Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 1: Whirlwind with a Purpose!

WOW, what a day! We started, as is our custom, with a pilgrimage the Quillin Leather and Tack in Paris, KY. I really didn’t NEED anything; I have several of their great halters because they last forever….but they had just introduced green halters, and Paddy IS Irish, and our colors ARE green and black (he already had a black halter)…so I succumbed. The green halter will be shipped to me at home.

We got to the horse park just in time to watch Mary King’s ride, and it was wonderful. I LOVE that she is a woman who is, shall we say, in the “long stirrup” division (that is, she’s close to MY age), and she still approaches eventing with the giddiness of a child (but the serious nature of a true competitor!). She had a super ride….and then we were off to the Ecogold tent to meet Patricia and see what the events were for today.

I found out that Patricia had scheduled me to talk with Glenn the Geek from the Horses in the Morning Radio show tomorrow at 9:30! How much fun is that? I’ve corresponded with GTG since he worked for BOB….and he was THE FIRST (to my knowledge) to do ANY type of equestrian podcasting. So my appearance on his latest program is quite an honor!

I found out that my “private” coursewalk with Hannah Sue Burnett will be at 3:15. I cannot wait!

After finding out where HRN and Ecogold tents were, Cynthia and I hustled back to watch some dressage. I took some notes, and once again, noticed some patterns:

• Event horses don’t do transitions as well as “real” dressage horses. Could we work harder at that? Or is it the “nature of the beast”/sport?
• Still a lot of blown/late flying changes (and a few flying airs above ground!)
• Part of the test was to halt and back….and a lot of horses didn’t back well
• Only a VERY few horses had a true “square” halt, something ALL the “real” dressage horses have.
• From our perspective, the shoulder in seemed to be MORE than a horse’s chest
• Since many of the horses were so tense/tight, there didn’t seem to be a lot of bending.

I enjoyed watching William Coleman and Twizzle; he is SUCH a quiet rider! Twizzle was very obedient, and he was one of the few that, while tense, was able to bend around his rider’s leg.

I fell in love with Kelly Prather’s Ballinakill Glory; what a GORGEOUS ISH mare! I thought they had a better test than they scored.

In the afternoon, before my course walk, I was able to spend some time with Peter Atkins, of “Run, Henny, Run!” fame. A nicer man/eventer you will never meet. Cynthia and I chatted with him for 30 minutes or more….he’s having a tough time of it now (Henny had colic surgery not long ago, and there are other, extenuating circumstances)…but Peter’s bringing Henny back slowly, and the two should be (I hope) back in action in the near future.

Before the coursewalk, we watched the afternoon horses go. Like William Coleman, Kim Severson was a joy to watch ride, though I get the impression that Tipperary Liadhnan is NOT the easiest ride (though yet another really fine, balance, under himself ISH…I’m lovin’ those Irish horses!). Still, Kim is quiet and directive/supportive, and the pair ended up in 4th place at the end of the day, just after Twizzle and William Coleman.

But the highlight of the afternoon was watching a local Texas treasure, Heather Morris ride at her first Rolex with Slate River. I’ve watched this pair locally, and I know that Heather is a formidable competitor, but this is ROLEX. Even the best can choke.

Heather was brilliant. Aside from a break in her extended trot and a few late/hoppy lead changes, she had a really nice, consistent test, and she finished the day in SEVENTH PLACE with a 50.8!

I’m SO PROUD of them. Pictures coming when I can take a breath! In the mean time, GO TEAM EXPRESS!!

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