Three Lakes Horse Trials last Sunday was a blast….literally!

I took an OTTB called Good to the Core (aka Simcoe) for his first recognized event and only his second show ever.

We walked up to get our tack check and it was quite windy due the rain that was to follow. The tack check tent was blowing and the dry erase board fell down. Simcoe was a little concerned so he moved about a horse’s length away from the tent. I had an ear bonnet on that they wanted to check after my test. I asked if there was anything they wanted to check before and they said my whip length. I said you’ll have to come get it from me because he doesn’t want to go any closer to the tent….good thing too because at that moment the rent lifted and flipped over rolling towards us. Thank goodness it didn’t land on my head as we took off galloping in the opposite direction!

He was a good boy and only ran away a few strides across the warm-up before stopping to turn around and make sure it wasn’t still following us. The staff leapt on it and dismantled it in minutes, but I thought to myself…well I don’t think we’ll be doing any decent dressage today. Sigh!

I gave him a few minutes to compose himself while we walked around FAR AWAY from where the tent had been. As soon as I picked up the reins and put him to work he started to settle and I even needed my whip back before the test.

Fellow Canadian rider Holly Jacks was in the ring finishing her test right before me and I noticed she wasn’t doing the test I had learned that morning with Jamie and team Phoenix. I asked a kind rider standing next to me if she was doing beginner novice she said yes, so I began to recite the test. No sooner had I got to X on the first center line did I realize I had studied the wrong test! Said kind rider told me the correct test as Holly was leaving the arena and away we went O’Hanlon style (for those of you who know me). I made sure to tell Jamie it was the wrong test we learned before she went in the ring so I hope she had a good ride. 😉

Simcoe was keeping an eye on the Spanish moss blowing in the big oak tree as we walked over to our ring just in case it was going to chase him too. We went around the outside waiting for the bell and he could see signs billowing in the wind near the judge, I walked him past that corner patted him and promised him they wouldn’t get him. The bell rang and down the centerline we went. He was a superstar. Huge improvements from his schooling show at Exmoor in January (first show ever).

The only thing that went wrong was me almost turning down the centerline at the end to complete the test. Luckily I remembered at the last second and swerved back on course (KXG halt salute). I was so impressed by Simcoe’s recovery from the traumatic experience in the warm-up and his willingness to please. The judges comments below were: “Horse has super work ethic.”

We won the dressage with a 28.1!

Show jumping was a good course and we tried our best. We did have fence #5 down. It was the tallest vertical on course and I saw it come down a lot. I’m sure I got ahead of him or something like that knowing me. That bumped us down to second place going into cross country.

Straight on to cross county after that and Simcoe was again a rockstar. It proved to be a tuff course with many of the same jumps as the upper levels just beginner novice sized. We had a ditch, bank up, water and a steeple chase fence just to make a few. The terrain is a little more challenging there for young horses as you pass the road home, show jumping ring and lots of trees. I completely over rode the ditch as it was all alone in the trees/shade and I thought he might have a look or be surprised. The only thing that surprised him was me over riding the tiny ditch. He cantered right into the water after a jump and sharp turn left into it. Again our only awkward jump was the second last (an airy square rail vertical) that I was anxious about where I lifted my hands over the fence and pulled on his poor little mouth. I told him I was very sorry and gave him lots of mints after.

In the end we WON! I believe he deserved to win just for dealing with the dressage warm-up never mind his stellar performance all day. This horse is going to be a superb eventer for anyone who is looking for a partner to enjoy this wonderful sport.❤🐴🏆

Stay tuned it’s Woody’s turn next this Friday (Feb 9th) at the Florida Horse Park for the advanced combined test. Kick on!