Elkton, MD
Oct 19, 2008

Sunday was an early morning because of the 8:00 trot-up.  It was also exceptionally cold, with frost on the ground and a bitter wind that cut right through you, regardless of how many layers you were wearing.  Finian was feeling pretty good, and just needed to be kept warm and walked a bit to loosen up.  He easily passed the trot-up and then got bundled up in his blankets again and went back in his stall while we waited to show jump. 

The course was nice, although fairly difficult, with a tricky oxer, bending line to a two stride oxer combination, and a tight rollback turn to a vertical. The final line was a one stride of verticals to a bending line of six strides to an oxer over a Liverpool.  There were very few clear rounds, and many of those that did jump clear picked up time penalties.  Finian came out feeling wonderful and hardly rubbed one warm up jump.  He was equally calm and rideable as the day before, but still feeling plenty fresh.  In the ring he was fantastic and very quick between the fences.  He jumped a picture perfect round until the last line when he just ticked the last oxer and it came down.  It was heartbreaking, both for me, and his many new fans.  So many people wanted to see this wonderful horse lay down a clean round.  When we came out of the ring, we posed for some photos, and Finn happily poked, nudged, and slimed a few eager victims.  One person told me “he was jumping so well, it must have been the wind that took down the rail, because he certainly didn’t touch one.”

With the four faults added for the rail, we ended up on a score of 65.8.  I keep thinking about where I could have gone faster on cross country, how I could have grabbed a few more points in dressage, or how I should have ridden the last line in show jumping so that we could have left the oxer up.  So goes the curse of always wanting to be better.  Finian won the national championship for highest placed young horse and will get his name engraved on a perpetual trophy.  We were also 14th overall, and against a class of older, more experienced horses, I couldn’t be more proud of the kid.