Have tropical storm, will event anyway. Thanks to the dedication of the organizers and the kindness of the landowners as well as the incredibly high quality of the land itself, despite over 3 inches of rain on Friday, Plantation Field Horse Trials got underway on Saturday with a one hour delay to allow drying time. Reports were that the footing was excellent. The delay allowed me to ride Keegan before the event without having to be up at o'dark hundred, love the country house that means I am only 15 minutes from the barn. Keegan was great and even modeled his Five Star Tack bridle and breastplate (although it was hard to convince him to put his ears up - thanks for the assistance from Dory the dog)
After riding, I headed over to Plantation (conveniently 5 minutes from Blue Hill Farm), where I was the judge for the stadium jumping which went very well. As always, it is a real pleasure at Plantation, both because of the great courses and getting to see lots of friends and because of the great crew that is always there. Our in-gate steward (Gabby) isn't pictured, but she was super efficient, leading to us having some waiting time between horses, as there were people who had scratched, not trusing the footing. There were no really interesting stories (well, I'm sure there were many I didn't know about), there were lots of cute ponies, one TE, one RF (no injuries), and quite a few rails, especially at preliminary and training.
At the end of the judging day, I headed off and walked the training level course, which looked great. The footing was near perfect and the course was very inviting, although the ditch at the half coffin was looking pretty big. Arrive home at 6:35, quick shower and change and a short drive to dinner with colleagues at 7:00 (yes - we were on time - I'm very practiced at the really quick shower and change drill).
Sunday, I also didn't have to get up too early and headed straight to Blue Hill Farm (well, straight meaning with a stop at Starbucks - not only is the country house 15 minutes from the barn, the wonderful Kennett Square Starbucks is at the 6 minute mark). We got everything ready to head over, the only glitch being that Solo had a slightly warm leg. Not clear that there was anything major, but of course, he stayed home as we headed off with Keegan and the adorable pony Rue La La (who competed with Rachel Gross in the tack). We arrived a little late, so I grabbed packets and climbed on Keegan (David Ziegler was kind enough to help us on his day off and got Keegan tacked for me while I was getting packets). Keegan was a bit ADD in the dressage warm-up, but the canter transitions were excellent and there was a bit of medium trot (hard to get more than a bit in the hilly grass field at this stage of training). He was very obedient in the arena, but not as forward as ideal, so future plans include riding with a whip and near future plans are a dressage show at Blue Goose tomorrow (better learn those real dressage tests - we'll be doing 1st level 1 and 2).
After dressage, we had a brief break then got back on for jumping. Keegan got little hind studs for the first time as well as the new bit with the fancy Five Star Tack figure-8 bridle. We use this bit for dressage Keegan's dressage bit and so decided on this bit to give us a little bit of extra "pay attention" cross country Trial cross country bit. Because we were going straight from stadium to cross country, we decided to use it in the stadium as well and not do a bridle change. Success!! In the stadium, it seemed to help with the balancing around the corners and Keegan was jumping really well. Interesting, he seemed able to get better shoulder rotation (probably because he was staying a bit more uphill between the fences). The stadium warm-up is on new footing and as it hasn't had a chance to settle yet, we went with the minimum warm up and jumped three fences before heading to the stadium, where he put in a great, clean round. Then off to cross country, which was really just amazingly fantastic. The bit was perfect. It totally eliminated the freight train aspect, but did not seem to bother Keegan at all. He jumped like a superstar. The only glitch was when I brought him parallel to fence 4 rather than perpendicular (oops!), but once I realized where I was actually supposed to be, we circled around and he popped straight over and luckily, with no timing at the starter, there was no penalty for the time it took to figure out the correct line. Everything else was great. He did tiptoe into the water, but then picked up a canter, the half-coffin was no thing as far as he was concerned and I had the best jump I have ever had over the red Weldon's wall jump. Now we just need to work on getting him a little straighter through the combinations and work on my trusting that I can ask him to go forward on landing to make up a little more time, but for this event, we finished on our dressage score and even got a ribbon - our first eventing ribbon.
I hopped off and with David and Tom Geno's (the adorable Rue La La is from his barn) help, we got Keegan back on the trailer and I headed off to play dressage steward. I got to see more friends. Rachel and Rue La La took home the fourth place ribbon. Chris Talley had a super day although we probably are allowed to tease him about missing a jump on the novice course, Molly Kinnamon was out with some more small horses/ponies, Dom and Jimmie Schramm were introducing some TBs to the joys of eventing and, in the big news of the day - while Phillip might have been winning at Bromont, the big Dutton news was that Olivia won at Plantation.
And to complete the grand slam as it were, we can add live-score stalking to the weekend's judging, riding, and volunteering activities as I did follow Bromont through the weekend. There were some tough conditions up there, with probably even more rain than we had here (and it didn't conveniently quit before the event started). Erin Sylvester won the CCI** on Mettraise, while Will Coleman and Phillip Dutton captured the CCI*** and CIC***. Sally was 3rd on Tsunami in the CCI***, putting in an impressive clean cross country round. Kate Chadderton's two OTTBs, Cole and Liberty had great weekends, finishing 11th in the 3-star and 5th in the 2-star. All the results are here Bromont Scores. For many, it was a rough weekend, with the footing and difficult weather leading to several falls and stops. Sally came off of Taz, when he slipped and lost his footing, but she said he was jumping brilliantly to that point. Ian Roberts also came off and ended up in hospital, missing Waylon's win in the CCI* on Yarrow. Healing thoughts to Ian for a speedy and complete recovery.
The Phillies lost horribly to the Brewers and the Heat wrapped up the weekend by winning to move the series to a 1-1 tie.