Monday, May 9, 2011
Optimum Time, Horses and Teams by Danny Warrington
What a wet Fair Hill it was!!! The advanced looks like a disaster on paper, but I have to say all and all a very safe weekend. For the most part I thought everyone used their heads, but there are always a few that surprise me. The ground on Saturday was very soft. There were times it was raining and still people went for time. I think it is one thing if you make time in bad footing, I believe it’s another to “go for time”.
Some horses actually prefer soft ground and love to gallop across it, as well as a very experienced horse might find it easy to make the time regardless of the footing. Me, I decided to give my prelim horse a quiet ride let him have his second prelim start be easy, just jump the jumps, and come home safe! When looking over the results I saw a lot of riders had the same idea. The funny thing is most of those riders were riders I respect and most are people you know of. The scary part to me is some (and I say some, not all horses that made time were wrong to do so) of the horses that made time, well, let’s say maybe did so because the optimal time was ______ and that is that.
It seems to me that some people still don’t get the optimal time. Ok here goes…………… it’s optimal! That means if everything is going right you should make time; what it does not mean is, throw caution to the wind. You and your horse’s safety and soundness should not be an afterthought. If you want to know why I am on about this it is because someone asked me what the optimum time was that weekend and to be sure that should have been the last thing on their mind.
Horses they never cease to amaze me. My poor horses….. bless um’, got on a truck in Texas to ship 27 hours to Maryland, and three days later I put them back on a truck (only for a 15min ship) to go for a hack at Fair Hill DNR. They go on! They get right on. I just watched in true wonder as each of them loaded. They had no idea if they were going 15 mins, or 27 hours and did not seem to care.
I also finally broke down and got a shipping pony. I am glad I did. We have a few horses in our string that, well…… don’t stand too well on the van when left alone. I have tried to ignore it, give them hay, used the Tom Dorrance method of pitchin’ pebbles… everything but hobbles. Spike is my savior. He is a 27 year old blind in one eye pony who loves to eat hay on the truck. I gave in or grew up I am not sure which but I am happier, my van is happier, and most important the horses are much happier.
I remained quiet over the chef d’ equipe discussions. Not that I didn’t have an opinion or care, to me the whole thing was just out of my hands. I think this about the Dutton / O’Connor race. It is the Democrats and Republicans. You can decide who is who. I think with David as the coach did so well with a young team of Canadians because they have team spirit. No doubt he did an amazing job! I think he will run into a bit of trouble here in the U.S. where we have a three party system; we have team O’Conner, team Dutton, as well as team Buck! I love them all but………… truth be told it is a three party system. I do know this, David will have a much tougher time running this team then he did Team Canada, there is no doubt that this country has the talent to win medals, let’s hope that the U.S can combine the best of all its teams and united we can develop one team that has one goal! To take THE BEST HORSES AND RIDERS TO THE GAMES. Let’s become the United States Eventing Team!! Not the divided states. Good luck David!
Photo by Katherine Rizzo