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Heart of the Valley I & II Competition Review: Blue Ribbons, High Scores, and Sunshine!

DEVONWOOD- This past weekend was a super successful competition for MAD. I had the pleasure of showing two horses: Sloane, my clients 6-yr-old TB mare, and Prince William, my own FEI rockstar gelding. I rode a total of 6 tests this weekend, and placed for them all!

Sloane, as always, was a joy to take into the show ring. At just six years old, I am very proud of this horse and that we have continued our excellent show record with scores in the 70's at First level! It was so delightful having her behave quietly and maturely on the grounds, and to perform so well. Sloane has come such a long was from the scrawny, wobbling 3-yr-old she was when she entered my training program.

William and I achieved a huge milestone earlier this season. He and I started our competition season at "Devonwood in the Spring" last month, dipping our toes into Intermediate A (a new test being offered in preparation for Grand Prix). This was our first time performing one-tempis, piaffe and passage in a test. Gulp. It was not only our first time out for the season, but we had a tough judge, Ann Gribbons, to impress as well. It was a typical "first time test" with lots of mistakes, but we made our way through it and received helpful input on improvement. I was more thrilled with individual scores for movements than the overall score. For example, we received a 7 for piaffe and line of changes (a big win!), and a few 8's on some of our more practiced elements. Therefore, moving on to the "Heart of the Valley" competition, I was very proud that in only a few weeks time, William and I successfully corrected and improved upon many elements of the test, which significantly improve the overall score. I consistently scored 7's on the two-tempis and one-tempis, as well as 6.5 for passage (still quite weak, but an improvement). The results were encouraging to say the least; my journey with William has been a fairy tale. He is such an overachiever, my strengths and weaknesses as a rider seem to compliment his strengths and weaknesses as a horse in perfect harmony. He is the horse of a lifetime!

Aside from the great scores and placings at Heart of the Valley this year, I had such a wonderful time enjoying great friends who came to support, and terrific students who came, helped groom, and worked hard! A special shout out to Amy who got up early, put in the hours, and did a little bit of just about everything for me, and Chrissy who, despite being insanely pregnant, hauled the ponies, took stellar photos and provided moral support from the comfort of her chair! And thank you Jessica (for lunch too!), Bowen, Rick, and Adam for coming to watch and lend support! My M.A.D. family is what made me feel the best of all. It really made for a beautiful weekend to be able to share beautiful horses and great achievements with friends. Thank you to my awesome squad!

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