It has been hectically quiet since the drives to Florida. Life in O’Hanlon Eventing North and South has been at full speed ahead. We run two barns thousands of kilometers apart for four months of the year. We don’t only split our horses, but we split our staff. Sounds like it should work out, but, of course, it ends up being the annual winter circus….and I love every minute of it!  Having said that, it’s been quiet in terms of going places and doing fun stuff.

In Florida we did not rush to compete with the horses as soon as they got down there. The change from indoor arena firm surface, to outdoor sand is a HUGE adjustment for tendons and ligaments. With two of Selena’s horses running advanced and Foxwood High at Intermediate, it didn’t really make sense to rush out there and jump those big fences at fast speeds before the legs had time to acclimatise to the new surface resilience, or lack thereof.

Selena and A First Romance, aka ‘Solo’ were the first pair in the ring and the Pro Riders Derby in Wellington in January. They did a fantastic clear. It was his first show of the year and she was a bit concerned that the big busy ring with lights and all the razzmatazz would be too much for him. Not he, he did one of the best rounds of the night.

Apart from a fun Combined Training schooling show where all went well, including Anne Marie Duarte who was riding one of our sales horses, Watson’s Cebastian. They had a lovely time, as did all the horses. Our working student did the JYOP at Ocala and was sixth at her second prelim ever, Colombo and Foxwood High ran Intermediate with great success, Colombo finishing second, and another of our sale horses did his first Prelim and finished in fine form with a lovely clear XC. Woody and Mr. C ran slow as it was their first time out and took a few time faults as part of the plan.

This past weekend was Pine Top Horse Trials in Georgia and Solo’s first eventing outing of the year (also his second ever advanced). He was more than a little up for the game and was too exuberant in his dressage AND his show jumping. An uncharacteristic rail in SJ from way too much enthusiasm! However the XC was a much more serious matter with a difficult into water and a nasty bounce to a quarry, both of which were big questions for Solo. He was a bit green and rapped his stifles on the way into the water and had to steady into the bounce to give him time to work out the question there. As this was Solo’s first time out, we were in no rush. He was clear with four time penalties and moved into 12th place to finish. We were thrilled with him.

Colombo was also a little exuberant, and anticipated two of his flying changes, lovely changes….but early….sigh. He has been so consistently in the top five after dressage in the past year or so, it was hard not to be disappointed with tenth. He then did a fast clear show jumping and a fast clear cross country and finished on third!  Way to go Mr. C.  Selena says “he is on fire!”

“Woody,” aka Foxwood High, had run smoothly and just been out the ribbons at Ocala.  At Pine Top, his dressage, which is ALWAYS improving, he has such a good work ethic, was better again.  He was wonderful in his show jumping and his cross country and moved himself up to fourth.  All in all, it was a very good show, dressage needs to improve on all three to continue to climb the ladder. Selena says that Woody is coming along so well that she thinks she might do an Advanced horse trial with him soon, just for fun. Although his dressage isn’t there yet, she said that the fences are beginning to look a bit small sometimes…..really???? They look enormous to me LOL!

Next real biggie is Red Hills CIC***….eek!

Check out this video of Colombo show jumping in the OI at Florida Horse Park.