Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From West Grove and Beyond by Jackson Roberts

Well this post is quite overdue so pace yourself because I have a lot to catch up on. The most notable event that has happened since my last blog post was the party of the century, Lillian Heard's going away celebration. This party was hosted by the WONDERFUL Cuyler and Katie Walker at their lovely Rolling Plains Farm. The night was highlighted by the surprise appearance of Ashley Adams. Myself and Steph smuggled Ashley in to the party via a plastic container on the back of a John Deere gator. I think Lil was very impressed with her present. The party ended up going on until about 2:30 a.m. by that time everyone had either been thrown in the pool or jumped in on their own terms, I was thrown in! One thing I did learn is that at 2:30 in the morning gas stations don't pump gas!! All in all it was awesome and it seems that Lil has already taken Ireland by storm!

Also since my last entry I competed at two events with Percy, Millbrook and Waredaca. At both events we competed in the training. I was extremely pleased with the way Percy went at Millbrook. He galloped around the cross country full of boldness, maybe too much at times. I wasn't quite sure how he would show jump after cross country as this was the first non one day event that we had done; however he jumped a superb round and we slid in to second place just behind the great Karen O'Connor in a very competitive field. The next weekend we were back out at Waradeca. I got a little neverous in the dressage ring and pushed him a little too much. I was very upset with myself and take full responsibility, my horse does not deserve to have that score on his record. I was able to put that poor performance behind me and jump an awesome clear show jumping round. I felt that at Millbrook he got a little too strong so I used a different bit that helped me elevate him to stay more uphill and soft. The new bit was awesome and he had a great trip around the cross country. This weekend we head to Senaca for our last training and then hopefully the big move up to prelim at Plantation Field in a few weeks time.

Speaking of Plantation Field, the event will be even bigger and better than before. This year Plantation will be unveiling there new state of the art arena with Tapeta footing and a new water jump sponsored by Dubarry boots. The footing this year should be great as I myself have aggregated the turf and we have been having lots of rain including a visit from Irene last night! Denis Glaccum and his team are preparing to truly put on a world class event. If you are interested in visiting Plantation in Unionville Pa, please check out their website at www.plantationfieldhorsetrials.com

Now for my last chapter I would like to step away from eventing and talk about Fox hunting. I have a had the great privilege to ride with Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Fox Hounds this summer. Katie Walker originally invited me to ride with her fabulous hunting trainer Dave Leinhauser. Dave is a wonderful horseman and I am trying to soak up as much of his knowledge as possible. Cheshire's season begins in July with hound exercise which is basically just hacking out with the hounds. The season now is just on the brink of cubbing, so the hounds are actually hunting the foxes a little bit and the pace of the hunt field has picked up and some jumping too! When I first started going out in July I had been riding some of Katie Walkers hunters, but she has since referred me to her friend Kate Martin. Over the past few weeks I have been riding Kate's wonderful young horse Hershey. Hershey is just a little baby at four years old but he is already showing off all his class by jumping some rather large three railers in front of the whole field. I have also been riding another young horse for the Martins who is coming along quite well in the flat work department. I feel so blessed to have this wonderful opportunity to ride in such beautiful country side on a great young horse with superb owners. I can't wait for the season to progress as the runs get longer, faster and more jumping to be had. I think I will be forever grateful to the wonderful Katie Walker for setting me up with the Martins and introducing me to the Cheshire hunt. There most definitely is no place more beautiful than the view from between a horse's ears looking over the hills of Unionville!

Kick on,

Photo of Jackson jumping Kate Martin's Hershey