Recap! Prepare yourselves because this will be a novel! Don't worry though, there are a lot of photos as well!
Thurs AM Maria & I were up early at the farm finishing packing, hooking up the rigs, loading hay and shavings, the wheelbarrow, the dirtbike and finally the horses. We headed off to Otter Creek & the weather was lovely. As we arrived we unloaded everything into the tack stall, hung up the LLE and sponsor banners and settled the horses into their stalls.
I lessoned with Alison Sader Larson at 1230 on Hannah - she felt great. She clearly doesn't have a 10 in her gaits, but when she is steady and supple she can score really well. Then Maria, my hard working groom, assistant trainer and photographer had Sam up in the warm up and walked Hannah back. Sam was great as well. His canter is coming along, still a little unbalanced but getting stronger with work and a variety of exercises. Next up was a lesson on Lucy (Rhine Maiden). She was wonderful, a little stuck and tense in the beginning but we were able to work through that and then she was soft and supple and felt amazing. Maria was there to take Lucy back and brought me my final ride, Cody. He is such a fun boy to ride, quite lazy at times but can step up when you really ask him to.
With all the horses ridden, Maria worked hard back at the barn cleaning all the tack for Friday, making sure horses stalls were always clean and that they always had full water buckets and hay. My students started to arrive and we began lessons. Jen Johnson & Cannon, Kelsie Holbrook & Tess, Ashley Reut & Rory, Morgan Samuelson & Ricky, Abby Turnacliff & Ziggy, & Janelle Johnson & Ty all had great rides - now the test was to see if they can ride and perform as well with the added pressure of the show ring on Friday!
Hannah kicked off the dressage for the day for the LLE Team! With only three riders in the Open Intermediate my goal was to stay in the 30s. I thought Hannah was lovely throughout her test and some of the scores were a little low on her movements, but I was really happy with her performance. I remember as I went to do my extended walk from M-V that there were NO footprints...I second guessed myself but stuck to what I knew was right and walked M-V. The others had walked incorrectly! It was a scary moment though but I am glad I didn't just copy what the others were doing! Hannah earned a 39.2 to put her into 2nd place.
Next up was Ashley Reut and Rory. They had a nice warm up, despite a little bit of confusion in their dressage test they still earned a 34.2 to put them into 4th place in Jr. Training Rider. Morgan Samuelson and Allie's Cross Limerick (Ricky) put in a nice test earning a 34 but putting them all the way back in 9th place in the Jr Novice Rider division. Tough class! Abby Turnacliff & Ziggy Who (Ziggy) also had a lovely test and earned a 33 to place her in 8th place in the Jr Novice Rider division. Janelle Johnson & Royal Cootitan (Ty) put in a nice test earning a 35.2 to tie them in 6th place in the Jr. Beg. Novice division. Kelsie Holbrook & Tess were competing in the Open Training division. Tess never relaxed and it showed in her test, Kelsie navigated the test accurately except for one mind blank but other then that her figures were ridden very correct. They scored a 42.3 to tie them for 16th place. Jen Johnson & Loose Cannon (Cannon) also had a tough dressage ride, Cannon was feisty in warmup and never calmed down. They competed in the Open Training division as well and scored a 44.1 to sit them in 19th place.
Hannah B Jr (Hannah the Honda) came in useful running from the stable to warm up to make sure everyone got the coaching they needed!
Lucy was up next for the dressage. She (and my 2 other horses) were all competing in the Open Beginner Novice. Maria had her work cut out for her getting horses cleaned, tacked, braided, cooled out, etc. She had a great warmup, she was looser then the day before and felt great. I just had to keep her lid on and make sure that she didn't try to passage down center line or do extended trot across the diagonal. We held it together and she earned a 26.2 to take the lead!
Next up was Peppy's Nu Image (Cody) owned by Mia Geraci. He put in a great test, I was able to get him a little more uphill and taking large strides rather then short choppy steps. He earned a 31 to put him in 4th place!
Then it was Sam the Mans turn!!! Sammy is owned by Gabi Geraci. He has come a long way as we have been working on his canter and helping him balance and take more even strides. He earned a respectable 37.5 to settle him into 9th place.
It turned out to be a very successful day for the LLE Team! As the day ended we finished up all the course walks. I walked the Intermediate, Training, Novice & Beginner Novice (well, Janelle & I dirtbiked the BN course) by the end of the night while Maria took care of everything back at the barns. The night brought rain and the cold I seemed to have began to catch up with me. I was congested and had a very sore throat and some trouble sleeping.
The weather held out and was quite nice Saturday morning. The day did not quite start off how we wanted. 2 of my 3 training riders had falls in the morning. Unfortunately the rider before Kelsie Holbrook had a fall and she had to be held on the course while they picked her up in the ambulance to make sure she was fine, thank goodness she was. There was some confusion about what Kelsie could do on course and she became a little frustrated. Tess did not like having to stand still and as Kelsie started going again she ran out at the ditch 5a and Kelsie stepped off the side of her, resulting in elimination. Thank goodness they were both okay and be back at it again soon! Ashley Reut was having a great round, with a small bobble coming out of the water that Ashley tipped her shoulders a little bit at Rory and he stuck of the ground, she stuck in the tack and galloped on. Unfortunately coming down the hill to their table, the 2nd to last fence Rory stuck off the ground and hung his hind legs up on the table. The momentum shot Ashley up his neck. She almost pulled through it but the momentum of going down the hill caused her to tumble off the right side. Again thankfully they were both alright! Jen Johnson & Cannon however had a lovely ride around the cross country only adding a few time penalties to their score. Not bad for their first time back at Training level after over a year! I do have to say between coaching my training level riders I witnessed a rider (who will remain nameless) unfortunately fall into the water. After the rain the night before the footing was a little slick and her horse lost his balance tossing her right into the water. She lay there laughing for a second and I ran across the water to catch her horse who just stood there. Both were ok & thanks to Maria's photography skills we have this photo.
Next up were the Novice level competitors. Maura Tierney & Dylan, Morgan & Ricky, Abby & Ziggy and Deb Stern & Oliver all had great rounds jumping clean! They had a blast out there on course!
I hurried back to the farm to make sure Hannah was ready to go. I always get a bit nervous/excited to go out on the cross country so I took some time to go over the course in my head and how I was going to ride everything. Warm up was great! Hannah was jumping out of her skin! Of course at about the time I got on her the rain began to pour down. None the less we pushed on! The footing at OCF is absolutely amazing and can take a lot of rain, so the footing was not slippery with the right size stud! We headed down to the startbox and of course Hannah began to get excited as we entered the start box at the 15 second mark to prepare to gallop away. Out of the start box we exploded and as we galloped to fence one I saw the long spot...thankfully so did Hannah I sat up slipped the reins as she thrusted off the ground. We galloped on and I was determined not to "get in her face" too much. Unfortunately I didn't bring her back enough for 3, which was immediately followed up by a left hand 90 degree turn to 4a which was a large triple brush skinny on the top of a hill, landing to a left hand down hill 4 strides to another skinnier triple brush skinny. As I struggled to turn to 4a I messed up the striding and she had to jump me out of a bad distance to 4a, instead of punishing her for saving my butt and turning to 4b, I circled and picked up 20 penalty points between 4a and 4b. Lesson learned! The rest of the course went on well. We had a chip to a large table before the sunken road and then I finally was able to put my head back on and actually ride a little better. The sunken road was great and we galloped on to some large tables. The second water was a large log drop in bending 6 strides to a large corner out - she was foot perfect! Then of course, my favorite (not!) the weldon's wall...if you know me at all you know why I do not like ditch and walls! Feel free to ask sometime. Anyway, I set her up around the turn, saw the perfect spot and rode her 3, 2, 1 right up to it and she flew over it! We galloped on to the table in the woods, down the bounce banks bending right hand 3 strides to a corner and to a few more fences to the giant hill. Jumped the fence at the top of the hill going into space and shuffled down to another triple brush skinny. Galloped on to another table and set up for the coffin. A coop, bending one stride to the ditch, bending two strides out over an angled vertical brush fence. We cruised across our final few fences and through the finish flags. I was ecstatic, a little frustrated with my pilot error at 4a/b but none the less more then happy with my ride, which was my first Intermediate run in the the eggbutt snaffle! How cool! As I was going over my ride to Maria I jumped off and POP! All of a sudden I felt my Point Two airvest squeezing tightly around me because I forgot to un-clip - which I have been told is very common! As soon as Maria helped me out of my vest she un-tacked and cooled out Hannah as I went down to get on my next horse.
Next up was Sam the Man!!! I was ready to head out and navigate that BN course on Sammy! He was great. He warmed up well, while we were waiting our turn he began to get a little nervous at the other horses galloping around but he settled in as we headed down to the start box. He ran around the course in style! He was a lot of fun to ride and I look forward to seeing him and Gabi and shows together!
Next up was Cody! He was awesome and went out there like a pro. I look forward to Mia and him at shows this summer! Unfortunately Maria was busy getting my final ride ready and was unable to take any photos of Cody on the XC!
Finally Lucy was up! It was her turn to prove herself. She has only been out 1 time cross country schooling so this was her 2nd time out on the XC! She was more then ready and ate up the course. She didn't look at any of the fences except getting a little wiggly through the water. She went out there like a pro and jumped everything and came in inside the time to maintain her 1st place position! I was absolutely thrilled with her!
Last but not least, Janelle headed out on the cross country and put in a beautiful round!
After everyone finished up the day, Maria worked hard icing and wrapping the horses, cleaning tack and organizing the tack room. Then it was time to relax, eat and hit up the dance table! If any of you have stuck around for the competitor party at OCF you know it is the best there is. Great people, great food and of course great music! We danced to a variety of kid music (rap & hip hop) as well as "adult" music, 80s, the electric slide, cha cha slide & some Michael Jackson!
We headed back to the barn after the fun and dancing to do night check and go get some sleep. Lucy was very tired after her first cross country run and was very cuddly!
Sunday morning turned out nice. The rain had cleared and I was getting ready for show jumping. The course was large and twisty. Hannah was off walking as I was going over the course in my head. She came back, we cleaned her up, tacked up and I hopped on and headed to warmup. She warmed up great, felt fresh and ready to go. We headed to the ring to be the first to go as we were in 2nd by .6 behind Erika Treis Peterson. We entered the ring, picked up a nice forward canter and headed to our first fence. We took the inside turn to fence 2, and the course went smoothly. We had a vertical to vertical one stride for fence 4a/b and another triple combination with a vertical one stride to an oxer, two strides to a vertical. The final line was a vertical, forward five strides to a large swedish oxer, four strides to a straight up and down vertical plank. We cleared the finish line leaving all the poles in the cups and came in right at the optimum time. I was thrilled! Hannah felt great and was looking for more jumps at the end of the course. I trotted out of the ring and gave her a huge hug! Erika jumped a clean round but added a few time penalties to her final score pushing us into first place! I was thrilled with our win at the Intermediate level at Otter Creek Horse Trials!!
What a great start to the final day!
Jen's horse Cannon was a little stiff and although she put in a good first half of a show jumping round she decided to retire him before the end of the course. I respect her decision 100%! You have to do what you think is best for your horse at all times!
Maura jumped a clean round to finish in 9th place in Novice. Deb Stern unfortunately had a refusal at fence 5, at the representation to the fence he refused again and she tumbled off landing on her feet. She handled the situation very well and is ready to do some more show jumping preparation so she is more then ready at her next horse trial! Morgan had a few rails but still finished within the ribbons in 7th place while Abby jumped a clean round on Ziggy and finished on her dressage score in 3rd place! Janelle & Ty put in a good round, Ty bobbled at two fences but they completed the event! Props to Kristine Johnson, Janelle's mom for competing in the starter division on her horse Cleto and taking home a 5th place ribbon! Congrats to everyone!
My BN horses were great! I started on Cody and he put in a good round, got a little lazy with his hind legs at fence two and had a rail but still put in a solid round.
Sam was up next. He was great! He put in a nice round jumping double clear to finish on his dressage score of 37.5.
Next was Lucy! The last ride of the day. The pressure was on as I didn't have a rail to spare. Lucy was great and ate up the fences! She jumped double clean to finish on her dressage score of 26.2, winning the Open BN division, followed by Cody in 4th and Sam in 5th! Lucy also won me the USEA Area IV Low Point Adult Rider award for the show!
I would like to thank all of my sponsors making these competitions possible! Larsen Sader Dressage, Stone Ridge Equestrian, Sleipner Stables, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips, Jennifer Johnson DVM, Kaesen Farms, County Saddlery, MJ's Entertainment and Sarah & John Bergstrom! Without you I wouldn't be here!
Thank you to my tireless groom Maria Filsinger and team photographer! She worked harder then anyone this weekend taking care of my horses. Also thanks to everyone else who was recruited to help out with the horses as well!
Thank you to Mark, Lena, Jenny & William Warner for hosting such a wonderful show and of course everyone that goes along with getting ready for the show, set up, volunteers, judges, the TD, everyone!
And of course thank you to my boyfriend, Bryan, for putting up with everything that comes along with a horsey girlfriend!
This weekend I will be in Hector, MN coaching the Northern Lakes Region Pony Club's qualifying rally.
The following weekend, June 5th we will be off to Carriage House Combined Test in Hugo, MN. Lucy will be moving up to the Novice level and I will have many first time students out there as well! Stay tuned for more updates as the summer gets busier and busier!
Thanks again to all and kick on!