Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pine Top Advanced

I love starting the season at Pine Top, it always gives the horses such a great feel. This weekend was no different. After having surgery on my broken jaw just 7 weeks ago, and only getting it unwired last week, I was not quite sure how things would go. Add to that an ice storm, an earthquake and no electricity for 5 days, it wasn't an ideal preparation! But it couldn't have gone better. Liberty (C Liberty Syndicate) gave me a super round in his first advanced. After finishing last year battling Lymes disease, Cole (R Dvorsky) is back on form with one of the loveliest xc rounds I've ever had on him. He also produced a really nice clear sj round. Bucky (B Sokohl) was another lovely round. After show jumping clear he made the cross country feel much easier than a green intermediate horse should. Ever consistent Charmer also jumped clear to finish 5th. 4 lovely clears on 4 lovely horses? I'll take it!! My only real moment of worry was actually a very bizarre experience whereby I found myself jumping A) a push bike and B) a person! As I was first on course they clearly didn't realise they were resting against a jump, and I couldn't see them until I was 1 stride away. I would loved to have seen that face as we jumped clean over them!!  Priceless! 

Going forward I feel as tho I'm lacking a bit of fitness, but I'm super happy with how quickly I got my eye back in with only 2 weeks of riding and a couple of jump sessions. I'm very lucky the Boyd and Phillip had the time to keep them jumping for me and that Rhiannon did such a lovely job of schooling them on the flat and getting them fit. Tomorrow I'm riding with George Morris, then back to MD to teach for 2 days. 

I also attended the Eventing Gala Dan Clasing, Liv Stringer and Rhiannon Bosma which was loads of fun. It's always good to have and shower and get dressed up for a change! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pine Top 1 and more.

After competing at Pine Top on the weekend I flew back to DC to teach my second Winter Clinic and, most excitingly, GET MY WIRES OFF! I cannot wait to be able to eat again! Since December last year I haven't been able to eat, cough, sneeze or talk. To say I've been imagining my first meal would be somewhat if an understatement! If this were to go on much longer I'd probably have to check into some type of food obsession clinic to help with my constant cravings! When Dr Gutenberg worked his surgical magic he certainly meant for the wires to stay put. Believe me when I say I've tried everything to loosen or remove them. Except of course cutting them as I would have a difficult time explaining that to the Doc! An 'accidental' removal on the other hand..... I have my first meal all set: it'll be with Beth Sokohl at Tower Oaks on Rockville. I'll order the Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with mashed potato which I'll finish off with the chocolate mousse from their dessert menu. I have also planned my lessons to finish at 7pm, 15 mins to change, 25 mins to drive, 5 mins to seat. If I cut straight to the chase I will be tasting my first meal of the YEAR by 7:55!

The center of my dreams for the past month and a half...

Pine Top was my first competition of 2014, I have missed some of the season but not too much. Originally I was planning to ride Cole (R Dvorsky) and Liberty ( P McCuan, A Wisenberg) in the intermediate, Bucky (B Sokohl) in the prelim and Charmer (B Sokohl)  in the training. With my injury I thought it prudent to drop them all (except Charmer) down a level and make a couple of rider changes. Boyd Martin graciously and generously took the reins of Liberty with Rhiannon capably piloted Bucky. I chose to a combined test on Cole (no Xc). He did a super show jump round for me. 

Obviously riding cross country with ones jaw wired so tightly shut that you can't even sneeze is not ideal. It's quite amazing in just which ways you move your jaw when you're galloping and jumping... I started riding only 4 days ago, so I was a but out of practice to start with. And I hadn't even SEEN a Xc jump since October last year. So it was very carefully that I set out and very quietly and cleanly did we jump. Charmer was super and looks great for Pine Top 2 in a fortnight. I did make one addition to my safety gear, a borrowed polo helmet with full face guard! For my non horsey, or eventing, readers, it's like wearing a football helmet on Centre Court at Wimbledon, not particularly customary! I figured it would protect my face in the event of a fall. There is no way I want to do the wired jaw thing again! 

Look closely at the helmet....

Next I have Paradise on Friday followed by Pine Top Advanced the next weekend. I look forward to bringing you updates from there. 

Another view of the helmet. Thanks Dom for the picture. 


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