Our journey to Jersey started with the CIC*** at Galway Downs in March. With minimal qualification, Billy had to really step up to plate and want to perform, which he most certainly showed me that he did. The course was very challenging, especially for us, since it was chock full of ditches...big and scary ditches! But Billy was amazing through the near seven minute ditch-a-thon, and completed his ditch therapy class with a gold star and a sixth place finish.
|Billy had a very stylish round in the show jumping with one rail down|
|second ditch encountered on course|
|downhill oxer with a ditch|
|Billy stays well clear of the downhill oxer!|
|the third in a row of three ditches at the moat|
With a solid CIC*** under our belt and a gulp, the final decision to head all the way back East to the Jersey Fresh CCI*** was made.
To make the trip really worth while (and to ease the pressure of going across the country just to do one show), we made a family trip of it and spent a few extra weeks to get to Jersey. Our first stop was a week spent cheering on Hawley and Ginny as they competed at the Rolex Three Day Event, in Kentucky. Hawley was truly inspiring for all of us to watch as she ultimately placed seventh and Ginny was the highest placed mare at the event. Billy got to take in the Rolex atmosphere as well. He was stabled with all of the 4**** big kids, and rode around the park all puffed up and dreaming about competing there next year. I am forever grateful to Hawley for encouraging me to add this leg to our journey. With the 2014 Rolex as my goal, it was extremely beneficial to look at the event this year thru the eyes of a potential exhibitor and not just as a fan.
|Dylan photo bombing Billy at Rolex|
|Cigar photo bombing Dylan at Rolex|
|Billy and I hacking with Hawley and Buck at Rolex. Reggie and Ginny were both top ten!|
|Taylor and the dogs full of energy at the beginning of our course walk at Rolex. It only took us two hours and one hot dog break to make it all the way around. I hope Billy does it a little faster than we did next year!|
|We surprised Hawley with Gin N' Juice Cheer Gear. Not sure the rope lady was a fan of the cowbell. But who doesn't need more cowbell??|
|Taylor getting some Puff love|
|Taylor riding a 4**** horse before I ever will|
|Billy getting well deserved time out after a Dressage lesson|
|Earl's new pride and joy|
|Monty and Dylan hold down Buck's golf cart at MCTA|
|A familiar face at MCTA to share my Go Girl with. It's a West Coast thing!|
Once arrived at The Horse Park of New Jersey, we quickly settled in and readied ourselves for the first jogs the next day. Because of our long preparation for the show, neither of us felt much nerves. Billy was pure business and all grown up starting with his very first workout there, and I just tried to stay focused on the task at hand.
|My handsome boy|
|Dressage in the mud: Welcome to the East Coast!|
|Billy looking pleased with himself after a good effort, even if Earl is laughing at me for forgetting my halt, AGAIN!|
|Dressage made worthwhile with a little breakfast in bed post test|
|My groom needed a nap too|
|West Coast merriment at the 2013 Jersey Fresh|
|Who wants to be in Manhattan the night before a maiden CCI*** run until the wee hours? WEST SIIIIDE!|
It was so fun being in the start box waiting for the countdown at our first CCI***. I was so focused and excited, and felt so ready for that moment. Billy was oddly manageable as we were counted down, as if he knew he shouldn't be acting a fool before this endeavour. It did not slip away unnoticed, I will always remember it.
The course itself was also a blast, as you can imagine. Billy felt a little tired running on the large studs and lost a front shoe early on, so I knew that going for time was not in the cards for us at this show. But he jumped the massive course like an old pro and we came home clean with no jump penalties. We were both riding on cloud nine.
|Fence 3: a giant brush table|
|Hello enormous water drop at fence 9|
|Log drop before a mushroom with a ditch around it|
|a streak of warmblood blazing by as Earl watches|
|Billy's ditch training continues|
|A big thank you goes out to Jon for sacrificing his shoes to help Billy cool down in the vet box|
After coaxing my body out of bed the next morning, I could only image how Billy felt. Luckily, all was in order and he felt great for Sunday. In fact, maybe a little too great. In my mind, I was so positive on how it would feel to ride a stadium round after a CCI*** run. I just knew that my horse would be exhausted with zero motivation, and would need tons of help getting off the ground. So, when the exact opposite happened, and I was riding a twenty-foot-tall-jump-devouring-beast, I froze. We got away with the bold and then even bolder step until the end when he saw a line of four fences. That's where he really galloped and I just sat there like a kid at the gates of Disneyland.... wide-eyed and in shock. Oh well. Live and learn! Who knew I would need to PULL?! Obviously not me!
|Bold... but looking pretty good|
|Time to go back to Math Class and learn how to add again|
|2013 Jersey Fresh comes to an end|
|A sight for sore eyes|