A few miscellaneous photos from the weekend at Pine Top Farm.
A few miscellaneous photos from the weekend at Pine Top Farm.
Pine Top Farm ran their Spring Advanced Horse Trials over my last weekend in the US. The Friday was actually my day off but I didn’t want to miss out on the action, so I was up at 4am to get the Big 5 – Mr Medicott, Mighty Nice, Atlas, Fernhill Fugitive and William Penn – loaded and on their way over to Georgia.
The weather that morning was pretty miserable, and the start of classes was delayed for an hour by an electrical storm that hit just as Phillip was getting on his first horse of the day. The rain didn’t really let up, but the show must go on, and as such a lot of horses did their dressage tests in some fairly wet and muddy conditions.
Fortunately by mid-morning the rain seemed to have passed, and the rest of the day ran quite smoothly, if not a bit muddily. Mighty Nice posted one of the only clear SJ rounds of the day on quite a slippery course, and Phillip elected to finish the day on a good note and not run him XC. Atlas posted a decent dressage score, but had a couple of uncharacteristic rails and some disagreements on the XC course led to him dropping down the leaderboard.
Mr Medicott, Fernhill Fugitive and William all produced some lovely dressage work, and were due to complete their SJ and XC over the next two days, which luckily were much sunnier than the Friday. I had a blast over the weekend grooming the horses and helping out in the warm-ups – it was very interesting to see the different warm up plans that Phillip had for each horse, according to their individual personalities and behaviours. Mr Medicott most certainly loves his job and gets pretty excited heading to the start-box – that in itself is a multiple person task!
While there was plenty of rushing around to make sure every horse was spotless and ready to be in the right place at the right time, there was also a lot of nice downtime that I got to spend with the boys that I’d grown so fond of over the past 3 months.
The highlight of the weekend was Jack (Fernhill Fugitive) taking out first place in the Intermediate – he was very consistent over the entire weekend and showing plenty of promise for a successful season ahead.
I’ve done a lot of volunteering at events over the years, either before or after my own ride times, or on those disappointing weekends where you’re not in the saddle for one reason or another… you know the ones, where Darling Horse has managed to appear slightly off-colour or sore in the lead-up, just enough to make you question their health and withdraw from the event. Of course, they then end up 110% sound and happy on dressage morning after you’ve scratched. Sigh.
This year though, I’ve tried to fit in a lot more so that I can keep up with all the eventing news and give back to the sport a bit whilst I don’t have a horse to ride. I really miss being out there riding, but helping out is definitely the next best thing. I spent this past weekend jump-judging at Eventing Equestriad in Camden – one of my favourite events on the calendar. The courses are always beautifully built and a bit challenging, and even though they receive masses of entries, they manage to fit everyone in and keep the weekend running with military precision. The VIP tent is always well patronised at Camden – it’s great to see Australian eventing trying to encourage more spectators and supporter involvement. I’d thoroughly recommend to anyone who is thinking about volunteering to check out this event, because you are always very well looked after… I think I needed to run the cross country course myself to burn off all the snacks and food that was provided to the jump judges!
Cross country jump judging is my favourite volunteering past-time – I certainly can’t complain about soaking up some sunshine and watching all my friends gallop round! You get to see the best and the worst of eventing, from the perfectly ridden lines where horse and rider don’t seem to exert any extra effort at all, to the near misses and catastrophes from those less-than-stellar approaches, horse & rider arguments, or just plain bad luck. You can definitely learn a lot about what not to do!
I was fortunate enough to only have to deal with a couple of minor falls this weekend, with both riders up on their feet immediately and needing no assistance. The serious crashes are certainly the worst part of the job. There’s nothing more chilling than trying to keep a rider conscious while waiting for the ambulance… the dangerous nature of our sport really hits home at times like that. Fortunately, those moments are few and far between, and every event committee does their best to get riders home as safely as possible.
All in all, it was a great weekend, with a number of my friends bringing home ribbons. Huge props must go to Shane Rose who flew back in from England in time to win the 3* and both 1* classes, as well as being an instrumental part of the organising committee!
Check out the wrap-up from An Eventful Life here – http://www.an-eventful-life.com.au/eventing-news/eventing-equestriad-camden-nsw/shane-rose-human-dynamo …
…and the full results here – http://www.nominate.com.au/equest/results/Equestriad_Sept.html .
Unfortunately only a couple of photos from this event – I managed to leave the camera battery sitting on its charger at home, so had to make do with crummy phone photos.
For my first real post, I thought it would be a good idea to give a quick background to the special horses I’ve had in my life over the years.
I got my first pony, Muffin, when I was 11 years old. He was a 13.2h Australian Saddle Pony, and the very best pony a girl could hope to learn to ride on. After about two years, when I could no longer deny that I had outgrown him, I moved onto Shem, a 14.3h arab gelding. Shem was one of those wonderful jack-of-all-trades types, who could win one day in the show ring and the next at an ODE, or spend hours trail riding with nothing but a string around his neck.
My next horse was Solo, a 16hh 5yo OTTB. He was my first green horse, and taught me so much (mostly what not to do!). He was a very willing and forgiving horse though, and we had a lot of fun doing a bit of pony club, showing and eventing, until he was sold on to a lovely new home a couple of years later.
Next in line was Dex, a 16.2hh OTTB who had a very successful career on the track, and was a little more of a typical TB than Solo was. He was an exceptionally talented horse, with beautiful movement and a freakish jump. He was bought by a professional rider who spotted that talent and took him quickly up the levels where he became a successful 2* horse. He is now based with a young rider in WA.
And last but certainly not least, is Freddy, a 16.1h TB. Fred had competed successfully up to Pre-Novice with a professional rider, and I was lucky enough to have 5 fun-filled years with him. He had a mind of his own and liked to spend quite a bit of time playing on his back legs, but we still had a lot of success in eventing, dressage, SJ and a bit of showing on the side.
Unforunately I lost Freddy in a traffic accident at Christmas time, 2012, and he has so far been irreplaceable. He was a very special boy and took up a huge part of my heart. Life has been quite dull without his cheeky antics keeping me busy!
A blog has always been one of those things I thought I should eventually get around to doing, and now an upcoming overseas trip has given me the perfect excuse to finally start one!
Follow my adventures as I cross the globe to experience the American eventing scene firsthand. Expect equestrian news from Australia, the USA and beyond, with more than a little emphasis on equine fashion and style.
Rider. Writer. Runner.