|The Beautiful Marlborough Horse Trials at Rosaryville Park. Right to left - dressage rings, show jumping, and XC in the distance.|
|Show Jumping Field|
|Zoe & Kerry with Kirsten - while some horses get psyched up for jumping (Rachel), others take a power nap (Atticus)|
|The front pavilion field of the XC course.|
I'm proud to report that Marlborough HT was not only a great event, but it was a great event for Golightly students too! A huge congratulations to Kerry and Atticus for finishing 3rd in a very competitive Training level class! And a big WOO HOO! to Zoe and Rachel who completed their first Training level event, without any drama (well, only a little drama in the last part of the dressage test, but at least it was only the last little bit that turned into "Rachel's dramatic interpretation of dressage"!!!). WELL DONE LADIES!!!
|The beautiful bank/hill combinations|
|Super cool volunteer hats this year! Thanks Cosequin! And a huge thanks to Patuxent Nursery for the amazing decorations found all over dressage, sj, and XC - fall is in the air!|
When I agreed to serve as XC Chair, I thought the job description pretty much included one task: flag all jumps. That didn't sound too hard. What I've learned is: 1) it isn't easy; 2) a battery powered big screwdriver is your friend; 3) a truck full of volunteers is priceless; and 4) calculus did not prepare me for the complexities of counting from 1-20 (red flag, green flag, yellow flag, white flag... A,B,C, or one A and 2 Bs... and black flags too - I'm feeling there may be a Dr. Suess book in there someplace!).
And, sort of as a result of being the right/wrong person, in the right/wrong place, and the right/wrong time... my duties expanded in the matter of a moment when Roger Haller officially delegated responsibility for the Marlborough HT Introductory XC course design to me. OH MY! My first chance to "design" a competition course... 10 jumps, max height 2'3". The pressure was really on! There was a bit of a pinch to find suitable obstacles, and Tyson Rementer (course builder) was so helpful in his creative use of logs luckily discovered here and there in the woods. I would have liked to have done some things differently, and I hope I get the chance for a repeat design engagement next year - but the biggest thing I learned in course design this year: IF YOU THINK IT'S OBVIOUS WHAT A HORSE/RIDER WILL DO, IT'S NOT. I've read countless accounts of Olympic riders "back in the day" who took it as a challenge to find clever (and ridiculous) short cuts (especially on roads and tracks) that the course designer had missed blocking off and that would give them seconds or minutes advantage. I always laughed. Until I watched the Intro horses ride on Sunday!! Everything was going great, until I got back to the far field and realized that I had made a tiny error in judgement about 2 tiny gaps in the tree line. Turned out, either one was usable both coming and going, and should the riders select the same path as one was coming and the other was going - agh! Luckily, someone on our team had the foresight to recognize this little crink in my clever design plans and placed some galloping lane ropes around. Mental note... Intro horses and riders, not so much understand galloping lane ropes. It was actually quite clever the way the navigated the ropes (a bit like a corn maze!), eventually found their way to the next jump from an entirely different direction than I had intended, and all riders safely avoided running into each other! I've already made a note for improvements there next year!!!
Like any good "course designer", I was very excited to see how my course rode - did my 10 little jumps challenge in the right ways; did they reward in the right ways? So, I headed out with my video camera to see how everything rode - and now, for all those who think you might consider entering Intro level next year at Marlborough Horse Trials... here's a little taste of what to expect -
And now for some real fun - my friend and fellow Board member, Diane Zrimsek aboard Lincoln, got a great helmet cam of the Training level course (and Diane came home with a pretty red ribbon at the end of the day - woo hoo!):