Welcome to guest editor, and fellow Chestnut Hill rider, Madison Bradshaw. This is her first post for the Chestnut Hill blog, and takes the reader inside her the Blenheim June Classic at The Oaks.
The four huge grass fields of the Oaks are truly unmatched in California.
We had such a blast down there. The horses were amazing, rising to the challenge of Linda Allen’s precise courses. The show also played host to the final qualifier for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships teams, which made the weekend extra intense. The whole show reflected this level of competition. The rounds, although solid in height were not gigantic, but they were deceivingly difficult. Each round walked straight forward, but if you veered from the Linda’s intended track – even a little – the results proved disastrous. The horses trying out for young riders also had to follow FEI regulations. They had to jog for soundness at the beginning of the week and follow FEI medication rules (horses can’t have anything, not even bute).
The level of competition was fabulous bringing the best horses and riders on the west coast together. Despite the high level of competition, a unique camaraderie – similar to the one we have at Chestnut Hill, exists between the riders. All of the kids trying out for Young Riders were there at the ring supporting each other. One even clucked from the rail to help me out of the combination. The bond is really unique and it is really cool to be a part of that.
Of course it was not all work. There was a fair amount of time spent shopping down the long row of fabulous vendors like Allon and EQU Lifestyle.
We were all so well-prepared by the Chestnut Hill team. Our horses looked fantastic from their coats to their performances. Groom Guelano Herrera and Assistant Trainer John Wohr did an incredible job preparing the horses so they could tackle anything that was thrown at them.
Fellow Chestnut Hill rider Kris Loewenthal had 3 double clear rounds on Solo and a double clear on Ari. My horse Katina 12 finished as the top qualifier for the Young Rider B team and was second in the $10,000 High Jr/AO classic. My younger mare Ithaca finished off the trip by winning the $1,200 Mod. Jr/Am jumper classic. All in all it was a fabulous trip. As Kris said, “everything is good at the Oaks.”