Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Southern Pines, Podcast #13 and more...

Socks aka Rivertown Lad owned by Fred and Wendy Luce on his way to a 4th Place in Prelim
Southern Pines went just about as well as anyone could want. All 5 of our horses finished in the top 6 of their divisions. They are just about fit enough for me to be comfortable running for time on XC so watch out at the Fork in 2 weeks!

The 13th podcast is live with much more detail here:

For those who haven't yet downloaded instacast or other Podcast downloader for their iPhone or Droid it's a must, all of the new episodes will instantly be available on your phone as they become live!

We're heading down to Atlanta tomorrow to brush up on our show jumping. Courage will be joining for the 1.40m welcome and the Grand Prix on Saturday. Check back for photos and a report.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Red Hills Day 2

Cross country day was it always is! After all that is the main appeal of this sport. There really isn't anything much like it.

I was planning to do another podcast recap (yesterday's dressage recap is here), but my bandwidth is being sucked up in an attempt to upload Running Order's helmet cam from today. It is an exciting one. I was nearly knocked out by his head when his hind end slipped out on a bending line during the last combination. Turns out, my good friend Michael Pollard had a horse fall in the same location from slipping as well. So keep your fingers crossed, with some luck it will be online tonight.

The day started off well. I was nervous this morning, the unknown is never settling. Hughie set off on his second prelim course ever. Red Hills is unlink nearly every other event we see throughout the year. The spectator attendance is probably second only to Rolex. This is invaluable expereince for younger horses, although it does make for a few sketchy moments. Hughie grew up as we progressed around the course.

For the first 10 or so fences he was more interested in the surroundings than the jumps at hand. This was unsettling at the time, but he quickly realized this might not be the best strategy. He got better and better as we continued and he finished up very, very well. He is a better horse because of this round, without a doubt! He was 8 seconds over the time, and finished up in 4th. Not bad for a 6 yr old!

Running Order was next up. This was his first XC round of the year. 'Skinny' is a very careful horse, with a massive stride, so a course like this is a great opportunity for him. There were various striding options throughout the course, and he answered each one like a pro!

Like Hughie we had a few fences I'd like to do over, but overall he was much, much better than years past. Fair Hill CCI3*'s xc last year was a turning point. I think I've figured out the missing link that was holding us back. Today he was very quick to adjust, and was excellent in responding from the bobble at the 2nd to last. When I say bobble, I'm glad I came away without a concussion. It was a bending 4 stride line, and he came through like a champion, until his hind end gave out. This sent his hind quarters out to the side, and his poll directly into my head! All of this about 1 stride out from the 'B' element. He recovered very well and finished up strong. I did not go for time, so we dropped from 2nd to 3rd, but I really couldn't be happier.

Tali was the last out. As I mentioned in the podcast, I'm looking to qualify him for the Jersey Fresh CCI** in May. This CIC** is the remaining component I'm missing. He is an XC machine! He galloped around it as if it were child's play. We did have one hairy moment at the last water where we got in wrong to the hut in the water itself. We climbed all over it, but he continued as if nothing had happened. Ultimately, that's what you need. A horse that will not be flustered, and will be more determined after an hiccup. He is that horse! He finished up with some time as well and currently sits in 10th. All is looking good for tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Prodigy dominates Sporting Days!

Our competition at sporting days started out on Friday with the advanced combined test for Running Order and Trevor. This was a great prep for RO leading up to Red Hills next weekend. Both horses continue to get better with each outing. Both jumped clean show jumping rounds on a difficult course. They finished up Friday 1st and 2nd places!

Socks' 2nd Place Prelim Show Jumping

The Prodigy (aka Tribute aka Royal Tribute owned by myself and Kristen Burgers) continues to live up to his name. Tribute finished up last year winning the YEH-5 finals and now his first Preliminary. He started the day off well with a 27 in dressage. His flat work keeps improving, especially following what I hope was his last growth spurt. He continues to get stronger and stronger with each day.

His jumping is improving as well. He jumped a clear show jumping and XC. I am very lucky to be riding such a nice horse!

Socks (aka Rivertown Lad owned by Wendy Luce) was out in the Prelim as well. He too just keeps getting better and better. I'd have to say his been pretty damn consistent! He finished up this weekend in 2nd. Socks had a 30 leading into the jumping phases and only added .4 time penalties on XC. He is a pleasure to jump, very quick on his feet with tons of power. He's defiantly making a name for himself, which should make his sale an easy one! If you or anyone you know is looking give me a call or email for more info.

Max (aka Don't Look Down owned by John Evers) went out this morning in the Novice. I've got to say, Max might be the tallest horse I've ever ridden. We forgot our measuring stick in NJ, but I'd guess he's at least 18.2 hh. He is still green and is down in Aiken with us to gain some invaluable experience.  He started off very well with a 32 in dressage. He too didn't add a point to his score throughout the day. He's a very genuine horse with a bright future ahead of him. Max finished up in 4th as the day wound up.

Landis was the last to go for the weekend. He is owned by Shanon Baker and Steve Day and might be one of the most exciting young horses I've ridden in a while. He was in the Tadpole division, I'm not sure where he ended up when the day finished up, but he didn't add anything to his dressage score. Keep an eye on him...he's one to watch!

We're heading to PSJ on Wed and then Red Hills on Thursday. Tali will be in the CIC**, RO in the Advanced and Hughie in the prelim. Update coming soon!