Split Mesquite Farm
My rides on Gran Casso have been very good. I think what the judges are expecting to see is not quite how we like to ride our horses at home. They seem to want to see a big, auction like trot which for a relaxed, laid back horse like mine can be a bit difficult at times! He's acting like a pro though. This horse tries so hard, I am really proud of him and excited about his future as a performance stallion. Yesterday we free jumped and GC did really well. Didn't even look at the indoor arena he'd never been in. Tomorrow is a day off and then we ride at 8am Tuesday and Wednesday so we can ride in the big indoor arena, where the guest rider test will be.
Today started out with a vet jog which went fine. Then we had a meeting with the test director, Helmut Schrant about what to expect for the next 10 days. There are 7 stallions total. Gran Casso of course, a big chestnut Innverness, a buckskin pony Champions Devito, a bay driving pony Wasabi, a BWP jumper stallion Coronado WW, a big 17.2 hand Dutch stallion also from Texas American Express and one other jumper whose name escapes me.
I rode Gran Casso today and he was really good!! Very relaxed and even a bit lazy. At the farm in Kentucky he was getting lots of alfalfa. Now that he's back to his normal hay ration I'm seeing a difference in energy level. Maybe time to add a bit more alfalfa to the diet! Yesterday I bought a new bit for him because he kept backing off the loose ring. He just didn't want to touch it and was getting too deep. I put him back in an eggbutt today and he was a happy boy! Salivated a lot and was very willing to connect to the bit. He felt really super. I'm excited to have him at this test and I sure hope he does well! He has been so adaptable this whole trip. Never gets worried or concerned when he moves to a new place. Unforuntately he's not getting as much turnout here as he gets at home and he acts like he could care less. As long as there is hay in front of him, he's happy:-)
We will be working him Friday-Sunday and he will get Monday off. We wil put him through the jump chute a few times as well. We are primarily working on getting him stronger doing lots of transitions within and between gaits and also shoulder in and shoulder in on the circle. We started doing a little travers in KY and I continued with that some today. We are also increasing the difficulty of the counter canter. After my ride today I took him for a walk in a field out around a pond. It was so nice to be able to walk my four year old stallion out in an open area on a long rein. What a good boy!
Wow, last week was really crazy!! Not once did I have time to plug my laptop in and update the website. Martin and I left around 4pm last Sunday afternoon. We drove through the night stopping many times at rest stops and truck stops to offer Gran Casso water and make sure he had hay. He travelled like a pro. We arrived at our temporary home in Versailles, KY after 19.5 hours on the road. Gran Casso settled in really well.
In the evening, we met up with my parents, Bob & Karin, and headed west to Louisville for a sunset tour of Churchill Downs. It was really a neat experience. We toured the museum and even did a race simulator! We were able to see the jockeys locker room and the clubhouse. We took our picture with an authentic Kentucky Derby trophy and then headed back to the museum where we met and took our picture with Ron Turcott, Secretariat's jockey!
Tuesday was the team dressage competition. The gold medal was won by The Neterhlands, the silver by Great Britain and the Bronze medal was won by Germany. After the competition, I schooled Gran Casso while Martin coached me. I wasn't sure how he would be after his long trip and the fact that he was stuck in a stall most of the day. At home he is used to lots of turnout but he was really great. Very relaxed. Wednesday was the individual competition in the Grand Prix Special. This was a really fun day and it was cool to see the judges marks during the test. We saw some good riding and some not so good riding. I was impreseed by the British silver medalist, Laura Bechtolscheimer. Edward Gal won the gold and Steffan Peters won the bronze. For dinner the four of us went to Jean Farris winery hand had a delicious dinner with some wonderful wines!
Thursday morning we worked Gran Casso again and then headed to the convention center for the International Equestrian Festival. We had a lot of fun shopping and watching the demos. We explored the events dowtown and then went to a restaurant called Portofinos for dinner with a few clients of mine; Amy Denny, Dawn Dugan, Katie Hadden and Martha Murgia.
Friday morning we worked Gran Casso again and then explored the horse park prior to the evening's freestyle. The Spanish rider on Fuego was the most fun ride of the night and received a standing ovation from the crowd! Moorland's Totilas had a lovely freestyle as well and again I was really impressed with Laura Bechtolscheimer. In my opinion, the gold medal could have gone either way. Steffan Peters and Ravel won the bronze medal again. It was a very enjoyable evening and I'm very excited to get my freestyle with Gran Casso together this winter!!
Saturday was cross country day and what a beautiful day it was! Sunny and in the 70s it was a perfect day to walk around the cross country course at the horse park. The jumps were huge and it was really amazing to watch these atletic horses work! In the evening, Martin and I attended the Trakehner Foundations wine tasting and auction at the beautiful Spindletop Hall. We had a very enjoyable evening, it was nice to get dressed up!
Today we worked Gran Casso again. We are in Lexington until Tuesday when we will head to Batavia for the stallion testing. He is working extremely well and I'm excited about the test!! We had a really great time at the World Equestrian Game