It was an exciting week for the team at Red Hills with a big group of horses and students traveling to Tallahassee to compete in the first FEI event for the year.
The competition started well for Clayton and his team of horses with all horses scoring in the 40’s and FE Bowman and FE Money Made lying in 1st and 2nd respectively in the 2** class. Both horses performed super tests with only one mistake from both horses in the counter canter to leave Clayton feeling pleased with their performance. ” We have spent the last couple of months competing at Rocking Horse and the Florida Horse Park so to come here where there is considerably more atmosphere and perform just as well under the pressure was great’.
The XC courses at Red Hills this year were super with some nice galloping stretches and beautifully designed fences. As is the normal at Red Hills there was a large crowd in attendance on XC day providing a new experience for the team of young horses. FE Money Made was first out on the course and although a little green to the level competing in just his first 2**, really showed his class jumping a clear round with just 4.4 time. FE Bowman who has a year’s more experience than his stable-mate at the 2** level powered his way around the course with 1.2 time to retain his lead. FE Caison and FE Subiaco both had good rounds around the 1* track with Caison just picking up 20 penalties at the first water when he didn’t quite lock on to the jump into the water.
Show-Jumping proved influential in all divisions. FE Caison jumped a great round unfortunately just having the first fence down. FE Subiaco was jumping a great round before slipping in the double resulting in a clash of heads and a split chin for Clayton. After a quick stitch up job it was back in the ring for the 2** jumping. FE Money Made had a super round with just one rail down when he spooked going into the treble dropping him to 4th. With no rails in hand the pressure was on and FE Bowman did not disappoint jumping a lovely clear round to clinch the win and his second win at 2** level.
” I was very proud of my horses in the 2** this weekend. Conner (Money Made) has only completed one Intermediate so to come to Red Hills for the 2** and perform the way he did really shows his class for the future. Bowie has had a year competing at this level and actually jumped clear around his first Advanced a few weeks ago but I dropped him back to the 2** for this show. He is an exceptionally talented horse but can be very spooky and I really want to make sure he is super confident at this level before I put too much pressure on him at the next. I have been competing him for almost 3 years now and we are really starting to have develop that good relationship now where no matter what he trusts what I am asking him to do. That is what is important in Eventing and why I love to produce young horses from the beginning, so that when I get to the 3***/4**** level we have that trust”. – Clayton
The rest of the team also had some great results with Victoria Garland and FE Capricino finishing 22nd in a large 1* division and gaining their qualification at this level, April Simmonds finishing 25th in the 2** on Impressively Done and receiving the award for highest placed Thoroughbred and also gaining her 3*** qualification on Quebec NZPH after a great clear XC.
It was also great to see FE Crosby competing in his first 1* this weekend with Alexandra Knowles. They looked great in all 3 phases and jumped a clear SJ to finish 7th.
Big thanks to the team both at home and at the show for all your hard work this week!