It has been quite the month!
Last week we took Kingston, Toffee, and Fiora to the Let's Show Halloween Championship. This is our third year attending and it just gets more fun each time.
This year course designer, Meghan Rawlins, gave everyone a run for their money. She asked a lot of tough questions in her courses which challenged both riders and horses. It was the first time I've ever jumped Kingston inside and he was a bit of a different ride. Riding in a smaller closed space requires the horses to be more broke and on the aids since there is less room for correction. We ended the week on a very nice (and clean) 1.20m round after some tack malfunction and a cut on his heel bulb from over-reaching. His heart never ceases to amaze me and I feel so lucky that we get to work with him.
Amy and Toffee did a great job as always. Little mistakes in each round kept her out of the ribbons for some of the week (big classes and tough courses) but she made a great effort with a great attitude. She even managed to finish a course with one stirrup after Toffee spooked hard at the photographer. I admire her stick!
Fiora put down clean rounds in the 1.0m and the .95m but her more huntery pace kept her out of the ribbons. In her defense, I haven't been schooling her much at that height since we've been working on making her a 2'6" machine for Melanie. We had originally brought her for Melanie to show in the low hunters but Melanie decided to fracture her arm instead on Tuesday morning. A bit disappointing but Melanie will be back in the game shortly, just in time for winter!
I had originally planned to take Kingston in the 1.25m Mini Prix on Friday night but after his heel bulb injury on Wednesday, I decided to wait and see what the course looked like before entering. The course designer set up a very technical, big, and difficult track and I decided it was best to sit this one out. I don't know if I've ever been happier with a decision in my riding life. We watched multiple horses and riders crash and struggle around the sixteen fence course. The victors ended up being riders with their 1.50m mounts dropping down to school at the 1.25m height.
The upside to the Mini Prix was that we got to sit and watch the good, bad, and ugly. Usually at the Grand Prix height, most riders are very competent and it's rare to see any major mistakes. It was great being able to open up a dialogue during the class about what each rider was doing correctly or incorrectly and how that would affect the next step in their course. I think it was a great learning experience for those watching intently, but I was really glad not to be a part of the demonstration!
We also participated in the Halloween Costume Contest! Amy dressed Toffee up as a reindeer and boy were they cute! Toffee was none too pleased, however, about the other costumes, including the horse dressed as an airplane with smoke coming out the back. Kingston and I went as Captain America!