Monday, October 10, 2011

Elysium Farms & Roebke's Run Fall HT & Northern Country Challenge

What a great weekend!! The weather (except the wind storm all day on Friday), the people, the horses and more! I couldn't be any prouder of my whole Team! The horses, the kids, and their families!

Friday afternoon Maria and I met at our new barn, Elysium Farms, located in Independence. We moved four of our horses, Hannah, Lucy, Pete & Taco to the new barn on Saturday October 1st, with the help from Maria, Connie, Denny, Olivia & Emily Shirley, and Kristine Johnson. We loaded all of our stuff, and the horses, and headed north to Elysium Farms - owned by Tracy & Peter Kooman. The horses settled in well in their paddocks and we cleaned, organized and moved our stuff into the barn. Tracy keeps her barn in top notch condition. Although we were sad to be leaving Trophy Hill Farm - and very thankful to Katy & David Holub for everything - we were very excited to be off on our new adventure.

Photos: MF Photography

Maria and I finished packing our final gear, loaded the horses and hit the road. We arrived at Roebke's Run, unloaded and got the horses settled in their stalls and began unpacking our gear. In a short time we had our stalls unpacked and headed out to walk the Preliminary XC course. It would prove to be a good test for Pete, nothing he can't do, and honestly, he probably had the chance to school most of the questions at the previous JDRP clinic with Becky Holder. The true test is Pete's attitude, he shuts down on the XC sometimes. Using the water complex as an excuse. Fortunately Maria worked hard and got all of her qualifying runs for the CCI1* this fall, so our plan was the use this as a schooling run. We headed back out the barn and I took the rest of the students out for their course walks.

Packing - we had to make everything fit & we did!

Janelle Johnson had her young horse Corray there doing her first Starter, Emily Shirley riding Ty was in the Beginner Novice as well as Kailey Giancola on her mom's horse Cherish. Morgan Samuelson & Ricky and Savannah Ruhs & Grady were in the Novice Rider division and I was riding Lucy in the Open Novice division. We were ready for the show to begin!

Once courses were all walked we headed back to the stables to do a little decorating. The girls worked hard and set up spiders, webs, colorful streamers and lights on their stalls for the Stall Decorating Competition. I added my blue & yellow LLE lights to the stalls for fun as well.

We all hung out until just after dark and then everyone went their separate ways for the evening to get a good nights rest. I headed into my tent hoping not to blow away in the night.

Bright and early the next morning Maria got up and fed horses and began braiding. She was the first ride of the day. The wind storms had dispersed and there was now just a nice gentle breeze. We headed to warm up and got Pete moving nicely and then the storms rolled in. We were sent back to the barn while the storms passed and were back out there 30m later re-warming up. Pete and Maria put in a lovely test earning a 30 and putting them in the lead.

Next up was Ms. Lucy Goosey. This weekend was the last of 5 shows in the North Country Challenge - a Grandprize of $2500 sponsored by Otter Creek Farm & Roebke's Run. The prize was awarded to the lowest scored rider & horse that attended the 3 Otter Creek Horse Trials and the 2 Roebke's Run Horse Trials. This weekend Lucy and I were in the lead by 12 points so the pressure was on. My technique was to do a little less in warm up to see if I could keep her up in the bridle. The plan worked - she went in and put in a great test earning a 25.5 putting us in the lead. Deb Stern was close behind with a 28. After the dressage, my score widened by lead for the Challenge by another 4 points.

The next Novice riders followed shortly after my ride. Savannah was late to warm up so we did as much as we could before she had to head in. She put in a well ridden test and Grady was very supple given the length of his warm up. She earned a 36 putting them in 9th place. Morgan and Ricky put in a lovely test earning a 34 putting them into a 4th place tie. Emily and Ty had a nice warm up as well and put in their best test yet earning a 32.9 settling them into 6th place. Kailey & Cherish had a nice ride as well earning a 36.9 putting them into 9th place against many tough competitors in the Open BN division. Janelle & Corray had a great ride - despite Corray looking around the ring at everything scary - she handled it well and put in a 37.5 to put them in 6th place.

Everyone had great dressage rides - and now it was time to prepare for cross country! The cross country was very decorated and we knew the horses would be looky at the "spooky" Halloween decorations.

Maria & Pete were the first ones to head out. Her course was riding really well, Pete was forward and responsive to Maria but of course as she headed toward the water he began to back off. The fence before the water, as she called the fence of death, proved to be too much for Pete's brain and he shut down causing them to have to walk of the course.

Next up it was mine and Lucy's turn. She felt great - she was a little looky at the decorations in warm up so I knew were I had to give her a really positive ride. She was a little sticky out of the box so we kicked it into gear and since we are working on moving up to Training level I let her carry on at her own pace and she likes to go! She was great at the water, went right in and galloped on. Unfortunately we came in too quick racking up 5.2 speed faults to our score - narrowing our gap in the North Country Challenge and dropping from 1st to 3rd. I wasn't worried because she put in a great round and that is all that matters.

Savannah & Morgan were the next ones out. They both put in great double clear rounds and were thrilled with their performances. I was really proud of Savannah for riding a little bit smarter out on the course and regulating her pace as well as setting up better for each of her fences. Morgan moved up to a 2nd place tie and Savannah moved up to 6th place.

Emily & Kailey were next up in the Beginner Novice division. They both did fantastic, also putting in double clear rounds and moving them up the placings in their divisions! Emily moved up to 2nd place in the BNR division and Kailey to 4th in the OBN division!Janelle & Corray were up next. Corray was worried about the horses in warm up and the decorations - so we just wanted Janelle to go out and give her a good experience no matter what happened. Unfortunately the environment proved to be a little much for Corray and she was eliminated out at the second fence. We went back to warm up and jumped her a little more where she was great! That wrapped up the riding for the day and we all headed back to clean, feed and get ready for the Competitor's Party & Halloween Costume Contest!

There were so many great outfits at the party! We all had a blast - great food - great people and of course even better dancing!

Although the party ended early we all had a blast! We headed back to get some shut eye and get ready for show jumping the next day.

We got up early and Maria and I walked the Preliminary course for her courtesy round. They put in a good ride only having two rails.

Next up was Lucy - at this point we had a 10 point lead for the Challenge and all I wanted to do was put in a good solid round! She did just so! We had one unfortunate rail - but for the most part she was flying over everything! We ended up 3rd in our division and won the North Country Challenge! What a good feeling - all the hard work from the season really paid off! Thanks so much to Otter Creek Farm & Roebke's Run & everyone else for helping make this possible!

Next up was Savannah and Morgan. Savannah was first to go in the ring and the placements were tight. She put the pressure on posting a double clear round. Then it was Morgan's turn, she put in a great round on Ricky as well having only one rail. Savannah finished in 2nd place and Morgan right behind her in 3rd! Congrats girls! Grady is also for sale as Savannah has sadly outgrown him - he would make a great horse for a pony clubber or small adult! Contact me for more information!

Then it was Kailey & Cherish. They had one unfortunate rail putting them in 5th place. What a great end to Cherish's first season eventing! Congrats Kailey & Linda!

Emily & Ty were next in the ring. They posted a double clear round putting the pressure on the leader. The leader had an unfortunate 8 penalties but Emily was thrilled as she ended up winning her division! Good work Emily!

Then Janelle came up for her courtesy round - we talked about a plan and Janelle though Corray would have a problem at number 7, a fence with some tiny hay bales under it. She put in a great round riding her strong and confident to all the fences but had an unfortunate stop at the hay bales and having it been a courtesy round you are only allowed one refusal. Good work though!

Then Maria & Pete and Janelle & Corray and I headed out to the XC course to do some schooling. Pete ran through his course perfectly with no problems at the fence of death or the water...sometimes that horse is a mystery! We are now focusing on a plan for the CCI1* coming up soon in Kentucky!

Corray was great as well! She flew over her starter fences as if she had been doing this all along - with one stop and short hesitation at the water she galloped right in. I am so proud of her and Janelle - they have come so far! We will miss you and wish you guys were coming to our new barn!

Overall the weekend was TERRIFIC! Everyone had fun and had a great experience! Thanks to the Schweiss Family for putting on another lovely show and all of your volunteers as well for making it happen! Thanks to my sponsors for helping me get to shows like this and of course thanks to all of my students and their families for your support! Thanks to Maria - groom, student, photographer, friend and basically family! Thanks to my mom & step dad John, boyfriend Bryan and the rest of my family as well for supporting what I do! Jen Johnson - my vet, sponsor, student and great friend - we will miss you as you move on to Washington - we hope that you will come and visit! Alison & Ken Larson - dressage coach, vet, sponsor and friends, thanks for all of your help! Stone Ridge Equestrian - sponsor, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips - sponsor, MF Photography - sponsor and everyone else who has made this possible! Thank you for everything!


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