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July 9, 2012

Only In Unionville

Huntsman Ivan Dowling of Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds pulled Jennie Brannigan's rig to a level spot after she ran out of diesel less than a mile from the gas station.

Well, it’s been awhile since I checked in, and I know there’s been a lot going on in eventing land with the announcement of the team for London!

I’m so happy that Big Phil and Boyd are on there and really happy for newcomer Will Coleman, as I feel like he’s really earned his spot and has been working so hard to get there. I know everyone has been talking a lot of about that so I’ll move on... I’m sure the Chronicle Forums are buzzing! Ha ha.

For me it was nice to get back on track at Surefire Horse Trials at Jan Byyny’s farm in Middleburg, Va. We were graced with the coolest temperatures yet of the summer, and even so, I have to say I was pretty tired by the end of the day!

Toad ran the intermediate and came sixth, while I had five others in the training level, with some highlights being Footlight’s Ollie, owned by Beth Battel, getting a 21 on the flat and jumping around great for the win, while Annie Jones’ new young horse, Mansfield Park, or “Sully” as we call him in the barn, coming second in the same class.

A lovely mare named Meltrane was fifth in her class, getting a 26 in the dressage and an having an unfortunate rail down that cost us the win. She really is an upper-level feeling horse though, and I think she’ll make a star for someone. 

The next event for me was the following weekend at New Jersey Horse Trials, where I was lucky to have my birthday in conjunction with No Objection running his first advanced with me in the irons! He was a star and jumped his heart out, coming second to Buck and Reggie! I ran him very slowly though, as I’m trying to take good care of him for the fall. His dressage is getting better, and he put in a respectable test to get a 37.

I had a couple novice horses the next day, with Suzanne Kloud’s Coletrane coming fourth in the novice and Jean Marie Everingham’s Deal Maker having his first novice back with me in a long time!

Plus, a few of my students were awesome that day! Congrats to John Hurley for coming sixth in his novice rider class and Kate Thomas ending on her dressage mark of 30 to come in third in hers! Lee Lee Jones piloted The Foreman around to come fifth in her open preliminary class, and it was great to see her back competing upper level after losing Model Cadet this winter. 

So, newly 25, I then boarded a plane for Missouri to participate in a level 3 & 4 ICP workshop that the Tim and Cheryl Holekamp put on. It was pretty awesome to see Windfall at age 20 happily jump around for their demo rider, Callie Judy. It’s a real testament to this horse and the sport to see him so happy with his job and so sound... He didnt even have shoes on!  

Andrea Leatherman and Heather Morris were there as well, and as nerve wracking as it can be to be judged on your teaching in front of your peers, I had a great time and learned a lot. Don Sachey was awesome, and I am so thankful to the Holekamps for having us! 

This week ended with Maryland I Horse Trials, where Jenny Caras did her first and her horse’s first intermediate on Fernhill Stowaway. They were fantastic, coming sixth, and she (a 16 year-old on a 6-year-old!) really took care of her horse and ran slowly and carefully.

Candace Tribe-Kircher also had a great go on Catalina, running her slow but jumping great. Alex MacLeod was fantastic as well, but unfortunately the galloping lanes got in her way!

I was pretty darn lucky getting to fly to the event in Candace’s dad’s private jet... It was pretty awesome. Unionville to Loch Moy in 20 minutes! Never thought I’d get to do that!

Then yesterday I did a great job of running my rig out of diesel (coming back from cross-country schooling) one mile away from the gas station because of the steep hill I was on… Great job, Jennie. Wow, I’m an idiot... I never cease to do dumb things!

But check this out: only in Unionville does a legend in our sport (need I say Bruce Davidson?) see you right away and pick you up to get diesel. Then one of the best huntsmen in the country (I think the best), Ivan Dowling, pulls you out of the hill and onto flat ground, while bombshell four-star-rider-turned-whip Steph Boyer takes you to get lunch while you’re calling Kate Hicks to have her amazing farmer champion husband prime your lines so you can restart your truck... (Jamie Hicks told me later that Kate and Silva Martin where down the road in the pool... Luckily he was out getting them lunch anyway!)

This all happened within about an hour, and it just makes me so happy to live in the town I do, around these kinds of people... They’re amazing, and not just amazing at what they do, but also just good people. YOU GUYS ROCK! 

Well, I’m sorry I wrote a novel, but that’s what’s up in my world!

Oh, but I did forget to mention: Cambalda and Walkabout event this weekend!!! I’m so excited, guys... I’m going to be going reeeeeeeeaaaaaalllllllyyyy slow out there! I want my boys back. :) 

Hope you all are well!

-Jennie

Brannigan Eventing

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