Thursday, April 28, 2011

Calina & Cheryl's Thursday Afternoon Recap - Dressage, Q&As & Course Walk with Jessica Phoenix

We didn’t get to see as many dressage tests as we would have liked this afternoon because we spent a lot of time at Ecogold’s booth listening to some very interesting Q&A sessions – first with Karen O’Connor (hosted by Sinead Halpin’s wonderful groom Meg) and then with Clayton Fredericks (hosted by Doug Payne). I’m sure Patricia will have the videos of those sessions, as well as Hamish’s Q&A, online later this evening. All three riders ride dressage tomorrow and we will make a point of being there to watch their tests.

We spent some time near the warm up ring this afternoon while Boyd Martin was warming up. His horse, Remington XXV, was sporting Ecogold boots and saddle pads:
Boyd Martin and Remington XXV
Boyd Martin and Remington

Late this afternoon we met up with Jessica Phoenix, who had generously agreed to walk the course with us. As of this afternoon, the footing is hit or miss – some parts are quite dry, while others vary from squishy to downright wet. Here are a few of the highlights from our walk with Jessie:

The course starts with several galloping fences and then you come around a corner to the first water. The direct route is a large log drop in followed by a skinny in the water and an angled hedge out. Jessie’s plan is to ride the direct route on both horses – but thinks Exploring will need to be ridden more aggressively in the last 3 strides.

The next complex was the coffin – and you can barely see the ditch as it is so full of water. Here is a picture of Jessie leaping over the first of many unintentional water obstacles on the course – we think she has excellent potential as an upper level horse.
Jessica Phoenix
We also got the opportunity to ask her several questions throughout the course walk. Being from Ontario, we see Jessie out on a lot of horses with names starting with “Ex”. Turns out after Exploring took her to her first advanced, a client suggested she start naming all her horses with names starting with “Ex”. As a result, it is very easy to figure out which of her rides she owns herself, as they are the ones with that naming scheme. It is clearly very lucky – they are all fantastic horses.

Thanks so much to Jessica for letting us tag along on the course walk (although we only made it as far as the Head of the Lake before heading back to the Ecogold booth). We hope she has a fantastic dressage test tomorrow and clean cross-country rounds on Saturday. We can’t wait to catch up with her when she comes to Ottawa to teach a clinic at Oakhurst Farm in June.

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