Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Southern Comfort

Phew WE MADE IT! How one person can pack so many clothes and other miscellaneous belongings (alas less than last year's attempt at "consolidating") to take up an entire truck??? Thanks in large part to my wonderful girls at the barn, the horses and myself were packed and made the 7 hour trip to Southern Pines, North Carolina - Defying Gravity Eventing's destination event in March. Embarking on our great adventure was Louie and his fabulous rider (and DGE student Kelsey), Woody (who would be competing in his first event ever - at training), and the superstar advanced pony Willy. Kelsey and I arrived at the Carolina Horse Park with just enough time to walk the training level cross country, since our dressage and cross-coutnry would be run the following day - and times were pretty tight. Willy was also set to do dressage, but would run one phase each day (friday, saturday, sunday). The course looked rather small, but definitely asked some challenging questions - particularly with this being Kelsey's first outing of the season and Woody's first event ever! Both Kelsey and I were left wanting in the dressage arena. Woody put forth a great first effort, but I know there is so much more in this horse! I am so excited about his future - unfortunately he is a rather large horse and the arena is quite small, and he became a bit overwhelmed by the atmosphere, which then made my job more "entertaining" shall we say? This winter I have been completely revamping Louie and Kelsey's dressage - and it is always a challenge to let go of old habits in the competition arena. For the first test of the season, I was a proud mama! We have lots of room for improvement, but hot darn are they on the right track. Willy's dressage was such an improvement over our Pine Top performance. He was focused, and actually allowed me to ride him through the movements instead of holding our breath. His score was in the low 40s, and again I was quite pleased with the little superstar! Cross-country for the training horses went beautifully. Louie skipped around the course, making it look like an easy novice - a testament to some darn good riding. Woody made the course look like child's play until we had a bit of a steering issue at a turn to corner. No big deal though, I am SO SUPER DUPER EXCITED about this horse - it was by far the most fun I have ever had on a cross country course. He really shines in this sport, and this horse has all the makings of something truly special. Louie and Woody also show jumped well, Louie pulling one rail to finish in the ribbons, and Woody pulled a couple - mostly due to fatigue! A great weekend for these two, and I am so excited for all that is to come! The rest of Willy's weekend was nearly textbook. The advanced cross-country was eating people alive. Most of the first advanced division fell off at the water, but Willy made it look like an easy gymnastic exercise. This was by far the biggest and most technical course we have tackled in quite a while... and while we snagged a silly runout in the last combination, I was so proud of this little guy! There are quite a few youtube videos that surfaced after the event of Willy going through the water. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJDePKdqYP4 - check that little pony out! Show jumping was amazing yet again, although Willy was feeling a tad on the fresh side! He had one unlucky rail at the very end of the round, but otherwise beautiful - especially since most of the other horses went bowling. Yay for advanced super ponies =)

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