Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Update From Jessica

Blue Hill Farm has been very busy with the Para riders. First was a long but successful trip to Toronto, Canada for a the Windreach 3 star dressage competition for our riders. We were very proud of Becca Hart, who placed 2nd in all three of her classes, right behind the Canadian Olympic gold medalist!

James Dwyer won two of his three tests and nicely qualified for the WEG, for his home country of Ireland. Our wonderful, colorful Carlingford JD, an Irish Sport horse of color, won all of his classes at grade 1A with his para rider, Laura Goldman, new to competition. She qualified for the US para selection trials, held at the end of June in Illinois. JD’s owner, Trudy Phillips, was kind enough to offer him to Laura for the ride.

The next important event was the Selection Trials in Illinois at the beautiful Lamplight Equestrian Facility. Becca outdid herself riding two horses; her own Nortessa and a new ride on Kazan, offered by Kerri Sowers (one of Jessica’s long time students). Nortessa, otherwise known as “Pippin”, Becca’s Para-Olympic mount, was just back from resting a slight strain. He placed just behind Kazan, who Kerri successfully rode to the Individual Bronze Medal at the 2001 Young Rider Championships. Kerri also kindly groomed for Kazan and James’ horse, Orlando, in Canada and at the Trials. Becca was really on top of her game, with her first place on Kazan and second with Nortessa, She became overall Champion and Reserve! 

James, competing for Ireland, rode at the Selection Trials in an open class, but had the same international judges. His scores in the Grade IV Division were the highest of all Grade IV riders! Carlingford JD again won all 3 classes at the 1A Grade Level, which put him squarely in the group of riders able to ride at the WEG. What a weekend for Blue Hill!

With these long trips behind us, we returned home for a two week rest before showing again at the NJ Horse Park. During the two weeks at home, I made a short trip to Florida to give a judging and short riding clinic for the riders from the Dominican Republic preparing for the Central American Games. These riders were hard working and dedicated to their sport. My purpose was to provide judging analysis through the Prix St George level tests, and to facilitate a clinic on how to raise their test scores on movements that were easiest to improve.

July 16th - 18th we were at the NJ Horse Park where the Blue Hill riders did very well in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd Level tests. Missy rode Taldi at 2nd Level, placing 1st in three out of her four rides and on Saturday was Reserve Champion. Rachel won all three of her rides and was Champion at 3rd Level, riding Carlingford JD.

Elizabeth Baries on Margarita was Reserve Champion at 1st Level on Saturday, winning one of her tests, placing 2nd on another and then taking two 3rd place prizes as well. We were very proud of her, considering this was Elizabeth’s first recognized show! Kerri Sowers rode her young horse Amigo, placing first in one of her First Level tests, and Silva Martin rode a powerful Grand Prix test on Jeff the Chef, scoring a 63% and placing second! Our Para riders stayed home to prepare for the Morven Park Dressage Show, which is taking place this upcoming weekend.

When reflecting on our efforts in Canada and Illinois, were were very pleased that three of the WEG judges got their eyes on our riders at these competitions. It was an important effort to show the judges that our riders were working to improve their tests, and we hope that the judges kind words and helpful insights will be remembered while competing at the WEG!!

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