Yesterday was a day of ups and downs, as is oftentimes the case at a four-star three-day event on cross-country day. Team Windurra experienced both sides of the coin today, with Caitlin demonstrating some magnificent riding around her first four-star course, contrasted with Oscar's exhausted condition and subsequent retirement three fences from home.
While Oscar was jumping with great form throughout the 11+ minute course yesterday, it was clear that he began to tire as he gathered ground on the course. I couldn't have ever been prouder to say that I work for someone who always puts the horse first, than I was yesterday as I watched Boyd put his hand up and retire Oscar at fence 26 (of 28 on course), after he assessed that Oscar was just too tired to keep going.
|Boyd and Oscar|
Oscar is clearly a horse for the future. At only 9 years old, he was the youngest horse to compete at Rolex this weekend and will clearly live to fight another day. We were ecstatic with him in the dressage, with his ability to handle the atmosphere in the Rolex Stadium with ease. He is also a superb jumping horse, with a very natural form over fences. Although he has never had to run a course as long as the one he saw yesterday, he is surely capable of it, and we will get many more chances to see him do so in the future. Because Boyd chose to save him for another day yesterday, he is sound and healthy. He was checked out by our vet, Kevin Keane, just after Boyd pulled him off the course yesterday and again late last night. He appears to have normal heart sounds and rhythm, and trots up sound.
His owners were all out there yesterday to cheer him on, and they have all been wonderfully patient and understanding, wanting what is best for Oscar. While it is disappointing that he did not complete the course yesterday, I am encouraged to be surrounded by such awesome horsemanship, both by Boyd and by the team of people who support Oscar.
|Caitlin and Hoku|
While Caitlin seemed slightly disappointed about her stop at fence 17 yesterday, I think she is, and should be, ecstatic about her ability to ride so well on her first outing at Rolex. She recovered from her stop like a veteran and completed the course easily. She has worked so hard to get here, and should enjoy every minute of this successful weekend. We are lucky to have her on our team, as she helps wherever she is needed, whether it is mucking a stall, wrapping a leg, or sprinting to the cross-
country warm up with a last minute change of Oscar's bridle. She is a true all around horse person, which is an awesome quality to see in a young rider.
We just got to the barn this morning to prepare the horses for the final vet inspection. I'm off to braid Caitlin's horse. Another update to follow at the end of the day..