August and September were very busy for the horses and I. The excitement began at Angelstone International Tournament in Guelph Ontario; I had 3 young horses with me, Persistence, Sundance, and Daccardi V. Millar Brooke Farm had arrived as well with their young horses for the tournament, giving Amy Millar and I a chance to work our horses together. We showed through the week Tuesday to Thursday.
Daccardi V, a Dutch warm blood Stallion has been my great project over the year and he was truly remarkable at this particular show. A talented 5 year old with a very adjustable stride, he has a natural 20 ft stride - a 12 ft stride has been the goal. That kind of adjustability is ideal for high level jumpers, but it is a challenge to learn. It requires the horse to be balanced in a consistent rhythm, tracking up with their hind end. This creates the power needed to clear the big fences. We spent our time in the 1.10 meter classes perfecting this balance and striding.
Persistence was also impressive. It was her first international show and as a 4-year-old it was significant. She really got to shine in the ring, showing off her scope and the decorated fences of the occasions. For a young horse she made some intelligent moves, and she has a very modern jumper type build and disposition. Amy has compared her jumping to Hickstead, and her disposition and drive to Grand Prix horses such as 'Warrior,' a Grand Prix mount ridden by Ian Millar.
Week two at Angelstone arrived and so did Sundance, another 4-year-old Oldenburg mare to add to my string. She is a large 17 hh bodied mare who floats along like a rocking horse. Amy and I put in a lot of hours with our horses and enjoyed the other great attributes of the show. The tournament also hosted a clinic by Eric Lamaze, a $100,000 Grand Prix, and a $30,000 Grand Prix. I got to meet and ride in the rings with greats such as Leslie Howard, Ian Millar, and Yann Candelle.
The tournament came to an end and we were home for a week of rest before a training trip to Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, Ontario. Daccardi V and Persistence made the trip with me. After nine hours and two flat tires, we finally made it there. The first couple days were fairly quiet at Millar Brooke Farm with Amy and I. Ian was competing at the Spruce Meadow Masters. Amy and I chipped away working to better our rides. I even got to ride a couple of the Millar Brooke horses.
My two mounts were fantastic as usual but the greatest moment of my riding career happened on the last day I was there. I was jumping Daccardi with Ian, Amy, and another student as we were working on a grid exercise. A grid exercise usually consists of trotting poles to a vertical, two strides to an over, three strides to another larger vertical, and then a diagonal line or outside line to test what you've learned from the grid. The moment came after Daccardi and I completed the grid and small course, and Ian said from the back of his Olympic mount Star Power, "It truly is beautiful watching you two ride. You and your horse are perfectly in sync." The Millar's have seen the journey that Daccardi and I have been on and know my goals, our weakness, and it was very rewarding to have my childhood and current hero pay such a great compliment to my Horse and I. That moment was worth this entire month of hours practicing, sleep lost, early horse show mornings, and the highs and lows that horse shows bring. As a team we're already better and stronger for the next big step.
Springer Horse Farms LTD
We are totally smitten with our sponsored riders and are excited to share an update from our first, Sarah Jurjevich.