I recently returned from a competition in Stephenville, Texas where I competed in 2 CRIs. The race is on to get qualified in both Canada and the USA. The CRIs were well attended and competitve. I have qualified as far as I possibly can to make the Canadian Team and its all about the final team selection in mid July in Chilliwack, B.C. However I feel strongly about keeping up competitvely and testing myself and my horses at the CRIs. It is the best way to keep the high level pressure as well as put me and my horses under the strict guidelines and criteria the FEI expect. As Reiners we are still relatively new to the criteria and it is a positive and necessary step in our progress in our sport.
(Photo Credit: Equisport Photos)
I am also looking ahead to the Masters and World Rankings so gaining points is also very important. I competed on Angels Mark. This is a 7 year old gelding owned by Bob Thomspon. He has been a wonderful horse for Bob, in Non Pro events, and has just begun to show with me in the Open. The greatest thing about this horse is his mind and how absolutely intent he is on pleasing his rider. He rarely takes a bad step and if he does its only because you put him there. He may not have plus one maneuvers but he is a solid plus half every day and his ability to patiently wait and work to the level you ask is astounding. Run after run this horse proves himself and the fact that he will come out sound and able to handle run after run makes him a fantastic FEI horse.
We marked 72 to 73s on both runs. This placed us 6th the first CRI and 3rd the second CRI. This was more than I expected as the competition was tough and I hoped to sit in the top ten but knew I was under-horsed. However Angel was his sturdy self and proved that a great heart and effort will be rewarded. I was able to acheive more points than I had hoped for and also came away from the event very confident and feeling more and more ready for WEG.
I schooled my top two horses in Stephenville in an effort to get them ready for the finals in July. Ace was his usual self and allowed me to school him like I needed to. We have minor problems and he is so honest he will make the mistakes and allow me to fix him. Then he simply gets better for the big runs. Weg (aptly named horse) is still my biggest challenge. He and I have not connected fully yet. He is by far my best maneuver horse but he is not my best minded. He requires preparation and patience...he also requires trust and I have been slow giving it to him. I feel great runs with Weg and myself and hopefully by the finals we will be ready. My plan is to run him at the CRI2 at the NRBC. This is not an attempt to win but to put a high pressure run together and see how we both fare. He then will go back to schooling to prepare for team selection.
(Photo Credit: Equisport Photos)
The NRBC has 2 CRIs scheduled in late April and that will be my next effort. I will be both schooling and showing all 3 horses to keep us all up to par.
I am feeling more and more confident as we get closer to WEG and look forward to the team slection. Its a new challenge I look forward to and a goal that sets me on fire. My focus is strong and my horses are ready......bring on WEG!