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!