Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bromont Run Down!

What an up and down week I had at Bromont! Firstly the down: Charmer (owned by Beth Sokohl) captured an untimely rock between her shoe and hoof and went lame as I was to trot her in the first horse inspection! Not even my yellow dress was good enough to convince the ground jury that she would in fact be fine by the time her dressage came around.... They did however give me every chance, calling the farrier to the grounds then allowing me to represent her at the very end of the trot up (some two hours later). However it was not to be. While the ground jury did the right thing, it was so frustrating to see that Charmer was sound as a pound and ready to compete by Friday. She loves competition so I left it up to Jenny and Jordon to tell her she wouldn't be taking any further part in this show, I daren't face her wrath! AND I let them be the ones who would soak, wrap and walk her for the next 4 days! I felt so bad both because Beth is a massive supporter of mine who can't seem to catch a break this year, and because I absolutely adore Charmer to bits (most of the time) and really wanted to have a chance to shine with her. Alas it wasn't to be. I'm sure there was a reason in the greater scheme of things but I can't see it yet! Anyway, that was the only bad part of my week.

Cole and I into the 3rd water.
Cole and Liberty (3 star and 2 star respectively) really stood up to the challenge and jumped extremely well around the very big and imposing courses Derek Di Grazia designed. I've really come to love Derek's courses as they always seem to reward a positive, forward ride: my horses are OTTB's that LOVE positive and forward! For Cole this was a big of a leap into the unknown given he is a little light on experience at this level. Walking the course I initially thought to myself 'Holy Guacamole! How's he going to do this?!'. Then I looked at each of the questions separately and figured he had seen each one somewhere along the line and all I had to do was convince him to put them together. That is all except the Drop Of Death! Which was immediately followed by the Skinnies Of Death! This (for those who didn't see it) was a 5 foot (more like 6ft, I think they measured wrong) drop on a curving 4 or 5 strides to the two tallest and widest skinnies you've ever seen! My only strategy here (NOT what Phillip told me to do) was to jump down fairly quietly, get Cole's eye on the first skinny then close my eyes and pray to God! Obviously God answered and we successfully negotiated the obstacle, although I am glad there isn't an photographic evidence of our ride thru there. Just imagine it was foot perfect!

Jenny and Cole
While Cole feeds off my confidence, values my opinion and defers to my judgment, Liberty is a WHOLE different kettle of fish! He could not care less what I think and actively tries to contradict my opinions! At the 2nd fence I gave him a slight tap with the whip to let him know that today wasn't a day to mess around and buck me just for the fun of it (does he KNOW how much money it cost to get there?!). He rewarded my valuable input by going as fast as he possibly could from fence 4 to 5! Whereupon I was able to slow him down enough to negotiate the tough 4 stride line at which point he thought speed was again the best and only option! Gosh I wish his racing trainer could see him now, Triple Crown winners have nothing on him! After the second display of 'enthusiasm' I decided to call his bluff and tell him to go as fast as he wanted, in fact to go faster than that. It worked and he decided to come back to me and appreciate the fact that I may have seen the course prior to him (I had walked it three times) given that I seemed to know the general direction in which we were headed. I then had an absolute dream ride and was treated to just how athletic this wonderful horse is. I have to thank Mr Patrick McCuan for allowing me the opportunity to ride and compete such a gifted athlete.

Jordon and Digger at the Drop of Death
At the end of the weekend Liberty ended up 5th, Cole 11th. AND Cole and I are now qualified for ROLEX! Good boy Cole!! Thank you to Rege Dvorsky and Jeanne Leone who own and support Cole. They are such wonderful supporters. Many of you will also know that several people supported my efforts to get to Bromont: each of these big events costs a lot of time and money, a substantial amount coming out of my own pocket. For Bromont I had some great people who really made my life so much better and enabled me to concentrate on the event and they are: Dale Bowman of Bowmans Feed and Pet (my feed supplier), Sarah Thompson of Estrella Equine (my Aiken vet), Seema Sonnard (owner of Lightning's brother Thunder, now Keegan), Adrienne Wisenberg (owner Pierre Renard embroidery), Chris Arthur, Amanda Pommery, Cheryl Wist, Jane Gilbert, Nancy (Charcoal's best friend!), Gibby Booth and Lauren Bond (with her pies!). My biggest thank you's lie with the owners of these super horses: Beth Sokohl, Pat McCuan, Rege Dvorsky and Jeanne Leone. How incredibly lucky I am.

Liberty and I at the second jog. He looked better than I!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Xc at Bromont

I had a great day with my two OTTBs! Despite time faults on both of them they jumped like absolute superstars in really rough conditions. Cole just kept on trying and trying and came home clear with quite a few time faults. I'm just thrilled with how he answered every question and wanted do his best for me. Liberty started out a bit wildly and very much wanting to take control. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes it's bad! I wasn't sure how it would work out but he must have seen the course map because it all worked out well! The Bromont organizing committee did an amazing job to look after the footing, but it was an uphill battle that no one could win. Thanks Jenny and Jordan for doing all the foot work today and keeping the horses and I on time and happy. Cole is currently sitting in 12 th and Liberty in 4 th.

Thanks to Sylvain from Volvo for the photo of Cole jumping the 3rd.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bromont update!

Liberty did a really good test yesterday, I made a couple of little errors for which I'm kicking myself! But I couldn't be happier with him. He's a much stronger and better schooled horse this year. Cole almost did a good test, just getting tense before entering the ring. It was a better test than Fair Hill CIC so I was happy. And, it's not a dressage competition is it! The cross country is big and tough but the questions are fair and I really love jumping around Derek's courses. I have to say though that in the lead up to a three day I can't wait to get to the event and compete! I count down the hours and seconds and can barely sleep (that's actually a lie, I'm great at sleeping, but you get the idea). Yet when it gets to the night before cross country I am happy for tomorrow not to come so I don't actually have to face those bloody big fences! Yet time waits for no man, or woman, and tomorrow this woman will leave the start box at 12pm and 3.08. Wish me luck! Actually wish Cole and Liberty luck, they're the ones who have to fix my mistakes when I miss at the 5th and they still have most of the course in front of them!

Thank you for the concern regarding Charmer. She is actually 100% as of this morning, just terrible timing. She still thinks she's going cross country, don't tell her though. She'll get grumpy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bromont Prep

In the morning I start my journey to Bromont! The horses are prepared (dressage lessons ALL weekend!), everything is packed, my gps is set, health papers and passports in hand, trot up dress wrinkle free (almost. work downy work!) and we are ready to go! I'll keep updating you here and on Facebook but I thought I'd just share with you a couple of stages of Three Day preparation.

Step 1: Invinciblilty
This comes after winning a couple of your lead up comps and knowing the horses under you can jump the moon! Not to mention they're very capable of beating Totillas on the flat. Don't even get me started on the showjumping, do you know who you're talking to? Yes, that's right, we are the king/queen of leaving every coloured pole untouched. O, and my yellow trot up dress will TOTALLY be the best!

Step 2: Self Doubt
This comes after winning a couple of your lead up comps. Can I keep my form? Did I peak too soon? Did I imagine it all? I MUST have because now I can't even ride a 20 metre circle! Let alone a half pass! Posting on the correct diagonal? Forget it! Do I even know my horses? What if Charmer thinks I'm not nice? What if Liberty thinks I AM nice? What if Cole forgets who I am? And what if someone ELSE wears a yellow dress?! You get the gist!

Step 3: Refocus
This comes from riding under the best in the business and treating each day as a normal day. Phillip Dutton saying, yet again, 'try to go with him.'. Nicholas Fyffe saying 'arch your back, more medium trot' and Boyd Martin saying 'just ride the horse you have underneath you'.

Step 4: Packing
This comes about mostly by begging, pleading and cajoling anyone and everyone to 'be involved' with carrying and carting everything minus the kitchen sink to the trailer. AND goodness help them if it's not NEAT!

Step 5:
Driving to the show. Also an adventure in itself with border control added into the 11 hour trip.

Step 6: The Show
Ask me in a week!

Anyway, as I always say 'it takes a village to raise a child' (someone other than me may have used this quote before..) and my village is a pretty awesome one. Every person in my barn and my sponsors help to shape where I go and how and when I achieve my goals. So thanks guys. Hopefully this week Charmy, Libby, Cole and I will do you proud! And if we don't, please be gentle on our return!

The biggest thank you of all has to go to the owners of my beautiful, wonderful and slightly stressful horses: Patrick and Jill McCuan. Rege Dvorsky and Jeanne Leone. Beth Sokohl. Thank you from the bottom of my hearts and I hope I can bring you something to show for you support!

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