There's no other way to say it other than I'm obsessed with the horses I have to work with at the moment.
Each horse, and myself especially, have plenty of homework to do in order to be more competitive but each and every horse is so promising I still can't wrap my head around it. There are far fewer horses than normal in the yard right now but nothing other than horses you can't help but be encouraged about.
Last Sunday I was out with Sacramento 'Jackson', Ballyorney Taipe Rouge 'Frenchy' and my own Glidawn Master 'Rio' in Limerick at Crecora. It was Jackson's 4th Intermediate event and we had our best dressage test to date at any level, and he jumped around the cross country like an old stager yet again. He has a lot of mileage show jumping but didn't do his first event until last September, and I still can't get over how simple he is. He has loads of movement, our dressage scores aren't as competitive as they will be with more strength and mileage in the ring. He's uncomplicated to jump and genuinely loves his job — we had a pole down show jumping Sunday due to my own sloppy lead change before a set of planks, but it was only the second rail he's ever had eventing so I'm not about to dwell on that! He finished sixth in a good field and I'm really looking forward to his next event in a couple weeks when his owner Silvia Hofsetter will be over from Switzerland. She's only seen him in action at a couple events and I hope we do her proud, and Jackson's co-owner, Peter, will be over to watch as well. It will be the first time he's seen him event, so no pressure!
Sunday Frenchy completed his third event and first time out at Pre-Novice (Training) level. He had his best test yet, and finally decided the arena wasn't going to eat him! He jumped like a star show jumping but had an unlucky pole down through no one's fault, and headed out like a machine on the cross-country. He was a bit big for his britches (if that's possible!) early on in the cross country, and after a big leap up a bank we had to have a circle to a skinny two strides after. He was bold and made an honest green mistake, afterwards he cruised around no worse for the wear. He has such a massive, scopey jump to go along with his bold attitude and such an exciting horse to look forward to. His owners, Larry and Anne Kavanagh were out to see him go again and I know we'll all enjoy campaigning him a bit before he finds a new home. Rio was a beast again and I think my face says it all in the photos of him. I just adore him and being that he's my own horse I can't help but feel lucky. He had his best test yet for a 34 and finished on his dressage score in 9th in a big Pre Novice class of 40.
Monday we were at it again at Monart with Caroline Teltsch's Santiago Bay 'Kizzy'. She had a quiet year as a four year old with just a couple shows under her belt but has come out as a five year old like a mare on a mission! She has always been an extremely talented horse (and gorgeous, to boot!), and this season she's really found her niche in eventing. She's one of those rare ones that feels at home in the dressage arena and loves to perform, she has the scope and talent to be a pure show jumper and is another machine on the cross-country.This was her 3rd Pre-Novice, and she finished in 2nd on a 26, after winning her first event a few weeks ago! It was the first time Caroline was able to watch her compete and Kizzy did everyone proud.
This week the horses will have a little rest and light work, and I am off to Dublin for the Horse Show for a couple days spectating. I went last year for one day and it's unlike anything I have ever seen, there literally is EVERYTHING you could want to watch, from the Nation's Cup, to the 4 and 5 year old young event horse finals, to ponies, to show horses. I can't wait!