Last week we made the trek to the Stuart Horse Trials which is near Rochester, NY. Charly and Ginger were trailer mates while Alyssa Hatai, Lauren Billys, Bryce and myself accompanied Quigley up in the truck. The trip to the horse show was absolutely gorgeous as it followed the Susquehanna river for a large portion of the trip. Luckily it was un-eventful and a mear six hours later we reached our destination and were met up by Alyssa Billys and Betsy McCarley. It was almost feeling like a Havarah horse trials back in California!

This event is known for it’s terrain and very difficult (yet well built) cross country courses. As soon as we got a walk around we realized that “challenging” was definitely the adjective of the weekend!

Charly put in a lovely dressage test finishing 3rd out of a large group of highly experienced horses and riders. It was his (our) first time doing a dressage test in front of a large crowd and I think he handled it quite well. In fact, if I had to guess, I think that Charly was plenty happy to show off his fancy tail to all his new “friends”. It seems like Charly feels like these horse shows are like parties and he pretty much acts like he is the birthday boy and everyone is there to hang out with him. In fact, Charly even learned how to drink out of a gatorade bottle, just like a person! (ok pretty close to it!!)

Our cross country ride wasn’t until late afternoon and Charly’s anticipation was growing minute by minute. At one point I just shut his stall door just to try to get him to take a moment and relax a little bit. Our cross country course was full of extreme accuracy questions as well as ride-ability exercises on top of the demand for scope and fitness. Charly was VERY honest at all of the accuracy questions and proved to be fit enough for the challenge at hand. His scope was never in question and in fact that our largest piece of homework… I now have to learn how to contain his scope. We had two “20 penalties” on course that were just due to the fact that Charly jumps so impressively that it makes some turns after fences a bit difficult. Being very focused on my year with Charly we have already begun our work on this area by changing some of my riding tactics and practicing a few more turning questions at home!

Stuart’s show jumping course is on a grass ring with a few more hills to negotiate. The course was beautiful and very well designed. Charly came out Sunday morning fresh and ready to go, in fact I think I might have appreciated a more tired horse in warm up! However, once in the show jumping ring Charly was all business and put in a fabulous round. It was such a pleasure to be sitting aboard this amazing jumper, I felt very fortunate. I really feel like Charly and I have formed a great bond. I truly love the big guy! 🙂