Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Old Kentucky Home by Lauren Lambert

Back to the Bluegrass and home again.  I broke up the trip home from Florida with a stop at Chattahoochee Hills.  With all the buzz happening at The Fork, it did feel mildly disappointing not being in North Carolina... Until I pulled into that heavenly property in Georgia.  It turned out to be a great weekend, but a big whoulda coulda shoulda.  Fine With Me ran his third preliminary and won the dressage, then went out on XC feeling great.  I crossed the finish line with a big smile until it was announced I sadly left out jump # 13, a jump on top of the hill before the water.  This horse has been amazing all winter, with a 1st, 2nd and now a TE at his first three attempts at prelim.  I brought him out Sunday and he jumped around the show jumping like a dream.  Marc Donovan set up a really fun track which started with a triple bar to get the horses going and a course that encouraged forward riding.  It was definitely the funnest track I have ridden in a while, and I think the horses enjoyed it too.  It has been an honor and joy competing 'Frank' this winter, but his owner and my Aunt Margie will be taking back the reins now with goals to begin competing him in her first season at the preliminary level. 

Honour Mission also went to Chatt Hills, competing at training level.  This was his best outing to date, and less a rail at the very last jump, he would have returned home with a win... And that's how this sport always leaves us wanting more!  Honour's future isn't clear yet, as his owner has yet to decide if she wants to continue riding or let me continue campaigning him.  Either way, this winter is now history, and I feel great about the job I have done with all the horses.  I put my heart into each one of them, and I must give praise to the great feeding program Hallway Feeds has provided the horses.  

Now that I am home, I will admit I am feeling very unsure about how the rest of the year will go (I need to remind myself as I write this I have not even been home for 24 hours!). Loosing the ride on Frank is tough.  I am in turmoil considering relieving Baba Creek from his duties at upper level eventing. This horse has been an amazing XC horse and has given me so much confidence in that phase, but I don't know if I can continue to ask so much of him.  After riding these other horses this winter that have so much jump, I am in complete awe of what Miles has done for me considering the lack of scope he has.  Thoroughbreds have so much heart.  

At this point, I am looking for somewhere to rent so I can accommodate more horses because my mother simply doesn't have any free stalls.  With a very promising farm falling through, I feel very down, but the universe works in strange ways and I have faith everything will work itself out.  I hope to find a place where I can establish myself and begin to set a foundation from which I can build a business and take in some sale horses and horses in training for clients.  In the mean time, I feel lucky to be back in Kentucky where some of the greatest horse sporting events in the world are hosted each and every spring!  Hope everyone can make it to Kentucky to get the full experience!

Photo cred- xpress foto
Margie Darling's Fine With Me @ Rocking Horse

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dutton Makes It A Double With Two CIC3* Wins In A Month

Phillip Dutton and Mystery Whisper continued their magical spring run by winning the PRO Tour Series CIC3* at The Fork with a clear show jumping round that left little doubt that this horse should make the U.S. selectors very excited about the summer ahead. Arden Wildasin's lovely dark bay gelding has the movement, scope and jump to make him very competitive in London. Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master capped off a fantastic weekend with a clear jumping round, which saw them move into second place when Marilyn Little-Meredith and RF Demeter dropped a rail to finish third.

Allison Springer and Arthur put in a very solid show jumping round to take the Adequan Gold Cup Series title in the Advanced-B Division, which should make them very pleased as they head to Kentucky in just a few weeks time. Sinead Halpin and Manoir De Carneville continued their fine form to finish second. Michael Pollard also continued his winning ways, this time with Schoensgreen Hanni in the Advanced-A Division and Danille Dichting and Tops showed fine form to move up into second place.
Karen O'Connor never left any doubt that Mandiba and RF Amber Eyes deserved their first and second overnight placings and the leader board remained unchanged with Marilyn Little-Meredith also jumping a clear round on RF Smoke On The Water.

As is often the case at The Fork Horse Trials, Captain Mark Phillip's course proved to be a real test of preparation and fitness for rider's aiming horses at Rolex and Jersey Fresh. The PRO Tour Series CIC3* saw a fair number of changes in the standings after cross country as three areas proved very influential. The main water complex saw many horses jumping boldly into the water making it difficult for some to make the related distance to the corner. Riders opted to take the long route at the corner when left with little time to reorganize and make the distance. Trouble also awaited at the sunken road, especially for horses that jumped in bold, and more than a few pairs had glance-offs at the double corners alongside the water complex on the way home.

After the leaderboard shake up, Phillip Dutton and Mystery Whisper continued their phenomenal showing this spring and maintained their lead going into Sunday's show jumping. Marilyn Little-Meredith and RF Demeter showed their determination to get things just right and moved into second place, followed by Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master who continued to show their strength with a lovely, fast round. As the rider with one of only five double clear rounds in the CIC3*, Rebecca took home the SSG "Go Low With The Dough" contingency bonus award money of $500 today. No Winner of the award in the CIC2* allows for a roll over in tomorrow's show jumping valued at $2,000 for the lucky young rider, or adult amateur wearing SSG Digital or Eventer gloves.

In Saturday's Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced-B Division, Allison Springer gave Arthur a fast and positive ride to maintain the lead over Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville who simply ate up the course. Becky Holder and Courageous Comet lie in third, and Becky looks to be riding at the top of her game with Comet who is always a crowd favorite. In the Advanced-A Division Michael Pollard and his beautiful mare, Schoengreen Hanni showed their grace and class as they navigated the course with ease. Kate Sameuls and Nyls Du Terroir and Danielle Dichting and Tops lie second and third respectively in that division. The CIC2* was the first division to go in the early morning sunshine and Karen O'Connor didn't let go of her first and second placings with Mandiba and RF Amber Eyes. Marilyn Little-Meredith and RF Smoke On The Water also maintained third place going into the final phase.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dutton and Faudree Tied For Lead In PRO Tour Series CIC3* At The Fork

Will Faudree and Phillip Dutton laid down the gauntlett and tied for the lead with Pawlow and Mystery Whisper on a 39.6 in the PRO Tour Series CIC3* at The Fork Horse Trials wrapping up two days of dressage. Michael Pollard and Jude's Law, overnight leaders, drop to third in the division before what is expected to be a stiff cross country test for all pairs Saturday.

U.S. Team selectors are out in full force this week and The Fork Horse Trials is providing much to see with the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Competition in the Advanced-B Division, led by Allison Springer and Arthur. In the Advanced-A Division which was scheduled today, Will Coleman is in the lead on a 25.9 with Ideal Contini followed Michael Pollard on Nathalie Pollard's grey mare Schoensgreen Hanni and Jon Holling and Downtown Harrison in third.

U. S. Captain Mark Phillips and Canadian Team Captain David O'Connor both have hands full with all riders on deck and cross country course walks scheduled this afternoon. Spectators have weathered the inconsistent climate changes today, but have been very enthusiastic about the fantastic pairs of horses and riders competing and at least the birds have given up dive bombing the dressage arenas in the cool and windy conditions. Perfect conditions are forecast for tomorrow's cross country with cool weather and sun.

Phillip Dutton is sure to have a smile on his face this afternoon as he has won $2,000 in SSG "Go Low For The Dough" Contingency Bonus Award Money in the PRO Tour CIC3* Division, wearing his much used pair of white SSG Digital gloves. The bonus is sure to be a help in a year when funds needs to be raised for Olympic hopes and international competition. Unfortunately for Will Faudree, who is tied for the lead, he was not wearing the designated gloves.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

PRO Tour Series: The Fork CIC3* Day One

The PRO Tour Series CIC3* at The Fork Horse Trials got underway today with half the field having ridden, Michael Pollard and Jude's Law Lead the CIC3* on a 41.3 followed by Karen O'Connor and Veronica in second and Marilyn Little-Meredith in third. The theme of the day has been nothing less then perfection. Riders were shockingly disapointed with scores in the low 20's.This mindset proves the American obession with excellence. With the Olympic Games on the forefront of not only the riders' minds but the selectors, sponsors and educated onlookers, the horses might be picking up on the heightened excitement. This underlying pressure could be the reason for the normally cool cats literally rising to the occasion.Today's competiton easily opens the door for Friday's competitors to fight for the title of PRO Tour Series CIC3* champion and Advanced-A Division leader. This enthusiasm should provide for an exciting cross country day and will keep USA honest in the team they send to LONDON.

The USEA Adequan Gold Cup Series is running with the Advanced-B Division and Allison Springer and Arthur not suprisingly sit in the top spot with a 22.7 followed by Becky Holder and Courageous Comet with Sinead Halpin and Manoir De Carneville lying in third. The "Shooting With The Stars" Team Clay Competition, with twenty three teams this year, provides a unique blend of sporting prowess and excitement with rider scores from both advanced divisons throughout the weekend being added to the overall clay shooting scores for a sidebar competition that adds additional prize money to the competition and integrates both outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kia Ora From The Globe Trotting Kiwi Joe Meyer

Joe & Topliner

I'm in the airport again. Close my eyes and sounds like I'm in Barcelona. Open my eyes and I'm actually in Miami. I'm on my way to a clinic in Pennsylvania. I have a two hour layover here in Miami. Airport food normally makes me puke but I have found a nice little place for breakfast and my spanglish is coming in handy skinny guy ( me ) manages to snag three seats on the plan next to three fat ladies all in together looking envious. Have done my best spreading out act, well practiced on Transatlantic flights to stop anybody moving in. Starting to like this airline.....

Red hills was quite the occasion. A great event and fantastic hospitality. One little whinge on the first day was the dusty arenas. The bloke on the drag was wearing a mask. Good thinking! I choked my way through the first day. The rest of the event they were really good. I can't quite understand the pro rata pay parking system. $200 for premium with no water or hook up seems foreign to me. Perhaps Red Hills could do something about this for next year. 
Slagging off aside. Red Hills was a fabulous event. The going as first class and we even ran Violet Rain around barefoot! 

Classic Imp placed second. He is ever consistent with a prize every time out and why nobody has bought this horse yet is beyond me. Violet Rain had her first preliminary for third prize barefoot and all. She has now been sold.  Sarah Masachie snapped her up. I still get to compete her from time to time which will be fun. As they say you can't beat a good mare and she definitely is one of those, even going on to win her first class at a hunter show two weeks later with her new owner.  Lough Rynn also had his first prelim and Alexander his second. They were both very good but just out of the money. Many thanks to the sponsors and organizers. We look forward to Red Hills next year with some upper level horses and sporting our fancy new Maui Jim sunglasses.

My Clinic at Groveland Farm the following weekend went well. Only one person cried (not my fault) and no air jackets blew up. Strange how this can be the measure of a good clinic! I have now some great new friends and students. I have another XC and SJ clinic there on Memorial Day weekend. Check my website for info.  Many  thanks to Jill Lukens and her family 

My foray into American Grand Prix jumping has had some mild success. Although I'm still pretty wet behind the ears when it comes to the rules here. Not knowing I had to stay in the ring to jump off was a new experience at GP level. We must have looked a bit Mickey Mouse learning the course at the ingate! Anyway Nora Macdonald Yaney's Topliner jumped an awesome double clear for firth place in our first effort at HITS. We will now move up to the $25.000 level around here and maybe take him with us if we travel north for events this summer. 

I was disappointed to hear and read the criticism of the Karen O'Connor top hat drama at Red Hills. I strongly advise wearing a protective helmet at any level of riding. Until the FEI rules change it is still up to the competitors own choice as to whether they wear a top hat or helmet. Some may call the critical comments a pro active way to get helmets on heads, and others would call it peer pressure and bullying. It's still a choice and  freedom of choice is a quality that I very much admire about the U.S. Let's not let the U.S. turn into a nanny state like many other countries have become. 

This months sponsor plug goes to ECP and MacWet gloves Equine Comfort Product ECP. Do a massive range of Saddle and half pads in merino wool. They have just released a synthetic cross country pad called the 'air ride pad'  It's similar to the competition  E.. G... ( any guesses?) I tried one last weekend and it as great. Give it a go you will be converted. MacWet are my long time glove sponsors. I used to just strap them on for XC but now I use them everyday. They are just brilliant for the hot and humid conditions here in Florida and the U.S. and they truly are non slip. 

Rocking Horse came and went last weekend with another prize for Classic Imp. He will now take his chances against the dressage queens in the CCI1 star at Ocala. Lough Rynn  got a gold star for his XC effort and seems to be quite a natural and also came home with a rosette.  Tulip who is the niece of Snip is still wild and unruly and if she takes as long as Snip to develop I can expect a good dressage test in about three years!  It was a little more quiet this weekend without Texans there. They have gone back to their own country, Texas,  to be world famous in... Texas. I do really like it when everyone is down in FL so see you again next year. 

For all you people who think that us professionals don't fall off much well you are very wrong. Bruce Davidson and Kyle and Jen Carter kindly let us use their XC facilities. A galloping horse and me walking  sheepishly behind has become a more regular site. I hope everyone got a few laughs and only my pride was hurt.

It's warm down here in FL now but life goes on and we are off to show horses in an hour. I think I will have a quick swim first though. 

Until next time. 

Hare Ra 

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Joe Meyer 

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