Monday, September 22, 2014

Plantation Field CIC*** 2014

Trading Aces, owned by the Trading Aces Syndicate, LLC. Amber Heintzberger photo

Oscar felt really strong around the whole course. I haven’t competed him since Red Hills and he’s definitely a different beast than I remember. He was quite strong and bold and felt fresh all the way around. I didn’t go to the well on him just because obviously we want to make sure he has positive experiences and stays strong moving forward. All I was worried about was seeing how he traveled today and he felt great. Personally I think this horse has all the quality in the world, but it’s courses for horses and I think he’d be well-suited for Pau, Luhmuehlen or Aachen, while I’d probably stay away from Burghley and courses with heavy ground. He’s only ten, and in hindsight I might have made the error of getting him up to advanced too quickly.

After getting him back from Phillip he’s wanting to go more, he’s looking to go at them; at a number of fences I was having to hold him back a bit more than I’d like, and I believe that’s where the time faults came from more than the fact that he was going slow. 

Crackerjack, owned by Lucy Boynton. Amber Heintzberger photo
Crackerjack has been with me for a long time; unfortunately we haven’t done much with him over the past 12 months as we were battling with a few respiratory issues. I’m very thankful to Lucy Boynton, his owner, for being patient. We’ve done a number of things to try to improve his problems and I’ve learned a fair bit from my fellow competitors who have had similar horses. There wouldn’t be a horse that I’ve had that tries any harder, and at the moment we’ve come so far, I’d like to see if we can get him up to a four-star.

Crackers was also the top finishing American bred Thoroughbred, receiving the Cayman Went award in honor of Annie Jones' successful event horse who was campaigned by Phillip Dutton. 

Master Frisky, owned by Stephen Blauner. Amber Heintzberger photo
 Master Frisky is as good a dressage horse as I’ve ever had. He’s an unbelievable mover and has a great brain. Cross-country he’s great and brave; show jumping is his weaker phase but I believe he’s a proper four-star horse and he’s supported by my longtime backer,Steve Blauner. In 12 months' time he’ll be one of the best horses on the circuit.
Pancho Villa, owned by the Pancho Villa Syndicate, LLC. Amber Heintzberger photo
 Pancho Villa was super, by far this is the toughest track we’ve faced together and he jumped very comfortably. I was very pleased with him and think this result will definitely encourage people who are interested in him, as he’s for sale. I think it proves he’s a big-time horse and whoever buys him, they’ll have a Pan-Am horse or a three-star horse, or even a four-star horse.


Steady Eddie, owned by George and Gretchen Wintersteen, Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin. Amber Heintzberger photo
I bought Steady Eddie off the track in Australia and he’s super duper careful but a great galloper. We’ve been a long time producing him up to this level and I think he’s a proper four-star horse because he can run and jump and I think he’ll do quite well at Fair Hill. This weekend he was very impressive in all three phases. Caitlin’s helped me with his dressage and Michael Walton’s been jumping all my horses while I was injured and then away, and obviously Silva has had an incredible role in producing all my horses.

SBF Cortez, owned by Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin. Photo courtesy Jenni Autry
I had a blasting round on SBF Cortez. He’s a bit of a green horse and unfortunately I got a little too competitive and went for the time. He jumped beautifully but coming to the last fence he was too forward and excited, and I really had to fight with him to get him back before the keyhole, and I got him to an impossible distance but thankfully he pulled up, giving him his first-ever cross-country fault. Shadow and Cortez are my up and coming intermediate horses and both have got a lot of quality and both need a lot more  time in all three phases; fortunately they are supported by great owners who understand that the process of building great event horses takes a lot of time.

Welcome Shadow, owned by Craig and Gloria Callen (pictured at Millbrook HT 2014)
 Welcome Shadow is originally a foxhunter; she’s a great mover and a great jumper. I was upset with her show jumping yesterday, I think she misread a lot of jumps, just because the sun was setting. She’d be one of the best jumpers I have, but she had a few down because of the glare on the fences at that time of day. Today she felt super. I’m still up in the air whether to run her in a three-day event at the end of the year or wait until next year.

I’ve got all seven of the horses I rode here entered at Fair Hill. For Shadow and Cortez I’ve got to figure out if it’s beneficial doing a two-star there or hanging out until next year. The four young three-star horses all really impressed me today and I’m looking forward to giving their first run in a CCI***.

Meanwhile I’ll be riding Hanna Lu, out of Rosa Cha, in the 5-year-old class at Devon next weekend. I’ve got my assistant riders Mike Pendleton, Caitlin Silliman and Kat Lissett all riding there as well, in the young horse classes. Even though they’re on event horses, I think it’s important that event horses compete alongside the pure dressage horses, even though we’ll probably get destroyed in the placings! It’s important to feel like you can compete against the specialists.

Silva’s also back in action and Rosa Cha is looking especially good. I’m egging her on to move back up to Grand Prix, but at the same time my understanding of dressage is much less than hers.

Today my students McKenna Shea, Lillian Heard, Erin Sylvester and Jimmie Schramm all rode well. I do enjoy watching these girls come along and helping them in the process because they are all hungry and desperate to be awesome riders and I think they all have an opportunity to be amazing.



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