Champagne Wishes Farm

Bluemont, VA
(540) 554-8353

Morven Park CCI* 2007
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Three-Day Reflections
I was thrilled to see both Pat and Christie complete their first CCI, and on their first try! For those of us who have been in the game for awhile, we know what a true accomplishment this is and for both Hershey and Luca to be healthy and sound at the end of it all, well that is fantastic. What many don't see is the hours of dedication it takes from the riders, trainers, and loved ones to even get to a full three-day event, let alone finish one. You have to ensure your horse feels his best and stay on top of little issues before they become big problems by getting regular veterinarian check-ups. Your shoeing schedule must be just so, to give your horse the best chance to keep his shoes on throughout the event. A conditioning schedule has to be developed to fit each individual horse's needs to ensure they become fit while remaining sound, not an easy thing when the ground is rock hard all summer. Then there is getting ready for the new elements of a three-day event, like Steeplechase and a new Dressage test. Paul built a steeplechase fence and had a steeplechase school for Pat and Christie so they could get the feel of jumping out of speed. Paul arranged for both riders to go to Morven Park in the weeks leading up to the event so they could ride in proper Dressage rings and school the geometry and CCI test movements. There are so many other elements, but you get the point by now. So, you may be wondering why do we bother with the full three-day events if so much can go wrong? Well, just ask Pat and Christie if they think it was worth it? From my own experience, there is something special that runs through you when you gallop through the finish flags of a three-day event. I was certain that Christie felt that same thing when I saw her huge smile as she jumped the last fence on XC, there is nothing like it. We are all very proud of Pat and Hershey and Christie and Luca for a job well done, Congratulations!

Morven Park Pictures

Sunday: 3rd Horse Inspection and Show Jumping
Both Hershey and Luca passed the final horse inspection with flying colors. The horses were turned out beautifully and the riders didn't look half bad themselves. With the most stressful part of the day out of the way, both Pat and Christie were one show jump round away from completing their first CCI*. Pat was first to go and had one of the best rounds of the day, with only one rail down. She and Hershey gave us all a bit of a scare putting two strides in the each part of the triple combination, but didn't hit a rail through it. They both showed true grit. Christie also had a very nice and smooth ride with two rails down (one was just unlucky). Pat finished in 14th place and Christie finished in 13th place. If the Phase C time faults were removed, Pat and Hershey's position would have been the same and Christie and Luca would have finished in 11th.

Saturday: Endurance
Pat and Hershey did a great job around their first CCI*. They zoomed around the steeplechase had one stop at two different fences and some time on cross country, but crossed the finish line. Great Job!
had some time on the steeplechase, but looked good and then had a fantastic clear cross country with only 1.6 time faults. The smile across her face as she crossed the finish line reminded me that is what a three-day is all about, seeing that finish line. The vets commented that Hershey and Luca were in great shape after XC and were very impressed with their recovery.

Due to a miscalculation on the Phase C kilometer timing, both Pat and Christie got many time faults on C. Although the time was unfortunate, luckily it didn't affect them in their overall standings much. Christie would have been two notches up, but nothing significant. This is a reminder that in a full three day there are so many things that can go wrong, everything must be checked and rechecked.

The most important part of the day was that Pat and Christie crossed the finish line with horses that looked fresh, happy, and in good condition. This is truly a great accomplishments at a three day.

Friday: Dressage CCIY*
Christie rode in the early morning fog and had nice consistent test. A few bobbles, but overall a great start to the weekend with a score of 64.5 to put them in 11th place. Go to the Morven Park Picture page (link above) to see more pictures from Christie's Dressage test.

Thursday: Dressage CCI*
Pat and Hershey put in their best test of the year! They have a very respectable score of 57.1 and are tied for 6th. What a time to put it all together, great job Pat!