Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Fever and Other Things by Joe Meyer

Kia Ora
Apologies about this blog being so late. Plenty has happened since my last blog.Topliner won us our first Mini Prix and we have been to Chatahoochie and Full Gallop.Chattahochie was great as ever. The grounds and stabling are quite incredible. The slow roasted Brisket was also a real highlight for someone new to the south like me! 

Sponsor plug this month is Equilibrium
They make a fantastic range of Tri Zone boots as well as many other products. The all sport boots have been brilliant in Florida in the heat and the sand. And another favourite sponsor ECP They make the best saddle and correction pads around. Mostly in merino wool. There is a new range of Air ride pads for GP, dressage and jumping. They dry in minutes and are a must for the heat. 

Summer Training
Olympic fever is on us now. It's always an exciting build up from start to finish.
Selections as always have been controversial. The Australians have been in uproar over their team and understandably.  Resident Australians want a home grown team. Their selectors have chosen some current form and experience.  Hamish Cargill has written amusing articles about the fact. He maintains that they are down now to a bunch of Lorry drivers  The facts are.... Australia has 15 eligible combinations for the Olympic games. This is no mean feat for a nation far from the eventing Mecca of the northern hemisphere.  This depth that has been created is to be applauded. If Aus does not fire this Olympics then look out next WEG and Rio De janeiro.  America will have a strong team in Phillip, Boyd and Karen. I'm really pleased to see Will Coleman there and am apprehensive about Tiana.  My reason for this is I know the events in Europe very well and would like to see her with more consistent form. I do however understand that the Olympics is a game of 5 players. Dressage position is key and risks must be taken.  Germany and Great Britain have awesome strong teams. People talk about Micheal Jung being beatable but I will stand corrected if anyone does put one round him.  New Zealand has mustered what they can and it's not to bad either. The home grown is being saved for later and the team have been working hard.   Mark and Andrew are legends and the latter has a great horse. Jock Pagent on great form. Let's hope that he does not get overexcited in the show jumping like at Rolex. Caroline is a fantastic friend and fierce competitor. Jonelle Richards as determined a person you have ever met. I wish them all huge luck. Good luck also to my Brazilian best friend Ruy Fonseca. Also I can't quite believe the situation of Carlos Paro. He was called up to Greenwich only to find out his accreditation was not filed properly and was sent home. I can't even think of what he is feeling now.  On a personal note I'm sad I don't have horse power and form for this Olympiad but look out Rio!

I have been teaching all around the Eastern United states lately. I have made some great new friends and have some fabulous new students. Thanks to all in Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Right now I'm on my way home from Maryland. On the way up last night I was sat next to a really cool big bloke called Dan from Nashville, Tennessee. He was in the music business. Believe it or not we had lots in common,  him helping young music stars and me with riders. It was fascinating. Now I'm on the way back. I'm next to a lady with a cat! That's right her cat is in a little crate between her legs. At least he's well behaved . I dread to think what our adopted cats One Eye and Junior would do on a plane! Definitely soil themselves.  

Riding with Dad
My beautiful daughters Lexi and Vivi are here in Florida right now. It's been a great summer for  them so far. Disney world, Silver Springs water park, riding Snip and swimming at home. So pretty tough for me too! Thanks to Jen Carter in advance for what think will be a pony mad friendship between Lexi and Riley Carter.  

That all for now. I will blog again soon after the Games and will cohost  the eventing radio show with Samantha Clark then too. I'm really looking forward to that. 

I will be glued to the Tele over the next few days. Good luck again to all my friends and may the best man/ woman win. 

Harae ra 

Monday, July 23, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours by Lauren Lambert

Fair Hill 2009

As the Olympics are rapidly approaching, a lot of people are questioning if London will get a break from the rain.  Weather is a huge factor in eventing.  We don't have all weather cross country surfaces.  Rain and mud is part of the game.  I'll never forget my first time to Bromont trying to qualify for the one star at Young Riders.  It was an odd situation because I had already done Young Riders at 15, but afterward I was burned out and took a year and half break.  When I came back to riding, the qualifications had expired and Bromont was my only option to qualify. So we made the 21 hour drive over night to Quebec.  Then it started to rain.  And it didn't stop.  Many people withdrew, but I wasn't about to.  Baba Creek and I set out of that barn to do battle, but I wasn't prepared. 

That year at Bromont was the year before Derek DiGrazia took over, and we had to gallop to the top of the mountain.  Dad mentioned before I went out to take it slow out there and go clean, but when Miles hit the base of that mountain and wanted to run hard against the rain, I let him dig in.  By the time we reached the peak, everything was a sheet of white, I could hardly see.  There were only two jumps at the peak of that mountain and I had a run out both of them!  We descended from the mountain without a qualifying score.  As we packed up Sunday night, Will Coleman came around the corner to ask how the weekend went.  I told him about how I didn't ride well in the rain, his response stuck with me- he said  it wouldn't be the last time I would ride in the rain.

Fast forward three years, Fair Hill 2009.  Baba Creek and I are contesting our first three star.  The memory of walking out of the hotel Thursday morning seeing the rain pouring from the sky, it still makes me cringe.  This wasn't like the Bromont rain, this was a bone chilling Nor'easter.  Everything was a mud pit, especially the stabling and parking.  40 degrees and non stop down pour.  As I made my way to warmup Saturday, Sue Burnett told me to let my horse gallop on top of the mud.  As we set out, I did my best to find some turf to gallop on rather then slop.  Miles went all the way around that course but was pretty exhausted by final water complex and slithered over the roll top in.  That was the only time Baba Creek ever ran out of steam.  He was one sore puppy Sunday morning.  We passed the jog, and warming up for show jumping Jimmy told me to go in, ride forward, and my horse would forgive me... Ha! Already being a tad not careful in the show jumping, Miles and I went in there and had NINE rails!  We plummeted from top ten to 25th.  It was pretty mortifying, but the moral got better after a sip of wine and being awarded the highest placed first timer-AKA the only one crazy enough to run their first three star in the worst conditions possible and actually complete.  I can laugh about that disastrous show jumping now, especially after hearing Buck tell about his first Rolex show jumping when he only left two jumps up.  At one point, his horse jumped through an oxer and the front rail went over the horses head and landed balanced in Buck's lap!  He had to toss the rail aside to continue.  All kidding aside, cross country at Fair Hill that autumn left a scar.  Maybe it was the fact it was my first three star, but riding in those conditions and getting around was like going to battle and walking out alive.  Being out there on the front line, left with memories which only others who were there could understand.   Baba Creek would never have to run in those conditions again.  I probably will, but now at least I have some sold experience.

So will the weather be kind to our Olympians?  Who knows!  Weather is a huge factor in our sport; you gotta get out there and ride in the worst of it.  If you want to be at the top, sitting out when the going gets tough isn't going to get you far.  Eventing Is tough and the weather can make it down right scrappy.  Our team is made of hard working people who have trudged on in the worst of it, and come out the better for it.  I am very excited to cheer team USA on. Good luck to Tiana, Karen, Boyd, Will and Phillip - hoping some good weather finds you at Greenwich Park, but if not, you guys got this anyway!  Go USA!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Charlie Plumb Eventing Sweats It Out

Charlie Plumb, Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek

Hi everyone! The lack of internet connection at my apartment and trying to keep from dying of heat exhaustion has prevented any blogging on my part, but I’m making an attempt to get back in the groove of writing. I believe the last time the CDP Gang was published, it was March and we were gearing up for Southern Pines. Obviously, a ton has happened since then... so I’ll just hit the highlights! 

Charlie’s top student, Lizzie Snow, completed her first ever Advanced horse trials on her wonderful partner, Coal Creek, at Southern Pines II, a course that gave a lot of riders a lot of headaches. Lizzie then finished 10th in the Advanced division at the Fork Horse Trials, and we had a lot of fun cheering her on! She heads to Young Riders next week and we are all excited for that! Also, Ard Denzil completed his first CIC** at Chattahoochee Hills in May and finished 3rd, which was VERY fun to be a part of. Ardy is pointing towards Fair Hill this fall and has continued to grow throughout the summer, now resembling the mammoths in the Mammoth and Mastadon exhibit that I attended in Huntsville, Alabama.  I’m not entirely convinced there wasn’t a mammoth in his bloodlines like, way back. The resemblance is unsettling. I don’t know how mammoths jumped, though. It may be worth researching.

Hayley Smith and Charlie in the Vet Box
Our co-barn manager, Hayley Smith, completed her first CIC* (also at Chattahoochee) on Anne Hennessey’s old campaigner, Benwald. Chatt Hills is one of our absolute favorite venues and we always look forward to going there. Speaking of favorite venues, this year was my first time at The Fork and I think my favorite part (I’m sure Hayley would agree) was getting to be neighbors with the Michael Pollard crew and playing with their dogs. You guys probably don’t even remember us, but you are amazing neighbors and we miss Sophie!

Since then we’ve stayed home in Southern Pines, roasted, and complained a lot about the heat. Sportsfield Wildcat has started his career in the USA with two Novice schooling horse trials early in the summer, and we are excited to take him on the road this fall! Hope you all are staying cool and enjoying your summers! See you on the road!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Geriann Henderson Tops Her Weekend In Grand Form at Rebecca Farm

Geriann Henderson and Kingslee took home the win in the PRO Tour Series Advanced Division at the Event at Rebecca Farm. They took three rails in the round, but were given plenty of breathing room by Heather DuBois in second place who also had three rails down. Geriann capped off what she described as an "unreal" weekend with Kingslee who jumped his heart out for her. As both are fairly new to this level Geriann plans to get more experience over the course of the summer and fall.

Kristie Nunnink led from start to finish to capture the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series with her very talented Holsteiner mare R-Star. Kristie credits Bruce Davidson, with whom she has been training over the past winter, with giving her the confidence to really perform well at this level. Florence Miller and Tuscan Sun won the CCI** and Emilee Libby and Nonsensical captured the CIC**.  For full results from Rebecca Farm follow the link.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rebecca Farm Advanced - Day Two Leader Geriann Henderson

Ian Stark's courses always require commitment and forward riding, and most riders look forward to challenge of his courses although they usually have to deal with nerves when they first view the bold fences that they are faced with on the track. Riders who tackle the questions posed come home feeling like their horses improved all the way through the course and have grown in both confidence and maturity, and this is exactly the kind of feedback that the Scot likes to hear. Saturday the crowds came out to Rebecca Farm to watch riders tackle the cross country course. By the end of the day everyone had been given a true education on the kind of preparation and riding it takes to navigate the courses successfully.

At the end of the PRO Tour Series Advanced Divison, it was Geriann Henderson and her own Kingslee who survived the test unscathed with the only penalty free round of the day to take over first place on their dressage score of a 54.0. The Advanced Division took its toll on the rest of the field with rider falls and technical eliminations. Heather Dubois and Every Wish was the only other pair to complete the course in a division which is much smaller than usual this year. Geriann, who is an amateur from Florissant, Colorado described her round as "unreal, more than I expected"and was so excited that her horse Kingslee handled the course with such ease.

Kristie Nunnink and R-Star continued their fine form to lead the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series in the CIC***division at Rebecca Farm. Tamra Smith and Top Secret, owned by Krystie Bush, also had a penalty free round in the CIC** division to maintain their lead. For full results please click on this link.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

PRO Tour Series at Rebecca Farm Day One

Sunrise over XC at Rebecca Farm
The glorious Montana open skies welcome all competitors to the unparalleled venue of Rebecca Farm once again this year. Montana Equestrian Events and the Broussard family always put on an outstanding competition, and although the field is smaller this year due to the large numbers of riders based in the United Kingdom preparing for the Olympics in London, it is sure to be another exiting year at Rebecca Farm with new course changes by Ian Stark.

Yves Sauvignon and Ruth Bley's Sanssouci put in a very steady dressage test to score a 38.7 giving them the overnight lead in the Advanced Division, part of the 2012 PRO Tour Series. Yves was doubly rewarded by also winning $3,500 in the SSG "Go Low For The Dough" promotion. The contingency bonus award had increased substantially when there were no winners at the Bromont Three Day Event in June. The SSG bonus award was not won in the CIC** division, where it is restricted to amateurs, juniors and young riders, which increased the SSG contingency bonus award to $3,000 in the cross country phase for that division.

Kristie Nunnink leads the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Division on a 50.6 with her own R-Star. The hombred 11 year old Holsteiner mare has been a longtime partner for Nunnink and their partnership continues to get stronger and more refined each time they come out. Tamra Smith currently holds the lead in the CCI** with Top Secret owned by Krystie Bush and Jordan Linstedt holds the lead in the CIC** with her own Revitavet Capato.

Rebecca Farm full results and live scoring - link

Photo - Courtesy of Rebecca Farm