Otter Creek - the best show on Earth! Nothing beats a weekend at Otter Creek. You get great weather, guaranteed rain at some point, good people, great courses, dancing and now singing!
We arrived on Thursday. I brought Hannah & Lucy over with Mia & Gabi Geraci. Maria wasn't too far behind us with Sam & Cody. On the way over I had to stop and fix one of Lucy's shoes, so when we got there we quickly unpacked and I tacked up for a lesson on Hannah with Alison Sader Larson. Hannah was great in her lesson! Afterwards I headed back to the barn to organize for the rest of the weekend. The tack stall was nice and organized, with a new tarp as an addition for the floor, signs were hung with new yellow string, and the horses were all tucked in with hay and water. I hacked Lucy around and helped my students for the weekend. Maura Tierney and Dylan, Kailey Giancola and Nokomis, Emily Shirley & Ty, Mia Geraci and Cody, Gabi Geraci and Sam, and Jen Johnson and Cannon. Janelle Johnson & her new, young horse Corray were also there and had a great dressage lesson on Thursday. Corray didn't blink an eye at anything and handled the new environment very well! The horses got baths and Maria cleaned all of the tack for the weekend. We were ready for Friday!
Friday morning was nice, it was a cool weekend and actually required a light weight jacket in the morning and evening - it felt like fall! Hannah put in a nice test, she was a little strong once we got in the ring but we earned a 38.4 to put us in third place out of a division of 4. We then had a long break so we got all of the course walks in for the day and then Lucy was up next. She was a little stiff but warmed out of it and put in a great test earning a 26.5 to put us in 1st in a large division. Lucy and I were competing in The Chronicle's Novice Adult Team Challenge along with Maura Tierney & Dylan, Jen Johnson & Cannon and Deb Stern & Oliver. We all put in great rides and our team was sitting in 1st at the end of the day. All of my other students had great rides as well! Jen earned a 39.5 and Maura a 41.5 in our Novice division. Deb scored a 31.5 as well helping secure our 1st place team scoring. Kailey earned a 40 in the dressage at Beginner Novice. Emily rode a nice test to score a 36.5 and Mia and Gabi put in solid tests to tie with a 44.5. Great day overall for everyone!
Saturday morning was raining of course! At some point it rains at Otter Creek - it wouldn't be Otter Creek without it. The footing there is so great that it can hold a lot of water and it really wasn't raining hard and was done shortly. I was up early, fed horses and walked my Intermediate course. This show the courses were new so I made a plan and was ready to ride to it. My goal was to gallop faster, set up closer to the fence and ride forward in my combinations and not pick! It all worked and we had the fastest time around the XC only adding 15.6 time faults to our XC score to move us into the first place position. There were a lot of new, good questions this year. Putting my favorite fence, the weldon's wall as fence #4, Hannah flew over that (photos to come). Then we headed to a log on the bank of the water to the Otter and galloped on towards the sunken road. It was a coop, one stride down the bank, two strides across the road and bounced out over a coop, we flew on towards the next question. A log, bending line to a large table on a four stride line to a right handed corner. Not a problem! We zoomed on to our set up fence at the coffin, jumped in one stride over a ditch one stride over a fence out. Then we had two triple brush skinnies on a hill on a forward bending four stride, Hannah flew over those as we galloped towards our second water questions. We had a drop in bending line over a skinny out. OCF put the ski jump back on course and we jumped up the bank, one stride over the log down the large hill on the back side. We bounced down the banks on a three stride bending line to a left handed corner and galloped towards the even bigger hill towards the end of the course. We jumped the roll top at the top of the hill as if you were jumping into nothing, slid down the hill, gathered the canter back up to jump the triple brush skinny at the bottom and raced towards the last fence and through the finish flags! It was one of our best XC rounds, every fence felt great! Those are ALWAYS the best rides - especially heading into our CIC2* to come at Richland Park in just over a week! I was thrilled! I UNHOOKED my vest and hopped off Hannah and walked her back to the barn. She got a long bath, iced her legs and lots of hand walking the rest of the day.
Next up was Ms. Lucy! Her first novice! She was great to everything but the water, as usual I made a plan to present her to the water before actually presenting her to our water question, it took close to a minute to get her into the water but once she did she was fine, galloped through the water up the bank and onwards. She didn't even glance at the new ditch, but made sure to clear it by a mile! Everything else was great, so we still have some more work to do at the water but she keeps improving! Richland will be her next big outing!
Maura had a great run around, she picked up a stop at a bench before the water, as she is getting used to running at a faster speed she tried to take too much control and just pulled Dylan to a stop. Dylan then had a hard look at the ditch picking up one more stop, but overall very fixable mistakes. Jen had a great round on Cannon running around inside the time. Kailey jumped double clear around the XC - over coming her and Nokomis' fear of the hay feeder which they have had problems with in the past! Janelle rode Corray in the XC warmup and jumped the warmup fences. Corray was great and had a blast being out there with all the event horses! She will be ready for a show this fall! Emily, Mia and Gabi all put in double clear XC rounds as well! So proud of all of my students!
Of course we attended the competitor's party on Saturday night for great food from Foster's Catering and this year the Warner's added Kereokee to the night's events! We sang a few songs and then plugged in the iPod for some fun table dancing! Another great party!
Sunday morning I was up early taking care of the horses and walking my course. The course looked good, was meant to be ridden forward and had some nice flowing turns. I tacked Hannah up and we headed towards warmup. She felt great, still full of energy and ready to jump around. We had a great round! I missed coming into our first one stride so we took the first fence rail down as well as the second, but those were our only two rails the whole round. Everyone else had 1 or 2 rails as well. Hannah kept our lead winning the Open Intermediate division! I love riding her so much, she is such a smart, talented horse with a huge heart! She loves her momma and takes care of me!
Our Novice group was next, Lucy had one green rail in the ring but put in a great round. Maura had a "refusal to move forward" penalty adding 4, plus 4 time to her score, but he didn't technically refuse anything, just got sticky when going away from the in gate. Jen picked up one rail and Deb jumped double clear to finish individually in 2nd place, Jen finished in 9th and our team finished in first overall! We get our names engraved on a trophy and got saddle pads as well. We were interviewed after leaving the ring and I am looking forward to receiving my next Chronicle magazine!
Kailey picked up one rail in show jumping and ended up finishing in 5th place in her BN division. Emily finished on her dressage score to earn 5th place, Gabi finished on her dressage score to finish in 10th and Mia added one rail to their score finishing in 15th. Everyone had a great first outing at Starter and they are now hooked! Everyone will be returning at Otter Fall for another go at it.
I am so happy for everyone and very pleased with my mares! Thanks again to all of my sponsors for making this possible, all of my friends, clients, family and more! I am looking forward to Richland as we leave a week from Tuesday! Hannah will be stepping it up to compete in the CIC2* against all the big boys and Lucy will be doing her 2nd Novice - I hope she likes Michigan's water!
Now a busy week of lessons and rides before we head off across the country again! I will try & update more often! Take care and thanks for reading!
Hannah B working it on the Intermediate course! Thanks to Diane Stoffel for the photos! More to come!