Saturday dawned sunny but cold! A very difficult week for the hunters, but perfect for jumpers, as long as you were riding and not standing around. It was brisk.
Bravo had a perfect amount of energy, and I am beginning to figure out better flatwork in the warmup. Jane and Derry, alas, did not have as much energy as we did, and their jumping warmup did not go well, so Jane elected to drop out of the High Children’s / Adult section. Bravo and I had a good trip, but 4 faults at an oxer that I over rode and failed to support. He was really good, and never close to another jump, but ended up 7th, as they combined the Children and Adults. The combination was retroactive, so the blue ribbon in our class of two, with my time faults became a 7th also. Boo hoo!
I was very happy that Brett suggested Bravo should do two classes a day. The Low Adult course was different. He jumped around really well, and I began to get the understanding of what Kris calls “plugging it in” as I ride up to the jump. Instead of letting go as I get to the jump, as I have been doing, I ride the hind end up to my hand and support the scope off the ground, which creates a really powerful, high jump. Bravo has a very different style of jumping from the more Thoroughbred type horses I am used to – and his scope is unlike anything I ever imagined! It was very exciting when I got it right at several jumps. We were clean, and jumped off smoothly, for a primary color – 3rd!
Jane and Derry did the 1 meter Training class, and were double clear for the win and a crystal glass!! Then, they also did the Low Adults, but Derry was tired, and after a good clear first round, had 8 faults in the jump off, so they were out of the ribbons.
We had time to go home to tend to things there, then returned for the Maclay Regionals, which were won by a girl from Tennessee, Martha Ingraham, I think. I gave my notes away after the class, and my brain no longer retains much information. I’m just glad my brain retained the courses, and I never went off course! The Maclay course was brilliant – Allen Rheinheimer is a top course designer, and we are so lucky to have someone of his caliber setting here in St. Louis once a year. Several local juniors performed well in the class. Notably, the expected winner, Hunter Holloway, from Kansas, did not have good luck. Her horse spooked on the way to the second jump, which she coped with, but later he spooked again, creating an add stride in the 4 stride following the in and out on the centerline. There was no covering up that error, and she was called back in the lower group on the flat, an unusual position for her. Hunter’s riding on the flat was so superior that she did end up in the top ten – 8th, I think, so will probably get to the Finals where, we hope, her luck will be better. Luck is a big part of this sport, good or bad. Dealing with that is an important life lesson.
Sunday was an early start, a magnificent dawn, another perfect Fall day. I braided Bravo for the Classic. First, we did the Low Children’s / Adult class. We had a nice, clear first round, but 4 faults in the jump off coming off an inside turn to the in and out, to finish in 8th. Jane and Derry were double clear – a good trip to finish on, and they were 5th, I think.
In the High Children’s / Adult Classic, Bravo was posted third in the order. The course was challenging, but we had a beautiful trip. He jumped high and easily, and I rode well. But I rode like an old lady, and had 1 time fault!!! I was so mad at myself, and I know where I took too much time, and so wish I could reride that turn! Oh, well, luckily, Bravo doesn’t know what an idiot I was – he was perfect and I am so lucky to ride him. He thought it was just a clear round class with no jump off. And he was very happy to hop into the trailer and get home to the grass afterwards. His clean round did earn 5th in the Classic, which paid our way. Ashley Shaw won on Golden Star, well deserved, as she is maturing into a real jumper rider. Chronologically, she could probably be my great grandchild!
We took the horses home, then returned for the Grand Prix. We were confused about the start time, so missed half the class, thinking it started at 2 PM, when it actually started at 1:30. That meant we missed Saer Robertson’s debut in the show ring. Bred to ride, the son of Brody and Jen Robertson earned a blue ribbon in the Leadline at the same time Ian Millar, “Captain Canada”, was winning the 1.5 million dollar class at Spruce Meadows at age 67!!! An auspicious start to Saer’s career. I am looking forward to riding against him before long…
A good course brings the cream to the top, and Karen Cudmore was 1st and 2nd in the Grand Prix, winning on veteran Southern Pride, with the only double clear. SuperBad was runner up. Hunter Holloway and I Love Lucy were 3rd, Caroline McLeese and Caprisio finished 4th. Andy Kocher had 5 of the 15 in the class, but it wasn’t his day, and no clear round was to be had. He was 5th and 6th, I think, with two 4 faulters.
Again, some sadness overshadowed the week, as I learned of the death of a friend when I opened the Chronicle and saw his obituary. Trip Hoffman was my first serious crush. We went to Porlock Vale Riding Academy together in 1974 and have been friends ever since. I last saw Trip in 2010, and he was as handsome and funny as ever. I don’t know why he died, but the world is diminished without him. Remembering his laugh and our young adventures will keep him with me, but I will miss him.