Spring Is For Foals

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Bridget Hay
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I know it's been awhile since I blogged, but so much has been going on since we came home to New Jersey from showing in Florida.

Memorial Day weekend, when I competed at the Horse Park of New Jersey, was pretty much the start of the crazy show season. I now have shows nearly every weekend.

It was great to get back in the ring on both Faolan and Fauna, and I also brought out another of my up-and-coming young ones for the first time this year. I alternated them so that I only showed two horses each day. The schedule was rather tight, because I like to do everything myself with my horses, and I was commuting from home.

Saturday of that weekend was really hot. I showed Fauna at 8:30 a.m. in the FEI 5-year-old test as a warmup class for Sunday, when she was entered in the FEI 5-year-old Young Horse Qualifier class. With Faolan, I had a ride scheduled for the Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Prix St. Georges.

This left me time to show Fauna, drive her home, ride two horses, get Faolan bathed and braided, and then come back to the show, more than an hour's drive from our farm. Faolan felt a bit tired, and I knew the heat was affecting him. Even so, he put in an acceptable Prix St. Georges test. It was not our best, and we certainly had room for improvement, but he still finished second with a 68 percent in a rather large class. Not too bad for my 7-year-old.

As we were driving home, I checked the camera to look at my pregnant mare in her stall at home, and I could tell she was uncomfortable. She kept kicking at her belly, swishing her tail and getting up and down. I tried so hard to hustle home because I was worried she was foaling. Her actions continued off and on all night.

The next day, I had another early ride time on Fauna, 8:20 a.m. in the FEI 5-year-old Qualifier. I knew I had to get there early to give myself more time for warmup. I have a penchant for being late, and I often then don't allow enough time to get ready and warm up at shows.

On that Sunday, I also was showing my other young mare, Renaissance, in two tests, one at First Level and one at Second Level.

My horses' ride times were close enough that I had to bring them both, rather than shuttling one home and bringing the other back. Renaissance is not the most patient horse, so I got a stall for her at the show because she will not stand on the trailer while I show Fauna.

Just after I had loaded both mares and was ready to pull out at 6:30 a.m., we noticed feet coming out of my pregnant mare, Lieto. Yes, she finally was foaling.

What terrible timing! I wasn't sure what to do. I almost unloaded the mares, but instead, I left them on the trailer as my mother and I delivered the baby.

It was a gorgeous filly, a bay by a super young stallion in Germany, Bon Coeur. Lieto is by Weltbekkant (Weltmeyer), and is out of a Landadel mare.

Lieto and her foal, Bedelia. | Photo by Bridget Hay

Lieto and her foal, Bedelia. | Photo by Bridget Hay

I'm pretty excited about this baby. Once we towel-dried her, I checked to see that she looked okay, then rushed off to the show. I left it to my mother to make sure everything else went smoothly with the mare and foal.

Needless to say, I was running late for the show; very late. So much for more warmup time. I was stressing that I was going to miss Fauna's ride in the qualifier.

But my friends who were already at the show knew what was happening, and they were absolutely awesome. The minute I pulled in to the show at 8 a.m. for my ride time of 8:20, Karin Worm and Jessie Hayes, my pal Lauren Chumley's assistant, met me at the trailer. I handed Renaissance to Jessie, and Karin helped me throw tack on Fauna.

I was on Fauna by 8:08, but never would have made it without the help. I warmed up for 10 minutes, and went in the ring at 8:19. Fauna finished in second place with a 75 percent in the FEI 5-year-old qualifier. Considering the morning we'd had, I was very happy with her.

Then I showed Renaissance in First Level Test 3, and she won the rather large class with a 68.971 percent. She also did Second Level Test 3, and finished second with a 64.146 percent in another large class, her first time showing at that level.

By the end of the weekend, I was exhausted. But I had a lot to show for it. I have a beautiful new filly that I named Bedelia, and we still somehow managed to have a pretty successful show.

This is what happens when you breed your own horses and show them. My next generation of super stars don't always pick the most convenient time to choose their arrival, but that's to be expected.

I'm glad it all worked out. It made for a very busy weekend, but also an exciting one. On to the next show now, and breeding my mares for next year's foals.