Monkey off our Back....

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Am sitting at a Starbucks in Warrenton waiting for the truck to have its oil changed for the trip to Florida on Monday - first load has already left - I swear it was two weeks ago that we drove 95 north back up here... For once I am the last one down, everyone else has caught the Meredyth South Bug.... My Mom is coming for a visit this weekend, no matter how old you get - mom's are soul healing!

I want to say "what a weekend!" but in truth, Fair Hill was very anti-climatic this year - The two star was pretty cool with some amazing young horses and some younger riders with potential for coming up the levels... Clark rode great on horses that he has produced and reminded everyone that he is still here and an exceptional horseman. He deserved to win, he made few mistakes and led from the start. Hopefully the Pan Am's will be a two star and Clark will get a nod...

The three star had younger riders on good horses and veterans on young horses - only 33 entries - very small numbers - The dressage was very average - only 2 horses in the 40's - the cross country at Fair Hill is never easy - good galloping track with some accuracy questions - the footing was perfect and fast and we probably saw too many double clears - with some younger riders just going too fast... learning curve. Show jumping was good questions, probably not as tall as we've seen and again, brought some average riding... So - disappointing? Well - for the greater masses yes... but for Karen - our horse far exceeded our expectations!

Quin can to us in April from Liz Milikin who has found some amazing horses from all over the world... He is leggy and black and very sweet - Liz will be the first one to tell you that his flat work was lacking - but his jump was exceptional. I first saw him in 2006 when Liz was doing the CCI* at Morven Park - "no" she said "this one isn't for sale!" - She produced him to the advanced level - he ran the advanced at Red Hills - but her knee has kept her from being able to do more training -

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He reminds me so much of Teddy - doesn't wear back boots, mane sticks straight up, jumps like a freak... and on and on and on... he isn't Ted, there wont be another one, but I feel like I can get to know this horse better after knowing Ted.

(photo of Quin and me in Montana)

Quinny didn't win the dressage, or go the fastest on the cross country, but he did jump clean and prove to us that he is a horse for the future! And - he got the show jumping monkey off Karen's back....

Hannah won the tree star - which was great for her, and most importantly Nike's owner, Dick Thompson who has owned for Karen for years. Hannah had no horses to ride two years ago and Karen gave Nike to Hannah to ride while we were at the Olympics. Karen did a CCI* with him before handing him over to Hannah - hope they are not peaking before her time....

Olivia competed as well - on her California Red Head, Subway - he thought he was very funny chucking his head up in the air at each halt.... we didn't think so - he did jump fantastically, and if she runs well in the spring, he'll take her to Rolex.

Some people may know what the 7th Player award is... Its a hockey thing.... This long-time tradition is an award given to a player, voted by the fans, who has gone above and beyond their limitations, and who have exceeded the expectations and haven't seen the limelight. Our 7th player on our team goes to Lauren Kieffer - She stayed home during Montana, stayed home during Fair hill, stayed home and kept the farm running while we were off getting ready for the Worlds - doing her job, making the farm money, competing horses for Karen to ride later, packing the farm for Florida, and cheering us on all the while - She doesn't have a good horse right now and that is the only thing keeping her out of the limelight - she is an exceptional horseman and rider... I have said it before and I will say it over and over - she will be FAMOUS!

Boekelo was this past weekend - talk about something to get excited about! Many of us (me included) thought the USEF was wasting money sending this young group over together... boy was I wrong - I think that they have sent people over to Europe in the past without the right support system and maybe to events that were over their heads... this was the perfect balance of everything! Young hungry good riders on young hungry good horses at a average difficulty cross country with an easy trip over and back - and all learned SO MUCH! they will all be wiser, tougher and hungrier for being there... We need more of that!

So - a few more events left this season - Chattahoochie next week, Rocking Horse and Ocala after.. Then we start the three day horses back to work.. no rest for the wicked!

More soon....