Sunday, April 24, 2011

Running Order wins the FHI Advanced!

I love this photo which showed up on Jessica Halliday's facebook today. It was taken yesterday during XC of Running Order...what an awesome horse!

Today was quite the contrast to yesterday. The sun broke through the clouds and it actually warmed up! The mud began to dry, not to say that it wasn't still omnipresent.

Simon was first out of the barn. The CIC jogs started at 8 am. Simon was excited as usual about life. Of all the horses we have at the moment he might have the best life, never a dull moment and always happy, nearly gitty. We were able to get the shoe tightened on last night and it seemed to do the trick. He looked great!

We then went straight to the advanced show jumping. As mentioned last night RO was heading into SJ in the lead but without a rail in hand. We had a rail to 4th, so not much room to spare. I was able to watch a bunch round before I had to get on to start to warming up. There were a few fences causing a majority of the problems. RO is quite spooky so I made a point to give him the tour around the ring prior to starting.

He warmed up great and I headed down to the ring to watch 2nd and 3rd places go. Not that you wish bad on them, but it's always comforting to have a rail in hand. This ended up not being the case. Jennie who was in 2nd jumped a great clear to put the pressure on. RO jumped well in the ring. I had a lucky rub at the skinny, but better lucky then good :). He finished clear without time and won the division! After studying the video there are still a few aspects that need to be improved, but overall I was very happy. This was his 2nd advanced win, and a great set up for Jersey CCI*** in 3 weeks.

Click play to see RO's winning round!

Simon was next in the Show Jumping. Entered Sunday in 11th place. I was very happy with him yesterday and expected a typically valiant effort on his part. He was delivering just that, in warm-up. What I didn't expect was a missing shoe! Sure enough that RF that made it through all of the mud and galloping yesterday didn't make it through the warm-up. Losing the shoe set off a frantic search for the farrier to get it tacked back on before the division finished. We made it just in time. He jumped very very well finishing without adding anything to his overnight total. He moved up a remarkable 5 spots to 6th! I couldn't be happier for him. He's such a genuine horse. FHI also has finished off his qualifications for Jersey CCI**. So you'll be seeing him in a few weeks time at Jersey!

Next up was Socks, back out on XC. I was able to get out to walk the course, and as you'd expect the mud didn't disappear as quickly as the sun had arrived. It was still heavy going, but the crew had done a great job to try to keep the upper hand by adding gravel on the take off and landings of most jumps. Socks warmed up very well and continued that trend out on course. This is his third training and he really seems to be catching on quickly! He jumped around clean and finished in 5th place. His efforts have earned him the second video of the night:

We finished off the day with Beau's SJ. He jumped very well also finishing with a clean round inside the time. He moved up to 4th. Not a bad finish to say the least!

Overall it was a great weekend bar the mud. I'm off to Kentucky on Wednesday for a busy week at Rolex. Keep in's going to be exciting!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Simon's evening XC report

Simon gets the title today being that I'm typing away while waiting for the farrier to reset a shoe of his that has twisted a bit. He's a princess and couldn't possibility have anything that isn't just so. Long story short, he deserves to be one tonight. I did go a slow being that the ground was quite soft, and its not worth hurting him for today. He's got a very bright future ahead of him.

Describing the going as wet is an understatement. It was rather like galloping through a swamp earlier in the morning for RO. More on that later. Simon jumped around his first ** like he'd seen countless ones before. Pretty exciting being that this is effectively his 3rd intermediate. He moved up one spot to 10th.

Back to Running Order. Shipping over to the advanced side is a surreal process. Your half expecting the trade fair, dog agility, all the roping and signage present in the fall. Of course none of it is there. The weather was much like fall of '08 at his first 2* but a touch warmer and less rain. What was the same was the mud. It was quite deep. I didn't press him for time. It's always a challenge to find good ground in the galloping lanes as well as take off and landings on days like this. He jumped very well and finished up winning the division.

Socks started the day with his dressage. He was quite good especially considering that the best footing for warm-up was actually the dirt road heading back to the barns. He got a 28 and was in 3rd. This was his best score to date. He also finished up the day with show jumping. He managed to jump very well, but did have one rail. Unfortunately falling down to 5th. Still pretty damn good for his third training.

Beau finished up the day with his cross country. He was wild in warm-up. Started off the course very strong. He managed to jump well but the footing did take its toll. He was quite tired by the end. He finished up in 7th.

Jogs and show jumping tomorrow except for socks who is over at XC.

Until then...


Friday, April 22, 2011

Fair Hill Dressage Day Recap

We got lucky here today. Unlike Plantation the rain held off until after the day was finished. All of the horses were quite good but fresh. Couldn't blame them being that is was in the high 40's all day. Running Order started the day off. His trot work was not his best but was quite good in the canter. Changes were better than they've been in the past. He finished up in 4th.

We fit Socks in before Simon. He doesn't start until tomorrow. I tried a new warmup plan with  Simon who is historically quite hot. I was on an hour before our test. He was great...will be even better next time. We'll go for 1:15 next time. He finished up with a 57. I'm not sure what place he's in, but its a huge step in the right direction.

Beau was last to go. He was very good today. He had his best score to date sitting on a 30. Also not sure what place but its got to be pretty close to the lead.

We finished up the day walking the courses for tomorrow. The Advanced looks like a good last run before Jersey 3*. The 2* for Simon will be a good test but I think he's plenty ready.

The other courses looked good from afar. I'll walk them close tomorrow.

We start tomorrow with the advanced then 2*...on to prelim, training dressage and show jumping.

The photo caption reads something along the lines of.."the sparrows were terrified when Bacon hit his top gear in pursuit...he's now resting on laurels." Unfortunately I think the sparrows won. Nolan is simply resting as she does.


Doug Payne
PO Box 179
Pottersville, NJ 07979

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finally Extracted from the Plantation Mud!

We were finally pulled out of Plantation Field this morning after the cold monsoon that was yesterday. The Ground Jury along with Organizers decided this morning that they couldn't get the emergency vehicles around XC, thus making it impossible to run the competition.

It was disappointing especially considering how well the horses did yesterday despite the blowing wind, rain and 1' of mud in the rings! Socks (aka Rivertown Lad owned by Wendy Luce) was winning his training division after dressage and SJ by nearly 5 points on a 25. The Prodigy (aka Royal Tribute owned by myself and Kristen Burgers) was winning his novice division on a 22 after dressage, and PJ (Absolute Faith owned by Jill Fisher) was in 4th. Such is life...

Fair Hill is coming up next week. I gave Mary a call and got Socks in for training. Running Order will be in the Advanced, Simon in the CIC** and Beau will be in the prelim.

In the meantime we're trying to dry out and remove the plantation mud from everything that came with us to the event.

Erin contemplating our muddy exit

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fork recap...

The Fork HT finished up very well. Simon was first up...he jumped very well. He did have one rail down but finished up 6th. Pretty damn good for his 2nd OI!

Beau's XC was next to go. He was very bold almost too much. We had a close call in the 2nd water. He jumped well out into the pond and stumbled on landing. I was immediately covered in a wave of water. We recovered well and finished up inside of the time. He finished up in 9th. It was a good finish for the weekend.

Tom was up for his SJ next. He jumped a very good round and remarkably won his division! Pretty awesome for his first intermediate!!

Running Order was last to go. He had one awkward jump at the first. I still can't figure out why but he did manage to clobber it. He jumped the rest of the round very well. He finished up in 8th. Very exciting especially considering it was out of 50+ starters.

Plantation is next up this coming weekend for the babies and then Fair Hill CIC the following weekend for the big guys.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Fork XC report...

The weather had changed for the better overnight. It was ideal XC conditions. Mid 60's and overcast. First to go in the am was Beau. He actually had show jumping today, his XC is tomorrow. He jumped very well having a clean round on a course that caused a bunch of problems for a lot of horses.

Simon was first up on XC in the intermediate. He's still quite green, so I wasn't sure how he'd handle all that was asked of him. He was more than up to the task. He jumped around very well and was only 2 seconds slow. This moved him all the way up to 6th!

Tom was up next. He started out very very well making easy work of the early combinations. I did just about get away with murder at the second water. He is a spooky horse, and still quite green. Certainly didn't expect him to look as hard as he did going in to the pond. We had to jump a turtle about a stride into a water. He didn't want to get his feet wet, drifted hard left and we were then forced to jump it from what I figured was a nearly unjumpable angle. We managed to jump the turtles head and took the flag down. All was good and he finished up the rest of the course very well. We were just a few seconds slow and moved up to 2nd!

RO was last out. He was excellent throughout the course. We had one sticky jump into the water, but no harm no foul. He's a work in progress, but a very rewarding one at that. I did have the camera on again today so we should have a video up sometime Monday.

SJ tomorrow for all but Beau who will be out on XC.


Friday, April 8, 2011

The Fork Dressage Days...

As always Jim and Bernadette as well as the rest of the countless Fork staff put on a top notch event. If you've never attended its a must for 2012!

Dressage went well for us over the past few days. Thursday was Simon and Beau's day to shine. This is Simon's second intermediate. Due to his bruised foot we were unable to do much at all for prep for the weekend. I was able to ride him Monday for the first time since before Southern Pines 2 weeks ago. Regardless he but in a test 6 pts better than Red Hills and 4 better than Pine Top. So were heading in the right direction.

I was a bit disappointed in Beau's test. He has a tongue fetish. We've been leaving the flash loose in warm-up then tightening it just before entering the ring. This has been working great, but I think I was late with it yesterday. He was unsteady and just a bit fussy throughout.

Tom was first to go today. He put in a characteristically solid performance. He finished up on a 31 in 4th. Not bad for his first go at the intermediate test.

Running Order was last me today.  He's been getting better and better. Mark Phillips has helped me tremendously with him. I did have one inadvertent flying change, but overall it just keeps improving. I'm sure your sick saying it, but he's going to be awesome some day soon!  He's sitting in 8th in the CIC***. A lot can and will change tomorrow.

Conor also had Beaner here today in the Intermediate. He had a very good test finishing on a 28 for the top spot heading into tomorrow.

As for XC...

We were lucky with the rain early in the week. It's made the footing on XC about as close to ideal as possible. Not to overlook the fact that the staff here is looking over the course 24/7/365. All of the courses very well presented. All should be challenging but very doable. Beau should be fine. Both I intermediate boys should have their eyes full, but I don't think overwhelmed. This course suits RO very well. Needless to say I'm very excited for tomorrow.

I've got one more course walk tonight with the Capt at 5 then off to the sponsors and owners party at the Cogdells house. Check the Twitter account for updates throughout the day tomorrow.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Fork Run Up Blog...

We have a bunch going on, but I guess that's the norm...first off we have 9 horses and Erin are leaving for NJ tomorrow. So there has been a bunch of packing, getting health certificates, arranging shipping and of course some more packing. The rest of the crew will be heading home following the Fork.

It always surprises me after our time in Aiken has finished how quickly it all goes by. We've been here since mid-January. We've been to 10 events with 61 starts and 11 wins and we're just starting April. Scary!

Meagan, Conor and I are heading to the Fork on Tuesday. Running Order has training sessions with Mark Phillips on Tues and Wed before competition begins in the CIC***. Along with Skinny, we have Simon (who incidentally is back in good form today following some bruising on in his RF that kept him from competing at Southern Pines, he's a little bit of a fairy :) but we still love him.) and Tom in the Intermediate. It will be Tom's first and Simon's second OI. Beau and Reggie will both be in the Preliminary. Conor will have Beaner in the OI.

So what else is new...

Let's go in chronological order. Tuesday and Wednesday we had training sessions with Katie Prudent. Running Order and Tom made the trip over both days. I always find her lessons very helpful. She's not one to beat around the bush. She's going to call it as she sees it. Both horses were very good. I'm always impressed with RO, but Tom was surprisingly good. Not that he isn't normally, but he does have a tendency to be a bit quick in the air. Making a flatter bascule than you'd ideally like. Katie had some surprisingly simple exercises that seemed to help a bunch. The first day it was just rolling ground rails out in a tight combination, and the second day was a trot in gymnastic that we started the correct direction then cantered back through the opposite way. That configuration is hard for him, being that it's obviously getting tighter as you go. He picked it up quickly and improved a lot.

Friday our trunk from Georgetown Stable Outfitters arrived! It's going to make life on the road significantly easier and about 1000% more organized. We'll be able to arrive, wheel it off and be more or less unpacked!

On Saturday we took Trouble and the Prodigy to the Sporting Days dressage show on Saturday. Trouble was quite good especially being that is was his first public outing. He won his class (we're not going to mention that we were the only ones in it). The Prodigy was excellent, better than he's been to date. You're probably sick of hearing this, but he's going to be one hell of a horse!! Won the Novice combined test. He dressage received a score of 17.4 or 82.6%! His collectives are below:

Today we made a quick trip out to the Gibbes farm for some XC schooling. Tom had yet to see some intermediate questions that might be at the Fork or beyond. He couldn't have been better. We were able to jump the mound to corner, back complexes, skinnies and bounces into water. All he handled as if he'd seen them 1k times before. I also jumped a few horses for Holly, my sister, who still has a stiff knee preventing her from jumping. All from her rotational at the last in the PRO exhibition at Southern Pines. Still might have been the funniest thing I'd seen in a while. I guess riding a stick horse over 18" jumps is more difficult than it sounds! She's got a week before XC at the Fork, she's tough...I'm sure she'll be back in good form.

I'm really looking forward to the Fork. It's about time we get all pistons firing. Not that you don't usually head into an event looking to do your best, but I'm feeling more and more confident in the crew. I can't wait to see how Tom handles the intermediate. Nothing is solidified yet, but there's an outside chance that we're going to give the PanAm's a shot with him now that Tali is on the IR.

Speaking of he's doing great. You wouldn't know anything is wrong based on his walking and general comfort level. Still lasering with our SpectraVet unit. It has done wonders with the swelling and overall comfort level of the Stifle area.

Check back for updates through the week. I'm going to try to get a blog up after each day of competition. I nearly forgot to mention that on Wednesday I'm on a shooting team with Rebecca Howard at the Fork. It's going to be a blast. As I understand it our shooting score will be combined with a team of 'real' shooters and our scores from the ***. The winning team will of course have bragging rights and also a cash prize...Game On!!

Until then...