Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hagyard's Midsouth CCI* w/ 2007!

Kentucky! I love being at the KY Horse Park, it feels like "the big time". Being able to ride on the same grounds as the ROLEX horses and riders gallop across in late April is thrilling. When you are at the KY Horse Park you feel like you are in heaven. The KY Blue grasses and absolutely beautiful, there are horses everywhere and you are with the people who share your same passion.

Of course KY is a long drive and I think I have stated many times how much I love road trips! I rode with Edee Lee and her mom Sue Slocum. This was the first year they added the Young Rider Championships at Midsouth. I was riding on a team with Edee Lee and Callie Judy to represent Area IV. (AREA IV Young Riders) We all were ready to do our best and bring home ribbons for Area IV.

I was very certain to make sure my horse was sound and she was clear of cuts on her legs so we wouldn't have to go through the cellulitis disaster like last year. I felt more then ready after a great Preliminary season this summer. I had ridden at the Minnesota Harvest Hunter/Jumper Horse Show the first week in October to give my show jumping an extra tune up. She was great and we successfully competed up to Level 5 (4feet).

On the ride down Edee and I went over plans of what we were going to do when we arrived, we had a lot of setting up to do because we had all of Area IV's gear, banners to hang and of course getting our horses settled in. When we arrived Sue went to get us bedding and we bedded our stalls and put our horses in their stalls, gave them hay and water and let them settle while we unloaded the gear. We had a tack stall so we began lugging gear into there, set up saddle racks, bridle racks and organized all of the other trunks, buckets and other miscellaneous items we had. After we unloaded everything and hung our Area IV banners we took our horses for a walk and checked in with the vets and made sure we had all of our paperwork in order and got our packets and numbers.

Since the adding of the YR Championships was new this year we were coach-less. I knew a great trainer from Michigan, Philippa Richards was there and I asked her if she could help us walk courses and be in the 10-minute box for us. She was great! She helped us the whole weekend, helped us figure out the roads and tracks and the steeplechase. Philippa gave us a great course walk for both cross country and show jumping. Her enthusiasm for us to do well helped propel us through the week. I am looking forward to working with her again!

Jogs were to be done Weds. I rode on Thursday and Callie and Edee rode their horses on Friday. We all went down to our jogs together and I was first to go. I did a few practice jogs with Hannah and kept her walking in the warm-up area. We were called and we jogged down the strip, walked around the flowers and jogged back down the strip. "Liz Lund and Lady Hannah B, ACCEPTED" Phew! So far so good! Edee and Callie both passed their jogs and we were ready for dressage. Later that day we took our horses for a hack through phases A and C of roads and tracks to familiarize ourselves with the marker locations to be sure we go through all the flags.

Thursday rolled around and I began getting ready for dressage. Ali Smallpage, from MN was here with us to help us groom for the weekend. She helped groom Hannah and get her looking gorgeous. She was freshly body clipped so she sparkled in the sun. I went down to warm-up and she felt great. I gave Ali my whip and began my rounds around the outside of the ring waiting for the whistle. When the whistle blew we entered the arena. Hannah felt great, light in my hands but rhythmically moving forward. We had a great lengthen across the diagonal and the rest of the test just seemed to flow together, it felt amazing! I came down centerline, halted and saluted the judges and gave Hannah a huge pat on the neck and let her walk out of the ring on a long rein. I was very happy with our performance and was eagerly awaiting our results. We walked around and watched the next test and then our score was announced a 53.3! I was very happy with our improvement on our dressage score from last year. I walked her back to the barn, un-tacked her and hosed her off, gave her some treats and checked her water.

Later on Thursday, Edee, Callie and I went out to walk our course and see what it was all about. The course was long, over 7 minutes! Hannah was really fit though and I wasn't worried at all about the length. There were definitely a lot of tough questions and big fences on course. Some of the course was the same as the year before but there were also new fences. I was ready to gallop across the ROLEX field as if I was riding in it.

Friday morning Callie and Edee rode their dressage tests and did pretty well. Callie received a 52.8 and Edee a 64. Later that day we walked the course with Philippa and she gave us really good advice on what lines to ride and just how our horses might react to certain fences. It was definitely helpful to have her there helping us along through the full format CCI. She also walked the steeplechase loop with us so we could scope out the big brush fences. We were set to go! I walked to course one more time that day by myself just to go over all my plans in my head and not have any distractions.
Dressage Pics: 53.3-4th Place
Walking the XC Course with Callie and Edee and looking at the massive ROLEX jumps that we will someday be riding over!Saturday morning arrives and we all head to the farm and get ready for the days events. I am the first to go our of our team and after the horses are fed and walked I get ready to go out on Phase A. I tack up, put studs in her and get my Area IV gear on. This was the first time I had ventured from my normal blue and yellow cross country garb and am representing Area IV with red, white and blue! I really liked the colors though so I was okay with it! ;) After I was all ready and got a leg up and walked around for a little while and headed towards the start of phase A. There was the count down and we trotted out of the box and I kept my eye out for all the markers and flags. We trotted along at a brisk pace and as we neared the steeplechase I did a little bit of cantering and headed through the A finish flags to the start box for Phase B.

3,2,1 and off we went out onto our first steeplechase course! I let Hannah out of the box and galloped towards the first fence. I just sat up a little and steadied her at our first fence making sure not to take away any of her stride and we flew over the first fence! There was a total of six fences and the steeplechase was two minutes long. We came in 9 seconds early and were just flying! I felt good coming in earlier as I had never done a course before. I came through the finish flags for B and went right into Phase C. I walked the first bit till her breathing came back then did a little bit of trot and headed towards the 10 minute box. Once we got into the 10 minute box, Phillipa was waiting to give orders. I got off of Hannah and my horse was gone. She was being walked and cooled off with water and checked by the vets. They took her TPR (temperature, pulse and respiration) right away and then let her walk and cool down. After we got her cooled down they checked her TPR again to make sure it came down enough to send us out onto cross country. Thanks to our hard work and conditioning schedule her TPR came back quickly. Philippa jogged her for the vets and her girth was tightened and I was thrown ontop. What a weird feeling to be going out on cross country with out having done any warm up fences in the arena. Philippa told me to ride her strong to the first couple fences since this was new to her.

First experience of steeplechase and it was a blast!

We headed to the start box and awaited our countdown. "Have a good ride" was heard and we were off. Philippa was right, I needed to ride her strong to the first three fences and then she figured out that we were on the "real" cross country course this time. We went through all of the questions without having any trouble, the combinations rode perfectly and we galloped over the open fences. We came through the finish with no jump penalties and no time penalties! What a great feeling! I hopped off Hannah and handed her off to Ali who was waiting at the finish to help cool down. We had ice buckets and her tack was removed, studs taken out and she was iced down and cooled off. She was given the "ok" by the vets to head back to the barn. I was all smiles! We had had a perfect Saturday!

Cross Country Photos: Log drop into water to a turtle in the middle of the "Head of the Lake" to a bending line out of the water to a corner.

Oxer in the middle of the field to a coffin fence which was a log one stride to a ditch bending two strides to a skinny.

Sunday morning came around and we were all getting ready for our jogs. I was hoping to her "Accepted" this year instead of "To the Holding Box". I groomed Hannah and got her braided and walked down for our jogs. I jogged her and anxiously awaited for the annoucement. "Liz Lund and Lady Hannah B, ACCEPTED." WHEW, we passed! We all hung around and waited for one another to jog and we all passed. What a great feeling! One phase left to go, show jumping.

Sunday morning Jogs
Waiting for the rest of my team to finish jogging.
We all go ready to ride, my division was to go before the JR division. I got all ready and Ali carried my hunt cap down to the arena for awards. I mounted and walked Hannah to warm-up. The warm-up was a little crazy and Hannah got a little frazzled and I did my best to keep her from shortening her stride, which she tends to do when she gets nervous. It was our turn to ride and we were currently in 3rd place after XC. I entered the ring, saluted the judge and picked up a forward canter. We rode through the course only having one rail so I was happy, she had felt a little tired in warm-up. We left the arena and hopped off her of and loosened her girth waiting for the other riders to finish. Once the other riders were done I put on my hunt cap for pictures and got back on Hannah. We were presented with a third place ribbon for our division! It was so cool! We took some pictures and did our victory gallop. Since this was a Championship show there were also awards for other divisions. I was also awarded 5th Place in the National CCI* division, Reserve Champion in the Adult Amateur Division, and Reserve Champion in the Young Rider (19-21) Division. We got to take home two lovely blankets! Callie and Edee finished their show jumping rounds and Callie received 8th place and Edee received 4th place in the CCI*-JR division. What a great weekend! Our Area IV Young Rider Team took home 3rd place! We all had a great weekend and lots of fun! I hope to run a full format CCI again someday but this may be the last with the disappearance of the full format throughout the country.

Area IV Young Rider CCI* Team: (L to R) Callie Judy, Edith Lee, Liz Lund

Presenting the awards for the Young Rider National Division 19-21, Reserve Champion

Victory gallop for the CCI* division: 3rd Place.

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