I have just arrived home early Monday morning from a great weekend at Richland Park. While everyone on the East Coast was hunkered down in the fury of Hurricane Irene, competitors at Richland Park were lucky enough to enjoy perfect weather and footing out in Michigan. The event served as the selection trials for the Pan Am Team, so the competition and pressure was intense! I took Bucky to Richland to compete in the CIC***, and Parris went along for the ride to compete in the Training.
The weekend started off well with the dressage. Both horses tried hard and had good tests, despite being wound up from the twelve hour drive. Bucky's test was lacking engagement in his trot work, so we will look to improve that in the coming weeks. Parris tried very hard during her test and took the lead in her Training Horse division from the start.
The cross-country courses designed by Ian Stark were forward and challenging courses for all levels. As many of you know I have had some tough luck getting started this summer with Bucky, so I was looking to have a confident and smooth ride on him. Parris is still green at the Training level, so I was looking to give her a good ride and have her jump around clean. Both horses exceeded my expectations, jumping around the courses with ease. Bucky finished the 3* course with about eight time penalties, reflected mostly in the time I took to give him good rides at the larger fences on the course. He did not blink at any of the challenging combinations on the course, which was a great feeling to have! Parris jumped well into both waters, which was the challenge we had at Millbrook. Both horses recovered well from the cross-country and were ready for the show-jumping.
I have been working with Anne Kursinski this summer to improve my show-jumping skills, and I was pleased to see the progress made at Richland this weekend. Parris show-jumped clear with ease which was very encouraging to see. This was the first weekend Bucky has had to show-jump after a rigorous cross-country run, which makes him harder to ride. I was very pleased with his round, just having two rails down. He felt nervous in the warm-up, as he usually does after a big cross-country run, and he went into the course and was trying very hard and jumping well. My goal is to get to a point where we are jumping clean, and right now I am confident we are moving on the right track.
The other big news of the weekend is Team Lily's newest edition, Maggie! She is an eleven-week old puppy I adopted while at Richland, and she clearly brought me some good luck for the weekend!
We will be changing gears and heading to the Jumper Show at Ludwigs Corner this Monday for some practice in the show-jumping ring. Next weekend we will be headed to the Fair Hill Starter Trials and Bucks County Horse Trials. Stay tuned!