|Chill warm ups lead to lots of drool:)|
If you been to Plantation before you're (hopefully) gonna think my illustration is hilarious. But I need it to help describe how the venue is in a class above most as far as events go. They run recognized and start trials there but I'd consider it one of the tougher venues in Area 2 for many reasons.
|Basically to scale:)|
It's built into the Chester County hillside and is basically a big hill with a proper arena up top, xc on one side and trailer parking on the other side. They alternate SJ and dressage in the main arena and either way you're kind screwed because whatever doesn't take place in the main arena has to happen on VERY sketchy grass on the side of the hill (near the trailers). For young horses or inexperienced riders (or both) Plantation is a BIG ask. I'll call it the great equalizer.
|OH, they have snacks here? Okay then.|
Scout has xc schooled there exactly one time (they offer a single xc schooling day per year) -- and was almost a full year since he's seen that big hill or been around that kind of atmosphere. The entries were stacked across the divisions and since he had to be entered in the ON division, I decided to forget about the scoreboard and hope for a great outing in all three phases.
|Heading up the big hill to dressage|
Scout had the earliest time in his division which I knew would work against us, but (again) I really didn't care about that. What I did care about was that he walked flat-footed with gusto up the hill and away from the trailers. The warm-up was fairly quiet, and I was stunned watching just how fluid and obedient he was being.
|Hard to be upset when they warm up like this|
|Completely obsessed with this pic. The background looks like a painted backdrop!|
|the walk isn't all bad:)|
|Obviously not square, but atta boy|
He waited patiently for his trailer buddy to go fancy prance and we got him ready for show jumping. The SJ warm-up was much kinder than the actual course itself which was wedged into the base of the hill and had gotten completely torn up from the upper divisions the day before when it poured. Regardless, he warmed up beautifully... jumping from a nice open stride. The only problem was that the Sj course did not allow for that kind of stride at all.
|That's more like it. This was coming off a nice turn where he got a great distance to the 2 stride|
|This jumped quite well for him but gave many others some trouble -- it's hard to tell but it's going downhill.|
|Early in the course, looking quite green.|
The course walked pretty fair for the level. My apple watch documented 11 floors of elevation gain throughout and the course designer used the terrain pretty thoughtfully. I wouldn't call Plantation a move-up course, but I don't think it was unfair either. There were a few combinations but no ditch.
|This jump was a real problem on course*|
|Up bank to upright|
|Go through water and over white jump in the background|
|Another big ass table type jump|
|This was a nice size for the level on a bit of an uphill approach. A nice final fence on course.|
|Pretty standard for the level|
|This looked MASSIVE to me!|
**hopefully, I'll have xc pics to add here soon -- I just need to coordinate with the photographer**
It's easy to forget that this was his second event ever. He handled everything with such maturity and eagerness. He stayed happy and forward throughout the whole day and better yet, he came off the three phases like he just ran around Kentucky. He literally strutted back to the trailer. While there were green moments, I never thought he felt over-faced or that we were asking anything beyond his skill or fitness level.
And while the scoreboard doesn't reflect what he learned from the day, I couldn't have been happier of how he handled each phase and as a much more seasoned horse at the end of the day. Onward and upward to the next!!!