Well it's been an unusual summer thus far! My competition schedule has unfortunately been a little on the lighter side due to my truck's involvement in an accident. No I wasn't driving! However it has taken 2 months (and counting) to fix it. With the generosity of Adrienne Wisenberg and her truck, I have at least made it to Loch Moy I and II plus HITS Culpepper. And with Curran Simpson I made my annual trek to one of my favourite events, Millbrook NY! This year was a special one with Beth Sokohl's Buckharo having his first crack at the advanced level. Yet another OTTB (who would be shocked if I rode anything else?! EVERYONE!), Bucky has been quietly making his way up the ladder without much ado. A 2nd place here, a 4th place there he has managed to go under the radar by and large. With my intended summer in Europe non exsistent due to Libby's fractured stifle, I found myself twiddling my thumbs with what to do. And my thumbs came up with the brilliant idea that Bucky ought to debut at the advanced level at Millbrook! Fantastic!
That is until you're sitting on his back in the warmup for the cross country where he firmly believes 2 ' 9" is his absolute max and lands like a sack of spuds after every fence. Come ON Bucky! You HAVE to! We entered and drove all the way here (with Banksy keeping you company at his first away show) for YOU to do this, have a go mate! So we set out on course, clearly his inability to jump was isolated to the warmup and by fence 1 he's good as gold. We set out in a great rhythm taking the planned option at number 5. Number 5 is a left hand corner over an angled ditch. If Bucky has a kryptonite it's a left corner. And an angled ditch. Knowing this our fearless leader, Dr Phillip Dutton, advises that perhaps the longer route, even given it's time delay, may be our best bet here. Great advice captain! On our way from there my long serving whip disintegrates into thin air leaving me with nothing but hands and heels to go the rest of the way around. Which is fine if you're a jockey in the Melbourne Cup, not so much if you're jumping Bukcy... Now, I'm not sure how many of you have met Bucky, but one of our best aids in getting him to reach and find his distances is the aforesaid, dear friend, the whip. So approaching 7 C I knew we were in trouble from the get go. Sure enough a quick glance to the side, a polo pony spin back and handy jump and we're on our way again. Effortlessly this horse that shouldn't have made it past prelim continued on around his first advanced making mince meat of every oxer and combination. INCLUDING the GIANT left hand corner on top of the hill before the water. Not to mention the angled ditch brush later in the course. If I said I wasn't whacking him with my reins Pony Club style, I'd be lying.... Before we know it we're thru the finish flags and I've clocked up my 6th advanced horse of my career. 5 of which have been OTTB's. Proud to fly the flag. Go OTTB's!!
O, and Banker was great in his 2nd ever training, which incidentally was more like an intermediate... Either that or I'm getting older and my height/width perception is all out of whack! This is a super 5 yo who I'm taking my time with. Initially he was for sale but now I think I'll just hang out for a while. And see where he goes.
Until next time, thanks for reading! And get excited for my new website!
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