|Caitlin and Remington XXV Photos courtesy EventingNation.com/Samantha Clark and Jenni Autry|
For the first time since I came to America I was purely a spectator at Jersey Fresh. I must say I think they had a stronger event than I can remember: the footing was great, the course was well-designed and we saw a large entry of quality combinations. Even more exciting, there was a huge batch of new faces competing there for the first time.
The highlight of the weekend for me was sitting back and watching my assistant rider Caitlin Silliman compete Ron and Densey Juvonen's Remington XXV superbly in all three phases to win the CCI2*. Even though Remi is a seasoned campaigner, I can assure you it takes skillful riding to achieve the results they did, especially in the jumping phases. After a couple 'shonky' show jumping rounds in the lead-up to the big event, Caitlin and Remi definitely got it together yesterday to put in a clear round and win the event.
Caitlin also rode my up and coming star Steady Eddie, owned by Gretchen and George Wintersteen along with Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin. This was only Eddie's 3rd Intermediate start and I really threw Caitlin into the deep end at this competition. Eddie jumped beautifully and Caitlin rode to instructions, taking her time around the course and building his confidence for when I return to ride him again in a couple of weeks.
|Phillip and Crackerjack|
Phillip Dutton rode two of my promising CIC3* horses, Colin Davidson's Crackerjack and the Pancho Villa Syndicate's Pancho Villa. Both of these horses are extremely green at the advanced level and Phillip did me a huge favor taking them around a serious track. Crackerjack showed his class this weekend but had an uncharacteristic bobble at the water, reading a four-star hedge at the water and having a run-out, but he's shaping up to be a top-class horse.
|Phillip and Pancho Villa|
A big thanks to Phillip who did me a massive favor by riding both these horses while I'm hobbling around on crutches.
Finally I would like to congratulate a couple of riders I've been lending a hand to apart from Caitlin: Lillian Heard rode brilliantly in the 3* on Share Option and definitely showed her four-star potential. Erin Sylvester and Sara Gumbiner both rode their young, up and coming two-star horses brilliantly and will also be a force to be reckoned with!
Whilst not riding I got to take a close look at all of the top horses and riders this weekend. All of the horses that are about to embark on their international ventures to Saumur and Aachen looked brilliant. I am also starting to get the feeling that the WEG team next year will possibly be the strongest team the US has come up with since my arrival in this country.