Last weekend at Red Hills was a fantastic test for the three horses. I finished 2nd in the 3-star with the Neville Bardos Syndicate’s Neville Bardos and won the Open Prelim on Colin Davidson’s Crackerjack. It was my first complete US competition with Otis Barbotiere, owned by the Otis Barbotiere Syndicate, LLC and he cruised through the OP to finish in 6th place.
Even though I only had a small group of horses there on the weekend it was a great opportunity to focus on the three of them and I felt they all got their best out of the experience. Sometimes when I have a number of horses at an event I use the competition as an outing to give them experience, and don’t push them to their maximum capacity in all three phases. Every now and then I try to limit myself to a smaller group of horses and practice really get the best out of them in all three phases. Red Hills was one of those events.
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Neville came second against some red-hot horses and riders and it was good to get Otis and Crackerjack out against some top competition and get a better understanding of what they’re like at a show. In a perfect world it would be great to put this much energy into every horse at every event but logistically it’s impossible to get to the event a couple days early every time.
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Another positive coming out of Red Hills is the second production of the Boyd and Silva training videos. Josh Walker of the USEA filmed two competition-related videos: the first one is on dealing with the tense and nervous horse during competition. One of the hardest things to do is get a relaxed, soft dressage test out of a fit and fired-up event horse. This video features tips I’ve learned over the years for getting the best out of the hot horse including secrets for the warm-up and things that can make the difference between a tense test where you can’t wait to finish and a soft relaxed performance.
The next video is about the cross-country warm-up. Traveling around the USA I’ve seen a lot of lost looking expressions in the cross-country warm-up. I talk about timing, what sort of jumps to jump in the warm-up, and every detail for preparing for a successful cross-country round. I think this will be helpful to everyone who is curious about the ideal cross-country warm-up.
Our winter in Aiken is starting to wind up: at Pine Top this weekend I’m riding six horses in training, a number of whom are also for sale. Early next week half of my group of horses will go back to PA with Silva and Lillian and then I’ve got nine or ten horses running at the Southern Pines Horse Trials.
Photos property of Lisa Thomas for Mid-Atlantic Equestrian Services
Syndicate Owners Please contact Lisa for copies of photos!