The day after Derby Day was another busy one. On Sunday, I was honored to be asked to help judge the final Stonegate Farm Cross Country Event. Stonegate Farm is owned by the magnificent couple Margaret and Michael Korda. Margaret was an international model and an avid event rider now, and Michael is an incredibly accomplished author and former Editor-in-Chief at Simon & Schuster.
My family and I have known Margaret and Michael for many years, and I had the pleasure of schooling my horses at their course for years. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring Zeus to their impeccable Cross Country course, with acre after acre of trails, fields, and every jump imaginable.
I brought Matt along to get a taste of Cross Country - we met after I'd had my riding accident, so I hadn't competed since then. I'm thrilled to say he got bit by the eventing bug, and asked how many years experience he'd need in order to start competing. Music to my ears!
The field we were positioned in is the Field of Dreams, with several lovely but complicated fences to master.
Do you believe this is a jump? It's a narrow coop, and although it looks easy, it's quite large and because it's narrow, horses can just skirt by it if they're caught unaware or aren't experienced. Likewise, if the rider is inexperienced, they can mis-time the distance to the fence, throwing the horse off balance and screwing up the whole shebang.
This was a lovely rider whose horse handled the jump beautifully.
A nice horse, but poor approach. He got too close to the fence, and is hanging a leg as you can see. They popped over it, but it was clear the horse was tired and needs to be more fit.
This was another fence at the top of the hill before the narrow coop. An inviting jump, but we heard a few inexperienced riders yelling at their horses who were perhaps losing speed up the slope to it.
Matt fondly called the horse in this video the "cow" horse. I corrected him, don't worry. They did a decent job, but as she slowed to a trot to collect herself, she incurred some time faults for slowing down and going over the optimum time.
All in all, it was a lovely day and it was such fun to see so many people I knew from my past. Hopefully, with Zeus, they will be in my present and future too!