Monday, February 27, 2012

Jumping Branch from Ms. Leslie

What an exciting Saturday!

This past Saturday Ms. Leslie and Caitlyn with Katie and Allison on Bill and Truffle went to the schooling event at Jumping Branch in Aiken. Laurie and Gwen ran the barn while barn hand Abby rode in the Green Creek Hunter Pace. Needless to say, we were a hub of activity!

From Ms. Leslie:
As we were in one of the two Tadpole divisions and scheduling went the usual top division to more basic, we ambled away from the barn at 8:30!
It was a challenge to figure out the horse assignments for Sat lessons without Bill and Truffle, and I am trying to lighten the load on Folly, who is in the last month of her pregnancy. I have never had a mare with her work ethic - they've always insisted on a maternity leave, sometimes 6 months of the 11! But we got all lessons mounted and Laurie and Gwen ran the barn. 
We were on show grounds about 11:30 for 1:30 dressage ride times, so plenty of time for lunch and a relaxed warmup.  Allison rode first and did a great job on her first dressage test requiring a canter, getting both leads although Truffle is more than a little stiff on one side!
Katie has shown Bill several times with canter in the new Intro Test 3, but this was her first time doing Beginner Novice test B. She had their best test to date until Bill popped a shoulder and stepped out of the gate at A. Leaving the arena in an obedience test is usually grounds for Elimination but Katie threw him back in the ring and kept riding and never lost her poise and concentration. She and I were devastated. I found the Organizer and appealed for Katie to be allowed to jump for the experience and she agreed to Stadium but not XC.
We had about three hours to walk the two jumping courses so kids would know them. The organizer had chosen to run Stadium Jumping first - the historic order is dressage, cross country, then Stadium, but you can do either and some organizers prefer to sidestep liability by going this order, and eliminating problem competitors with jumps that knock down before you go to their solid XC jumps! 
Allison rode a perfect stadium course on Truffle, choosing a mix of trot and canter in order to be accurate, as others had missed jumps through a lack of control! Katie did her best course to date on Bill, choosing to keep him cantering throughout and they landed on the correct canter lead every time!
Allison had left to ride crosscountry when I very sadly collected Katie's number pinney and went to turn it in. Turn in was not where I expected, near the score sheets, so I collected the kids' dressage tests (you get the test form back from the judges!) and glanced at score sheets - Katie was in 7th place after dressage, no big ugly red "E" on the scoresheet! Glanced at the test form, judge had docked her 2 points for an error of test! But she had not been eliminated! I shot out of that shed calling her back, we slammed the pinney back on her, and off she trotted, just barely making it to the start box for her posted start time! Missing that would have eliminated us! The turmoil was probably the reason for a refusal at jump 1, but she disciplined Bill and rode the rest of the course without a hitch. Allison had also had one refusal on course, but both girls finished all three phases, which I regard as winning.
There were lots of horse for sale ads posted on the wall near scoresheets, and in that community the lowest price was $7500, one was six horses "each fairly priced 10k - 25k". Our girls were riding lesson horses, not competition horses but they were the riders with the deepest seats, and kindest hands out there! They rode forward and had a lovely rhythm to their pace. I am very,very proud of them!

We're ALL very proud of our riders! Congratulations!

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