Mid-South CCI* and T3D

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.

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2 Responses to “Mid-South CCI* and T3D”

  1. Ginnel Says:

    Jeri, YOU amaze me! You are an inspiration to all of us old ladies!
    Congratualtions to a successful weekend!

  2. Howard Moore Says:

    Congrats, Jeri, to both you and Elijah. As we mature, we find that it’s the journey that’s important, not the finish.

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