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October 19, 2010

Fair Hill Review

Fernhill Eagle waited patiently to jog with Kelley. Photo by Emma Ford.

I guess Fair Hill wouldn't be the same if we didn't get one really wet day. When the rain started coming down on Thursday, groans could be heard all around the barn. Not again! Glad to say it did dry up, and the ground on Saturday for cross-country could not have been any better.

Wednesday started out a busy one. I decided to take the horses over early in the morning so they could have one more night in their paddocks. I had gone over Tuesday and set up the stalls, so once I got there I only had to unpack a few saddles and some blankets. Vets didn't show up for in-barns till 8:45, which was a little problematic for me as Phillip wanted to start riding by 9 a.m.

With the jog at 1 p.m. and Phillip still riding at noon, I had to enlist my good friend Colby to braid a horse for me! My aisle consisted of Phillip’s three horses plus five of his students. It was a very fun group to be hanging out with all week and many laughs were had.

Wednesday jog went well. Only Vidalia had to do dressage on Thursday, however Phillip also had two young event horses to compete during the day—Alcatraz and Zeizos. Kelley brought those horses to the show daily.

We were very happy with Vidalia’s test, as she can be very difficult on the flat. It’s more because she is a spooky horse—those potted plants can always be out to get you! We were all glad to have Thursday finish and be able to go home and dry out.

Friday was sunny and windy, which proved the right recipe for drying the ground out. Wyatt, Jan Byyny’s Why Not, did a very pleasant test. We were a little disappointed in his score, however. What each judge wants to see is always a mystery.

Zeizos and Alcatraz did their jumping test, and both went well to finish second and third, respectively. I am not entirely convinced that the young event horse program is heading in the right direction. The winning 5-year-old was a beautiful horse, but during the jumping phase he showed to be difficult to ride and nappy. Other horses jumped well and showed more willing jumping around the course. I personally believe that for horses to be top level they need to show a good brain and rideability at a young age. It appeared to me that if the judge liked the type then the decision was made early on in the competition.

Eagle did his test Friday afternoon, and he was a really good boy. Silly mistakes were made, but overall we were happy with it. We have only had the horse since March, and he’s made incredible improvements since then. Hopefully that will continue, and he will become one of Phillip’s top horses next year.

Saturday went well for the True Prospect team. All the horses put in stellar performances with a few time penalties added here and there. I would like to pass on my condolences to Jen Simmons who lost her amazing partner J.B Star. He was one to look out for in the future. My heart goes out to all who were involved in his life.

I have to admit Saturday was a fairly easy night for me. My three guys looked fresh and sound when they jogged up in the evening. Great footing was the main ingredient for this outcome. Sunday morning the jog was at 9 a.m. Kelley came with me to help get the horses prepared. We were happy with the way all our horses looked, however there is always those panic moments as to whether the ground jury would agree! They were holding many horses at the jog, so until the nod had been given you are never sure you are in the clear.

The show jumping proved to be technical with many changes in standings as the rails came down. Vidalia took one rail, which moved her from fifth to seventh. Wyatt jumped clean to end in third. Both owners were happy with the weekend and look forward to the start of next season.

Eagle had a very unlucky last rail down in the CCI*** but still ended second overall. Phillip is really pleased with how this horse stepped up to the plate this weekend. There is plenty to work on once vacation is over, but he has proven to have what it takes to be an upper level horse.

Waredaca is this weekend, and then I fly out to Pau with Tru Luck on Oct. 27th. The season is certainly a long one this year, but hopefully a good finish at Pau will make it worth it.

Until next time,
Emma

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