DEVON REACHES HER GOAL AND SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES A CCI*
After lots of hard work and determination, Devon and Dan made it to Ocala to compete amongst the best to finish a respectable 14th at the Florida CCI*. All the way up to closing date (and even after), it was questionable if they would even make it down there to compete. Both Donna and Roger had business trips planned for that week and the ride we had set up for her didn't work out, so thanks to a very accomodating work situation for Donna, she was able to attend part of her meeting by conference call on that Thursday, which would allow her to drive Devon and Dan down to Florida on Wednesday.
Oh, and by the way, Donna figured since she was going down there with the horse trailer and only one horse, she might as well take Art too and do the Training 3 Day. Fortunately she had done a CCI* long format before, (so pretty much knew the routine) bc she was not able to participate in any of the clinics on Thursday and had to walk Phases A, B, C, and D all on Friday. The other factor in the decision to run him in the 3 day, was that they had been training right along side Devon in her preparation for the 1* so figured he was fit enough for the long format.
Back to Devon and Dan - Many thanks go to Mike Winter who not only coached her and supported her through XC and Show Jumping, but helped her (and Donna!!) with all the important details so she would have a sound horse for the Sunday jog. Thanks also to Andrew Harbison who coached her to a great dressage test which put them in 11th place after dressage, right behind the professionals.
Just a few words on Art and the 3 Day. Donna was a bit distracted and tried to change up a few things in the dressage which were obviously unsuccessful as they had their all time worst dressage score. However, the rest of the weekend was just great for them, and Art ate up the endurance phase which included steeplechase and then went on to have a great XC run. Sunday's jog went well and they show jumped into second place overall, also winning the USEA Area 3 Adult Rider Low score award. Thanks to VTO Saddlery for the beautiful cooler.
Also wanted to add a few words on this past weekend. Donna decided the 3 Day was a great prep to go out again Prelim with Art, so they entered Pine Top (Thanksgiving weekend). Donna applied all her learnings from Mike and Emma Winter to improve her position and her ride so as not to interfere with Art and allow him to use himself and jump in his usual great form, keeping all the rails up except for one. Cross country was stellar, and just a couple of seconds outside the time to finish in 3rd, right behind Mike, who finished in first and second!
Now for some time off and we'll see you next year!
Fall is upon us, and as usual, I am not ready for it. I will take the heat of summer over the cold of winter any day. I never long for cooler days like most people. Fall means more work... clipping, blanketing, stall cleaning, and more clipping, blanketing and stall cleaning.....
We thought we would take a break after the Championships, but didnt exactly happen. Devon went off to run Poplar the following weekend bc they had room and she had not run XC at the AECs and was ready for a run. They had a great weekend thanks to the help of the Nichwander family. They gave her and Dan a ride and took her in all weekend. Coaching by Mike and Emma Winter helped them put in a solid performance to finish second.
Donna decided now was as good a time as any to move Art up to Preliminary. Having run two Training level Championship XC courses since June, having completed about 10 Training level events, and being quite fit, the Pine Top show 2 weeks following the AECs was a good event to set their sights on. It also helped that they were taking late entries!
It was certainly a challenge, and Art stepped up to the plate all weekend, in spite of his pilot. He won the dressage Saturday morning, but was chased off his feet in stadium and the rails kept dropping, moving them to last. The jumping efforts werent ugly, he just tapped them, and they fell.
The XC course was big and technical, but inviting. The plan was to take it how it came, and be prepared to retire if Art was not on his game. Well, I must say, it was the best XC run I have ever had, on any horse. I didnt want to push him for time, so slowed down the last third of the course. Even with that, he only had 11 time faults, definitely within reason for the level. Art proved he can be competitive in the future at this level with some work.
In October, Donna and Art entered the Atlanta National Fall Dressage show. First dressage show for Art, and, I think first recognized show for Donna - WOW, how did that happen???? Anyway, they did three First Level tests in one day - Tests 2, 3, and 4. It took the first test for them to figure out the size of Arena, remember the test, and remember to salute on entry. In spite of the errors, they ended up with a 62 in front of a very tough judge. The rest of the day went better and better, and they finished it off by winning First Test 4 with a score of 63.0 - good enough for a qualifyer for the regional Championships. They need one more qualifying score in front of different judges for the Championships.
AMERICAN EVENTING CHAMPIONSHIPS
September began with a bang for us. We left Tuesday afternoon, the 9th, for Chicago. Monte was scratched due to an injury, so Art and Dan loaded up and we headed north. We arrived the next morning with temps in the 40's. Out came the winter blankets. These were only needed for a few hours, as temps steadily rose and stayed in the 60's to 70's for the remainder of the week. In fact, the weather was quite good up until Friday morning when the skys let loose. Chicago received about 12 inches of rain Friday and Saturday. Everything we brought came home soaked.
We stabled with our friends and fellow Connemara owners, Rich and Rhonda Gailey. We had a lot of fun helping each other out and cheering each other on.
Due to the torrential rainfall, the upper levels had to be run as combined tests. Devon was dissapointed, but it was still good experience for her.
Donna and Art had a fantastic show and lead the Training Amateur division from start to finish. They had a super dressage test (23.7) and added 3.2 time faults on XC when they turned too early for the offset Roosters. Show jumping was double clear, even though they had a rail to spare.
An added bonus for Donna and Art was to win the Optimum Time Award sponsored by English Riding Supply. The Training Amateur division was clocked at an undisclosed place on course to determine the rider closest to optimum time.
The event was run superbly and we really had a great time. We would like to extend a huge thank you to the USEA as well as all the sponsors of the Training Amateur division:
Bit of Britain
Maui Jim Sunglasses
and English Riding Supply for the Optimum Time Award
Back To School.....
***USEA Leaderboard Update*** - Donna is no longer qualified for Training Rider bc she ran Monte at Prelim twice (she was #1 Master Amatuer Rider). Art is now 3rd for Training Horse.
Middle of August always come too soon and it's back to school and back to the soccer/horses dilemma. Seems every year it's "one more year for soccer" so we'll see how we can make it work once again.
Early August we took the three boys to River Glenn. It was a great weekend. We stabled and "camped" with our good friends Robin and Rob; and Roger joined us on Saturday. It was a low key weekend and it is always a fun event to attend.
Art and I were in sync this weekend and I gave him a good ride to win Open Training on our dressage score of 25.5. He went into the dressage arena focused and willing to give that extra effort that helps him to shine. It was probably our best stadium round and all rails were left in place.
Can't say the same for my ride on Monte, but he was a good solid citizen. I was too confident going in to XC and didn't listen to my own words of advise which I gave to Devon before she went out on XC (we were back to back numbers which made things pretty easy for us all weekend) and I didn't ride the barn jump and Monte spooked going in which cost us a run out. His first ever (since his first outing at BN).
Devon had a weekend of learnings and in spite of it, ended up in 3rd in Open Preliminary. Yes, we were in the same division and she beat my butt!
Next up is Full Gallop for Art and Monte (Devon has soccer Tournaments) and Poplar schooling show weekend before AECs for Devon. Then on to Chicago for the AECs.
If you're going to the AECs, look us up - we'll see you there!
Summer is definitely upon us.....
The last six weeks have been a total blurr. Between managing family, Art's breeding contracts, competitions, and my full time job, it is a wonder I can see straight (and even that is questionable at times!). I think it all came to a head last weekend at the Area III championships where I just could not get the job done to my "normal" expectations, but more on that later.
The end of May brought a very exciting milestone for our family when Ethan graduated from High School. We were all quite proud when he graduated along with over 600 other senior classmates. Tuesday after the graduation Devon and I packed up Dan and all her "stuff" and headed north for her annual 5 week stint at Blue Hill Farm where she works for Missy Ransehausen. I dropped her off and turned around and made the long haul back home in time to be in the office by Friday. Then I spent two weeks back and forth to CA for work, as well as a week in Vancouver, BC. I managed to keep Art and Monte going in between the flights here and there, and felt physically pepared for the Championships at Poplar Place Farm.
The weekend of the championships brought a premature heat wave to Georgia. The championship division which I ran Art in was the most competitive we had ever been up against - almost all professionals and REALLY nice horses. Unfortunatley my head was not in the game, and I made some pretty pathetic mistakes all weekend which cost us time faults on XC (two circles before the last jump bc I spaced on optimum time) and rails in stadium. Art was in great form, I unfortunatley was not. Here are the photos from David Mullinix Photography.
>Poplar Pics >>
His dressage was awesome as usual, and you can see he was jumping well, but as Mike Winter said, both rails were at the two verticals from left hand turns where I just wasn't straight (and you can see that in the pics on the first vertical; the second vertical he took from behind which is always a rider error).
It is time to simplify things a bit and regroup. Easier said then done, but necessary. Our next competition is not until early August, so that will give us time to decompress. Then we pretty much begin our fall season which includes the AECs and possibly a one star for Dan and Monte.
March and April
Spring is here!!!!!
We managed to build a Spring Competition schedule of 4 competitions in a 5 week time period. We squeezed them in between Varsity soccer games and over Spring break. As the saying goes, if there is a will, there is a way. We began the schedule with a one day at Sporting Days in South Carolina on Sunday, March 16th. Timing was perfect for us. All three boys were great, considering we worked out of the trailer all day. Whether they were tied to the trailer, backing in and out, or standing inside, they were incredibly tolerant. We had a great day with great results.
The second event in the series was FENCE the following weekend in North Carolina. Saturday's dressage was awesome. Art won the dressage, Monte put in a great Prelim test, and Devon improved on her previous test at Sporting Days. Devon and Donna were in the same Open Preliminary division. Following Devon in show jumping, Donna went in and had a fantastic round up until the final jump which was an ascending triple bar. Donna unfortunately did not half halt on the approach, and Monte misjudged the jump. He jumped into the back rail, fell to his knees and rolled on the back side of the jump. He ended up with a very sore left shoulder, but otherwise fine. Although quite rattled, Donna went in and jumped Art in the training division with a clear round following the fall. Dan and Art had a fabulous day on Sunday, going clean XC.
The third in our series was the first weekend of Spring break at Pine Top farm. We had a wonderful weekend stabling along side our good friends Cindy and Katie Philips. Monte was scratched as his shoulder was still sore. In spite of the rain on Saturday, we had great dressage tests and show jumping rounds. Art once again won the dressage with a 26.1. Cross country was a blast on Sunday. Devon ended up second in Open Preliminary and qualified for the AECs. Very, very exciting for her.
Directly following Pine Top we hauled the horses over to my sister Tracey's in Aiken for a two day visit. Since Roger had to travel for work Monday, Ethan piled the three dogs in his truck and met us over there. Poor Tracey and Jim had the Miller Brown's descend on them - horses, dogs, and all!! Too short a visit, but fun.
The final show was this past weekend at the new event, Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, GA. It is a beautiful facility and very close to home. Once again we had the good fortune to stable next to Katie and Cindy Philips.
We had rain Friday night and Saturday morning, which caused some footing issues, but the organizers did a great job moving jumps around to ensure a safe course. Monte was originally entered in Preliminary, but since the fall at FENCE, was dropped to Training. It was a tough weekend for Donna bringing Monte back after FENCE, but he got better and better as the weekend progressed and ended with a great XC run on Sunday.
Devon and Dan had a beautiful XC round and finished within the time. This was a first for both of them on their most challenging course. Art put in his usual awesome dressage test, winning the dressage in a very competitive field, but Donna's nerves got the best of her (she show jumped Monte first) and took three rails, a first for Art. Well, everyone except our good friend Cindy Phillips and her amazing off the track TB, Time To Flare, had rails. That moved Cindy and Buddy to first, and amazingly enough, only dropped Art and Donna to second. They held on to that on Sunday with another great XC run. It was great to see Cindy and Buddy win a very competitive division on their dressage score.
Next up - the ACPS Inspections in two weeks at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Art wins ACPS/USEA 2007 National Purebred Horse of the year for Eventing at the Novice level.
Our first event for this month was Pine Top Farm. We had Monte and Dan entered at Training, but had to scratch Monte due to an infected puncture which was healing, but had too much time off and wasn't ready. So, in went Art. I had not been planning to move him up to Training yet, but figured I would give it a go and at a minimum make it a combined test, knowing they run dressage and Stadium on Saturday.
The weather was spectacular - paybacks from Poplar. Art and Dan once again scored the same - 27.9 - in front of two different judges, placing them first in Training Horse and Junior Training respectively. Art scored two 9's and a WOW! from the judge on his canter lengthening. Art jumped clean stadium, and Dan had a rail, but enough of a lead kept them in first.
I walked the XC, and although a challenging one for move-up, I decided to run Art. I did not push for time, and he put in a gallant effort but 8.4 time faults dropped him to 3rd. Once conditioned, he should be able to make the time easily.
Devon and Dan had a fantastic run, finishing clean and well within the time, to hold their first place.
This is our last recognized show until March, as Devon accomplished her goal of making the Milton HS Varsity Soccer Team. She practices every day after school and has games every Friday.
We started the year well with an outing at Poplar Place Farm. Winter in Georgia is diverse. You can have warm, balmy 50+ degress, or you can have freezing rain and thirties. We had all of it. Friday's arrival was quite nice - fifties and dry. Saturday dawned grey and rainy, with the temperature steadily dropping, and the wind steadily picking up. Fortunatley we packed as many jackets and rain coats as we possessed, and the organizers let us wear whatever we wanted.
When Devon was asked about her bulky attire (about 6 layers) she stated that it was helpful for dressage and would help keep her position bc she couldnt move! Well, it must have worked, bc she and Dan pulled a 25 in dressage.
The organizers had to scramble bc the jumping field was flooded and they moved the whole course into the warmup ring. This ended up juggling the schedule, but all divisions were set to continue.
Sunday dawned frozen solid. I had to kick the doors of the truck open as they had frozen during the night. The ground was frozen and fortunately we had filled the water buckets the night before, as the water spickets did not thaw until late in the day. Cross country was not cancelled, however the ice skating ring (aka the water jump) was removed from the course. Since our horses were just going Novice and Training, we decided to continue and show jump and run XC.
In spite of the weather, Devon and Dan won JN on their dressage score, as did Donna and Art in the NH division. Monte came in a respectable 4th in OT.