This week was super hectic with horses from my barn representing us at SIX shows from Thursday thru Sunday! This included the biggest recognised Horse Trials within an 8 hour drive (Surefire), the biggest dressage show within an 8 hour drive (Ride For Life) and the biggest show jumping show within an 8 hour drive (Swan Lake).Not a bad effort when most of my horses are on a summer break with only Titanium, Lola, Mario and Jerry in full work. We brought home all colored ribbons from blue and downwards. Kaden did a super job on his own Ronnie to convincingly win the local jumper show at Pleasant Prospect. The same day I took Mario to Swan Lake in PA to do a warm up class for the Lightfoot Grand Prix on Sunday. He was great and brought home a ribbon. Saturday was Surefire with Ti. I really enjoyed having him as my only horse at the show, something that hasn't happened before. He relished being the focus and did a good test to score a 36 followed by a great cross country and just tapping down a couple of rails. The rails I was a bit sad about but he just tapped them and they came down, could have just as easily stayed up... This is a quality horse that is using his time well to learn the levels.
Sunday for me found us back at Swan Lake for the Grand Prix. Let me remind you I'm an eventer through and through even tho I can be quite good at the showjumping, I can just as easily make a mistake. Just ask Cole what happens when I try to put 5 strides in a 6 stride line to a double of verticals ala Bromont! So to say I was a little apprehensive sitting by the ring to walk my course may be an understatement. I was relieved to see the jumps weren't as big as I thought a breathed a sigh of relief and started to tell Ben (Meredith, Marilyn Little's husband and my sj trainer in her absence) they weren't as big as I'd anticipated. He looked at me a bit weirdly and went on talking to someone else so I looked back to the ring to see the ring guys raising each fence at least another foot! So much for that! By the time it came to walking the course Ben seemed to find some amusement in my abject terror and the fact I could almost walk under each fence without ducking (if you ever do a grand prix, don't walk under the fences, it's frowned upon..). But his advice and plan of how to ride each stride (the showjumpers count any line 10 strides and under, basically the WHOLE course) made sense and I put together a strategy. After warming up over about 6 fences we went into the ring to do both mine and his first Grand Prix. I thought I would be a lot more nervous about the course but I actually felt quite confident given that I'd done my homework, done my schooling and most importantly of all trust my horse and know he's a super jumper. And jump he did! I had a straight forward vertical down coming into a line that I can easily correct and other than that he didn't even go close to another rail as you can see from the photo above! That's the great news! If you ask the people who know me I think you'd find that I'm pretty easy going but do enjoy crowds and being the centre of attention. It's not a conscious action but just seems to happen. So no one who knows me would find it too hard to believe that after jumping a really really good round that I fell off at the last jump. Yes, I'm serious! Initially I thought I'd just been jumped out of the tack but on further inspection and recollection I figured that my left stirrup leather got stuck behind the knee block of my saddle catapulting me heaven bound. Thankfully I do have a guardian angel up there who advised me strongly to hang onto Mario's neck for all I was worth, telling me the finish line was very close and I wouldn't be eliminatied if I could make it over that line. So hang on I did and make it over the line we did! Thereby completing our first grand prix with a very respectable 1 rail. So the biggest lesson I learnt is why the show jumpers DON'T use cross country saddles and why they DON'T have back knee blocks! Beyond that we had a super experience beating far more seasoned competitors and proving that both Mario and I deserve to be and belong in the Grand Prixs. So now we look forward to Culpepper and New York.
Eventing wise I'm back with my students at Loch Moy I and Ti at Loch Moy II. Ti gets a great chance to show us what he can do this summer. Congratulations to all my students who competed this weekend and thank you to the Taggart family (Ti) and the McCuan family (Mario) for the rides on their wonderful horses. Please take the time to watch the video, link below, of the GP. I'd love to hear your feedback!
Link to video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUUuDJHAYGM&sns=em.
Also if you add Kate Chadderton and Victory Sport Horses on Facebook there are more photos.
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