As the snow and cold weather of this winter begin to lessen, the competition season is heating up! Those riders fortunate to head South for the winter are either in Aiken, Ocala or Wellington. Amanda Flint is in Ocala with her jumpers as well as her clients and both are having a very good circuit at HITS. Amanda always has a promising string of young horses in training and they have all had top placings in the young jumper classes so far. You will be sure to see some of these horses at the top of the year end Young Jumper and Jumper Futurity standings. Chinedine PPZ, Marquis, Ladonna, Super G and Super Bad have all successfully moved up to the next level of Young Jumper competition with two wins each for Marquis and Ladonna. In addition Texas Hold Em has had wins in both the meter forty and meter forty five prixe!
The two competitions in every advanced level event rider's mind this year are the PanAm Games and the 2012 Olympics. Doug Payne has two very promising horses that he is carefully aiming towards these two events. After winning virtually every Preliminary level event he contested last year, Crown Talisman has moved up to the Intermediate level and is making it look easy. The Pan Am Games are a two star level (Intermediate) competition and I think Doug and "Tali" will be top contenders for the US team! Doug's other star Running Order has just started his competition season after a successful trip to last year's Boekelo Three Star Event in Holland as part of the US squad. While maybe not as naturally gifted as Tali, "RO" is a game and gutsy horse and has been steadily improving his dressage. If you've ever watched the advanced level dressage test, you know it's not easy for an event horse! Doug is hoping to complete a Four Star event at the end of the season, with an eye on the London Olympics. As one of the busier riders on the eventing circuit, Doug always has several young horses he is bringing along and finishing in the top standings with. Doug is always mindful of how his horses are feeling and always puts their needs first even if it means not winning on that day. I hope the eventing "Gods" will bless Doug with good luck this year!
Meanwhile, Kristin Schmolze is waiting to hear back to see if her entry was accepted for the Badminton CCI Four Star! Kristin and Cavaldi were third at last year's Fair Hill International Three Star Championships. She and "Joey" have successfully contested Rolex Kentucky and Burghley and it has been a dream of hers to compete at Badminton. How cool is it to have that dream and have it become reality! While he can be fresh in the dressage, Joey excels on cross country and I always enjoy watching him go as you can see how much he loves going cross country. He is not a big horse but he makes those massive jumps look easy! I am keeping my fingers crossed for them to get to go to Badminton.
Kate Samuels, our youngest Five Star rider, had a very successful entry into the advanced level last year with Nyls du Terrior and she is just getting started with this season. They had a very good first outing last week at Pine Top at the Intermediate level. Kate and Nyls have climbed the levels together and she hopes to one day ride Nyls in the Rolex Kentucky CCI Four Star. She will spend this year getting more mileage at the Advanced level with Nyls. Kate was named to the "B" list of the Developing Riders program and will benefit from training with Team Coach Mark Phillips.
Five Star Tack has a new eventing rider that we will be sponsoring beginning this Spring. I'll have more about that soon.
That's it for now. I hope wherever you are the sun is shining and it's a good day to ride!