Monday, March 23, 2009

Southern Pines

Photos courtesy of Kat Netzler/The Chronicle of the Horse and Sam Poole

This past weekend wrapped up our winter eventing season down south with the Southern Pines II horse trials in North Carolina. I rode three horses in the advanced: my usual rides, Benwald and Remington, and a catch-ride called Isabella II, (pictured below right, photo courtesy of Kat Netzler/The Chronicle of the Horse) who is usually ridden by Susie Beale but Susie was undergoing knee surgery, so I was fortunate to get the ride this weekend to keep her going, since Susie is planning to take the mare to Kentucky.

Remi won the dressage and Isabella was third. Benwald had a fantastic test but the judge was a little unjust, I thought; I'm not sure what the reasoning was behind some of the scores. He got 4's on the medium to extended trot and the horse didn't do anything wrong - for a four I'd think he's be tossing his head or really acting up. He was tied for seventeenth after dressage.

It was quite unusual to go eventing with no rain, considering the past couple of events, but conditions were perfect this weekend. The cross-country courses were tough and beautiful, probably the toughest Remi has seen so far. I didn't go flat-out with any of the horses, I just gave them good comfortable rides. It was a good preparation for Remi and Benwald, who are both doing the three-star at New Jersey in May.

In the show jumping Benwald had one rail but jumped around well, finishing seventh overall. Remi has been jumping well, but he lost his concentration and had three rails down, also finishing seventh in his divsion. Isabella was fifth in the same division with the round of the day; she was amazing, just really turned herself inside out to get over all the fences without touching a rail.

Belmont II won the intermediate B division with a 37.3. I had hardly sat on him since Fair Hill last fall. His owner Kate Dichey has been doing the training on him and brought him down in time for me to ride him the day before the event. She's done a fantastic job and he won quite comfortably.

Shatzi, my homebred mare, is just going intermediate and it was a real sizable test for her. It confirmed to me that she is a four-star horse in the making, but in the end she had a heart-breaking rail that cost her second place, to finish third overall with 49.3.

Minotaure du Passoir finished second overall in the prelim with an outstanding effort and a score of 36.9. In training I rode Vidalia, who has been placing consistently at the top at this level and finished fourth with a 29.

For complete final results click here.

Also during this event was a fantastic retirement ceremony for Will Faudree's partner Antigua. They had a pretty moving ceremony for him. He's been a wonderful horse for Will, and I've known Antigua since he was competing in Australia. He's been phenomenal and to watch Will, who's a friend of mine, retire his horse was very moving.

I'm driving the horses I rode at Southern Pines back to Pennsylvania, then heading right back to Aiken for another truckload. Next weekend I'm teaching a clinic in Maryland with Kate Chadderton, and then in April I'm riding a bunch of horses at The Fork CIC in Norwood, North Carolina.