From the Equine Journal - December 2009I had entered one of my driving horses in the Sunrise Ridge HDT for the March 28th event that takes place on the property of Kate Morgan in Paradise Texas. However, 10 days prior to this the horse I was supposed to take had an issue so my instructor said” why not take Milano.” To which I responded, “he’s still young at heart, if you are going and would be my navigator I will do the best I can,” Yes, I will do that for you, said Tom O’Carroll.
Short history on Milano: 5 years old, Cleveland bay (Monkton Elite) Fjord (mom now a driving therapy horse). I had seen Milano in 2008 in the pasture and he was just friendly and reminded me of a big teddy bear. He is nosey and loves people, seemed willing to try what you asked, so when he came available for sale here I go. He spent a month at Good Hands Training, then I brought him home to work with.
The night before we looked at the weather and went,” Oh” The forecast was not good, windy to say the least, very cold and snow flurries 17 deg without the wind chill. Loading up at 5 am and off we go, the flurries came about 6am, we were bundled up with clothes and hand warmers. Unloaded, Milano is looking at the sights and visiting the other equines in the stalls. We go check in and get to see the dressage area, cones course and later we walk the marathon section which is nicely set with inviting obstacles.
Dressage was first, uneventful, nicely forward and good for training level, receiving a 44.80 score. Then straight to the cones section which proved a little more challenging due in part to the very blustery 40mph wind that was blowing the balls of the cones, before we drove the course. Again Milano showed he was up to this and did very well only having 2 balls off which could also be driver error. Lunch break was next, we were eager to see the scores that were posted first in training horse level. Off we go to see the obstacles again, just so I had a better recollection of where to go and keep Milano on the right course.
Our start time came and off we went, still very cold and windy but the sun was now shining, 20 deg F, through the first obstacle. He just looked at one sign blowing, Milano is enjoying this and moving along nicely, through the next 2 obstacles, trotting through the woods and towards the last obstacle and down the trail to the finish, in great form. We got there in the time allowed. That was exhilarating and fun. What a good guy! After all the results were in we stayed in first place in our division bringing home the blue ribbon and the Cleveland Bay ribbon sponsored by Gabrielle Gordon
Gabrielle came for a visit but unfortunately missed us competing, but she visited with others whom she also knew there.
Scores: Dressage: 44.80, Marathon: clear, no penalties, Cones: 11.5056, Open Training Single Horse.
By Eileen Leek