Saturday, May 9, 2009

Belmont Takes the CIC*** Lead after Cross-Country at Jersey Fresh

Photos copyright Amber Heintzberger 2009
Not for reproduction without permission

I’m leading the CIC3* on Belmont (pictured above), in fifth on Rock on Rose in the CIC***, Remi is 6th or 7th in the CCI3* and Shatzi is tied for bronze in the CCI2*. With horses in all three divisions, the courses all took different paths, so it was quite a handful focusing on which course I was on and giving it the best ride.

I rode three Warmbloods and one Thoroughbred today. The ground was a bit sticky and that labored Shatzi and Remi especially – I felt them getting tired about halfway around. I had them fit enough, but the ground sucked them down. Remington is still pretty green – I found it a bit hard to get a rhythm on him because it was a stopping and starting type course on the CCI***.

Belmont did well at Fair Hill and I was eager to ride him at Kentucky, but Kate is trying to get pregnant and married and wants some cash so she asked me to take him to a few horse trials and try to sell him which is why we’re here instead.

I’m still riding for Australia here… I’ve actually been knocked about by the FEI with my nationality. One of the rules is you have to live here for two years, and they had some questions about my tax returns. I think they’re trying to make it a bit tougher to switch nationalities. My mum was born in Springfield, IL and I have dual citizenship. Sara Ike was trying to get it through and I’m hoping by Bromont I’ll be riding for the Stars and Stripes.

Recently I’ve sort of broken away from working for Phillip and now Silva and I are renting the 16-stall upper barn from him; we’ve got a deal where he’s training me and I ride some of his horses when he’s away in exchange for the help. Sometimes it can be awkward when you break away from working for someone - there can be a weird feeling - but we’ve been golden.

Today I rode Rock on Rose wearing Bruce’s colors from the 1978 World Games – his helmet cover and body protector. I’ve been riding a few of his horses and it’s been great fun. I got the rides when a good mate of mine, James Allston, from England was riding the horses and decided to move along, so I got the big call-up from Bruce which was a fantastic honor. It’s been good….and terrifying! He yells at me a bit and puts the jumps up pretty high, but it’s been good. He was chasing me the whole way around cross-country on a golf cart today – I think I heard him yelling a few times.

Sadly Phillip had a fall with Bailey Wick, (pictured at right) and lost the horse today. I think it was an unfortunate thing for Phillip where he got to the fence a bit wrong – nine times out of ten you get away with it but today things didn’t go his way. It was an unfortunate moment, and Bailey Wick was a wonderful horse. I was lucky enough to compete him while Phillip was away last summer and he was a really class horse. I think we’re in a sport where you’re riding a horse at high speeds at a fixed object, and these things are bound to happen occasionally; if you looked at the horse’s history it deserved to be here, it wasn’t as if the horse or rider wasn’t up to the level, it’s just one of those moments in the sport that is dreaded, just one of those things.


More photos coming soon!

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