Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hickory Top Spring 2011 By Leslie

Wow!  We had a houseful of kids Fri night. While I had said 4 AM was sufficient, I heard alarms go off all over the house at about 3. By the time I had breakfast at 4, the house was empty - they were gone to the barn!  The teenagers had spent several days texting and phoning and organizing - saddles, bridles, extra cross country bits, whips, even car assignments for the trip down and back!  Horses were groomed and saddled, and loaded onto Nick's and my trailers. We were rolling through the back gate at 4:53!  Target had been 5!
We made good time and were at Hickory Top about 7:30, target had been 8. First rider went at 8:30. I did dressage warm ups, Emi and Katie did cross country course walks, Laurie did stadium warm ups, though really we all floated a great deal and tried to be everywhere! With 12 riders (8 on my horses!), that was 36 warmups and 36 competitive tests!
We were 7 of 9 Pre-Tadpoles and the organizer, Mable Johns, broke it into 2 divisions so everyone would have a chance at a ribbon.
Pre-T  A was Allison, Soline, Eden, and Anna.  Allison rode a really nice dressage test on Pan. Soline and Bill moved smoothly through their test. Eden had chosen the very green China, but gave her a grand schooling ride. Anna and Cricket were a little excitable.
After dressage, it was Soline, the nonScotsgrove 2nd, Allison 3rd, Eden 4th and Anna 5th.
Pre-T. B was Kayce, Thea, Morgan. Kayce was tense last time and she and Dimples steeplechased out over the ring fence - three times! Once eliminated them, but Kayce was tough enough to keep coming back and to finish her test. Six months of hard work and she faced the same arena on the same horse. It was not the same Kayce, and they did a very nice controlled job with the test!  Thea had elected to take Spirit before she outgrew him. I was dubious, but she was determined and we went from runaways in the ring at home to controlled performances. She rode a dressage test that scored 6's and 7's on most movements ( the range is 0 -10, 5 being "sufficient", 10 being perfection.) I did not think the pony had that kind of day in him!  Morgan did a very nice job with Folly in her first time out!
They stood Kayce and Morgan tied for second and Thea down as third on the scoreboard.
Junior Tadpole was Leah and Brit. Leah had not had much ride time the last few months and Brit got a new horse for Christmas who has not done this line of work before. The prize list had called for Test B in dressage and that's what we prepared. 10 days before the competition the organizer called to say "Misprint! Test C!"  Both girls elected to learn the new test and produce canter circles,  instead of step down to walk/trot and PreTadpole. They were in a division of 7 riders. Leah does a very nice job with her mare but the lack of ride time and prep time told, while Brit and "Reilly" stood in second.
In the Senior division, Lindsey and her "Bailey" stood second!
Caitlyn and Skittles went Special Novice, with canter in their dressage test and were third of 6. Abby and "Wager" were Beginner Novice and had the best dressage test of their careers together!  Stood second in a division of 7 and beat a horse who was advertised for sale on the scoreboard for $8500.
Cross country went smoothly for Pan and Allison and they remained in third. Soline and Bill also "got her done!" Eden and the very green China completed, Anna and Cricket completed.   Kayce and Dimples had 2 refusals, Thea and Spirit were eliminated, and Morgan had three refusals at different fences. Coming from jump judging at Rolex, I misinformed her that 3 refusals would eliminate. At that level it will, at our level it's 3 at one fence or 5 total on course to eliminate.  Leah was eliminated Cross country, Brit had 2 refusals. Lindsey and Bailey had an uproarious good time flying around most enthusiastically!  It put them into first!  Caitlyn and Abby both had falls from refusals and were eliminated.
Stadium also took a cruel toll. Allison and Pan eliminated, as were Anna and Cricket. Soline stood first with Bill and Eden second with China. Morgan was eliminated but Kayce finished second! Brit and Reilly finished second! Lindsey looked down to pat Bailey between fences and missed the line to her next fence and got a technical refusal, knocking her from first to second.
But the team work all day, and the sportsmanship, was exemplary. Good kind riding and taking responsibility for the outcome, not blaming the horse. These are after all lesson horses, not competition horses. They can go and give the chance to participate reasonably safely (nothing in eventing is "Safe"). Kids had worked very hard to prepare, rode well and learned a great deal by participating, and had fun. Before we had loaded to come home, there was planning and jockeying for horses for December! What to change, what to work on....  There were 26 at the victory dinner at Olive Garden, some sleeping in vehicles after dinner, but horses were taken care of, trailers cleaned, tack cleaned and put away and everything put to rights before they went home. Amazing kids! I DO have the best kids in the world!  :)  Thank you all!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rolex Wrap Up: Jackie

We started out on our adventure Thursday morning.  The Scott's Caddy decided it didn’t want to make the trip to Kentucky. (Me on cell phone:  “Hey Leslie, do you know your car is smoking?!)  Bob and Leslie back tracked from Hendersonville to Lyman to get the truck which turned out to be a good thing considering how hard the group hit the trade fair (saddles anyone?). 

Our car continued on and after lunch we stopped by Bass Pro Shop in Sevierville, TN and Bob and Leslie caught up and passed us.  Patti, Lou, Brit, & Sidney drove up Thursday night. 

Friday was on to the Kentucky Horse Park for dressage.  It’s amazing how so many people in a grandstand can be so quiet while a horse is in the ring.  All the horses got big rounds of applause after they finished their tests.

The Prince Phillip Cup for Pony Clubbers was also going on, which was very interesting to watch.  And then there was the trade fair with lots to look at (and buy of course).  Most of the crowd didn’t venture past that point but we went over and checked out the draft horses and the Hall of Champions.  Bob, Leslie, and Lindsey had a judge’s meeting Friday evening and were assigned jump 5.

Saturday was cross country day.  Bob, Leslie, & Lindsey had to be at the park by 7:30 and the rest of the group followed later.  We drove in each day down Newton Pike so we could drive past the horse farms.  Miles of 4 board plank fencing & horses grazing.  Horse lover’s paradise!

We parked near the main entrance & Lee, Emmi, Caitlyn, & Sidney went by the breed barn and rode the mechanical horses. One trots and the other canters and they apparently rode the canter one out because it was “lame” (i.e. out of order) when Lee, Lindsey & Katie went by Sunday morning.

Jump 5 was a good hike out but worth it.  It was a 3 jump combination with “A” jumping into the water, “B” jumping in the water, & “C” jumping out of the water.  Leslie had the best seat in the house.  NBC's camera was across the water from her.  Several of the Scotsgrovers walked the entire 4 mile course (some more than once).  I specifically wanted to see William Fox-Pitt and Lindsey wanted to see Mark Todd.  There were some falls on cross country but no serious injuries.  At the end of the day Mary King was first and second with her two horses.  The British team held 4 of the top 10 spots.  Did the Royal Wedding inspire them?  A very exhausted group got together for dinner Saturday night.

Sunday morning Bob & Leslie had breakfast with an old friend of Bob’s – Tish.  Bob said Tish had forgotten more about foxhunting & horses that most people will ever know.

I was shopped out & retreated to the grandstand and was eventually joined by Bob and then the rest of the group.  We had rain & storms Sunday morning but it dried out as the day went on.  We were able to watch the competitors walk the course, which was very interesting.

The Pony Clubbers brought the flags out for the participating countries.  One poor pony took one look at that huge crowd, got stage fright & and had to be escorted from the ring!  The nation & state colors were presented by the Lexington Mounted Police on two big grays that look like Molly.  The top 6 riders were show live on NBC this year.  Of course, two of those horses were Mary King’s, who finished first and second.  This was a first for Rolex.  There were lots of commercial breaks.  The Governor of Kentucky presented the winner her Rolex watch & winning check.  After the celebration ended we headed home. We had a wonderful time!