Temecula, Calif.—Nov. 2
A few weeks ago, Michael Pollard scrapped all plans he had for Schoensgreen Hanni’s fall season. While the mare was originally entered in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.), veterinarians found a problem with her heartbeat during the routine in-barn inspections at that event.
“I was really unhappy with the way she went [in the advanced horse trials] at Morven Park [Va.], and I couldn’t figure out why,” said Pollard, of Fairburn, Ga. “She was jumping well, but she wasn’t really wanting to gallop. I had some blood drawn after that, and everything looked fine, and so I took her up to Buck [Davidson]’s and asked him to see what I was missing. I sort of blamed it on myself and thought it was a training issue.
“But when we got to Fair Hill, we went to the in-barn inspection, and the veterinarian listened to her heart and said, ‘This sounds pretty irregular.’ They had an EKG iPhone app, and they put it on her and said, ‘It sounds really bad. I think she’s gone A-fib.’ ”
Further testing confirmed that “Hanni” was suffering from atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular heart rhythm. The 9-year-old mare went to the George D. Widener Hospital at the New Bolton Center (Pa.) for treatment.
“I thought that would be the end of her season, but they said a lot of horses can come back to race four or five days later if they convert easily, and she converted back very quickly,” said Pollard. “She’s been really good, and she hasn’t had a chance to do a really good three-day this year, and I felt like she needed to do a three-day event. She’s been going well all season.”
Hanni was cleared to compete by veterinarians at New Bolton and at Rood And Riddle Equine Hospital (Ky.), and Pollard entered her in the three-star at Galway Downs. They started off their weekend by taking the three-star dressage lead on 46.4 penalties. Phillip Dutton and Atlas, who re-routed to Galway Downs after a fall at the Boekelo CCI*** (the Netherlands) a few weeks ago, are close behind with 47.0 penalties.
“She was really good,” said Pollard. “It’s the best test she’s done at a CCI. We had one little bobble in the first change; the change ended up being good, but we had a bit of miscommunication before it.”
The CCI*** sets off on Ian Stark’s cross-country course at 2:55 tomorrow afternoon.
“She’s jumped some big tracks this year, and she’s ready for this. If I do my job, and she’s on form, there’s nothing out there that should be a problem,” said Pollard. “She’s not done a full CCI***, so I hope to jump around everything clear. It’s hard enough. There’s plenty to do.”
“I think it’s a nice, big course,” added Dutton, West Grove, Pa. “There’s not one section or jump that’s too worrying, but it’s putting it all together. I think you have to keep your horse’s attention and rideability all the way to the end, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Watch Buck Davidson, sitting seventh with The Apprentice, explain how he plans on riding fence 16ABC on the three-star course:
Over Easy Coasts To CCI** Lead
Barbara Crabo had a feeling Over Easy could put in a super test in the two-star at Galway Downs. That feeling was confirmed when Crabo, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Over Easy’s ride earned them 47.5 penalties and the lead. Jennifer McFall is sitting second aboard High Times (48.0).
“She was wonderful,” said Crabo. “She’s starting to rock back more and understand collection without getting tense. I didn’t know what the score was gong to be, but she’s such a good dressage horse, and I feel in the last few weeks she’s started to figure it out.”
While Crabo hadn’t walked the entire two-star course yet, she liked the parts she did see.
“It looks like a blast,” Crabo said. “She’s getting faster, and she’s getting stronger. She’s super fit. I think she’s going to do great. I’m not going to take anything for granted, but it looks pretty doable. We may have some time, but we’re going to have try not to.”
Over Easy, a 6-year-old Swedish Warmblood (Quite Easy—Olivia Of GCF, Amiral) mare, won the CIC* at Galway Downs in March. The horse also topped the full-format CCI* here last fall, but she was later eliminated for being too young.
Erin Kellerhouse topped the one-star dressage aboard Roxabelle with 40.6 penalties. Forty-eight riders will head out on cross-country in the CCI* tomorrow. Watch a video of Kellerhouse talking about today’s ride:
Full results available online.