Archive for October, 2009

OCTOBERFEST & Area V Championships

October 26, 2009

I-Maxx and Lindsay Made their competitive debut this weekend in the green starter combined test. This was only the third time Max had been ‘off the farm’ with Lindsay. She and Max have been partners for just a couple of months and Max is an OTT and cute as they come. Dressage warm-up was better than I’ve seen him yet. He was relaxing and coming through more and more with every stride. A last circle of the dressage ring and the judge rang a whistle (we were really hoping for a bell here….ex-race horse). Max immediately put his head as high in the air as he could, inverted his back, and looked for the starting gate. He couldn’t figure out why noone was bolting down the stretch yet. Together, they put in an accurate, although very speedy into. test. A new beginning for Max and a testament to Lindsay’s patient way of riding. Stadium was fabulous ! Although, I admit, I arrived to only see their last fence. However, the mile wide smile on Lindsay’s face spoke volumes that words could not fill. Max has learned so much this weekend and gained an enormous amount of confidence, both in his rider, and most importantly in himself. They will spend some time in the dressage ring this winter and debut in the winners circle next spring.DSC_0328
Beth and Precision Cast Also making their competitive debut as new partners were Beth and “Fuji”. This was Beth’s first Horse trial in two years, and Fuji’s first Novice in, well, a long time. I love watching Beth ride. She sits so very well for her dressage and was blessed with that lovely long dressage leg that the rest of us envy for ourselves. Fuji has made great strides in the 6 or so short weeks that Beth has owned him. He has gained muscle, weight all over, and a rejuvenated work ethic after spending the summer on R & R. Together, they had a lovely first dressage test, very fluid and consistant to land them in a 3-way tie for 3rd. place. Heading off on cross country this morning, Fuji was more than ready to take the bit and run with it. Beth’s Mom (whom I’ve not seen in 20 years or more) and I were both wiping tears of pride as Beth entered the big infield at the Ky. Horse park praising Fuji with every stride. I could actually hear her laughing with joy on course. Now that’s a paycheck of the heart…to know that you’ve had a very small hand in bringing happiness to another. This, my former best friend from H.S.– Horses do that to us; bring us together with friends as though we’ve never lost touch, never skipped a beat. They are a common denomenator that bridges all other issues in society. STADIUM: As if cross country wasn’t easy enough, standing at over 17 hands, Fuji could litterally step over the stadium fences. He and Beth made the course look like grid work and moved themselves into a solid 2nd place, finishing on their dressage score !!!!DSC_0321
Lourie and Star Challenged themselves by competing in both the Novice and Training combined tests this weekend. A chilly, blustery day fell on the Horse Park for dressage. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. Rain, sleet, and wind seem to be the norm at horse trials this fall. BBBBRRRRRRRRRRR. Star decided this was the time to really show everyone his Arabian ancestory for his dressage. Normally, he’s very consistant and Lourie does such a great job of riding a steady, foot perfect test. Star had other ideas this weekend. He showed off by demonstrating his passage, extensions and hand gallop—whether the test required it or not !!! I think we were all releaved that Lourie kept her cool and kept Star from jumping out of the ring. Both stadium rounds were challenging riders with bending lines and a few tight turns. A quick ‘tune-up’ in the warm-up and Lourie had two of her best stadium rounds of the year. Her Training round was the best I’ve seen her ride. They were absolutely steller, finishing both divisions on their dressage score in 6th and 10th places, respectively. CSC_0388A wonderful move-up to the next level experience for everyone this weekend. Congratulations to each of you. You guys are the BEST !!!
AREA V Training Championships:
THIS JUST IN: Sydney Elliott has just WON the Area V Training Level Championships on Wind Ridge Farm’s, Permesso !!!! Permesso is the son of our Trakehner X stallion, Elijah and has only been under saddle 16 months !!!!! Can you stand it ? He was also 3rd. at the American Eventing Championships in Chicago this August.

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Mid-South CCI* and T3D

October 23, 2009

The Slaute

The Slaute

1st Jog Up

1st Jog Up

The sun did not shine bright on my old Kentucky home, nor at the Kentucky Horse park this past weekend. Temperatures dove into the 30’s overnight and mid 40’s during the day. Rain, wind, and more rain accompanied the unseasonably low temperatures making it feel more like a weekend in early December, not October !
Elijah and I arrived on Wednesday in plenty of time for our in barn inspections. He was a little dissappointed that the veterinary panel doesn’t carry peppermints in their pockets. All was well.
Following a two dog night at the Tudor Farm, and a two blanket night at the barn, were the jog ups. Jogs were moved to the lower indoor due to the weather. Horses were fresh, and seemingly all passed. That afternoon, Elijah got his pre-competition adjustment and massage. NOW, he was ready. Chelsea and I bundled ourselves up and went to hack our horses on Phases A and C and check the conditions of the already sloppy footing. By evening, we were all ready for something hot to eat and some dry clothes. It’s days like these that my mother’s plea for me to give up eventing and focus merely on dressage actually sounds quite appealing. Wellington in the winter, and the footing is always ideal.
Friday dawned windy, cold, but dry !! Elijah had a bit too much bounce in his step and was still a little too perky after a 45 minute warm-up. Some parts of his test were absolutely spot on for him, other parts showed me that he still has his since of humor. A score of 40.3 landed us in 18th place, out of 34 starters. Not as good as I had planned for, but respectable for my 20 year old stallion competing in his first 3-day. His last competition was in May, so not too bad for coming back after so much time off.T3D4
Cross Country, our forte’, came into our schedule just before lunch. It was a balmy 38 degrees, and I KNOW I saw the first snowflake of the season upon setting off on phase A !! Elijah and I were #73, so 72 horses had already covered the ground on phases A,B,and C before us. Things were pretty torn up, and word from the riders we’d pass on A told us that things were really getting deep on Phase B, Steeplchase. In an ideal world, one would take the inside lines. However, this was not the day to follow the crowd. T3D5Gallopping close to the ropes and jumping in the middle or slightly to the inside, is just were most everyone else had gone. I have 20 year old tendons here, my ‘old man’, my dear friend. The last CCI * I did in Georgia, my beloved Timshol stepped in a low spot and bowed a tendon on cross country. This was in my mind, and my heart was in my throat. I HAD to take the outside lines, costing more time and giving him a greater distance. We’d have to go faster to make time, but atleast we’d have the possibility of better turf and good tendons when we pulled up. It took Elijah the first two fences to remember that he’s supposed to jump THROUGH the brush, NOT over it !! He nearly jumped me out of the tack on the first fence. By the time he hit the third steeplchase fence, he knew his job and loved every minute of it….all 2 minutes and 30 seconds of it, crossing the finish flags with only 2 seconds and lots of energy to spare. Back on Phase C, ELijah preferred to trot the remaining 4000M, and really had no interest in walking to catch his breath much. T3D9We arrived in the 10 minute box a few minutes early, thankfully. The pit crew went to work immediately and would rival that of any Indy car team ! Vitals were great, and soon we were heading out on the last of our enduarance phases, cross country. Elijah was absolutely steller, jumping right out of stride and flying around the course. He thought the course seemed small and knew that the real jumps were around here somewhere. Yet, at every question, every bending line– he’d respond to my seat and leg immediately with a “yes Ma’am, what’s next”. He was fabulous !! Watching our time closely, I was able to sit him back and slow him down across the top of the hill after fence 11. T3DBy the time we went through the finish flags, we were 6 seconds inside the time. Perfect ride ! We were met with Quin and Hope who brought his WRF cooler to keep him from getting chilled and help him cool properly as we made the long walk back to the vet box, before being excused to go back to the barns. The highlight of my weekend came in the vet box. Eyebrows were raised when I asnswered yes, after being asked if he was really 20 years old. One of the vets asked me what I’d done to get a horse this age to be so fit? They guessed him between 12-14yrs. at the most and thought he was in excellent shape. Here, I had been fretting the last two weeks about whether or not he was fit enough. T3D14
It was a relatively easy course, with few problems. We moved up only 3 places after cross country. The next morning, wraps were removed and poultice was hosed off to reveal only a little bit of edema. A short walk around the barns and we headed to the final veterinary jog ups. There’s just something special about being announced as, “From the United States……” Then, the real music to every 3-day rider’s ears when they say “Elijah, passed”. Whew, now we can breath easy and prepare for stadium later in the afternoon. Out of 34 starters, 28 finished.
The sun finally came out and with it the temperatures warmed into the 50’s. Elijah was a little tired from stabling on asphalt for 5 days. No matter how many bags of shavings, it’s still asphalt beneath. Quite honestly, we were both tired and a little sore from the days that preceded. He really had little interest at staying in front of my leg at this point, and I hadn’t the energy left to make him. He was good with his knees, it’s the rest of the leg that got us in trouble. Well, that, and the fact that his rider didn’t doing anything to help him any. Poor horse. Two rails down, and we moved down to a 17th place finish. Still, I couldn’t be happier with my furry friend. He learned a lot last weekend, and we both enjoyed every minute of it.T3D11
Many thanks to Lourie Yelton, my dressage groom who brings me chocolate. To Molly, Quin, Hope, Hannah, Chelsea, Alli, and Becca…the BEST pit crew, support team, and entertainment ever !!!
Thanks to Mike Goodwin, Palmer Photography, Xpressphotos, and Gretchen Fuller for the fabulous photos. To Kelly FLowers, who makes Elijah’s back and muscles feel soooooo good. Mike Wilson, our farrier, and K.Jack Easley, our veterinarian. To my children who took great care of the animals and special care of Dad while I was away. To Hannah Jones for the extra hours she put into taking care of the barn and horses at home.