Sunday, April 25, 2010

Look out Princeton Show Jumping!

Princeton Show Jumping held its Spring Challenge this past weekend, and my friend Cheryl (my first trainer) and her daughter Kendall came down from New Hampshire to compete.  Kendall is a senior in high school and has been competing in the Big Eq classes for several years.  I've had the privilege of watching her in Gulfport, the Vermont Summer Festival, and the USET Talent Search East Finals over the past few years, and have enjoyed watching her grow through both successes and failures. 
Kendall is concentrating on the Junior Jumpers now, and she brought her young Dutch mare, Valencia.  I played hooky from work on Friday so I could go down and watch her contest the 1.25 meter Junior/Amateur class.   She did well and jumped clean, and placed sixth in the class, but I think she was a little frustrated.  Her Big Eq background makes her a bit of a perfectionist, when she needs to attack the courses more and let her inner speed demon emerge.  She'll tend to carve the perfect turn and hold Lena to a perfect distance sometimes when she'd be better off sending the mare down the line at a good gallop and leaving out a stride. 
This morning she and Lena entered the $5000 Junior/Amateur 1.30 meter classic.  Andrew Philbrick and Kim Perlman's course was made more complicated by the misting rain that fell all morning.  The footing held up pretty well, although there were a few sloppy areas.  The first riders all had rails, and we were towards the end of the order before we had a clear.  That rider went for a clear round and conservative jumpoff, clocking in at just over 38 seconds. Kendall went next, and did a quick and careful round that left all the rails up.  Lena looked like she took a pull on Kendall on the jumpoff, and it looked like the brakes were failing a bit around the turn to the last line.  The mare bulged her left shoulder and dropped a heartbreaking rail, but the trip was good enough to grab second and part of the $5000 purse.
The jumping was good, the show personnel did their best to make the competitors and spectators welcome, and the catering was to die for!  The Fire Roasted Tuscan pizza party on Friday had some of the yummiest pizza I've ever had -- I highly recommend the sausage and caramelized onion!

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