Out Of The Comfort Zone

Sep 17, 2013 - 8:02 AM
Bright lights, big fences! Jennie Brannigan crossed a line off her bucket list by riding I Bella in the Twilight Jumpers mini prix at Great Meadow near The Plains, Va.

Its been a while since I’ve checked in with everyone here at the Chronicle, and I have to apologize—my new workload does make some tasks a bit tougher to get to!

In all honesty, I think I’ve been holding my breath in getting Cambalda back in action and having something good and positive to write about going into the fall season (and what seems to be the rapidly approaching end of the season).

I’ve had an extremely busy summer season, getting a lot of up-and-coming horses going, and it’s felt busier than past summers with the number of horses I’ve gotten to compete at each show.

It’s fun for me to have some involvement in all aspects of this sport, and I’ve really enjoyed getting a string of five of Nina Gardner’s homebreds to their first starts and seeing them grow at each show. I’ve also enjoyed bringing Erin Hurley’s OTTB Herculon from the South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue through his first training level start this summer.

Beth Battel’s Stella Artois is another horse I’m very excited about getting going, and she just came third at her second start in the States, at novice. I’m looking forward to getting her and Beth’s homebred, As Cool As Ice, to the Young Event Horse Championships at Fair Hill this fall.

Nina’s Right Above It and I Bella are seeming to come a long extremely well, too—both came second in their training and preliminary classes at Richland Park, and I’m looking forward to getting Bella to a one-star this fall. She’s going to run at Plantation Field this weekend, and she’s also prepping for the bareback high jump, competing with my fellow employee at Michael Matz’s barn, jump jockey Willie McCarthy. At this point I don’t know whether I’ll be more nervous to watch her do that on Sunday or compete myself in the CIC*** with Ping! 

I’ve had a blast riding I Bella in two mini prix this summer, one being the Twilight Jumpers in Middleburg, which has been on my bucket list for quite sometime. She came seventh after having one down, but I was very pleased with how she handled jumping under the lights, and I was definitely nervous and pushed a little out of my comfort zone.

I think it’s going to be really good for me to continue to do some jumper classes like this in the future. I’m looking forward to spending sometime in Ocala this winter riding with my show jump coach Scott Keach, and think it will be good for me to spend a bit of time just focusing on improving myself. 

I’ll be quite sad, I think, for the end of show season this year, as it also means I’ll have to say goodbye to everyone at Michael’s barn. They’ll all be heading to Wellington to train for the winter. I’m hoping to continue galloping for Michael next spring in prep for Rolex Kentucky (hopefully!), as I believe I’m the fittest I’ve been in quite awhile and quite happy to have a new aspect in my life.

I’m also hoping two horses that I’ve gotten to exercise for Michael might make it to Breeders’ Cup this fall… fingers crossed! It happens to fall on the same weekend as the Galway Downs CCI***, and I have it in the back of my head that a visit to the great state of Cali could be due for me! ;)

Ping has come back in fine form in prep for Fair Hill CCI*** this fall, and I was a bit nervous to see how he would run at Richland. He jumped around the intermediate there very confidently and came home with the win after two great jump rounds.

In my head I was half-thinking of applying to go to Pau this fall, but in the end I know it’s the right thing to do for my horse and myself to go to Fair Hill. It’s a super track, and due to running Ping at Galway Downs and Boekelo in the past years for his fall three-day, he’s never jumped around Fair Hill International!

I’m very excited to have his last two events for the season be within 30 minutes of my current home! One being, of course, Plantation Field this weekend. I really love this event, and they do a super job of making it better and better every year. I think it’s a true “riders’ event” and is quite well liked in the community as well. I hope to see everyone out there this weekend, and thanks for taking the time to read…

I’ll catch up after Plantation, hopefully with a bareback puissance and a CIC*** champion in my barn! :)


Brannigan Eventing


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