Despite a long day, long drive & late arrival, I am here typing up my blog!
The ups and downs of eventing are never ending, but very humbling and they are the reason that I enjoy this sport so much!
So the good or the bad first?...well not really bad so we might as well start there.
I headed off to Wayne DuPage Horse Trials this weekend with Juliette to run her second preliminary horse trial. We left on Saturday, arrived in the evening, settled in and schooled the flat and walked the XC course. Surprisingly the XC course was a lot more demanding then I had expected. Pony put in her best dressage test yet, although only scoring a 40 point something she felt amazing, counter cantered both directions and walked the entire walking section! She was jumping great in show jumping but the rails were flying for the whole division! We had a lot of challenging Preliminary questions on the XC. Bending lines, skinny after skinny! Our first water complex was at the "old water" and we had to drop in over a rolltop drop to the water, across to a cabin and a bending left hand turn to a right hand corner - pony jumped it fabulously! Our next big question was up a bank, one stride off a bank, one stride off another bank, and a few strides on a bending line to a triple brush skinny - once again the pony jumped it like a seasoned pro! She has no idea how big she really is! She flew over the large tables, jumped the barrels bending line to another corner very well, took what is normally the Intermediate drop into the Maui Jim water great, landed took two the three steps and unfortunately stumbled across some bad footing. After sticking with her a few strides trying to right myself off of her neck, I hit the water while the pony scrambled to not trample me just grazing one of her hooves across my face...nose is slightly sore and I think my shoulder may have popped out, yet once again so at least I know that will be fine! All in all we had only a few more fences, she did all of the demanding questions on the course perfectly but we had to walk away with a Mandatory Retirement because you are no longer allowed to fall anywhere on the course according to the new rules. She really proved herself to being a Preliminary horse, its just hard when a 13.3 hand pony loses her balance, there really isn't anything to hold on to! I'm sure I will be sore this week, but it all comes with the long road ahead!
Now on to the GREAT news!
Students Maria Filsinger, Abby Turnacliff, Marianne Kelly doing their C3 eventing ratings & Katy Turnacliff doing her C3 & B dressage rating, all headed off to Riverfalls, WI. On Friday, the eventing group did formals and flatwork including switch rides and all passed with flying colors! Saturday morning they started out with longing, once again all passing that section and then began gridwork followed by course work and switch rides. All 3 passed the gridwork. Unfortunately Marianne's horse was being rather difficult and they didn't pass her when the course work began. Maria & Abby finished up the day with successfully passing their C3s and Marianne experience one of the lows of horses, but now knows what needs to be worked on at her next attempt, because eventers (especially eventers!) never give up!
Katy Turnacliff passed her C3 dressage on Saturday afternoon and did her B on Sunday. She used Hannah B as a her switch ride and had a great test, also passing her B rating!
Congrats to all the Pony Clubbers!
Then Maria put Pete in the trailer, headed East on 94 towards Illinois to attend the Wayne DuPage Horse Trials...in which I plotted last minute after she told me she passed. Originally we were going to go to Dunnabeck Horse Trials later in September but we are unable to attend due to a Ralph Hill clinic the same weekend. About 2 hours into the trip they had truck problems, were delayed 2 hours and didn't get to the show grounds until 11:30 that night! Pete was happy to be somewhere, it was nice and cool at night and he settled in well. Maria put a nice dressage test in the next morning, yet like everyone else had a few rails in the show jumping but they had yet to face their true test, the cross country.
Pete's history of having water issues was either going to prove to be fixed or yet show its ugly face...having two difficult water questions was really going to put Maria's riding and Pete's confidence to the test! Maria rode beautifully and due to my unfortunate departure between fences I was able to watch her skillful riding through the 2nd water complex. She tactfully brought Pete to the trot to present him to the water, he sort of shy-ed and slowed down but jogged down the huge 5 foot drop like it was a small step, across the water and out the bank one stride over the coop. I was absolutely thrilled to be able to see Maria handle the situation the way she did, I couldn't have been happier for her! She was all smiles (minus her one sad face of sympathy for the pony's mandatory retirement) when she returned to the barn! We were going over her course as we walked up to check scores once the horses were taken care of and as I was looking at the scoreboard and chatting with another rider who had an unfortunate departure about our mandatory retirements I didn't even check yet to see what she had scored. She stood by my side quietly waiting for us to finish our discussion. I turned to the scoreboard and was absolutely thrilled to see she had won the division! I didn't understand why she wasn't jumping up and down spastically because as soon as I saw the results that is exactly what I did!
I am so proud of my students over the weekend, they all handled their outcomes very maturely, learning from new mistakes made and quietly enjoying "their moment".
I am looking forward to running Hannah in the Richland Park CIC2* next week (wow that time flew by!) and the following weekend the wonder pony and I will make another attempt at the preliminary level at South Farm HT in Ohio. We have a jam packed fall season and I am looking forward to it immensely!
Stay tuned for updates on Pony Club camp this week, Becky Holder's Jr. Developing Rider Program to be held at Trophy Hill, cross country schooling at Otter Creek and more exciting adventures!