The Greatest Victories Are Not Always Shown on the Scoreboard

Miss Diggy Bear, affectionately known at home as Buttercup, is officially the little horse that can and will.  She has just successfully completed the Young Event Horse Championships for 5yr olds at Fair Hill.  Pictures and video coming soon.  After spending a lot of September in her stall foot sore from a little too much trim, I entered her on closing day of the championships, just 16 short days from the championships themselves.  Keep in mind that I rode her for the first time in about 3 weeks the day I entered her!   Streeeeeeesssssss!!!!  So many thanks to my vet for the help and the green light to go ahead.

A whirlwind of getting ready followed.  All our plans of getting her out to another competition or 2 and doing some good schooling as well had gone out the window, so we were feeling a little behind.   Fortunately the competition does not require endurance training since there is no optimum time for the jumping, and the course is relatively short consisting of several show jumps and then on to cross country jumps.   Trish Gilbert designed a lovely YEH course at Fair Hill.

I am so proud and impressed with Buttercup.  Fair Hill has LOTS of atmosphere and she went in that main arena and did her dressage test with the confidence of a pro.  For the jumping phase the following day she let us know that she was super ready and bright in the warm up.  Let me at it!  She was a little green to a couple of the fences, but she was honest, forward, bold, and positive the whole time.  And she impressed the crowd with her awesome jumping as well.

Buttercup held her own in the confirmation phase scoring about in the middle of the pack.  Unfortunately, the judges did not think that her dressage and jumping were as spectacular as some of the other horses, so she did not score as well as we would have liked.    But in my book Buttercup has what it takes to be an amazing event horse.  At 5 young years she has already competed at Fair Hill during the CCI ***/** competition including doing her dressage in the main arena.  The jumping test included fences up to preliminary specifications (3’7″ ), a bank out of water two strides to a house, a trakhener and more.  She handles the big jumps with ease and grace, and is a safe and careful jumper, lengthening and shortening with ease and already doing her changes.  You can see in her expression that she loves to do this and that she is very self confident.  She did everything we asked her to do and she did it well.   She is super smart, quick footed and with the athleticism and the scope to go far.  She is certainly the kind of horse I want to be on for all the levels of eventing!

The road to YEH Championships was rocky and included (but was not limited to!) a busted truck radiator on the Baltimore beltway (bye bye MCTA! Bonus I was alone that day because my groom that day woke up throwing up.  Two horses in a huge trailer on the side of the beltway.  Oh FUN!  Thank you Colleen Corrigan for picking up me and my two young horses.  Boy was I happy to see you), a dramatically thrown shoe (could not finish at Applewood, grrr.  It was nice to see my brother and his wife there though.  Silver lining, right?), cellulitis (me!  Sam rode that day. Go Sam!   Be very kind to your horse if they get it – it REALLY hurts and you feel super lousy),  dressage in a thunderstorm (ok they sent us back to our trailers just as I was about to go in the dressage ring – the letters and the ring itself were blowing over! It was not storming when we actually rode the test).    Need I go on???

So, just getting qualified and getting there was a huge success story in itself.  As I have said before, the greatest victories are not always shown on the scoreboard.   This was a great victory and its on my scoreboard for sure.   And not just because of all the wacky stuff that happened this summer.  But because we believe in Buttercup and how wonderful she is and she was able to get out there and really prove it.

Just a note about the Young Event Horse program itself.  Having gone through the qualifying process and ridden at the championships I am very pleased with the program itself.  Like anything else, there are glitches and things that need ironing out (where aren’t there?!), but overall I certainly felt that this is a great program to showcase exciting young event horses, and to expose young event horses to competition in a relaxed atmosphere.   Hmmmm…  I have a lovely 3 yr old out in the barn:)

I cannot end this without a huge thank you to lots of people.  First is Sam who believes in me and Buttercup without fail.  Thanks also to Sharon White, Susan White, Debbie Williamson, Tim Hamilton, Jason Cole & Filippa Boughton, and last but not least huge thanks to the wonderful staff back at home who take care of the horses and the farm and make it possible for us to be away.

Jennifer

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