Looking forward to Martin’s Auction

From last year….

From last year….

We are getting ready to leave for Martin’s Auction tomorrow.  Martin’s is always fun, even if you aren’t a buyer or a seller.  I understand that they have a record number of things like prints and books, as well as some very interesting carriages.  I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  Driving Digest will have a table so stop by and say hi.

Southern Pines CDE is over

I think I can honestly say that the 8th Southern Pines CDE was a big success.  Success at a CDE is measured first and foremost by a safe event.  It is also measured by the weather – in this case it was about perfect.  Happy competitors are another measure, and I think we measured up quite well in that department.  Can’t say for sure 100%, but fairly high on the scale.

The last competitors left the Carolina Horse Park mid morning on Monday.  I was able to say goodbye to Leslie Berndl and Scott Monroe as they checked their trailers one more time before the long road home to California.  At least they can look back on the weekend with good memories.

Richard Pringle, Doug Spence, Kelly Valdes took down the course (another eventing competition is this weekend) and I cleaned out the office and dealt with the paperwork.

And then there are the reports for the ADS and the USEF.  The ADS reports take about an hour. The same with the FEI report.  Not too bad.  The USEF report is another story, and many of you have heard me rant for years about it.  This year Claire Reid volunteered to come over and read the names, numbers, breeds, ages of each horse and pony, names and addresses of all the drivers, owners, and trainers, and then all the individual scores from the judges in dressage, the penalties in each section of the marathon and the time and course penalties in cones, plus the placings in each division and the final placings.  It took over 2 hours.  WOW! And that is only because Claire was there to read every name and number without interruption.  I was typing as fast as I could. It usually takes 6 or more hours of very tedious looking back and forth from the results to the computer.  If I thought that anyone actually took the time to look at all this, it might be worth it.  I doubt than any of the selectors look at it, and if they do, I wish they’d tell me.

The FEI report – even if we were not an FEI show, is meaningful because it actually asks which competitions each horse in a multiple competed in.  It is simple, it doesn’t ask for useless information, and yet tells the interested parties what they need to know.

Looking forward to next year, we have some decisions to make:  to apply for another National Championship, which officials to use.  Bringing officials from Europe is getting to be prohibitively expensive. The benefits of being USEF vs just ADS recognized.  Whether or not to allow “twice around” on the marathon for drivers, navigators or carriages.

But, it was a very good show, some people won, some lost, but hopefully all enjoyed a weekend at a lovely venue.

Southern Pines Marathon and Cones

Leslie Berndl and Travis - USEF National Singles Champion

Leslie Berndl and Travis – USEF National Singles Champions

A collective sigh of relief by the organizers and officials when the marathon ended on Saturday with no accidents.  However a few competitors tried valiantly to have their penalties overturned.

It was a beautiful day, and spectators were able to find some shade under the trees near the two water obstacles.  Golf carts shuttled spectators out to the obstacles, but not before they walked past the vendors and had a chance to shop.  Trailers, carriages, harness, jewelry, soap, whips and many other things were on display.

The officials were vigilant to make sure no one was over-using their whips.

The massage therapy students were set up again all day to relieve the competitors of their tight muscles before and after their marathons.

The competitors’ party was held at Claire Reid’s Big Sky Farm in Southern Pines with a endless salad bar, beef tenderloin  (all you could eat) desserts ensured to put any pounds lost during the weekend back on.

The cones course ran on schedule or even a little ahead.  Using the Stone Henge element built for the CCI+++ event a couple of weeks earlier, the course looked beautiful.  The sponsors were served a lovely brunch as the watched the Preliminary class go first, followed by the Advanced.  The USEF Single Horse Championship class was very exciting.  Leslie Berndl made it back-to-back championships

Some pictures from Southern Pines CDE

I will get on my soapbox in a later post or in Driving  Digest, but not today.  It is sunny, warm, and beautiful here at the Carolina Horse Park.  Marathon is underway, the USEF Single Horse Championship drivers are almost finished with their marathon.  Here are some pictures from yesterday and today.

This was Tina Sully's first Advanced competition.

This was Tina Sully’s first Advanced competition.

Kate Shields warms up for dressage

Kate Shields warms up for dressage

Cheryl Rivers attacked the big water hazard with her Morgan Redspur's Red Rowl.

Cheryl Rivers attacked the big water hazard with her Morgan Redspur’s Red Rowl.

On the way to the Gum Tree Wheel.

On the way to the Gum Tree Wheel.

Southern Pines CDE is underway.

The 8th Southern Pines CDE started off Thursday with the Horse Inspection for the Advanced Division.  All passed. We have 11 entries for the USEF Single Horse Championship, 2 horse pairs, 2 pony pairs, and 2 single ponies in the Advanced division. The Preliminary single pony class is the largest with 14 entries.

The event really kicked off at the briefing which was followed by a ‘draw’ for dressage times for the Championship class.  The drivers all came forward and drew numbers out of a box.  That number was the order for them to come forward and choose a bottle of champagne that had a number on the bottom which indicated the order in which they would drive their dressage.  Sara Schmitt drew the number one slot.

USEF Singles Championship class ready to draw for dressage starting order

USEF Singles Championship class ready to draw for dressage starting order

Following the briefing and draw, a southern style dinner of barbecued ribs, cole slaw, baked beans and other dishes was served.  With the sponsors’ tent set between the two dressage rings, competitors could eat, walk their tests and come back for a beverage, or even seconds!

Awards and champagne!

Awards and champagne!

The weather is picture perfect – perhaps a little on the warm side after a colder than normal winter and spring here in Southern Pines.  The dogwood, azaleas, wisteria are in full bloom, as is the pine pollen.

Cheers from Leslie Berndl and Scott Monroe

Cheers from Leslie Berndl and Scott Monroe

Dressage started on time, and has stayed on time.  Dave Wright, our announcer, is keeping everyone up to date.  Two rings are running simultaneously, with the Preliminary entries judged by Boots Wright and Marcie Quist.  The Intermediate and USEF Advanced entries are judged by Anne-Marie Turbe, Peter Bonhof and Martha Hanks Nicoll.  Richard Nicoll is the course designer, but has been helpful in so many ways from filling water tanks, to touching up some painting, and moving trash cans!

Mike Arnold is here not only to watch Jacob drive but to make sure that Live Scoring goes off without a hitch.

Everyone is struggling to get used to all the new rules!

Southern Pines CDE – the 8th

Thought I would write a short post today, as I know people are anxious to see something on Driving News about Southern Pines – like dressage schedules, etc.  Richard Pringle is busy building and marking the course and so getting the schedule posted has taken a back seat.  This should be remedied shortly as the course is finished.  The TD, Ian Douglas, has made his inspection. Course Designer Richard Nicoll has tweaked some of his obstacle gating.  The jury is due to inspect tomorrow morning.  However, the President of the Jury, Anne-Marie Turbe’s flight was delayed for 3 hours in Paris, so she won’t be here tonight.

The dressage schedule is posted on the board at the Carolina Horse Park office.  And actually, the Advanced Single Horses won’t know exactly when they will drive their tests and we are doing an actual ‘draw’ like they did in the dark ages.  But it is fun (for us anyway) and they get a bottle of champagne for being patient.  Their tests will start mid afternoon.  We have 11 vying for the National Championship title, with Leslie Berndl very keen to win back-to-back championships.

The weather is going to be fantastic. No chance of rain, high 70s.  The Horse Park looks beautiful.

In the morning, the students from the local college will come and do chair massage – a very popular tradition here at Southern Pines CDE.  And they are returning on Saturday so can get the kinks out of the drivers and navigators after the marathon.

Congratulations Suzy Stafford

We just finished watching the Advanced Single Horse cones at Live Oak via Live Feed.  Suzy Stafford has brought yet another horse to the top.  We look forward to seeing her at the USEF Single Horse Championship in Southern Pines in a couple of weeks.

If you were watching  the cones, you might have noticed two sets of cones that were white instead of orange. The new rules allow a maximum of two sets on a course that can be set at a narrower clearance than the others, but they have to be designated by a different color.  Always something new!

Always something new to learn as well, with the prize giving.  I noticed that they gave out the ribbons in the warm-up area instead of presenting them one at a time when they were in the ring.  I’m assuming this was to save time, as they have to get cones over with quickly so that the jumping classes can start on time.

Another advantage of watching the action via computer, especially for the marathon, we can see drivers in several obstacles without breaking a sweat!

Unless something extremely unusual happens, Chester Weber will win yet another USEF National Four-in-Hand Championship in just a few minutes!