We had a wonderful last horse trial at the Virginia Horse Trials in Lexington Virginia this past weekend. The Virginia Horse Center is nestled in a stunning setting between the mountains, affording picturesque views and amazing sunsets. It was quite something to see the light on the mountains beyond the horse center as you hacked your horse or rode over to cross country. Our horses were in fine form with Clover Joe putting in a tense but obedient dressage test, and a scrappy showjump round with one rail (my fault for not being straighter). He was going along nicely for his 4th time at Intermediate until he sprung a shoe that sunk into the sensitive part of his foot heading to fence 10, that caused quite a bit of bleeding. Huge thanks to Tyson Rementer the course builder who was there quickly to help remove the shoe, and the vet that patched him up to get him back to stabling. I am so proud of what this horse has accomplished this year moving up to Intermediate, and I can't wait for next season!
Margot Luria and Truly Fernhill showed great improvement cross country and showjumping, and with a little dressage boot camp over the winter will be ready for a move up to Prelim in the Spring. Valerie Lopez and Master Finnegan get the most improved award for battling it out over the 3 phases... Valerie is my new hero for jumping more than half of her Novice showjump round sans stirrups when she got jumped out of the tack at fence 3! Huge props to that girl!
Beechfield's Skyfall was fabulous, delivering one of his best dressage tests to date, a solid showxjump, and confident cross country round. I can't wait to move him up to Preliminary in Aiken, where I think his consistency and carefulness will really start to shine.
Massive thanks to our team at home for keeping things going and to my coaches who help me tirelessly to improve.
Lastly, our hearts were very heavy for our friends at Windurra and the owner of Crackerjack at the loss of this indomitable little horse. Its so hard to fathom, and coming from someone who rides with Boyd, there is no one more concerned for his horses's welfare than this man. I was at the farm the day before they left for Pau, and witnessed Crackers getting extra special care along with ALL the horses at Windurra; for those of you that think big operations are "cookie cutter" machines spitting horses in and out, I'm here to tell you thats absolutely wrong. Each horse is treated with the love and care of a family member, with training detailed for that particular horse that day. The staff is meticulous to leave no hair out of place, watch horses in the pastures (I saw more than 1 head turn when a horse would start running in the pasture), aisle ways clean and raked (no small feat in shed row stabling) and tack cleaned and hung neatly in the tackroom. Just because a place runs like a well oiled machine doesn't mean they treat horses like one. It means it has great leaders like Silva and Boyd who care about the best for their horses and demand excellence from everyone around them. Thank you for allowing me to be a small part of your training program. I am so proud to call you my coach for ALWAYS doing what is humane, kind and best for your horses in the best times and the most dire and heart wrenching of situations. Peace and love to all.