I also want to say how badly I feel for Boyd, Phillip, Ryan, Lillian and Caitlin and all the owners of the horses that were lost in the fire. I can’t imagine any of that happening. We’re so lucky we didn’t lose any people. Jacqueline Mars and David and Karen O’Connor are putting on a fundraiser for Boyd’s crew on Saturday nig. It will be $100 at the door to get in and then there’ll be a silent auction and everything raised will go to help them replace what they lost. It can be hard to know what to do and we can feel so helpless, but the whole eventing community is behind them, just as they would support any of us. I have to say that is why I event, because the people in this sport are so kind and will always be there for you when you’re down.
My horses have been going really well. I took my two young ones, Kemmerlin and Palmer, to Waredaca. They were good, even though Palmer hadn’t been out for a while. They both won the dressage, were both green in the show jumping and added just time on cross-country. Unfortunately, the footing was like concrete. I felt bad, especially for Palmer, who had bruised his foot earlier and wasn’t a happy camper. Between the footing, his greenness and not having competed much, I just went slowly.
Meghan rode Charlie, this time not for me but for his new owner. He did his best dressage yet with a 30.5. Unfortunately, they had a rail in show jumping but then a great cross-country. I told Meghan to go whatever pace she was happy with and they had a little time as well.
The next week we went up to Silva’s to get some dressage help. It was really nice to see her ride JR; she always rides your horse before she teaches you. JR’s either lazy or too animated; he gets almost spastic with his front legs. It’s really hard to get him forward without him getting too big, and then he loses his rhythm. Silva had me work on keeping it forward but easy, riding him into the corners, keeping the same pace and riding him from leg to hand, around and around. I made some plans leave JR with her while I’m gone for Young Riders, and to get some dressage shows on my calendar so I can have some practice for the girls and myself.
Then we jumped with Phillip; I hadn’t seen him for almost a month. I like to have the pressure put on me by Phillip to make sure I’m completing the exercises well. He had me jump oxer to oxer in a big four strides, then in five and six. We worked on making sure I could bend out to make the strides work, always improving the canter and always making sure you I could angle jumps as well as ride a line of skinnies. I think a key point of the way both of us teach is that you have to practice all these things every time you jump.
I’ve also been riding with Linda Zang almost every week at Sharon White’s. On Friday, I went through the Intermediate test with JR. It wasn’t the greatest but we worked on the same things as with Silva, keeping him regular and easy. I did lot of coming down the center and quarter lines in a straight line, keeping him with me and on both reins and making sure he was listening to me and staying in the same rhythm.
We went to Seneca after all the practice. JR was good in the dressage; the work paid off and we were second in that phase. He did break in the medium canter when he got spooked, but maybe if I had had him better connected when I started the canter he wouldn’t have broken! Otherwise, the test was really nice. Show jumping and cross-country were awesome. I forgot how nice he is to compete, I just have to make sure I don’t get jumped off. That’s not the worst problem to have, but sometimes it’s really hard to hold on to him!
Both of the young horses were really good. Kemmerlin always shows up for work and was third after dressage, had a kind of unlucky rail in show jumping and was great cross-country. Palmer got a little bit tight in the dressage with cross-country going on, had a green rail as well as an unlucky rail in show jumping—he was really lucky at the second fence, not so much at the seventh. Kem finished fourth and Palmer fifth. I just have to say that I think Seneca did a beautiful job with the footing, the courses and their whole event this year.
My parents arrive today and I can’t wait to see them. They always come and help out at our event. Wish me luck for this week—it’ll be crazy! I’ll let you know how it all goes.