Our first Rolex Kentucky three-day event is complete and I am so happy for Macloud (above, Amber Heintzberger photo) to have such a great finish to his career.
Saturday after cross-country, since he's an older horse I really had to make sure I took the best care of him. It was a really hands-on aggressive approach to making him comfortable and then leaving him alone to rest. Sunday morning he wasn't nearly as tired as I thought he'd be - he looked and felt great.
They gave us two hours to walk the course and I walked it three times and really made sure I knew where I was going, I really took my time. He didn't need much warm-up, he knows how to jump and knows his job.
Going into the arena, show jumping has always been my weakest point. But even with the two fences with rails down I came back from it and that was huge for me. I'm disappointed with the rails but we completed the event and I'm just thrilled that Elliot had the event he deserved.
It was definitely a group effort (photos courtesy of Katie Ryan Walker) and I could not have gotten through it by myself. Obviously I had a stellar horse, and I appreciated the help of Phillip Dutton and everybody at True Prospect Farm, Boyd and Silva Martin, Dr. Kevin Keane and everyone Sports Medicine Associates of Chester County, our farrier Dave Kumpf and of course Colby Saddington who was amazing and a complete lifesaver, and Katie and Cuyler Walker, Randy from Forging Ahead, Doug Hannum, Dr. Keelin Redmond of Avoca Equine, Maui Meadows, of course my parents for coming out and supporting me through all of this and everybody who sent text messages and emails - I had a lot of support from everybody and I'm really grateful for all of that.
Macloud is going back to Katie and Cuyler's to a big field for some R and R. He's retired now, and I'm glad he went out the way he deserved with a big event and a big crowd, and that I gave him a ride that did him justice. -Steph
Stephanie and Macloud had a clear cross-country round at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI****, adding 37.2 time faults for a total current score of 94.4 and to stand 33rd going into tomorrow's final show jumping phase.
When I was walking the cross-country course I kept in mind that I was riding an older horse – even though he’s experienced, I had to look out for him. I walked all the options and had a plan A and a plan B. When I rode today, I actually took the option at the double corners because he was going well and I didn’t want to push my luck.
I warmed up the same as for a long format event and got off for ten minutes and cooled him out then, got on and jumped a jump and went to the start box. His confidence was there and he was on a loose rein in a snaffle, how many horses did that today? There were no bad jumps; everything came out of stride. My main goal for this event was to look out for him and I never pushed him for speed, I just let him pick his pace and go for it. It’s hard going after somebody as big as Bettina Hoy but I just kept my mind on my own riding.
We did go slow but it was my first Rolex and it was huge – every time you go into a different field or a different area there’s a huge crowd and you hear the announcer, even though I couldn't hear what he was saying, and you’re galloping down between the ropes...it's not something you can recreate.
I've never ridden at an event like that before. Elliot's owner Katie Walker was in tears, they were all ecstatic as they were helping me cool him out in the vet box. It was wonderful to have everyone's support.
As for show jumping, I haven’t seen the course yet so for now I’m trying to enjoy my Saturday and I’ll take tomorrow as it comes.
Stephanie Boyer and Macloud, ranked 32nd out of 50 starters with a score of 57.2 after dressage at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** three-day event.
I was really excited with the test. Elliot's trot work was phenomenal - it was tough going after the leader Bettina Hoy who scored a 28.8, but I was so thrilled to be in there and my horse put in a great test. His flying changes have never been good, so they were no surprise, but it was the best advanced score we've gotten at a CCI, and it was especially good for a four-star. It was also a big improvement over Fair Hill's dressage. I just walked the cross-country course with Mark Phillips and I am excited and nervous for tomorrow!
I am so excited to be at my first Rolex Kentucky three-day event! We drove down yesterday - my best friend Colby Saddington is with me and I am very lucky to have her helping me this week. She groomed for Phillip Dutton at the World Games and the Olympics so I know I am in good hands. Phillip is here with a couple of horses and will be coaching me and my vet Kevin Keane is here as well, so I have a great team behind me. I am thrilled too that my family came out from California to watch the event, (photo with Mom at right).
Today I did a little flatwork at the warm-up area by the big grandstand. Elliot knows something is up, that it's a big event, but he's handling it with total class. He always likes a crowd - some horses get nervous but he steps his game up a bit. Eric Smiley from Ireland used to ride him and he's been to the World Games in Jerez and around Badminton so he knows his stuff!
This will be Elliot's last event and then he'll retire at Katie and Cuyler Walker's farm in Pennsylvania. I hope that their kids can keep him going at the novice level or maybe he can do some foxhunting so that he still has a job to do. I'd like for him to go out with a great, confident round here. He deserves a positive finish to his career.
The jog (above) today was fun, it was like going down the runway at Fashion Week with all the photographers lined up at the end! I wanted to go with a traditional, classy look but still look like I'm 23 years old. My outfit is from Bloomingdales and my hat is from That's Hats on Highway 202 in Delaware. My shoes were a bargain!
Tomorrow I'm going to flat Elliot again and then Phillip and I are going to get a look at the course. This is my first visit to the Kentucky Horse Park and when we drove in my jaw dropped - it's just amazing.
Path of Perfection placed second in his division of novice at Plantation Field last weekend and I am so proud of him! There were so many novice horses they divided it into about six divisions and it was very competitive. There was a torrential downpour but the footing on cross-country held up well and he handled the course brilliantly. His dressage is getting better; it's still not where I want it, but there's definite improvement. He was jumping really fantastic.
Now he is qualified for the American Eventing Championships at novice level, so that is my goal to work towards. I plan to keep him at novice for the season to make his dressage more competitive before I move him up to training level. It's early in his career - this was only his second event - and after doing poorly at the track, he is showing so much promise as an event horse.
We are also counting down the days to Kentucky. Macloud has been training well; we had our last jump school with Phillip on Saturday and it went really well.
Photos from the event are available at Amy Dragoo's website: click here.
I am back in Unionville, Pennsylvania after the winter in Aiken, SC. The event at Southern Pines was a great confidence-building round for Macloud and I. We finished tenth out of 24 entries in Open Advanced Test A-B. Our dressage is still not where I want it to be be, so we still have our work cut out for us. He jumped great for me all weekend and was sharp and happy to be out on the cross-country. I ran slow, as this was his first proper cross-country this year, and it turns out no one made the time! Our show jumping is heading in the right direction: one rail down, but he was very good for me and it was just the go we needed in the lead-up to Rolex.
There is of Macloud at Southern Pines are in a gallery at Pics of You. Click here to see them.
My young horse, Path of Perfection, went to his first event last Wednesday at Sporting Days Farm in Aiken, SC. He competed novice and I am so proud of his performance! He was very quiet and well-behaved in the dressage and jumped clean to finish sixth. There is still a lot of work to be done, but for his first event I was very happy. Even the little things like standing tied to the trailers, warming up with a big group of other horses, and the blaring loud speaker didn't upset him. I really think this is going to be a great horse.
On the road to our first four-star event at Rolex Kentucky in April, Macloud is competing advanced this weekend at Southern Pines, NC on our way home to Pennsylvania.
Pine Top was a soggy event - it was raining the whole weekend! Macloud was very good considering he hasn't been out since the three-star at Fair Hill last fall, but I under-rode him on the flat and got a 42, which is pretty high for us. That is something I can easily fix about myself though, and I am still pleased with him. We jumped double clean in the show jumping and because of the extreme weather I wasn't sure about running cross-country on Sunday (they altered the schedule and swapped cross-country and show jumping), but they ended up canceling cross-country on Sunday except for the advanced divisions and we were competing in the open intermediate, so that was a non-issue.
I am deeply grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Cuyler Walker for their financial assistance in achieving my goal of competing at the Rolex Kentucky three-day event! The Walkers have agreed to become part-owners of Macloud for Kentucky, and their assistance tremendously eases the huge financial burden of preparing a horse for this major event.
Katie Walker commented, “We are happy to help Stephanie accomplish her dream and we are looking forward to seeing her and Macloud in action in Kentucky.”
The Walkers own Plantation Field in Unionville, Pennsylvania, home of the Plantation Field International CIC***. They are active in the horse world but have not been involved in eventing since they owned a horse that Buck Davidson, who is Cuyler’s cousin, competed in 2005.
Macloud and I continue our preparations for the big event, training hard from our current base in Aiken, South Carolina.
As Macloud continues his preparation for Kentucky, my young horse is gearing up for his first event ever. He went schooling with Phillip at the Gibbes' Farm in St. Matthews, SC and was really good. I will probably start him out at some of the one-day events around Aiken to give him some mileage.
I'm also getting on some racehorses for Richard Valentine on my day off, and I'm riding some young horses for Julia Steinberg. I've got seven horses to ride as well as my own two, which are at Jose'e and Tiger Rievere's farm in Aiken.
Looking toward Rolex I am pursuing sponsors to assist in this big financial undertaking. It really takes a team to get a horse to a big event like Rolex. I also want to take this chance to mention my farrier, Dave Kumpf, who was here last week. He has been shoeing my horses for six years now and he is a big part of my program!
I just picked up my February copy of Sidelines magazine and there is a great article written by Amber Heintzberger about my horses and me. I am really proud of it and I hope that everyone will pick up a copy and check it out for themselves. If you can't find it at your local tack shop, have a look online at www.sidelinesnews.com.
I am very excited to have my first blog as I start the 2009 competition season! Tomorrow, bright and early, I will be driving to Aiken, South Carolina to start the eventing year. This is my favorite time of year because I've had all winter to reflect on last season and how to improve myself and my horses.
This year I am aiming for the Rolex Kentucky three-day Event CCI**** in Lexington, Kentucky, my first four-star event. Macloud is in training for the big event and looking great! While I am in Aiken I will be taking lots of lessons from Phillip Dutton and my good friend and dressage coach Silva Martin to improve on my performance last fall at the Fair Hill International CCI***.
I am also looking forward to starting my new young off-the-track Thoroughbred, Path of Perfection. He is already showing lots of potential and his great temperament and personality make me this that he will turn out to be quite good. Aiken is great for the youngsters as there are plenty of events going on, and the Hitchcock Woods are fantastic for hacking and jogging. I am planning on making his eventing debut in March.
But first things first - I need to finish packing!
Stephanie Boyer and Macloud, 2008 Fair Hill CCI*** International. Amber Heintzberger photo.
I am a four-star event rider based in Unionville, Pennsylvania and Aiken, South Carolina. I worked for Olympic Gold Medalist Phillip Dutton for 31/2 years and for Buck Davidson for half a year, as well as galloping racehorses for notable trainers Michael Matz and Jonathan Shephard. I also worked in Europe riding show jumpers. I am currently freelancing as a rider and trainer and looking to expand my business.