Monday, September 12, 2011

The last of the long road trips is over for this year!!

Bacon and Mom on our road trip...

My Mom, Bacon and I returned home last night around 10 pm following another long of a day on the road. I woke up at 3:30 hoping to get to the barn by 4 and leave by 5. That didn't quite happen. Going back a week or so Buck Davidson had asked if I'd drive his rig down from Pa. It's not too far out of the way and he'd cover the diesel. He was returning from the UK and flying directly down to the AEC's. Buck's rig is a bit more than your normal truck and trailer, it's obnoxiously long. I paced it off to just a hair under 100' from nose to tail.

Yes it was too long to capture the entire thing in the frame...

It's a Freightliner tractor and an Eby trailer. To say you need to make wide turns is an understatement. I have to say once on the highway, it's exceptionally comfortable. You're basically sitting on your couch and driving this mammoth beast down the road. It's shocking how you really don't get tired driving it, a very good thing when it took 16 hrs to get down and 14 hr back.

So back to leaving, we had to reconfigure the trailer. We had 5 with us going down and 7 coming back. The whole process of reconfiguring and packing for the 7 just seemed to take forever. We didn't pull out of the event until about 6. Then off to pick up my mom on the way to the highway. Sounds simple enough, gps routes you to the exit, Mom will be waiting coffee in hand and we're off. Well if we were 65' shorter it would have been a much faster process. I pulled out, and within the first few mins went to turn on a road that would cut straight to our rendezvous point, the sign read, "35' max trailer length." I'm usually one to say bring it on...not this time. Being more than twice their max seemed like a bad idea. We had to back out on to the main road and on we went for a bigger byway. Finally made it, Mom hopped in and we're off. The great part is that we only had to stop twice for fuel, might have actually got away with once, but didn't think trying to cram into a normal size gas station was a good idea.

Once at Bucks, I pulled my truck up which now felt like a mini cooper, loaded my 3 up and off we went. For those paying attention I did say 3. Running Order, Tribute and Trevor. Trevor is making the trip back with us following the AEC's to allow my girl friend, Jess, time enough to concentrate on school. I don't envy her course load this semester, organic 2, bio chem and physics, but am very proud of her for going back. She's working on going to pharmacy school next year and was missing a few pre rec's required.

Once all loaded up we made the hr long trip back to my place and finally off to bed!

So as for the weekend. Dressage was covered here. XC was great for both horses. I don't want to jinx myself, but I think I've got it. Running Order was completely on. We had a few striding options throughout the course, and we were able do do the short and the long options. The water was riding in 4 all day for people, but quite short. There was a direct 3 stride option, where you jumped a jump in the middle of the water and straight to the corner in the water. I thought this would be a better for us. I got a great jump in and it rode great. Later in the course there was a large drop to two skinny chevrons. This was again riding in a very tight 4 for most, although Jess did it in 3. I jumped down and waited for the 4 and it again rode very well. Thanks to John at EN I have a short video clip of it here. Running Order finished up clear and under the time. I did have the helmet cam on, it's uploading as we speak and will be posted soon.

Tribute was the best he's been by a long shot on XC. He's only 5 and jumped around the very technical course as if it were a walk in the park. It was not the biggest, but the hardest training course I'd ever seen. He was more responsive and lackadaisical than he's ever been in the past about anything presented to him. He's going to be one spectacular horse in the future! Speaking of training, my Mom also had a great ride on her horse known around the barn as the princess. Jumped a double clear where time can be an issue for this pair, Mom found the petal on the right and was looking great.

Show jumping was up on Saturday. Running Order was first up, actually Trevor was...Jess had a very nice round, just one rail to finish off her weekend. Trev was jumping great. Running Order was up next, the course went well. We had one hell of a spook at the triple bar where I ended up in the back seat, but all was good and finished up with a clear round and 1 time penalty which didn't effect our placing. I was in 5th going into SJ and with a few issues ahead of us we finished up 3rd! It was a great weekend for him, and I have to say what a relief! I think we're back on and going to take over here soon enough. Or at least we'll give it our best shot. I forgot to mention looking at the dressage test on the way home, the two uncharacteristic late changes were both x2! He's usually good for a 7 or 8 we got 4's leaving 12 raw pts on the table!! Next time...

Tribute was next up, and to say it was an epic clean round was an understatement. I often say it's better to be lucky than good. I was very, very lucky. He is a phenomenal athlete, just still figuring out where his legs are being that he's a 17.3hh 5 yr old. I think he was a bit tired from the day before, but long story short there were very few jumps in warm up that remained in the cups. Some how, some way they all stayed up in the ring securing our 3rd place finish.

Yellow is a good color...

My Mom finished up 8th in the same division, and my sister finished up 4th in the prelim..

I want to thank everyone at the USEA, Land Rover, Bit of Britain and all of the other sponsors which made this championships possible. Carl Bouckaert deserves a special thanks, for all of his incredible facility, perfect conditions (although I'm not sure he controls the weather, but it was perfect) and support of our sport. Without people like him, the sport would not be what it is today. 

Next up is Flora Lea in a week or so and the big guys are back out for Morven in 2 then on to Fair Hill 3*!

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