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Last Event of the Season is a Huge Success!

 
Amanda and Rio

This past weekend was a significant event for Claire Nicol and Amanda Haryett.  It was a move-up event for both riders, Claire making her debut at Entry and Amanda in Pre-Training.  

I was told that Claire was 2nd after dressage, which is nothing new for Claire and her mare, Calypso.  They are exceptional in the dressage phase and it is obvious that their score will improve dramatically when Claire doesn’t fall asleep through the first half of her test!  She went into the ring feeling far too relaxed and the first half of her test was not their best work.  I could literally see Claire jolt into action halfway through the free walk and from that point on the test just got better and better.  I lit a fire under her butt for cross country and they went out of the box exactly as we talked about.  One thing I cannot fault Claire for is following instruction to the letter – she did everything I suggested, right down to riding exactly 2’6″ off the fenceline for a particular jump.  Her results?  Clear!  We did discuss her riding Callee slowly and consistently, as time was not a focal point for her move-up.  With Callee’s size, making time is a strategy in itself, so Claire had quite a few time penalties.  This unfortunately dropped her out of the ribbons, but they finished in fine form with a double clear show jump round to top off an excellent day of personal victories!

Claire and Callee

Amanda is still learning to regulate Rio’s dressage when he gets tense, but overall, their dressage test was rhythmical and improved as it went on.  They have recently had majour breakthroughs with their dressage work at home and it was disappointing to not see this shine through in the show ring.  With time they will be more consistent and I am excited to see how well they will do when their homework is displayed at shows!  The highlight of Amanda’s weekend has to be her picture perfect cross country round.  From the first fence to the last, Amanda rode Rio with a bold, confidence building attitude and he came off course a different horse.  They cantered a half coffin in excellent form, jumped up/down their first tabletop, and soared over a trakhener without missing a beat.  Amanda has finally found her Pre-Training speed and I could see her reminding herself on course to pick up the pace at times.  She rode a good stadium round and did a fine job of keeping Rio balanced and focued.  They ended 4th!  Here is a link to Amanda’s cross country round: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rj_rLT18Ms

Even more exciting to me than this weekend’s victories is how these horses and riders have developed this season.  Claire and Callee have gone from both being fairly timid and unsure in all phases to learning how to grit their teeth and kick on when things get tough.  They are consistently placing in the top 1/4 of their classes after dressage, have yet to have a rail in show jumping, and Claire has developed a mind for the technicalities of modern cross country demands.  Amanda is learning how to refine her aids and has grown to be a stronger, more patient rider.  Watching Rio develop has been fun this season, too – he went from swimming his way through an Entry course to making light work of Pre-Training with great confidence.  Rio’s first SJ round with Amanda earlier this season showed a green horse that wasn’t entirely sure the show jumps weren’t going to eat him.  The first fence was always a bit of a tough ride, but this past weekend, he cantered confidently into his course with focus.  What a different horse!

I am so proud of these riders!  They have shown what dedication, regular lessons, and doing their homework can do for their riding.  Congratulations on a great season.

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