Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Raleigh Show Jumping

Cole and I early (very early) one morning making a plan for how his last two shows of the year would be his best!!!

Mario, Cole, Ti and I escaped the chilly MD weather for a few days by competing at the RMI Benefit Show Jumping competition in Raleigh, NC. I compete in several jumper shows each year up to the level of Mini Prix and every time I relish the experience as I learn SO much. This is a lot due to the fact that I'm generally jumping at heights that are much bigger than eventing and it really tests my comfort zone. And at this show I was extremely lucky to have my jump trainer, Marilyn Meredith-Little, there to walk each course, warm us up and analyse every round. Firstly Ti learnt a huge amount by going into a big ring (it's all indoors) and jumping a big course. His results absolutely did not reflect his effort and the benefit he gained. I can't wait to be competing with him next year. He's come a long way in 2011.

As everyone knows I'm extremely excited to have Mario back in the competition arena and he definitely proved why I love him so much! Last year, at this same show, I competed Mario in the same classes and must admit that I was about out of my depth in the biggest class. This year (and with Mario off most of it and only back in work for 4 weeks) I was completely comfortable and was actually hoping they would have been 2 or 3 holes higher! Mario and my partnership continues to build with each outing like this and I'm very proud of what we've been able to achieve in what was a very short year for him.

Cole. He surprised us a little last weekend at the dressage by posting some great scores. This week he was the surprise again in the show jumping! He is one of my favourite horses to ever work with due entirely to his massive heart and desire to please his rider. Being athletic and having a decent jump doesn't hurt either... But in a big ring with big fences he's often intimidated and gets really backed off. He doesn't do this at home so it's hard to practice correcting him. There was none of this in the ring this time in all 3 of his rounds and he jumped a lot bigger than he has to eventing. I was VERY proud of him and the work we've done to overcome his problems. We've been working with Marilyn specifically on his weaknesses and what we've been doing is working very well. I was so happy that she was able to give my horses and me as much time and help as she did.

That was my last competition for the year, which is sad as I love competing, but is also very exciting as it gives me a chance to plan for next year, work very closely with my students (who are very patient with my absences) and take a short break in the warmth of Australia. My favourite part of this time of the year, aside from getting Christmas presents, is all the wonderful food. Especially this American turkey they go crazy for at the end of November. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mario returns to the competition arena!!

Sunny showing some of the our winnings for the day....

You can tell I'm happy to have my competition partner back by the fact I'm hugging him!

What would normally be an unexciting day competing dressage was made very exciting this weekend by Mario's return to the show ring! Regular readers will remember back in April he injured himself and required some rehab and time away from jumping and the competition circuit. Whilst this is always disappointing with any horse it was even more so with him as he had had a great winter and was on fire to continue. I had big goals for him this year that we weren't able to get to unfortunately. As you may also remember this was pretty upsetting for me as I love all of my horses and invest a lot of personal time and effort into them, it's not just a job for me. Therefore you can imagine my excitement being able to compete him again finally. I was so excited I was even EARLY! I can honestly say, and my students can attest to it, have NEVER been early in my life! Anyhow he won a third and was very happy to be back out as a show horse. Add to this I unexpectedly ran into a friend I haven't seen for a long time (Mary-Beth) and I had a great start to the show.

The best part of the day however was the performance of Cole. He typically finds the dressage very tough and we've been working extremely hard on it. Finally it's paying off with a 3rd at second level and a good score and a 1st in the CIC 2 Star test. For this I must thank EEM event management having the foresight to offer eventing tests of choice. It is SO useful to be able to get the eventers out to dressage to work on that phase alone. On that same page I also think it's important to compete in pure jumping as well which is exactly what I'm doing this week. Cole, Ti, Mario and I are heading to Raleigh SJ in NC. I went to this show last year and found it extremely useful as the courses are BIG and technical. And competing against showjumpers adds a whole new perspective that I love. An added bonus is that my showjump trainer, Marilyn Meredith-Little, will be there and will be able to offer invaluable feedback about my actual competition rounds.

Next week I'll have the round up from that show and hopefully some photos so please keep checking back in.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Finishing the year as we started, in the winners circle!

Myself, Alex and Lisa in front of the novice 'brush of death', where despite her misgivings, Lisa survived. The boots are part of the team uniform.....
Rubicon Farm Horse Trials in VA was the venue for our last event of year and it was a great way to finish the year. My only ride, Queen of Pheoba, scored a winning 24 in the dressage finishing on that. She's a super mare and I hope that next year brings more success and ribbons for her. Alex MacLeod walked away win another win on the Ryan Wood trained, Railroad Man Jim. Actually walked away is an understatement, she ran away with the blue by 9.5 points. After posting a convincing lead after the dressage, 23, she added only xc time faults to her final score.

Lisa Kurr and Amy Gaynor also had successful starts with Lisa finishing a very close third on Cannyonleigh Sirecho and Amy coming from behind to finish 6th on her own Cindy Lou Who. Lisa did a fantastic job with Rocco, piloting him around for two double clears. Amy and Cindy looked like cross country pro's and are well and truly ready for the next level.

So that's eventing finished for the year and I'm already missing it!

All I have left is dressage with Mario and Cole then I'm heading to Raleigh, NC, for some showjumping in what will hopefully be warmer weather!

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