May 8, 2009
Since I arrived on the east coast it has done nothing but rain. Everyone tells me that storms back here come and go with the half hour, but it’s been 8 consecutive days of nothing but rain. The weather man on TV even got excited about the situation. I didn’t realize that you could have purple on a weather map, but sure enough, when red just isn’t enough, purple means “you’re really in for it now!”
Competition started here at Jersey Fresh on Wednesday and it was immediately evident that it was going to be a day by day situation trying to deal with the conditions. The officials are doing everything in their power, coupled with lots of praying, to get the footing good enough to run cross country. They decided to move the dressage ring into the indoor arena, but all of the warm up still had to be done outside. The warm up rings are so muddy that we had to be very careful not to ride too long and tire the horses out. From there, it’s a long walk to get to the indoor, which has very different footing and is quite dark and spooky. It was difficult to maintain what you had developed in warm up once you got in the ring, and all day it showed with unusually poor dressage marks throughout the competition. Finian was really well behaved about the situation, and put in a good test for the conditions. It would certainly not be our best performance, but good enough for 4th with a 51.5. We’re just behind Becky Holder and Courageous Comet (Competed at the Olympics in Hong Kong last year) with a 51.0, and sitting pretty ahead of Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, and others.
The rain finally broke yesterday and the cross country thankful got a chance to start draining. While the footing is hugely improved from a day earlier, there’s no question that Saturday is going to be heavy going and lots of mud. We’ll be looking to run carefully and safely and hopefuly find some turf good enough to gallop-on in some places. It will be a challenge for me because I’ve never run in these conditions and, as has been the case all season, I am just out there to get my qualifying score…of course I’m not opposed to being competitive as well!
We’re all hoping for clear weather from here on out. I’ll keep you posted on how Saturday goes.