As always, I’m so lucky to have such great help from the girls in barn who are so essential to preparing for and running our event. Also, I couldn’t do it without the people who help me out every year: Christy, Miguel, Nanky, my parents, Po, Mary, and of course, all the volunteers that sign on and do such a fantastic job.
After the horse trials I was lucky to go to Ireland for the week and have a little fun. I got back on the Friday right before Maryland where I ran both Palmer and Kem in the training, Palmer was 5th and Kem 3rd in their divisions. It was the best Palmer has galloped yet, and Kem has become a machine cross-country.
The following Wednesday, the whole barn went to the horse show at Culpepper. Kendyl and Ashlyn Dorsey were practicing for Young Riders, and Hannah Krueger went, too. I practiced on my three—J.R., Kem and Palmer—and Meghan was there with Pirate. I was lucky enough that I had five clean rounds and one with one rail. It was great practice for everyone and a good way to get ready for the second horse trials at Maryland. I’ve also continued to ride once a week or so with Linda Zang, who’s helped me a lot. It’s always a good idea to have someone keeping an eye on you and the development of your horse on the flat. Linda was great help before the event and J.R. won the dressage with a 25.6. I was really happy, though I think I could have ridden the halt and my simple changes better, but the rest of our test was really good. It feels as though his canter is getting better and better and he’s more relaxed than he has been, though as you know with horses, that comes and goes! J.R. ended up winning his division of Intermediate with just some time cross-country.
Both Meghan was second in OIA and Kendyl third in OIC. Palmer was second in his training division and was just awesome, even better than the weekend before. He’ll have a good gallop in time, it just takes a while to develop when the horses come off the track as he did. As far as the others go, my Colorado Young Riders Kalyn Dines and Ashlyn Dorsey had a good weekend, though Ashlyn turned the wrong way in show jumping and crossed her tracks so got a stop and time.
I moved Kemmerlin up to Preliminary at Maryland and he was greener than I thought he would be cross-country. I didn’t give him the best presentation at the water or the rolltop and so my result was disappointing. But, I know he’ll get it. Meghan also took her young horse, Cedric, for his first Novice and he ended up second. Kendyl had her old Young Rider horse, Mr. Incredible, there also and he won at Novice, and Anisa was fifth on Tigger in OPB.
We had a good week practicing for Young Riders with the some of the Area IX team at the farm and then headed to Kentucky for the championships. As always, Young Riders was filled with ups and downs. There’s so much pressure on the kids, and I think my kids did such a nice job. Unfortunately, we ended up without a one-star team because Ellie Gilbertson’s horse was lame at the first jog. One-star junior rider Madeline Backus joined us from Colorado and had a great competition with a good dressage, great cross-country and a couple rails in show jumping for individual 9th. Our other one-star rider, Ashlyn Dorsey, had good competition with her best dressage test yet and a double-clear cross-country, but unfortunately suffered from show jump nerves in the end and finished 13th.
In the two-star championships, Kendyl had a great dressage and cross-country but with two down on the show jumping she moved from bronze medal position to 8th. In combination with Area V, Kendyl still got silver medal in the team competition. I know that Kendyl was really mad when she came out of the ring, she wanted it badly and wasn’t okay with 8th. But that is the start of how to really get good—you have to want it that badly.
Overall, I thought the course and the whole event was a good competition. I thought the level of riding at the 2-star was better than ever, but thought that generally, the one-star kids were weak. I think a lot of the riders don’t get enough practice in the saddle or enough exposure to other disciplines. Being a jack-of-all-trades in eventing makes it really hard for the kids to get good. I think it would help our young riders to do more cross-discipline riding. It’s so easy to get in the habit of not trying other things like jumper and dressage shows, but going to them is great practice. I also wish more kids could learn on experienced horses and get miles; I saw too many trying to learn and teach a horse at the same time.
We got home from Young Riders, I jumped my horses and then we went up to Millbrook with Palmer, Kem and J.R. plus Anisa and a whole crew from Surefire. Both Po Tatham and Vicky Jessop joined us, shared in the cost of driving, got some help and had a big weekend away. I think overall was a good weekend, though poor Vicky did have a fall in the water and pulled muscles in her neck and separated her shoulder. She and her horse will return for another day. It was so nice to have Anisa and Tigger back for the first time competing since he did his tendon last year at Young Riders.
As far as I go Palmer was a little unsettled cross-country—I think running at 470 and some of the longer distances were a little hard on him. It turns out that when I got home, I found he had hurt his leg. Kem was great, not the best dressage but he will be the dressage winner soon. He was so good cross-country; he’s such a fast horse to ride! We had two down in the show jumping but that’s was just being green. I was really happy with the way he’s coming along. J.R. was great, too, though not best dressage of my life but fantastic cross-country and one rail down at first fence in show jumping because his rider missed badly. Then I started riding and he was his usual spectacular self. I was so happy to be back J.R because he’s such a fun horse to ride.
After Millbrook, I took my horses to two dressage shows and a jumper show and I think they’re all getting better and better and more and more together. As I’m writing this I’m in the airport on my way to Richland, wish me good luck!