovation worth adopting. Dinner was fairly late and then the time changed, so I had a later than usual start Sunday morning, waking up shortly after 7 to rain, lots of rain. It was a good chance to do a bunch of work. I headed to the barn mid-day as the rain was tapering off. Tried the Barnsby NGage on Keegan. It was a bit narrow for him and for me, the seat felt a bit too deep, although I liked where the block put my leg, so back to the drawing board on the saddle front. There are a few I am considering, pretty much all British made. I'm still waiting for the aaaaahhhhh moment I got from my Wise-Air jumping saddle to appear in conjunction with a dressage saddle. Dinner Sunday night went even later. It was at the house with Hilda and Annalise. Hilda made yummy homemade salsa with heirloom tomatoes and also did scallops and Annalise made from scratch Minestrone soup that was really good. It did make the 3:20 alarm clock seem really, really early. More like night. My rule of thumb is that before 4:30 is night, so add in the DST thing and it was pretty much the middle of the night, but got up and off to the airport. Enjoyed last nights light after 7 pm much more than this mornings dark after 7 am, but it certainly feels like spring is coming.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rain, Ribbon, Hot, Cold and Gin & Tonic

Rocking Horse Winter 3. Keegan looked essentially sound, but somehow, putting his shoe on Friday, then taking him to his 3rd event on Saturday didn't seem like that good an idea, so Hilda was kind enough to lend Godsend to me. Godsend is a lovely OTTB. He's done a couple of CCI** with Hilda and has been a hunter champion with a kid. He is a super jumper, but thinks dressage is a waste of his time and talent (although he is a lovely mover). We did a jumping lesson and a dressage lesson and both went very well. Luckily, my tack fits him well for the jumping part of the program and Hilda loaned me her Stubben for dressage. It is a nice saddle, but is not in the running for my dressage saddle shopping marathon. So far that has involved trying a dozen saddles in tack stalls and shops and test riding 4, with no keeper yet. I've currently got a Barnsby N Gage on trial and will try it next weekend, once Keegan is back in action. So as promised in the title -

Ribbon: We did all three phases on Saturday, finishing on our dressage score of 33 (my best dressage score in a recognized event ever and coming from Bill Woods, even more satisfying). Our SJ round was clear and, according to Brian Ross, who was both judging and announcing, exactly on the optimum time. Cross country was a complete blast and we finished 2 seconds under optimum time, thus ending on the 33, good enough for 6th place.

Rain: There was rain in the forecast, but apparently, we were in Camelot as it ended up only raining at night. The high winds did some damage, including taking apart one of the temporarily stabling roofs at Rocking Horse and knocking over a couple of porta-johns, but we all stayed dry.

Hot: Saturday was hot. They waived coats by 9 in the morning. I didn't wear mine, though many folks did. There was a stiff breeze that made it bearable, but the temperature got up close to 90 degrees.

Cold: The rain was accompanied by a cold front and the temperature plunged over night. Since I only evented on Saturday, I spent Sunday hanging out in control with Cindy. We had a tent with sides to keep the wind out, no rain, and eventually sunshine, but pre-sunshine, I was decked out with hat, gloves, fleece, vest and toe-warmers. A huge change from Saturday. Getting to watch the cross country was great fun. Even better since being in control, we got to hear how the parts we couldn't see were going. I don't think I've ever seen so few clear rounds cross-country. There were a lot of falls (although none resulting in serious injury), vast numbers of refusals, a lot of BN horses that appeared never to have seen water before and some really cute horses. Weekend shout outs to Justine Dutton, who won the intermediate, Madison Llloyd, who had a great intermediate run; Morgan McCue who was first and second in her two Training Rider Divisions, Gabby Ledger who looked great on Super Frank, finishing 4th; Hilda and Sally as Shaquille was impressive (and unimpressed) in his Preliminary debut; Anna Kjellstrom who was there with a string of great looking horses; Leyna Merrill and the ever adorable Mr. Binx, looking very grown up on the xc; Chris Grant, whose lovely youngster won his division on the very impressive dressage score of 26.5; Chris Cox, who won on the wonderful Slim Jim, one that I was lucky enough to ride 2 years ago - great to see him with someone who is enjoying this really super horse. As always, a huge shout out to the organizers, course builders and especially the volunteers for coping with the hot, the cold, and the rain so that we can be out there competing.

Gin & Tonic: No - not the drink, though it would have been a good choice on Saturday. Rather, a lovely young horse that I bought on Friday and that Caitlin Milford will be riding as she completes her stint as a working student with Debi Crowley I'm hoping she will have a good time with him - and maybe he'll join me in Florida next winter, but that is getting way too far ahead of myself.