I hauled Faeryn to Pine Hill late Friday afternoon. We arrived around 5. (Too much fun driving the tractor and time got away from me!) Note to self: Do not EVER take 99 (The Grand Parkway) to I-10 EVER again.I thought most of it had no traffic lights, but I was wrong. And people were driving like maniacs. One idiot almost sideswiped me in his effort to zip in front of me, and I had to swerve so hard I was afraid the trailer would jacknife. Poor Faeryn! And it took FOREVER to get to I-10.
Pine Hill is an eventing facility in the small town (pop 3500+/-) of Bellville. Pine Hill used to have dressage shows in the early 90s — and the last time I competed there was probably 1992 or 1993. They have a huge event course, a covered arena that, at the moment is filled with portable stalls, and several large arenas.
Faeryn was curious and alert but not overwrought when I unloaded her. She promptly started eating her hay (“Home is there the hay net is” is her motto.) Still not drinking like I would like her to – she drank fine at the Great Sw Equestrian Center – but, like Tyler, this place has well water – and well water can taste very different from place to place. We have well water too – and she drinks a LOT at home – more than any of the other horses.
She munched hay while I set up her stall and got changed to school her. I debated about lunging her, but decided I would hand walk her, tacked up, and see how it went. The best thing about Pine Hill? Mounting blocks. Huge, multi-tiered, permanent ones – everywhere. Why the heck doesn’t Great SW do that? There, everyone has to bring their own, and the place becomes littered with tiny little (and not the safest) step stools.
It very quickly became apparent lunging was not required – and I got Faeryn positioned next to one of the much-appreciated mounting ‘stages.’
What a good girl! There were pavilions, people, horses, cross country jumps, regular jumps – she walked briskly, taking everything in – but was very responsive. I rode her in the competition ring, and she barely looked at the large gazebo at one end that will hold the judges for the show.
This place has the REDDEST sand I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t even look real to me, coming from black gumbo country! Forget about keeping those white socks white!
After I rode Faeryn in the dressage ring, we took a walk around the cross country course. You could not pay me enough to jump most of those obstacles! However, I think Faeryn would LOVE to jump them.
In fact, tomorrow they are also hosting a Pony Club jumping derby here and that concerns me a little – considering how crazy Faeryn got at the Oldenburg NA Mare Performance Test about the jumping – if she can SEE horses jumping from the dressage arena, I think we are in trouble! At the inspection, she got SO wound up watching the mare ahead of her go through the jump chute, I had to go walk her behind the barn. I have been told we should not be able to see the jumping from the competition arena. I hope that’s true!
Well, the warm up was quite an exciting place today. Even people with older, experienced horses had some issues with the jumping. Mainly, the little issue of the finish line for the jumping derby being located at one corner of the dressage warmup arena (about the size of a small dressage ring) and of course, they did not STOP at the finish line, but barreled across the warm-up ring at that end. In addition to that, at regular intervals a horse would come splashing through the water jump about 500 feet from the warm-up. Faeryn heard the first one before I saw it and it took me by surprise as she whirled around to see what was causing that strange noise! And, to top it all off, before my first ride, a loose horse came galloping in from the cross country course, heading straight for us. I got Faeryn pointed toward it so she could SEE it, and then scooted her toward the far end of the ring to get out of the way. Bystanders got a gate closed before the horse could completely escape. And shortly the rider showed up, unhurt. All this before our first ride! I was really hoping once she got into the competition arena, Faeryn would be less distracted by the jumping, since that arena was probably 200 feet further from the ‘action.’ During our warmup, I had to keep after her since her head kept swiveling toward all the ‘action.’
As it turns out, we weren’t quite safe in the competition arena either – the rider before me had lost her bridle number in the perimeter area of the arena. When I pointed it out to her, she had someone run in to get it as I was doing my final pass around the perimeter – unfortunately the person getting the number came running into the competition arena, straight at Faeryn, and scared Faeryn, who spun and bolted – almost dumping me! I was beginning to feel like we had a big red “X” painted on us! LOL! I also said few choice words that I am pretty certain the judge could hear!
Fortunately Faeryn settled very quickly and, as usual for her, she was all business once we entered at A.
She was very attentive and we made no major mistakes. The footing was a bit deep in the corners of the ring and I thought she was just a bit flat in those areas. Also, very deep where we had to do a downward from canter to trot and she went “splat.”. She got a 66 and I was a bit disappointed in the score because I thought the ride was better. Faeryn naturally likes to carry her poll a little low – she is connected and through – just a bit low at times. Some judges nail you for it, some don’t. This one did. The judge also told me I would have scored higher if I had been on centerline for entry and exits – which I thought was odd because I had a ‘bead’ on C for both movements and thought we were dead on centerline, and very straight. I showed again for the same judge and made a point to really stay on centerline for entry and exit, and also to go all the way to the centerline during the serpentine loops. Again, I got comments that scores would be higher if movements had been on centerline. I am wondering if she was not sitting directly in front of C. The judge’s box was a gazebo that was elevated above the arena, and I am not sure the judge could even see C from where she sat. Faeryn scored a 66. in her first ride, Training 2, and was first out of two. In Test 4, they combined the amateurs and open for the class, and she was 3rd out of, I think, 7, with a 64.4 and got her second qualifying score toward the Regional Championships. And, I discovered later, she was also the Training Level Champion.
I was very happy with my girl. There was a lot for a young horse to look at, and look she did while we were in the ‘lower’ warm up arena. But once we got to the competition arena, she was all business.
I do think it would be VERY fun to do some very low level eventing with her!!
Coming up – Sundays’ competition.