Sunday, October 2, 2011

I think I might finally be dry and warm...

Morven Park did not make it easy this past weekend... Certainly not to the degree Fair Hill a few years back, but cold and wet none the less.

We had Jess' horse Trevor and Running Order along with us at Morven. It served as both of their last advanced outings prior to Fair Hill. Running Order was a definite go, but Trevor's ticket to Fair Hill was dependent on his results from this past weekend.

Trevor returned with us following the AEC's. Jess, my girlfriend for those out of the loop :), is at Auburn getting her final prerequisites out of the way for her admission to pharmacy school. Physics, Bio-Chem and Organic II has made riding on a consistent basis very difficult. I was elected to be the lucky one to continue for the fall with Trevor. The plan was to see how things went this weekend, and if all was good then continue on to Fair Hill CCI***.

Not often do you get a chance to ride such a great little horse. Little (~15.3) being the operative word here. He's just about 1.5-2 hands smaller than all of my other horses going at the moment. It's funny what 6-8 inches will do to your perspective. The other day I was jumping, and thought to myself. "hmmm that was a big jump." Then I walked over to the standard and realized it was only 3'3", not so much... Jess has done a great job with him, guiding him through the ranks, at this point he's been around Rolex twice. He can jump just about anything, so I found myself thinking. I've got to jump 8 more inches on XC and 10 more in SJ! All you can do is jack the jumps up, and see how it goes. It goes well.

Leading up to the event I'd been riding him for 2 weeks. I squeezed 3 jump schools in, one of which was over a little XC. Nothing quite gets you ready for the real deal until you arrive. Conveniently, Running Order drew a lower number placing him first in the order for my two. His dressage had some very good moments, he was not quite as ridable as at the AEC's but good for him none the less scoring a 31.

Trevor finished up also with a solid test, he's a bit stiffer on the right and following the walk I didn't quite have him in the right canter. Unfortunately, our first change was marred as a result, but he finished up well with a 36.

The sequence at Morven placed dressage on Friday, SJ on Saturday and XC on Sunday. The rain was not a concern on Friday being that we rode in the indoor, Saturday was a different story. The rain came down harder by the minute. It was a balmy 48 degrees when we rode. The ring was soaked, and warm-up a bit treacherous. Running Order jumped well, the first few riders had some time penalties. I shaved a corner tighter than I should have risking a rail at the first of the 1 stride. Unfortunately, I got it! The rest of the course rode and jumped great.

Trevor was next up, again I want to reiterate, he's tiny! AKA the course looked huge as we traveled around it. He jumped like a rock star. Finishing with a clean round. The video is posted on the previous blog post, found here.

The rain continued to fall all day. That afternoon we headed out to check the conditions of the XC course. As expected there were some wet spots, but to out amazement most of it looked great! The hope was of course that the rain would stop over night. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. We woke up in the am to the sound of raindrops.

We got to the barn and fed, the headed directly out to the course. Again it looked to be taking the rain without much trouble. A bunch of us were out inspecting the course and discussing the modifications. We ended up laughing about how if this was England there would be no discussion of the conditions. We'd all be running. A number of people withdrew before XC, Jess and I decided to go for it and if for whatever reason it wasn't going well or the conditions deteriorated I'd pull up mid course. That was not necessary in the end, both horses jumped out of the muck without trouble. I think Running Order enjoys the conditions, like his old racing days in Ireland I'm sure.

As for the course itself, it was a good test as Morven often is...John at Eventing Nation did a great preview of the leaf pit, one of the mainstays at Morven, his valiant efforts still don't do it justice.

Running Order was first out. As I said before, he enjoys the rain. Overall he was excellent, I took his bravery for granted at the leaf pit though. As I've done with all of the drops I've jumped in his past, I figured I'd jump the log and give him his head and neck to see the landing and ease off into the pit. Bad idea, got right up to the log and he's thought better of it! Annoyingly I was forced to circle around and jump the complex again, this time without trouble. Again chalk it up to experience, you're not going to improve standing on the sidelines. Although frustrating at times, the more time in the saddle the better off I'll be in the future. There was a lot to like about the rest of the course, we'll be ready at Fair Hill!

The great thing was I was able to get right on Trevor and jump the entire course again. This time things appeared a bit bigger, but that little horse has rockets in his hind legs. He jumped great around the course. We're officially set for FHI in 2 weeks.

If you missed it Trevor's XC was posted on EN along with most of the other Advanced rides of the day. Click here for the bounce and here for the water. 

Intentionally I went slow with both horses, they finished up looking great and in 5th (Trev) and 7th (RO).

So what's next. We have Princeton Show Jumping this week for Larry and a few others, Radnor HT on Saturday and I'm teaching an XC clinic on Sunday to benefit the Somerset Handicapped Riders at Red Tail farm in Bedminster, NJ. (Info is found here for those interested: or email

I think I'm officially off to bed!

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