So I really tried to blog throughout my weekend, but the internet at the house was not working well enough :( But anyway Ocala was a weekend with a lot of positives. Murphy put in a stellar dressage test for him at socre a 56th to land him in 11th out of about 40 horses. I was so pleased and Jen Holling said she rode the best I had seen and didn't give a point away! Yah for me!
Cross country was overall very good. It was a tough course and Murphy seemed to jump around like a champ. I did decide to take the option at the bank complex and opted to circle before the brush offsets since time was pretty easy to make. Murphy was awesome through the brushes and went I jumped up on the bank I was sure I could make the line, but I opted to be safe. He was then really super at the water and felt like a million bucks. Towards the end of the course we had a bounce on a mound down to a skinny toothbrush wedge. Well I rode strong up the hill to the bounce, Murphy jumped A and then stopped at the B element. I think he was quite surprised by the drop and it spooked him a bit. I then galloped around and jumped back into the gully down to the wedge and he was super good. I was obviously very disappointed, but I still think it just a question he hasn't seen much of. Otherwise Murphy was a super star man and came home with just the 20 penalties. Murphy looked great on Saturday and was really good at the jog on Sunday. Man has he grown up since the his first jog at the Midsouth CCI* a couple years ago when we took off bucking and squealing...
Anyway showjumping was quite good as well. I had two down, but I don't think I have ever ridden a course thinking about every stride as much as I did. We had fence two and three down which was a vertical 5 strides to a oxer. He just ticked the vertical behind and I sat down a little two early and then somewhat chased him down to the oxer. After that he was much better and really jumped his heart out for me. Now Murphy is on a little break and we will see what the future holds.
All of the students are doing really well, which is very exciting! Over at Windchime stables, we had dressage practice day which was quite entertaining. Riding a correct 20 meter circle is harder then it looks! I have two horses that are coming for training and a couple coming for sale. Things are busy here but Murphy is enjoying his vacation and his time with his favorite donkey Nick! Here are some pictures from cross country and from the competitors party!
Nutrition: Key to Success... a night of grilling and hamburgers the day before a big event, I couldn't ask for much more thanks to Alex and Tony. I had a great jump school of Murphy yesterday with Jon. We worked over a very big course with all the usually questions, bending lines, combinations, exc. and he was quite good. Jon gave me some last minute pointers to help put all the pieces together for hopefully a good round on Sunday.
Today we had jogs and a competitors briefing. Murphy looked nothing less the spectacular and behaved himself like a grownup horse :) Then I took a nice stroll around the park and I must say that the course is pretty beefy and a true test of the level. There are plenty of combinations and enough to keep Murphy and I on our feet. I will have pictures of the course and such tomorrow. I then watched some epesoides of Modern Family (a great way to pass a 90 degree day) and then had a very good flat lesson with Jon. Murphy should be ready to put in a superstar test tomrrow. We ride dressage
This past weekend, Murphy and I traveled up to the Fork Horse Trials in Norwood, NC. Jim & Benadette Cogdell have the most beautiful farm I have probably ever been too. It is absolutely world class, the footing is unbelievable, and everything runs smoothly with the help of an amazing staff and a great group of volunteers. Needless to say, it is one of my favorite events. The original plan was to just come to the Fork to help some friends and bring Murphy as a non compete horse and take lessons with Jon Holling as he was there competing with two horses. But since Southern Pines showjumping didn't go as planned, I decided that it might be worthwhile to run the combined test to get as much practice as we can in the dressage and showjumping. Looking back is was a great tuneup for Ocala and just what I needed to focus on Murphy for next weekend. Thursday PM I had a great lesson with Jon and felt like we were able to fix a couple things for Friday. I had a very steady test with some great moments and of course there is still some room for improvement. Murphy's canter work was quite good with all 7, 8, and even a 9. The trot work is still a work in progress, but I feel by the end of the year, it will be scoring better and better. He scored a 36.4 and landed us in the middle part of a larger division.
Showjumping on Sunday was just what I needed to feel confident for Ocala. Murphy warmed up quite well, and I felt great going in the ring. I rode a steady round and really concentrated on my canter quality and rhythm. We ended up having two rails, one at the first, and then a vertical towards the end of the course. I have had experience with having the first rail down quite a bit, and I think Murphy gets somewhat distracted and I don't have the canter I need until later on in the round. With the vertical, Jon had made it clear to not jump not in the middle because the stripe was gray and blended in with the footing. Well I came around the turn, changed the canter and jumped the middle stripe. Opps. Overall I was pretty pleased and look forward to a good weekend at Ocala.
Today Lisa is coming out to give Murphy and Dillon a massage session before we head to Ocala. Dillon will go back to his owner after his 6 week training period tomorrow and Murphy and I will head to the Hollings for a jump lesson Wednesday afternoon and then to the horse park. Hopefully I will have internet and will be able to keep everyone updated on the CCI**.
"Be so good they can't ignore you" - Steve Martin