|Trading Aces, owned by the Trading Aces Syndicate, LLC. Amber Heintzberger photo|
Oscar felt really strong around the whole course. I haven’t competed him since Red Hills and he’s definitely a different beast than I remember. He was quite strong and bold and felt fresh all the way around. I didn’t go to the well on him just because obviously we want to make sure he has positive experiences and stays strong moving forward. All I was worried about was seeing how he traveled today and he felt great. Personally I think this horse has all the quality in the world, but it’s courses for horses and I think he’d be well-suited for
Pau, Luhmuehlen or Aachen, while I’d
probably stay away from Burghley and courses with heavy ground. He’s only ten,
and in hindsight I might have made the error of getting him up to advanced too
After getting him back from Phillip he’s wanting to go more, he’s looking to go at them; at a number of fences I was having to hold him back a bit more than I’d like, and I believe that’s where the time faults came from more than the fact that he was going slow.
Not only did Oscar finish fourth, he was won the Cayman Went Trophy for the top-placing American-bred Thoroughbred, in honor of Annie Jones' four-star champion who was ridden by Phillip Dutton, which is a fitting award for the horse that Phillip rode for me this year.
|Crackerjack, owned by Lucy Boynton. Amber Heintzberger photo|
Crackerjack has been with me for a long time; unfortunately we haven’t done much with him over the past 12 months as we were battling with a few respiratory issues. I’m very thankful to Lucy Boynton, his owner, for being patient. We’ve done a number of things to try to improve his problems and I’ve learned a fair bit from my fellow competitors who have had similar horses. There wouldn’t be a horse that I’ve had that tries any harder, and at the moment we’ve come so far, I’d like to see if we can get him up to a four-star.
|Master Frisky, owned by Stephen Blauner. Amber Heintzberger photo|
|Pancho Villa, owned by the Pancho Villa Syndicate, LLC. Amber Heintzberger photo|
|Steady Eddie, owned by George and Gretchen Wintersteen, Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin. Amber Heintzberger photo|
|SBF Cortez, owned by Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin. Photo courtesy Jenni Autry|
I had a blasting round on SBF Cortez. He’s a bit of a green horse and unfortunately I got a little too competitive and went for the time. He jumped beautifully but coming to the last fence he was too forward and excited, and I really had to fight with him to get him back before the keyhole, and I got him to an impossible distance but thankfully he pulled up, giving him his first-ever cross-country fault. Shadow and Cortez are my up and coming intermediate horses and both have got a lot of quality and both need a lot more time in all three phases; fortunately they are supported by great owners who understand that the process of building great event horses takes a lot of time.
|Welcome Shadow, owned by Craig and Gloria Callen (pictured at Millbrook HT 2014)|
Welcome Shadow is originally a foxhunter; she’s a great mover and a great jumper. I was upset with her show jumping yesterday, I think she misread a lot of jumps, just because the sun was setting. She’d be one of the best jumpers I have, but she had a few down because of the glare on the fences at that time of day. Today she felt super. I’m still up in the air whether to run her in a three-day event at the end of the year or wait until next year.
I’ve got all seven of the horses I rode here entered at Fair Hill. For Shadow and Cortez I’ve got to figure out if it’s beneficial doing a two-star there or hanging out until next year. The four young three-star horses all really impressed me today and I’m looking forward to giving their first run in a CCI***.
Meanwhile I’ll be riding Hanna Lu, out of Rosa Cha, in the 5-year-old class at
Devon next weekend. I’ve
got my assistant riders Mike Pendleton, Caitlin Silliman and Kat Lissett all
riding there as well, in the young horse classes. Even though they’re on event
horses, I think it’s important that event horses compete alongside the pure dressage
horses, even though we’ll probably get destroyed in the placings! It’s
important to feel like you can compete against the specialists.
Silva’s also back in action and Rosa Cha is looking especially good. I’m egging her on to move back up to Grand Prix, but at the same time my understanding of dressage is much less than hers.
Today my students McKenna Shea, Lillian Heard, Erin Sylvester and Jimmie Schramm all rode well. I do enjoy watching these girls come along and helping them in the process because they are all hungry and desperate to be awesome riders and I think they all have an opportunity to be amazing.