Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sat Millbrook - the Ups and Downs of Horses

The day started with Tribute's SJ. A little background, Tribute is one of the most exciting and talented horses I've ever had the opportunity to ride. He's 5 yrs old and didn't start eventing until this spring. He's going to be excellent in the future, but needs to grow into his 17.2 hand frame and figure out exactly where his legs are at all times!

Following last week at HITS and a few lessons with Anne Kursinski, I was feeling much better than events in the past heading into show jumping. A clean round is still a tall order, but I had a much better plan heading into the ring. Luckily, he had a great dressage test on Thursday, a clean round was not necessary to secure the win. We were up by 10 pts. He jumped very well, rubbed a few rails with only one falling. So with that we won by nearly 6 points. Pretty damn good way to start the day.

Running Order was next out. This was his last run before Blenheim. It was a fair but difficult advanced. There were a few tough combinations on the course. The one most concerning to me was the water. It was a one stride in then it walked 3.5 strides to a corner then 3 or 4 more out over a vertical. Drawing on past experiences at Pine Top this spring which had a very similar question, my first instinct was to go for the forward distance in the water. He has a huge stride, and can cover the distance without much trouble. In hindsight I should have stuck with it, and I'm kicking myself for not doing so today. After speaking with a number of riders, the prevailing opinion was to stick with the 4.

He started the course off well, a bit green at the first combination, but was jumping great! I got the exact distance and pace I planned for jumping into the water. He landed well, and upon photo examination, I was taking back starting the second stride until the corner as planned, but I got there in 3.5 strides. I can't tell you how frustrating it is, I should ride the horse I have and just keep my leg on. Without doubt he should be more adjustable, and will be in the future, but regardless I have to get to the jump with my leg on without pulling. Next time I'm going with my gut!! He finished up the course very well, and no worse for the wear other than my frustration. Experience is what you need just after you needed it...

Charm and Leo were next up in the novice show jumping. Just before hopping on Charm, I ran out to watch Jess' XC round. Trevor jumped around like a rock star, he's a great horse to watch. Not much phases him, and Jess does a great job staying out of his way.

Charm warmed up well for SJ and did not disappoint in the ring. He jumped clean to finish 2nd. This was very impressive following last weeks win being that he hadn't been at an event in a year and just showed up at the barn from Cindy Strate's Vt farm 2 weeks ago.

Leo, owned by Kristin Michaloski, was last to go today. He had one rail, but overall jumped great. I couldn't be happier with him, he's going to be something special in the future. He finished up in 7th.

Tomorrow is RO's SJ, I'm looking forward to putting together what I learned last week at HITS.

Back again soon,

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