Surefire students had a great weekend as well. I was really proud of Francesca Broggini , who had her first ribbon in a CIC** and rode the best I’ve seen her in all three phases. Equally as good was Katie Lichten, getting 5th in the CIC*, and a big shout out to her sister, Maddie, who led wire to wire on Yarrow and won her Training division by almost five points. Other Surefire students had good weekends as well.
I just got back from Kentucky and had such an educational couple of days. I didn’t go till Thursday night and opted to watch show jumping from my computer at home, but watching the dressage on Friday, walking the course beforehand and then walking around in the rain Saturday to watch riders in person, was a great treat. I think although our dressage is maybe not at the same level as the top Europeans that came over, I don’t think we’re far from it. I feel like we've made some huge strides in this phase but need to continue to learn and improve, especially on the Thoroughbreds that a lot of us like to ride. My observation is that we have to make sure we’re not rushing their rhythm.
Walking around the course, I thought it was quite scopey and big although not too technical, and I thought the horses would read the exercises well. Watching how it rode, I thought Derek did a great job designing it. To me, Michael Jung, Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Colleen Rutledge and William Fox-Pitt gave everyone, especially at the end of the day, riding lessons. It’s beautiful to watch these riders manage their time and their balance in such an attacking, smart way. As always at the Horse Park, the footing held up pretty amazingly.
The show jumping has gone up a notch in my book and it was remarkable to watch how people handled the pressure over Richard Jeffries’ smart, well-designed course. I was impressed by Phillip’s two clean rounds but also marveled when Michael Jung was interviewed and said that he didn’t pay enough attention at the triple, where he rode Sam too much like his mare and had rails. It’s hard to keep ourselves in the mental game in this sport and that just goes to prove that even the best have to work at it. I can’t wait to study all the videos, especially Michael Jung, and get out there and do it myself. What a great Rolex weekend; I can’t wait to be back there riding.