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Kelly's Ford- I'm a fan

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  • Kelly's Ford- I'm a fan

    So, a few weeks ago, some of us were discussing KF. I know I went into it with some trepidation (mostly from just having very little info on what to expect). I enjoyed the event and am now a fan. What did everyone else think?

    Of course, caveat, I was FIRST all day. First in the dressage ring. First to go in show jumping, first on xc. So, things ran, obviously, very smoothly for me. The biggest hang up was waiting for jump judges to finish getting situated! I don't know if the wheels fell off later in the day, or if it stayed well run and efficient.

    I thought both courses were well designed and rode very fun. My one MINOR beef with xc was that it was a little inconsistent in size, at least at training. The big brush oxer/table thing followed by a novice sized coop, early on the course, was a little funny, and while that big brush thing is a perfect fence for Toby (who is hopefully moving up soon), I felt kinda bad for anyone on a less big jumping horse or new to the level...having that thing as the 3rd fence can be The course did that a few times...here's a solid, thinking training question, now here's a novice fence. I would have liked to have seen less single fences with high "trip quotient" factors to match the great questions.

    All that being said, I got caught out at one of those great questions (and probably the easiest one!), when I didn't get Toby soft enough at the A element of a bending line question. He pulled out the cheeky pony card, grabbed the right rein, and I didn't have a chance in hell to get him over B. Bad Toby! Bad YB!!! Needless to say, since that was early on, I rode the SNOT out of him at everything else! Complete with whip switching (A brave move on my part, as he is prone to bolting off a bit when he sees the whip).

    So, what did everyone else think? I saw BMU and we chatted, and I passed by Duckz and Lincoln on my way back from xc, but she was chatting with Mogie and Toby decided to start spectator bowling right about then, so I figured it wasn't a good time to say hi!

  • #2
    I went for the first time as a spectator and to help my friend who was riding Senior Novice. I thought it was a great day! I just started a lease on my horse in February, so we're not ready to enter, yet. But I plan to volunteer at KF in the meantime to learn more and watch, and hopefully will ride there soon.
    “Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves
    Jump Start Solutions LLC


    • #3
      I had a good time too! I had been before to a couple of their unrec events. It was definitely a nice crowd and atmosphere, very laid back. Also just a really beautiful facility. My horse thought the cows were terrifying though.

      Agree with YB on the training xc. Thought it was a little inconsistent, as well as front loaded (the first half had a lot going on--the 2 bigger brushy fences, the turning question, the awkward turn to the water, the chevrons etc.), and the second half was more novice-y, even the fly fences.

      In my division only 1 horse (the winner) finished on their dressage score so there was a lot of mixing up on both jumping phases. My horse was at his 3rd training and I was really happy with how he handled the course, though we almost lost it at the road crossing between 4 and 5--focus and horse traffic are not our strong points.


      • Original Poster

        Ha! Toby tried to high tail it down the road, too! He was being a little nappy yesterday (left the start box and tried to move way left toward show jumping), anddd he thought the road was a good place to go. Refocused quickly, though.


        • #5
          I thought it was a great event too, YB. I saw the end of your SJ round and Toby and you looked awesome! Definitely ready for Prelim!

          As for me, I just am not a morning person and when my dressage time ended up being before 8AM, I sort of hung up any dedication to warming up, etc. My only goal was to get there and be in the ring on time. Nevermind the warm-up. So our T test was what it was. Not to mention they turned on the audio system right as we started our stretchy circle. Green horse was green. Not much to do about that. Novice horse's test was 30 minutes after Training horse finished XC. So we didn't get much warm-up! Not even a chance to canter. I was so pleased with him though as his canter departures on both leads were correct and fairly soft, earning him 7s in both directions! Go Scooby! This was after he spooked sideways across that warm-up field right before going into the test (the Porta Potty was most alarming).

          I thought the T and N courses were well-designed and rode great. Agree about the inconsistency factor on the T-course. Those first two fences were pretty tiny and then you had that max brush oxer with all the trailers to the side. Fortunately it rode fine.

          Was proud of my N-pony in all phases. He was in a rhythm all day long. Good boy! We just loped around the N course. And with his big stride, it was easy to make time and feel casual about it.

          I really liked the feel of the whole HT. It had a real "family" feel. Very warm/welcoming/laid back.

          I was told they are adding Prelim in the fall. That is very cool!

          I was wondering why Gary had put that GRC Photo signage with the creepy dolls on the backside of jump 5. But then I looked at the pics in the trailer and saw they were shooting that jump from behind, LOL. Those are some super-creepy manequin/doll-thingies in those pics!

          Anyway, thanks to Gary and everyone at GRC for adding this new event to the calendar in Virginia. It was a great time.


          • Original Poster

            I saw the end of your SJ round and Toby and you looked awesome! Definitely ready for Prelim!
            Thanks! He's jumping like a million bucks right now. Now if only I can hold it together at EVERY fence and not mess up at least once every course, we'll have it made!

            I was a little when I found out my 8am dressage time was moved up to 7:30, but once I got going, it wasn't bad at all. I need to add 10 minutes to Toby's warm up now, early morning or not. My mom was with me this weekend (she had not seen me do more than hack Toby up the driveway in the year I've had him until this weekend!), and she gamely got up a little after 3:30am with me yesterday and did the whole early morning thing with me. She is NOT a horse show mom (she cheers, but she's never been the mom to help groom, tack up, etc), but it was so much fun to have her there and see Toby go. A nice venue for her to do it at, too. Last time she watched me compete was Surefire one year in that god awful heat, and I just don't think it was any fun. Too spread out, and way too hot. This one was perfect!


            • #7
              Sorry. Not a fan.

              Dressage times were moved up 40 minutes from when I checked on Wednesday until when I checked on Friday. I received no e-mail notification of any kind as per omnibus listing. At least I checked. Others were not so lucky.

              Every event in the area that I can think of has better footing on XC and show jumping--not full of ruts, lumps, bumps, swales and more ruts like KF. Not exactly "Entire track is on flat manicured grass" as per omnibus listing. No. Not a fan.

              So when five or so riders fresh from show jumping are ready to jump XC, they delayed us because . . . um . . . dressage was running late. Really? We had to warm-up all over again. Why not just take people when they are ready?

              Scores took forever but that is kind of a given for some events. Then there was a really EPIC fail on their part that I heard of first hand involving a competitor. Not me. I hope it was resolved to the rider's satisfaction.

              IMHO they have a long, long way to go to be the "signature" event they seem to want to be.

              On a positive note, the smoothie lady was there! That made me happy! My pony was very good and we were well placed!

              I will think twice before going back!


              • #8
                I went with a friend to watch her compete. She didnt find out about the time change for dressage test until after she got there. Not a huge deal since always arrives with time to spare. She DID however have a problem in that she she never heard her number called to go in the warm-up area. Kind-of odd since she was mounted and was paying attention. The lady after her also never heard her number.....until my friend heard hers. The judge was not happy with her lateness and asked "where have you been". ( I totally understand the judge wondering this!!). I suppose it's possible she simply did not hear it, but that means I, her mother, her boyfriend, and also her trainer missed it too.

                We did like the venue, all of the people were very nice and everything was very convenient. I also have to say the hamburgers were some of the best I have ever eaten. Their own fesh beef. I think that even with the issue she had, she would probably go back.


                • #9
                  I'm on the fence. I got an email on Friday afternoon (NOT before) saying "times will be adjusted, email to follow."

                  This is not OK. I already had very specific plans as I was coming from far away. In the end I NEVER got another email and had I not had an excellent girls' night out with another competitor I would never have known that my times had in fact been changed.

                  The venue is very friendly, I loved the "courtyard" area they put together with the vendors, sec's tent, and tables/umbrellas, liked the water station between SJ/XC, and thought in general they tried really hard to be competitor friendly.

                  But there are some nuts and bolts that they need to work on before being really ready for prime time. This is totally understandable and I would absolutely go back, but I would go back knowing what might still need work.

                  I was in the Novice group that sat in XC warmup for almost a half an hour because of "a delay in dressage." I help run the HTs at Waredaca, and I can't really imagine WHAT delay in dressage (which in any event hardly ever has delays, since you will be eliminated if you are late) would trickle down to XC, unless they had a volunteer working both phases. As best I could tell they had all their jump judges in place. THe starter had no help, which normally works fine as people trickle over from SJ in some kind of order (we have had XC warmup folks and they have been bored silly).

                  BUt when things started to go wrong she really wasn't able to cope on her own. She kept telling us different orders of go -- sometimes she'd just say "number 34, 1 minute!" after you had been sitting around for 20 with no warning that you were next. Apparently several riders with multiple horses in Novice had been given unworkably close times, and they started asking to go ahead of order so they could get to their second horse. This is all well and good but the order got chaotic. I warmed up 4 times only to be told there were now 3 more horses in front of me.

                  Finally the riders had to really put their collective foot down and say, look, you need to stop doing this; then she said, well, ok, I'll just take you as you are ready.

                  But by then many of us had been in warmup almost half an hour and were fairly peeved.

                  They just didn't seem to have the ability to sort out a problem like this on the fly.

                  I don't think this is a fatal problem -- just growing pains. I would certainly give them another try.

                  I agree that the dressage warmup also relied on standing in one place, yelling a number, and if you were far away (VERY likely), you didn't hear it and had no idea you had been called.

                  They need to work on flow and communication, as well as signage.

                  I liked both courses quite a lot (novice). I thought the designer did a great job milking the mostly flat terrain for a few terrain questions. The footing I thought was LOVELY for the most part...there were a few mucky spots (and, ok, a giant hole in XC warmup, that was not so cool) but it was springy and fun. I suspect it might be soup in wet weather though.

                  A last quibble (and another example of maybe not having experience with how recognized events can unravel during the day of) -- I walked my course during Training...to get from Novice penultimate to last fence, you had to walk down a very narrow blind path in the woods...which happened to be the track Training took from fence 1 to 2... you really could NOT get from our fence 18 to 19 without being literally in the path, no warning, no fence judge, no nothing, of a Training horse.

                  That was poorly planned and could easily have caused an accident.

                  I think they are trying hard and I would go back, but I would allow extra time, double check my ride times, and expect some things to be disorganized for the next few events.

                  Let's give them a chance!
                  The big man -- my lost prince

                  The little brother, now my main man


                  • #10
                    The officials were very accomodating !

                    After being up all night with a maiden mare foaling, my daughter and I with three Novice horses shipped up to Kellys Ford from Louisa with brains not totally in gear. We made a mistake of tacking up the wrong first horse, warming her up before we realized what we had done. Everyone worked hard to make it work for us. We got it sorted out and were rolling from there on.

                    The dressage warm up was a big field which wasn't too bad, but the footing was a bit rough. They needed another helper to get folks to the dressage rings or a megaphone. Riders just needed a ground person to help them stay organized.

                    I like being able to go from show jumping straight to cross country, but there definitely was a glitch with the starter. She needed at least another person to help her sort out the riders and was asking for help, which I'm not sure she ever got. Since everyone was already warmed up, they should have been able to go out right when they showed up.

                    We liked all the food, secretary and tack shop all in the same place near the trailers. They had shade trees and tents to get out of the sun.

                    We will definitely go back.
                    Virginia Field Hunters

                    https://m.facebook.com/studconcertogrosso?ref=bookmark CONCERTO GROSSO


                    • #11
                      Jim Moore deserves a good deal of credit for getting a new HT on the calendar. I think this was the 2nd time they ran recognized.

                      I agree it is a work in progress. He needs more volunteers for sure. I plan to send him some this fall as DH and IF Jr are available.

                      What I like is that you don't have to walk 9 million miles to get somewhere. The layout is nice. I'm taking my boy to Seneca Valley next month and while I like this HT, it's a real hike to get anywhere!
                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                      • #12
                        Mostly good..

                        No HT is perfect. I LOVED that there were 2 warm-ups for SJ. I was able to avoid the madness since the "main" SJ warm-up was right where everyone was hanging out and it was a bit crazy. I loved the XC warmup fences, especially that there were some that were tiny XC jumps. There was tons of space to warm-up for dressage and even a practice dressage ring to warm-up in (I so would've warmed-up in there, had I known about it!).

                        The not so good - The SJ (as some have mentioned) was on very uneven terrain. I heard it used to be a planted field with crops which has left the ground undulating. The dressage ring I rode in was exactly the same and the horse I was riding and reportedly many others were tripping a lot. The cows REALLY freaked out the horse I was riding and my friend's horse. My horse was freaked out to the point where he was difficult to ride. But I lived. There was also a SJ fence that gave people a lot of trouble, so that's something KF should look into next time they set their course. Lastly, I was in one of the baby levels and there were some fences set with very poor approaches. Luckily, they were small enough that we could stumble over them.

                        Oh, one last thing. In my opinion and amongst my friends, Kelly's Ford XC is commonly known to be maxed out at all levels, so anyone thinking of going there should be aware. My horse stepped up to the challenge, but it is a really important fact to know, especially as far as safety.

                        All that said, it was well-run from what I experienced. I am thrilled to have yet another fantastic HT to go to. I agree with the "family" feel of the show, which is nice. The XC jumps, while quite large and challenging, were well-constructed and generally beautiful. I honestly could go on about the good things about this show.


                        • #13
                          Agree there were some snags. IMO the times was the biggest. I too got the email with no follow-up, and what is on the web even still doesn't reflect the change. That wasn't fair.

                          I didn't think the dressage or sj footing was that bad. Area II has so many really fancy events with footing for both, but it wasn't that long ago that a lot of events did all phases on grass.

                          I had a little warm-up snag but they were nice about it. They limited the sj warm-up to 5 horses and when I arrived it was full of horses with higher numbers, such that they were calling me at the gate before I had been allowed to warm up, but they coordinated it fine. It sounds like it was worse later in the day though.

                          Originally posted by mybelle View Post
                          Oh, one last thing. In my opinion and amongst my friends, Kelly's Ford XC is commonly known to be maxed out at all levels, so anyone thinking of going there should be aware. My horse stepped up to the challenge, but it is a really important fact to know, especially as far as safety.
                          That's interesting. In that case I can see where people might have felt misled by the omnibus listing:

                          All Courses: Average, good courses for horses moving up this level. It will be softened from the premeir Fall "The Event" at Kelly's Ford course.

                          I still overall liked it. I kind of like the smaller local events, especially with all the destination events around us. Will be interested to see how it goes once they've gotten more into the swing of things.


                          • Original Poster

                            I am EXTREMELY picky about footing, and did not have a problem with much of the footing at all. Some spots in the giant field for dressage warm up were icky, but I avoided them (and Toby avoided ALL the poo piles by jumping them ). I didn't like the footing where xc warm up was, so I chose not to jump anything before I went...we had a little canter in front of the start box, but that was it. The footing in sj and xc had a nice spongy give to it. Yes, it was undulating and had some rolls and swales, even in sj, but THIS IS EVENTING! I did not mind it, and rode the course accordingly.

                            BMU is right. We are very spoiled in Area 2 to have lots over fancy venues with fancy footing in dressage and show jumping. But this event and a few others like it (Marlborough comes to mind) have a nice, old school, grass roots feel that you don't get (and I for one miss) at a lot of events. If your green horses struggled with the footing, ride out of the ring more.

                            And I don't know what was the problem with sj. It rode VERY well, and I jumped it at prelim height. It had a lovely, rolly flow to it. Maybe this is the difference in experience level of horse/rider?

                            The time changes SUCKED. I never saw a second email, but I did get a call. One of my boarders who rode later in the day said she got the email, but she didn't get home from business travel until midnight the night before, so was a little out of the loop.

                            There are always kinks to work out, even with long running, well attended, well respected events (may I remind people of the sj steward at Loudoun a few weeks ago???). I think KF did an admirable job for this being only their second recognized event. I hope people won't hold the snags, kinks, and snafus against them and give them a chance to grow and get better.

                            One last thing, I have to nit pick about the complaint about not hearing their number to go into dressage. I was seriously scolded by a judge very early on in my eventing career for blaming the ring steward on my tardiness to the ring. I was asked why I was late, and said I didn't hear my number. The judge told me it was MY RESPONSIBILITY to get to my ring on time, NOT the steward's. She was nice enough not to eliminate me, but that stuck. So, I'm sorry people didn't hear their numbers. That sucks, but it is still YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to get to your ring on time. I ALWAYS ask if my ring is running on time, and clarify what number is ahead of me (because it isn't always obvious). I make sure to note what horse that is, and pay attention to when they go in the ring, and when they are finishing. I do not count on the steward to tell me when it is my time. It's helpful, but not their responsibility...it is MINE, and only mine. *YB steps down from her soap box*


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                              So, what did everyone else think? I saw BMU and we chatted, and I passed by Duckz and Lincoln on my way back from xc, but she was chatting with Mogie and Toby decided to start spectator bowling right about then, so I figured it wasn't a good time to say hi!
                              I saw the start of your xc course, you guys looked like you were on a roll! Too bad about 6ab.

                              I had a lovely time at KF. There are several kinks that need to be worked out, nothing serious, just annoying. The stadium course was MUCH better than in the fall. They made the ring bigger and the course flowed nicely. XC was good times, nice gallopy training course with appropriate questions.

                              Kicking myself big time though...got allll the way to the last combo, a bending line, jumped in beautifully, and then ran. past. the. second. jump. GAH!!!!! I didn't get Linc's eye on it, and by the time I realized he wasn't "locked on" it was too late. He didn't even realize it was there. He jumped perfectly on the re-approach and finished the course in style. We would have placed 2nd. Stupid stupid stupid stupid!

                              Overall I enjoyed my day and will absolutely go back again.
                              The big guy: Lincoln

                              Southern Maryland Equestrian


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                And I don't know what was the problem with sj. It rode VERY well, and I jumped it at prelim height. It had a lovely, rolly flow to it. Maybe this is the difference in experience level of horse/rider?

                                I wasn't there this time, but in the fall there was one line that rode FINE at TR and above, but not so well at N, and downright badly at the lower levels

                                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                • #17
                                  I am probably not the best person to ask (We got the big "E" in SJ) but I will add my two cents worth. I had never been to a recognized event, and even though I was in the SR Maiden division I was still frought with anxiety about what to expect.

                                  I too got that email on Friday but realized it was really two emails attached together in my GMAIL box that were under the same collective heading so when I scrolled down I saw the second one had directed me to the website where the times were changed.

                                  Parking was not great, but it usually isn't which is why my trucks all have 4wheel drive. I ended up parked in the back, and like everyone else those demon cows freaked my mare out to no end. Especially when I put her back in the trailer between dressage and SJ and when she came back out they had moved up under their run-in shed and were fairly close. I couldn't even get my mare's rear boots on because it would have been taking my life in my hands to get it done.

                                  I found the size and number of warm-ups really great, and that they had a practice dressage arena awesome, didn't get to use it, but still great to know about. The footing wasn't great but I ride in crappy fields at home for the most part so we were okay.

                                  For dressage I just hung out really close to the bit check/ring steward tent when it was near my time.

                                  SJ for us was running fairly on time, but the practice jumps were on a downward slope and a little anxiety enducing for a greeny horse. A competitior I was parked next to had warned me about the line of stadium jumps going towards the jump judges stand (Jumps 2, and 3) She said there was something(not the jumps themselves)in that particular corner that was throwing a lot of horses in to fits. Of which mine was one. It wasn't the jump because I couldn't even get her within two strides of it, it was something over in that line of sight though.

                                  I had walked the XC twice. First off I was in the 2ft (greeennnny) division and the first jump on our course was not 2ft. That thing had to be BN height and a few others were really intimidating for a green horse or rider to tackle. But the one I had the most objection to was the water jump. The approach had the horses coming up an incline and only seeing that it was a water jump at the last second. Not good for a green horse to be suddenly surprised with it and I saw several flat out refuse.

                                  Over all it was a nice event. My section ran mostly on time without too much waiting around. I decided to hate the cows, but not much you can do about that. I liked that the water stations(for horses to drink and be hosed off) were fairly close to the parking. I loved the smoothie stand and told the lady who ran it that the smoothie was the best part of my day.

                                  Will I go back? When my horse and I have a little more mileage under our belts and my mare has calmed down at shows more. Getting eliminated in SJ, doing the walk of shame back to the trailer was very disappointing. We had an off day so I am not gonna blame KF for that.
                                  Eventing at Midnight Blog

                                  Rodan and Fields, Ask Me About it
                                  A Measure of Grace Blog


                                  • #18
                                    GRC's Kellys Ford Photos

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                                    • #19
                                      My appologies, it was not the first jump on XC that was a BN height it was further along over the second field, like 2nd, 3rd or 4th can't recall.
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                                      • #20
                                        Um, my friend really didn't blame the ring steward. She accepted her responsibility in being late. I just thought it noteworthy since she had checked with the person in the warm-up field and was under the impression that they were running late and her turn was yet to come. As a friend, I wish I had been a bit more proactive and checked with the lady manning arena 2. I agree that the rider has to be where they are supposed to be at the correct time.