I apologize yet again to all our followers about the delay in posting about Defying Gravity Eventing's wonderful end to the 2009 season.
2009 has been a year of incredible highs and lows...but as we all know, this is the way with horses! The year started out perfectly, in hindsight probably too perfectly. Willy qualified for the NAYRC** team with a flawless performance at both Poplar CIC** and Fair Hill CIC**, and Deacon was one of the top 10 USEA training level horses. Not too shabby for a Young Rider, who is also enrolled full-time at Wake Forest University, and working on the side!
The summer brought a near career ending injury for Willy, puncturing his knee at a local HT. Despite our best efforts, it was in Willy's interest to put our dreams of representing the U.S. again at Young Riders behind us. With wonderful help from our two vets, IRAP injections, and the aqua-tred facility at Normar Farm... Willy made a slow but stead recovery. After completing our rehab program, Willy felt better than ever.
Returning to North Carolina, I had two very fit, restless horses ready to make their mark on the eventing scene. We started off with both horses competing at Training level at Five Points Horse Trials... and to my surprise Willy and Deacon went into show jumping in 1st and 2nd place. An unlucky rail dropped Deacon to 4th... but a clear but exuberant round from Willy allowed him to lead the victory gallop! Next the boys were off to Paradise Farm where Deacon placed 3rd in the T/P division, and Willy was 7th in a very competitive preliminary division. Tryon was another big event for the boys, Willy repeated his win of the I/P division, and Deacon gave the prelim a good go! Both boys had disappointing dressage tests, but stellar show jumping rounds. Unfortunately with the incredibly difficult preliminary questions, Deacon was a little too overfaced and I pulled him up at the 2nd to last fence. Regardless he learned much at Tryon, and really showed how he has grownup in his last event at Virginia.
Halloween weekend was spent at Virginia Horse Center. Willy competed in his first intermediate post-accident, and what a performance indeed! We went into the dressage ring with a purpose, and came out in first place! Willy never looked back posting a clean and fast cross country, and a fabulous show jumping round. Brian O'Connor - the announcer at Virginia - said over the PA system "you show those bay TBs and Warmbloods who owns THIS arena." During Willy's victory gallop "I Believe I can Fly" was playing over the PA system... it was a moment which I will forever cherish. To have come this far and accomplish this much with Willy, despite all the odds against us, is a miracle. Willy has added so much to my life, he is such a blessing to be around...even in his grumpy pony moods.
Deacon was not to be outdone by his older brother. He was 7th out of all the starters in the preliminary division after dressage. The cross country was incredibly challenging, but Deacon showed his courage and jumped all the jumps and answered all of the technical questions right away! Since it was his second attempt at prelim, i did not ask him for a big gallop - instead we settled into a comfortable pace. Even with our time penalties, Deacon moved up to 6th place after XC. Another unfortunate rail at the last combination in show jumping dropped him to 7th place... but despite the groans from the crowd, i couldn't have been happier!
With Willy winning 3/4 of his event's after his injury, and Deacon completing his first preliminary horse trial the boys had some well-deserved let-down time. I will post another update soon as to our winter 'boot camp'!