Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Otter Creek Fall HT 2009

Hi Everyone!

So, now that the shows have ended and we are heading into the dreaded cold season here in MN, it is time for me to get back to my blogging!

Otter Creek. One of my favorite shows with my favorite midwesterners! I love living in MN, I truely do, despite the cold weather and a short show season, it is my home.

I was lucky to have picked up a Training Level ride on Juliette, the pony that I moved up to Training level at Wayne DuPage and a new horse, Centauri, owned by Jean Kunz to debut his eventing career with me, at the Beginner Novice level, and of course Hannah I was taking Intermediate.

I'll start with Centauri. It had been awhile since I had shown a greeny. Centauri is a nice horse, 8 year old Hannoverian from Missouri. Jean had just purchased him no more then 2 weeks before the horse show. We decided to give it a shot, take him out for the experience and the atmosphere, giving him a confidence boost in his show exposure. He is a very nice mover, has a big jump and really uses his neck effectively. To view some videos of Centauri at Otter Creek please follow the following link- http://www.youtube.com/user/RiderL9.

He put in a nice dressage round scoring a 39.5. Not bad for his first time out! We were ready for cross country on Saturday. I really wanted to take it slow and build his confidence so we headed out of the start box in a nice steady trot...which Steve Kath, local announcer and friend for years, since I had started my eventing career, enjoyed pointing out to the crowd how slowly we were going! Centauri looked at the crowds and the different fences but stayed focuses, he jumped clean and we had some time of course...but he was able to canter certain fences and areas of the course as long as he stayed focused on his job ahead of him. He seemed to definitely enjoy it out there! Show jumping was a blast. Centauri has an amazing canter, he just feels like a rocking horse underneath the saddle. He jumped a clear round and finished his first show with no jumping faults! Overall Centauri had a great experience not only out being ridden, but he really seemed relaxed the entire weekend and enjoyed the show atmosphere. He never whinnied when one of his friends left he just quietly munched on his hay and would lay down everyday in his stall.

The pony, Juliette, is always a joy to ride. She put in one of her best dressage tests yet, only to sit us in dead last on a 43, a score I thought to be a little unfair. She is a pony, so of course she moves shorter then most but she is obedient and does her job. We are constantly working on more stride and length with her and she is coming along well, we can only hope to see a difference in the scores next season! Well cross country is definitely this little rockets thing! I guided her flawlessly around the large training level course and came in under the optimum time to move us up to 6th place out of the original 14 starters. The show jumping course proved to be challenging for everyone throughout the day. There was only 30 some rounds that were jumped clean out of over 175 competitors. She felt great underneath me and was jumping well but we had an unfortunate 2 rails, but having the show jumping proving to be challenging to everyone we finished in 5th place. Another great outing for the pony-another great step towards the Preliminary level!

And on to my favorite-Hannah! The connection that Hannah and I have is irreplaceable and I will never probably have the same bond with another horse as I do with Hannah. We know each other in and out. We put in a lovely dressage test to sit in 3rd on a 38.6. We rode Intermediate test A-my least favorite of the 3 test as we have to ride in the small arena. It is really hard to do all of the movements asked in an Intermediate test well in a small ring. Excuses excuses, but I felt we had a great ride regardless. I was excited for the cross country. It was my goal coming into the show to jump a clean cross country round, even if that meant adding a few more then desired time faults to our score. Not only did we jump a clean round but it was amazing! If anyone knows me they know my fear of weldon's walls, having had a bad fall at a clinic the spring of 2007 into one, I just haven't gotten that out of my head. So of course, Otter Creek built a new, rather large, Weldon's wall in the middle of their field for the Intermediate course. The course presented a lot of challenging questions, from triple brush skinnies, two water complexes, bounce banks, corners on a bending line, large tables, a sunken road consisting of a bench, bounce down a bank, two strides across the road up the next bank and a bounce out over another bench and of course me ever so dreaded weldon's wall. The course couldn't have ridden better. We rode in perfect harmony over everything racking up a few time penalties but moved up to 2nd place. I couldn't have been happier, what a great way to run my final cross country course of the season. Show jumping also went well, as I said previously the rails came down like rain. I watched a competitor before me pull out of the ring, another had over 8 rails, not so comforting as you head into the ring! All in all, Hannah jumped well having only 2 rails and I was pleased! We finished in 2nd out of a mere 5 competitors, but none the less it wasn't about the placing it was about the performance and I couldn't have asked for anything more!

It was a great weekend, I met a lot of new people and it was an amazing closer to the 2009 show season. I am looking forward to winter training and coming out even stronger then ever for the 2010 season!

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