First real official blog on the new site- only seems fitting that it’s re-capping Plantation Field HT. My original website launched shortly after Plantation Field 3 years ago and my first few blogs were focused on Plantation. I haven’t always had the best runs in the CIC2*….and I hadn’t wanted to run in it this year if I could avoid it, but after a slight mishap at Chattahoochie with Colin due to a bitting issue (my fault, sorry Colin!) I knew I had to re-route to the CIC2* at Plantation with him.

To keep the weekend as “chill” as possible I only brought two other horses. Roy (My Royal Cooley) in the preliminary and I dropped Fi down to the Preliminary for an easy run (although the preliminary course turned out to be a serious effort!). I also had PDF Head Groom Katie along and our new working student Paige and they kept things running smoothly and seamlessly all weekend- which let me focus on getting through the weekend.

The preliminary horses wrapped up their weekends pretty quickly. Roy did a very nice dressage test and Fi tried her hardest under some difficult conditions ( being the only one left as she was the last to go, loud trucks driving by, some random horse shrieking from a nearby warmup….) and didn’t score well but got all the hugs she deserved for what I thought was a great test. Roy had a couple rails in Stadium but got better as he went, and Fi had a single rail because I tried to get picky. Roy was 3rd out on course for the Preliminary division and both horses before him either had multiple stops or retired so I suddenly realized that the course I thought looked pretty good was actually riding way more intensely. Luckily, Roy is a pretty great guy and when I kicked and pointed he just said “Ok mom, if you say so!”. He moved up to 4th on the back of a clean round with some time and got some great compliments for his round. Fi popped around like a star and was utterly bored by the size of the gallop jumps. I’d have to say though that for some of those combinations….it was nice to be sitting on a 2* horse (which only made me even more thrilled with how Roy went).

In the 2*:

Colin’s dressage was such an improvement upon his last CIC2* test but didn’t get the best score. Afterwards Kim said her only issue with it was my accuracy – so since then: lessons lessons lessons! Really though, conquering the cross country and getting a qualifying score was the goal for the weekend- and not falling off. Colin jumped a double clear stadium round to move up a bit in the standings- he still barely tries over Intermediate courses and lopes around like it’s a walk in the park.

On Sunday he ran cross country and I can only describe him as BRILLIANT. That horse is such an incredible creature and I adore him. It was definitely the biggest, most intense track he’s seen before but he kept answering all the questions and trying till the end of it. He finished with just a bit of time as I pushed him in some places but didn’t run him off his feet (he’s finally learning to gallop!). He moved up from 71st after Dressage to 36th place and would have ended in the top 20 had I pushed for time. Finally getting to cross that finish line in the CIC2* was wonderful and I feel like I finally put my past to rest.

In a time in my life where a lot is changing it’s nice to also be able to move on from my fear of Plantation and the experiences I’ve had there. It’s nice to look forward to next year and to be able to really enjoy the fabulous event it has become- because it really is one of the most impressive events being put on these days. It was also great to do it on a horse I’ve brought up from the novice level myself- I couldn’t have felt prouder of him and he knew he was pretty awesome as well. Those Cooley horses…….pretty special in my opinion.

Watch Colin’s XC round thanks to RNS Video Media: Colin Plantation CIC2* XC

After Colin was done we booked it out of there before I tripped over a rope or something and did something stupid. 

Back at home and back to work prepping for Morven where Piper will move up to Novice, my new horse OS Dassett Player “Logan” will run his first competition in the US at novice, Roy will have his final outing before the CCI* at VAHT, Fi and Colin will run the Intermediate and Nate have a nice confidence boosting run around the Training track before hopefully finishing the season out at Preliminary at Virginia. Getting the bubble wrap out, doing the longgggggg trot sets and fine tuning that new dressage test. The next few weeks are busy, nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. Thankfully I have the best team supporting me and amazing sponsors who are there through the good and the bad. Hopefully we can finish the season out on a good one…knock-on-wood.

-Lucia