Last winter, the organizers of the Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club Horse Trials made the decision last winter to offer a Modified division at our event in August. We run a small event and knew entries would be limited but felt that the quality of what we offer, combined with the novelty of being the first to do so in Area I, made it an attractive prospect. Plus, a few members had asked us to do it! We're very proud of our courses, designed by Jeff Kibbie, and he did not disappoint. The Modified tracks he put together for cross-country and show jumping were true to their purpose, very much a stepping stone between Training and Preliminary.
The event ended up having an odd twist of fate for me, but first for a little history. In 2003, I bred a lovely thoroughbred mare to the Connemara stallion Hideaway's Erin Go Bragh in the hopes of putting another eventing sport horse on the ground. Lookover Erin, the foal born the following year, wasn't quite what I'd imagined - small, opinionated, and tending toward chubbiness. She was destined to take a back seat in my program when I doubted her ability to compete above Novice.
I sold her about six years ago through Courtney Cooper and few years later heard that one of my former students was teaching one of her clients, Patty Clucas, on the mare. I met Patty at a clinic I taught near Gladstone, New Jersey, and was thrilled to see Erin looking plump and content as ever. I also taught Patty's daughter, Cadence, on a lovely pony - Cady seemed to be a great little rider.
I noticed last year that Patty had moved Erin up to Training level with fairly good results. Then, at the beginning of this year, I saw that Cady had ridden Erin at the Plantation Field Horse Trials this spring in the Training and done really well. I sent them a congratulatory note and Patty responded saying Cady's pony was recovering from an injury so Cady would be riding Erin this season and asking if it would it be possible for her to spend some time with me this summer? We agreed on a time frame and the two spent a few weeks at my barn after Fitch's Corner, where she tore it up again. I can't tell you how much fun it was to coach them and even get on Erin a few times to show Cady something. The two went cross-country schooling and jumped around most of local Preliminary level course. It was a blast.
Finally getting to the neat part of the story! I told Patty and Cady that moving up using a Modified division was just what they needed. And . . . we just happened to be having one here in western New York in mid- August. At GVRDC, Cady and Erin were on fire, winning the dressage, scorching around the cross-country, and, with their one rail well in hand, won the division by a significant margin. I happened to be available to present the awards, donning my official "USEA President" hat and was delighted to pin the blue ribbon on the little mare that I bred and thought would only be a Novice horse. The really cool part is that the GVRDC event is held at Hideaway Farm, where Hideaway's Erin Go Bragh, Lookover Erin's sire, was bred and lived his 30 years.
It was so much fun for so many people to see a Go Bragh daughter run and jump on his home turf, and I had to do some explaining to people about how I happened to let this lovely little horse slip through my fingers! But it's all good. Her home with the Clucas family is a wonderful one and it made me so happy to watch her go and have a part in her training. I see big things in store for Cady and Erin!
Any riding exercise is about the art of the possible. This is especially true with jumping exercises, when a step too far will compromise safety. Exercises and a method should be developed progressively that build confidence and competence for both horse and rider, and in particular also allows room for error.
In the show jumping phase, where a ribbon can be won or lost based on a fraction of a second, it is important to understand the rules that determine how time is kept. After reviewing the rules concerning time and other show jumping penalties, one should also examine the rules that outline the faults incurred for each of the different types of penalties.
Sue Ockendon, organizer of the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event and the FEI Eventing Nations Cup announced today that the event has decided to consider dates further along the calendar. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for Bromont to confirm that it would be possible for competitors to travel on August 15-18.
There were 14 USEA recognized events that took place in June, the first month back from the suspension of the eventing calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While no one finished with a score in the teens, Erin Walker and Zydeco Nights came very close. By finishing on a score of 20.0, Walker and Zydeco Nights won the Novice Rider division at the Chattahoochee Hills H.T. on Sunday, June 28.