Halifax Middelsom, during the speed and endurance phase of his ridden performance test.
Finally I have a chance to stop and think and write about the 2010 inspections. We had a grueling 2 weeks, Firstly we drove 8 hrs to Ohio with Cita and Halifax for a Ridden Performance test then drove 8 hrs home. One day to recuperate and then it was the Inspection of mares, foals and young stallion at Cedar Creek Stables (no ridden test this time).
Then the next day we were due at the Virginia Horse Center for the Col Bengt Lundquist Memorial Finals with 4 horses qualified. So there was no time to write or do anything but rush and rush some more.
Oh and Linda left for California in the middle of all that. But now I have had a few days to recover and I can sit down and write about it all.
Lets start with the Ohio Inspection;
Why, you might ask did we drive 8 hrs to Ohio with 2 horses to do a ridden performance test. Undoubtedly it would have been easier to have done it at home, but there were a couple of reasons.
Firstly I had promised Donna that I would take Halifax to Ohio for his ridden test, even though I ended up buying him half way through the summer she had made that request when he was hers and asked again at the time of purchase, I had said “yes” and thus felt obliged to take him anyway. If I was taking him, how much harder could it be to take Cita as well! Plus organizing these things is a lot of hard work and if they were going to go to all the effort to organize one for Donna’s horses in Ohio, why duplicate the effort just to another one in Virginia. So Cita duly got on the trailer with Halifax and off we went.
The road to Ohio from Virginia is never easy, we had all those mountains of West Virginia to get through. Fortunately April is a mountain girl herself and she is undaunted by all those ups and downs and curves. She drove us through the hills and valleys of Rte 250 WV, we had to go pretty slowly at several points, but eventually we got to the flatter land of Pennsylvannia and Ohio and made better time. I counted no less than 6 mountain crossings on that journey!
We arrived at Hinckley in the early evening and unloaded the horses. We had come a day early to allow them time to rest and recover from the drive, which was just as well. They had all day Saturday to relax and April rode them both.
Saturday afternoon the judging team from Denmark arrived, as well Ron Steur and Brad Driver who had also driven up from Virginia to help. We had a fun evening with an informal pizza party and then all retired to bed.
The Danish version of a ridden performance test is pretty long and arduous, it takes the best part of a day, especially with 4 horses.
It starts with a veterinary inspection, including flexions and trotting out on hard ground. Then there is a ridden flat phase, where the rider gets to show the horses paces and training, then a guest rider (who does not know the horses) gets on and rides them and assess the horse for temperament and attitude and potential.
Halifax during the dressage phase of the ridden test.
After that they jump a course of 4 showjumps, 2 verticals and two oxers at about 3 ft. They do get to have a practice round at a slightly lower height initially, but then the jumps are put up and they have to go around twice and are judged on approach, technique and style as well as willingness and behavior. The ridden jumping is then followed by free jumping in a chute up to 3′ 6″. after that the horses have to do a speed and endurance test where they a=have to complete 500m in walk 2,500m in trot and 1,000m in canter/gallop within a certain time period. they have their heart rates measured and the time to recovery is also measured. They are graded on both performance and also willingness and behavior during the ride and the vet check.
This adds up to a lot of work for all concerned but is a pretty comprehensive and complete test of a horses training, willingness and ability.
Finally at the end all the scores are added up for each section and as long as the horse has achieved a certain score or more they are declared to have passed.
The horse who gets the highest score overall goes forward at the end of the day for the best in show.
After all the ridden stuff is over, they assessed the young horses, the two mares and foals, a yearling and a 3 yr old potential broodmare were judged and scored.
We are glad to say that at the end the Best in Show was the lovely Cita Normark, who was as always, gorgeous elegant and serene and who was beautifully ridden by April.
If you would like to see more images from the testing please go to the website of Michelle Zezulak the photographer:
Go to her site: http://www.mzphotography.net
click on “Client gallery & ordering” (along the top)
Find and click on your gallery (HEC Inspection…)
You may click on each small image and it will enlarge for viewing
AND you may use the tools above the proofs to help with viewing
Hopefully there are some images there you will love!
They will only be up for a short time so please do go and take a look.
All the images in this blog were taken by Michelle.
Halifax during the free movement phase of his performance test.
Then on the Monday it was time to drive home 8 hrs over those same mountain roads and to our Inspection in Virginia. More on that one in the next blog.