Thursday, November 20, 2008

VHSA Championship Lexington, VA 2008

We had such a great time that I don't even know where to start! After driving down in the rain Thursday, we arrived in one piece. The horses were glad to get off the trailers and we began setting up the seven stalls. We schooled the horses for a bit and even the green beans were on their best behavior. I was so worried about how the OTTB and neon green pony would act, but they could not have been any better.

This year, we purchased stall drapes that made the tackroom look beautiful and provided a perfect dressing room. Everyone brought food and we ate like kings all weekend without breaking the bank. We even had a fridge and crock pots with soups, chili, and nacho cheese.

My dear husband goofed off with Maggie's tail and I reminded him that in a few years, his entire head of hair would be that color. He took the tail off very quickly after that!

Chelsea H. had the show of a lifetime with her lovely medium pony Callihan Rose. They brought home top ribbons in all of the Medium Pony Hunter classes including a third place in the hack. Rosie tied for Reserve Champion with 16 points! Chelsea also pinned fourth in the Pony Equitation class. This was Rosie's last show with Chelsea and they went out with a bang! In 2009, Rosie is expecting a foal with Empire's Power. That should be one fancy baby!!

Chelsea also showed IBA Blue Diamond in the Large Pony Hunters and Pony Pleasure. Deno took home ribbons in both divisions, including a 2nd place in the Large Pony Hack. I almost melted when they called him number; that was a very tough hack class with some very, very nice ponies. He hacked like a million bucks and was rewarded with an excellent ribbon! Although still green over fences, he jumped a "10" and should go on to do great things in 2009.

Kaitlyn H. and her large pony Dare To Dream surpised us all with their two trips over fences. Daisy has been under saddle less than a year, but went around like a made pony. She didn't even offer to refuse and even offered a few lead changes (something we've just started with her). I could not have been more proud of this team!

Dawn H. and Silver Masterpiece also offered some surprises. This was Maggie's first time showing in the Coliseum, but she walked in like she owned the place. Each trip was better than the last and she even remembered her lead changes! Dawn rode her corners very well (something we've really been working on) and did a great job getting Maggie to go forward. At home, Maggie usually does the adds, but Dawn moved her up and did the real strides.

Stephanie T. and Sophisticated Lady had a great time this year. Sophie rode a little hot and started leaving strides out, which is not the greatest thing to do in a Hunter trip. However, Sophie will be 22 years young in January and we were thrilled she came out of her stall and felt that good! By Sunday, Sophie started to slow down a little bit and earned a call-back in the Adult Amateur Stakes.

Caitlin M. rode Stephanie's gelding Above and Beyond in the Special Hunters. This was Chip's first time jumping around in such a scary environment and he behaved like a champ! His first time, he was a little slow and missed a few spots. In the second trip, Caitlin got him moving forward and hit every spot and got every change. This was the first time Caitlin ever had to jog and it was so neat seeing the smile on her face!

Stephanie rode Above and Beyond in the Pleasure Horse Adult division and could not have been prouder of her boy. He kept his brain, stayed relaxed, got all of his leads, and didn't take one wrong step. When I pulled up next to Stephanie after the final class, she had tears in her eyes. I asked her why and she said they were tears of joy because he was such a good boy.

This was my first time showing in Lexington in almost ten years. I saddled up my mare Silver Masterpiece and went in the ring to have a great time. Everyone was laughing at me, because I was singing to the music during the classes. Maggie and I didn't go out there to win anything, we just wanted to have some fun. I guess the judge didn't mind, because she gave us a 7th and 8th place ribbons!

Needless to say, we can't wait to get back next year. There were some very nice horses and ponies there this year and it was nice to see we were in the ribbons right along with them. These next few weeks are going to be spent going on trail rides and maybe do a little cross country jumping. Heck, I wouldn't mind going Hunting a time or two just to give the horses some "fun" time. They were so good, they deserve some time out of the ring.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Red Gate Farm Awards Banquet - November 12, 2008

Tonight was the Red Gate Farm Awards Banquet in Hamilton, Virginia. We had a great time and it was well worth the trip. The food was delicious; true Italian with a delectable combination of herbs and spices. There was so much to choose from that it was a little overwhelming.

The girls from left to right; Kaitlyn, Chelsea, and Caitlin.

The Show Team from left to right; Caitlin, Stephanie, Rachael, Kaitlyn, Dawn and Chelsea.

Stephanie was High Point Adult Amateur rider. Along with a beautiful ribbon, she took home leather jumping boots with real sheepskin lining.

Chelsea was Champion Pony Hunter and 4th in Pony Pleasure even though she only showed at Red Gate one time (she won all of her classes, so she earned good points). She took home ribbons and a very nice grooming bag.

Dawn was Champion Green Hunter and was given a fabulous sheepskin saddle pad. I think this was the best prize they gave all night! I have no doubts Maggie will love her new pad and you may just catch her in it at the Finals this weekend!

Caitlin finished 4th in the Low Hunters and 6th in the Green Hunters even though she only showed in each division once. She went home with a bag full of goodies which I'm sure her horse will enjoy.

Kaitlyn was the Low Hunter Reserve High-Point. Her division was always full, so this ribbon was well-earned.

I even came home with a High Point and a pair of true silver spurs. They are engraved and are the nicest spurs I've ever seen! I can't wait to show in them.

Tomorrow, we leave first thing in the morning with three trailers full of horses bound for Lexington.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Getting Ready For The Finals

These past few weeks have been filled with clipping the horses, getting shoes reset, and trying to fit in all those last minute touches. With the Finals a week away, I'm a little nervous, but more excited. All of our riders are practicing to ensure good trips and I must say, I've been truly impressed with the team.

Dawn H. has been doing everything she can so her and her horse are prepped for the Finals. Exactly one year ago, Dawn and Maggie were just starting to jump 2'6". This week, they moved up to 3'6" and did it with style and grace. I always like to school at least 3" above what we show at. This next week will be Maggie and Dawn's first time showing at a real 3', so we're making sure they are ready. Those jumps in Lexington should be a breeze compared to what they're doing at home.