Allentown, NJ
May 10, 2009

As hoped, Sunday was a clear, beautiful day and Finian was feeling very well.  So well that I could barely get on after walking the show jumping course due to all his prancing and snorting around.  It’s hard to believe, after running in the mud the day before, that he was so fresh, though I’m certainly not complaining.  He was jumping the best I’ve ever felt, which is saying a lot since he is such a fantastic jumper and Mark Phillips even had to remind me to give him more rein he was kicking up so big and cracking his back so hard over the fences.  The course wouldn’t be the toughest we’ve ever done, but it was well up to size, the time was pretty tight, and it had lots of tricky jumps to the eye.  None of that mattered, he was so spectacular in the ring, jumping the heck out of everything and very quick between the fences.  On one roll back turn he sat and spun faster than even I expected and shaved seconds off of the times other riders had ridden.  It was truly a foot perfect round until the last line when I let his attention sway to the crowd and off of the triple combination. He put in an extra stride, and try as he might, had the second fence down.  He kicked out in outrage and jumped the last fence beautifully, finishing well within the time and with only the one rail which kept us in 3rd place.  I was dissapointed by my error, but didn’t get to mope for too long because I was met at the out gate by Mark Phillips with a huge grin and a high five.  He kept saying “it doesn’t matter, we don’t care about that, well done”.  

After the awards, the US team selectors asked to do a vet evaluation on Finian.  That is a huge nod of approval and means they are considering him for the future, but it’s also nerve racking because they go over the horses with a fine tooth comb.  The team farrier was thrilled that he has great feet, the vet was thrilled that he looked so fit and sound, and the selectors were so happy to see a horse that is good in all three phases.  It is a real testament to our whole training program, but especially the work of our vets at home, Tim and Alex Eastman and Wade Tenney, that he was in such good form at the end of a tough weekend.  It barely took Dr. Furlong 10 minutes and he said in pleased astonishment, “he looks fine”.   

I can finally say we’re Bromont bound, now that we got our qualifying score, so it’s on to making plans for that.  There’s no rest for the wicked as I run the young horses next weekend at a horse trials.
Thank you to everyone for your support and well wishes, and especially my mom who worked tirelessly all weekend and right through mother’s day.  It was a treat to have her and I couldn’t have had such a great weekend with out her.