Once again I’m at Cecelia Cochran’s place on Old Tory Trail Road. The farm has great turnout, a beautiful barn that works well for my set up, and the horses seem happy. This year, in addition to Adolfo Herrera and Alannah Galbraith, I have a couple of Skyeler Voss’s clients, Erin Murphy and Brittany Hebets, joining our team while Skyeler takes a break with her new baby. It’s a really fun team to be around. Plus, we have some client horses, and also Michelle and Chris Adamson, who have decided to join us with their horse, helping out as well. It’s been so enjoyable to have their company around the barn and as friends, too. We just have a really nice vibe in the barn this year.
I was in Wellington for two weeks in January for some specialized training in dressage and jumping. Alannah and Dara O’Brien joined me and were such a great help. It was an educational trip and I learned a lot, though it’s always really overwhelming! What stands out in my mind is how connected dressage and show jumping are and as an eventer, how hard it is to be a jack-of-all-trades and sometimes, master-of-none. Also, how impressive it is to watch the best of the best at their sport. Being around Jacquie Brooks at Jewel Crown Stud, owned by Eliane Cordie-Van Resema, I was so impressed with the facility and how nice people were. And working with Katie and Henri Prudent and watching top show jumpers every day was quite humbling from a rider’s perspective—it really raises your bar!
I finished up the two weeks having shown in both the jumpers and dressage, and won a class on Rem at 2nd level, and scored a 70% and won at first level with one of my young horses, Volcan. After Wellington it makes it much easier to compete anywhere, especially after WEF, and the show jumping at a local horse trials actually seems relaxed. All the horses, even when they didn’t go well, ended up benefitting from going to Florida, and so did the rider!
I got home to the team in Aiken, who did a great job with horses while I was gone. We had our first competition at Stable View, with Duke of Diamonds and Urrem in the Preliminary and Volcan, Dashwood and Electrik also competing, as well as Brittany Hebets and Cooley All Business in the JYOP. It was great to get out and let the horses stretch their legs on the cross-country. Hats off to everyone at Stable View for putting on such a fantastic event—the footing on cross-country was amazing and it was a really well run show. I know they had planned to do it as a two-day and changed last minute because of bad weather coming, but I felt the one-day format was great. All in all it was a very good day for Surefire.
Dyson was the star of team and was good in all three phases, coming in second and finishing on his dressage score. Brittany also won her division. Rem was a bit expressive in the canter, not only in dressage but in show jumping as well, and though she jumped great I certainly know what I need to work on: her rideability in her canter in all three phases. She is a goer and a spicy girl, but when she has an opinion she has to learn to work with me.
The young horse that suffered the most was Dashwood, who only had ten minutes of warm-up before dressage because of scheduling. All three babies were clean in show jumping. Volcan and Nora stopped at the first jump cross-country and then were awesome. The rider needed a wake up I guess, and I didn’t let Electrik even think about stopping and he finished fifth.
Now that we have started competing, I can’t wait till the next, and all the daily training before. Until next time!