The final day of competition at the Jersey Fresh three-day event was a successful one. All of the horses that I was involved with trotted up sound and passed the veterinary inspection this morning which is is always a relief at a three-day event after giving the horses a good run cross-country the day before, but thankfully it looks like all of our horses came out of it fit and sound.
Dana Diemer's Cold Harbor jumped a good round in the CCI2*. I had one rail down with him - the front rail of an oxer going into a triple - which I believe he misread a little bit because it was the only awkward jump we had on course. He finished in 9th placed, which is a credible effort considering how green he is and that this was his first time competing at this level.
My working student Caitlin Silliman went in and rode beautifully, jumping a clear round on her mare Catch A Star in the CCI2*. Caitlin made me very proud with the way she rode in all three phases this weekend and proved yet again that she is one of America's most exciting young riders and is about to become a serious rock star! She finished in second place which was a huge effort considering the competition she was up against. She now is faced with the wonderful dilemma whether to try to take the horse to the Pan-Am Games or to try to compete at the CCI*** at Fair Hill. One thing is for sure, we will be hearing a lot more about Caitlin and Catch A Star.
In the CIC2* Guypowder Valley, owned by Maddi Fleit, shared a record at this event for moving up the most places - he was in 21st after dressage and moved up to 5th overall with clear cross-country and show jumping rounds. Guy is definitely an advanced horse and I hope this credible performance will help get him sold to his next rider.
Faye Woolf's Call Me Ollie show jumped a great round today in the CIC2*, where he finished 9th. This is a bold, scopey horse that likes to take the fences on We're slowly figuring each other out and he put in a top show jumping round, unfortunately having the last rail down, a vertical out of a combination that I let him get a little too close to. Ollie and I will not be aiming for a spring three-day event for the moment as both Faye and I have agreed that he and I need to work each other out and the best way to do this is to horse trial him and train him for the next few months and then try for a three-day right at the end of the year. I feel like it was been a productive weekend together, working out getting to know each other.
Erin Sylvester's ride on No Boundaries in the CCI3* was the only disappointing part to my day. Erin has worked very hard on Bucky's show jumping and today just wasn't her day. He warmed up great and I felt she rode him well in the ring but unfortunately Bucky seemed a bit tired and had a couple of rails down, which was shattering to Erin There's one thing I know about Erin Sylvester is she is a very determined young lady and will probably be over analyzing the round and eager to get back on her horse and improve next time out. All in all I'm impressed with Erin's performance this weekend: she is competing at the highest level and starting to look like a real pro.
My final ride of the weekend was Otis Barbotiere in the 3*. The time was tight and Otis was jumping well until I let him get a little bit long and strung out to the final combination, where I needed to re-balance him a little more. He had two rails late in the course which was heartbreaking but overall he jumped a good round. The show jumping was so tough in the 3* that we actually stayed in fourth place, which was another credible effort for this horse.
The Jersey Fresh three-day event was a fantastic event and was not short of controversy. It was an interesting event which saw some of the leading riders voice their concerns to the officiating committee and there were certain aspects of the event that can improved on next time. Being a Rider's Rep, I was given the duty of overseeing the meeting between the riders and the ground jury and I thought it was a productive meeting which hopefully will improve the event next time around. For me it's always a nerve wracking moment when a rider questions judges' actions and decisions as there's always that eerie feeling that you're going to be judged by these people again in the future, so I think that it was a positive, open discussion where the riders put their thoughts forward and the ground jury's thoughts and feelings were explained after the riders.