So after a snowy Pine Top we were happy to go back there and find the sun shining and NO snow! Pine Top Advanced Horse Trials is widely considered to be a very tough and prestigious event with only only classes offered being preliminary (CNC 1 star, Australia), intermediate (CNC 2 star, Australia) and advanced (CNC3 star, Australia). The entry list reads like a who's who of Olympic and World Championship riders and horses who are using this as the beginning of their World Equestrian Games preparation. Accordingly the courses are built to height and quite complicated. I had three horses competing, Mario (Patrick McCuan), Collection Pass (Rege Dvorsky and Jeanne Leonne) and Canyonleigh Sirecho (Lisa Kurr). In the past six months I've been working very hard on my showjumping and it shows, three clear rounds. Indeed this year I've had just 3 rails in about 20 or more rounds. Alex MacLeod, student, also jumped clear. Onto to the reason we event, the cross country!
Walking the course kind of made me a little sick, not just because I had to walk so far and I'm not good at physical exercise, because each jump was BIG and WIDE! This doesn't bother me normally but my three horses where green (Cole) or competing at that level for the first time in a long time, Rocco (1 year) and Mario (6 months), I get a bit scared! After the big jumps then it got quite technical with a bounce up a bank to an apex, one stride into the water followed by a one stride out of the water. As I was walking the course with Alex we made the worrying observation that at least half of the course was in the intermediate course from two weeks earlier. Luckily for me my horses are great jumpers therefore I had three clear rounds that were practically perfect and left me feeling on top of the world! This was topped only by Alex's ride which was also clear, a great feeling for her as that was her last prelim before going intermediate next weekend. I can honestly say I love the four horses we had at Pine Top, each one of them has a huge heart and tried their absolute best.
Unfortunately our experiences were not shared by everyone with 16 falls, a few of them being very bad. We wish Jan Byyny and Rebecca Howard the best in their road to recovery. I also want to thank Jan for some extremely useful advice on the best riding technique for Mario in the week before Pine Top. Jan imported Mario from Ireland and fortunately sold him to his current owners and has some tactics pretty specific to him that make him even more of a dream ride than normal.
Today I rode Mario and Lois at a AA rated show with Mario jumping super finishing 3rd and 4th. We had the fastest round in the biggest class but had a couple of rails that relegated us to fourth. This makes a difference from us having the clear jump off with the third fastest time. I enjoy show jumping competitions a lot and a grateful to be riding a horse that makes me competitive in that field. Alex rode Alex and did amazing in the biggest class to end up third. Lois (Carla MacLeod)jumped in the 1.05m class with just one rail, she showed a tonne of heart and I had a huge smile on my face when we finished, I just love her!
Photos will come up soon. Take care of yourselves and your horses.
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