We never in a million years thought Paradise Horse Trials would really happen following the ice storm! Horses hadn't been ridden all week, no one had power, and many roads were still blocked. Access to get off Sandy Hills was only granted the evening before the event because one of the boys from a neighboring farm attacked the road with a chainsaw and Bubba moved some of the downed wires with his tractor!! With a clear route to get out with the trailer we figured we had to go. We finished braiding in the dark (no power) and bathing horses wasn't an option (no water!) so we spruced the girls up as best as we could and went to the horse show! Both Devi and Ari had an all star day on Saturday with nice dressage tests and rock solid show jump rounds in the Preliminary Horse Divisions. Sunday, XC day, proved to be a very big test. The Prelim track at Paradise is known for being very big and technical and when I walked it I knew it would be a stretch for the girls' first outing of the season (and a week of no rides!). I decided to retire Ari at the sixth fence because I didn't want to shake her confidence. Devi, although it took a little bit for her to get into a rhythm, finished up strong. I was very proud of both mares. They both beat the odds against Mother Nature and put their game faces on for me. Even though Ari didn't get to run that day, we returned to Paradise to school after the event and she rocked everything. Go upper level ponies!
Beacon ran Pine Top's Intermediate for his first outing of the season and stepped right into competition like the old pro he has become. He put in a very correct and consistent dressage test that earned us the comment "clearly educated pair" from the judge! We had some rails in show jumping which was disappointing, but he is becoming more rideable and clever with his technique all the time so I was still OK with it. The show jumping has been a long and challenging road for us, but things are starting to come together, and even little successes are still successes. Cross country, as always, is where he excels the most, and this event was no exception! He is a cross country machine, making even the most challenging combinations seem like a cake walk! I am so lucky to have this amazing horse to gallop over these big tracks. Who needs Red Bull? Beacon gives me wings!!!
The Mighty Mares and Carino all rocked Sporting Days. The girls didn't have their best showing in the dressage arena, but they both show jumped double clean (again!) and rocked around XC. Devi had an unfortunate stop in the water; it was deeper than I realized and I jumped her in a little under-power so she ran out of energy for the log in the water. She was very honest and it was my mistake (ALWAYS walk thru the water!!!) but she was stellar for the rest of the track. Ari clocked around everything and didn't bat an eye. Go girls!
Marissa and Carino had an awesome outing standing second after dressage and moved up to first after a double clear show jump round! They had a footwork perfect XC trip and came through the finish with a little time (I didn't let her wear a watch!) which put her in third for the final placings! Great job Marissa!