Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fair Hill From a YR's Perspective by Arden Wildasin

Wednesday: The jog day with nerves going through the air.

The horse that I got qualified is Mandar who is competing in the CCI**. Today was the jog. I see other competitors riding their horse in the morning so they get used to the setting over here at beautiful Fair Hill. I head back to the barn where they have begun checking if you have a blue wrist band on. I am able to go straight through! In the barns, horses have started to getting their final bath and some have started to get braided. A lot of jokes are being passed around with lots of laughter at the end. I take Mandar aka “Gus” for a long stroll before heading over to the jog. We all seem fine.
We are at the jog and and nerves are defiantly in the air with some horses getting held and not passing, while others are being accepted on their first go. I’m on deck ready to go, Mandar looks and seems fine. I go to the longest jog strip. I jog up it and then back down. Everyone is silent - I get held. It was nerveracking for all of us. The vet said that he was sore, but we worked out of it on third jog before representing him. He passed with flying colors... On with dressage for tomorrow!

There was a hoedown Friday night. It got a little wild towards the end of the party with Nat Chambers dancing on the table and helping Jimmy Wofford who was auctioning off the teams for this weekend.

Thursday: First day of dressage:

Fair Hill without rain, I don’t think so. This morning it was cold and the sun was trying to break through the clouds, but when the fifth horse entered the ring of the two star the rain started, lightly at first then harder and harder. At first people thought it would not rain, but by 10am the rain gods were against us. It has been raining for the whole day. The only thing I hope for is that it will somewhat lighten up...that is all I ask. It did lighten up at the end of the day. Gus and I did not have our best dressage, but we gave it our best effort.

Friday: Second day of dressage

I was able to watch some dressage rides. There were some spectacular tests put down by the CCI 3*’s that were breathtaking to watch. I went around the cross-country course again, looking at new lines to ride and each time I finish I am amazed how beautiful the course is. You walk it and it is over three miles long. Today was windy but no rain!

Saturday: Cross-country

I woke up early one last time to walk to course with Phillip Dutton. I went back to the barn and it was quiet, people were working away on their horses while I was getting nervous about going out on course. So far everything was riding great, no big problems. Thanks to Jan who helped me warm up before going out on course. Phillip gave me some last reminders and Gus and I were ready. Out of the start box we went! I was out on the course for nine minutes. The longest course I have been around. I crossed the finish flags and I was so happy. Getting around with a double clear was amazing. The ten minute box went by fast. Colby, Gus, and I were back at the barn icing away in no time. We were able to take a break for Gus to chill out and for Colby and I to watch some of the 3 star riders go around. At night people were jogging horses to see what else needed to be done before putting them to sleep.

Sunday: Stadium

Sunday rolled around quickly, riders and grooms were at the barns by 5am doing the last minute icing. The jog was at 9am and I passed without needing to go the hold box! A lot of horses were being held, but passed at when the were represented. The stadium course was BIG, long and technical. I was in 14th place going into the stadium. Gus was jumping high. He did not want to touch anything! We finished the course and I was in Heaven, I could not believe that I made it to Fair Hill and even completed it on my dressage score! That was unreal. I ended up being 11th just outside of the ribbons, but I was the National Young Rider Champion.

Well Gus I know is now deserving a long break out in the field in warm Aiken, South Carolina!


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