Poplar Place September

We are now on the long ride home. This is the absolute worst part of the weekend.

The only consolation is that the ponies were all super this weekend!

Calysta MWF (Heidi) owned and bred by Meredith Michelfelder and Midway Farms, our most favorite chestnut Hanoverian mare had her first outing since May. We laid low for most of this summer. Competing the upper levels in the Deep South hardly seems fair in the dog days of summer when temps are reaching 100 plus and the ground is hard like concrete. The weather this weekend was perfect for our game which meant it was about 20 degrees cooler than it has been. Heidi was feeling her oats, so to speak. The dressage had great moments, but she never quite settled. And while it was still good enough to score a 32.10, I know she is capable of so much more. She'll come out next time even better. The jumping, which is her favorite part, was super. She came out of the start on spooking at everything except thankfully the fences in front of her face.

Tenure Track (Luke) and Red Mare (Zoey) were both in the training. It was a RBF head to head battle between me and Betsy. Not really… but maybe a little… It was pretty evenly matched because it was Luke’s first training level, but Zoey hadn't been out at that level in ages and also has a propensity to buck hard, especially in the cooler weather. Luke was quite super in the dressage, though he is still on the forehand and gets unsteady. Zoey, in her usual fine form, went in and put a solid test albeit perhaps a little sleepy which put her a little in front of me. Luke made it through the show jump. There were moments of brilliance and also some others not quite so brilliant. He got a little bug eyed and wasn’t quite sure where he should be taking off from, especially in the combinations. Zoey went in a put in a perfect hunter round. Betsy was well up on me at that point. The goal for each of them was to make it home without jump faults on cross country. They both delivered perfectly! Betsy just loped around so she ended up with a bunch of time faults, and so Luke moved into the ‘lead’. One paper Luke was the top RBF training horse, but I still have to give the win to Betsy. She put in the better dressage and absolutely the better show jump; she also stayed on Zoey despite her antics to the first four cross country fences. Both horses are so exciting.

Betsy also rode Sarah Buffington’s Carpenter Jack around the beginner novice. He is a really lovely horse, although not the most innately brave. The horse can move and he can jump. With a little more education I think he is going to be quite special. This weekend was really great for him. The dressage was still a little green. He hasn’t quite learned to be soft and elastic but it will come. More importantly, he jumped around the show jump and the cross country like a champ. Anyone who has been to poplar knows that the show jumping can be a lot to look at. Those butterflies. Jack went into the ring and jumped around like he seems monstrous butterflies every day. It is so good to see him growing into himself. Another very exciting horse for the future. Sarah has been doing a stellar job with him.

Last but not least, Grace Clayton rode her own Media Hype (Colby) in the beginner novice. Grace has come such a very long way since she started working with us. When Grace first came to us she was worried about canter in the field. At one point in those days, Betsy told her to canter a tiny little log on our wonderful school horse, Heath. Grace looked at her wide eyed and said ‘are you sure?’. Now she is running her baby track horse around the beginner novice with confidence. She is also becoming quite the horse person. Since Betsy and I were there with two horses each and no extra help, Grace was incredibly useful. Bathed and washed horses for us in addition to looking after he own horse meticulously. We are so proud of her and very excited for her to move up to Novice at her next event.