Monday, March 7, 2011

Send Your Positive Vibes, Please

I have good news and bad news. The bad news, actually, is more like heartbreaking news -- Salem's owner is in a coma and it's apparently "only a matter of time." Obviously, I feel like I've been hit with a sledgehammer. I've known this woman for over twenty years. We unfortunately haven't been in touch for a few months, but I'm still shocked that, sometime in the near future, she will be gone. The finality of it all...honestly, I'm still attempting to wrap my head around it.

So, where does that leave Salem? Well, I've literally spent the last two days on the phone. No decisions have been made yet, but I've made sure that he's safe and secure for the time being. This whole situation is a huge mess and it's going to take a while to sort it out; but Salem might be coming home.

Obviously, there are a lot of snarls that need to be untangled first. I'll keep you guys updated as things unfurl. Please keep Raffie and Salem in your thoughts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

PRO Derby Cross

*Aaaaaaahhh* I have spent the last two days in Wellington, soaking up all the Olympic-level showjumping that I possibly can. Last night was the Nations Cup and then today was the Derby Cross and the Hermes Puissance competition.

The event that I was most excited about ("giddy as a school girl" would be more accurate) was the Derby Cross, because I have been dying to see some eventers in action. In Wellington, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting at least 4 Grand Prix showjumpers and a dressage pro or two, but eventers are rarer than a fairly-priced drink. So when I heard that hordes of 4* eventers would be converging in Welly-World, I circled the day on my calendar and counted down the days.

For those of you unfamiliar with derby cross, it's a competition consisting of rider teams; each team has three event riders, one showjumper, and one polo player. They ride different courses that combine many of the same elements, but everyone jumps a combination of classic showjumps and cross-country obstacles. Each rail adds four seconds to the clock, and of course the goal is to get the fastest combined score. Each rider is also given the option of a "joker" fence at the end of the course, which takes 10 seconds off the rider's time if h/she jumps it clean. I believe the eventing joker fence was about 4'6" or 4'9" and it came down quite a few times.


Team Triple Crown
Allison Springer (Captain), Eventing
Will Coleman, Eventing
Marcia Kaluk, Eventing
Meredith Littles Meredith (Team Udonna), Showjumping
Luis Escobar, Polo

Team Guardian
Karen O' Connor (Captain), Eventing
Hannah Sue Burnett, Eventing
Clark Montgomery, Eventing
Laura Kraut, Showjumping
John Gobin, Polo

Team Canada
Kyle Carter (Captain), Eventing
Jessica Phoenix, Eventing
Rebecca Howard, Eventing
Jonathan Millar, Showjumping
Brandon Phillips, Polo

Team Haygain
Phillip Dutton (Captain), Eventing
Jennie Brannigan, Eventing
Sinead Halpin, Eventing
Katie Prudent, Showjumping
Nic Roldan

Team FarmVet/Cavalor
Buck Davidson (Captain), Eventing
Will Faudree, Eventing
Bruce Davidson, Eventing
Aaron Vale, Showjumping
Kris Kampsen, Polo

For once, I remembered to bring my camera, but I have unfortunately not yet read the 700 page book that explains how to use it. I mostly just put it on "running guy getting hit with a lightning bolt" mode and shoot vaguely in the direction of action. So, don't fear, your eyesight is just fine -- many of these pics are just quite blurry (especially the jumping ones, which of course are the ones that we most care about).

David O'Connor was the course designer, and he came out and gave a brief overview of eventing and explained the course. Afterwards, hosts Boyd Martin and Leslie Law came out on horseback and went over the derby cross competition, explained some of the different tactics the riders would be using, and did demos of some of the fences.

Boyd Martin demonstrates the corner while David O looks on

Oh, I am just getting started. I promised 5,000 blurry photographs and I aim to deliver.

For some clear pics, click here.

All in all, it was quite the exciting event and I'm so glad that I was there. Team FarmVet/Cavalor placed first, Katie Prudent was the Most Valuable Showjumper, Will Faudree was the Most Valuable Eventer, and I honestly don't know who the Most Valuable Polo Player was (sorry, polo fans). I definitely think the event introduced a lot of people to eventing and hopefully they will be converted to eventing fans.

OK, moving on to the Nations Cup -- long story short, the USA won. McLain Ward and Sapphire were the only pair to jump double clear (looovvve that mare!!), and both Beezie Madden and Margie Engle each had one clear round and one 4-fault round (Margie's only rail was on the last fence of her second round, when Indigo came in to the fence distracted and caught a back rail of the oxer -- such a heartbreaker!). Canada was 2nd, Great Britain 3rd (finally got to see Nick Skelton ride!), Ireland/Australia/Mexico tied for 4th, Venezuela 5th, and Colombia 6th.

 Last but not least, Pablo Barrios won the Hermes Puissance tonight -- he and G&C Quivola were the only pair to clear the final 7'3" (!!!!) wall. Oh, and he did it with one stirrup. Yeah.

That first fence was a warm-up & didn't count

Hopefully, all this time spent basking in equestrian greatness has rubbed off on me. Tomorrow, it's back to reality and back to the barn to work Certs -- heck, maybe I can set up a 7'3" wall and we can just go under it!

Puissance Wall! (I'm 5'7")