Postcard 4: 2008 Developing Rider Tour, Germany

On to Aach! USEF Show Jumping Developing Rider coach Melanie Smith Taylor files this report from the tour's stop in Germany.

June 12, 2008 — Aach is a beautiful showgrounds, and everyone is happy to be in Germany even though there’s been some rain. One thing for sure you can count on is rain in the summer here. The footing in the main arena is grass and supposedly able to stand up under torrents of moisture. The schooling area is soft and not so substantial.

Melanie Smith Taylor | © 2008 by Nancy Jaffer

The hotel is lovely but 30 to 40 minutes away in Switzerland–well, it is 1 1/2 hrs away if your GPS isn’t working! But the town of Stein en Rein is quaint and peaceful and the rooms overlook the river.

Once again there are qualifying classes for the grand prix but no Nations’ Cup here so it is a balancing act to show enough to qualify but not so much that it takes too much out of the horses for the grand prix. The big class is later this afternoon but three riders showed this morning so I can report on them.

The 1.30-meter class was the opening event, and Tracy Magness on Triumph was 9th out of 95 in that speed class. Alexa Lowe was 13th on Cruise, and Michael Morrisey took Crelido around for a slow “get in the ring” clear. Nadyleen (Alexa), Scarabaras (Michael), Nielson (Jeanne Hobbs), Night and Day (Jeanne), Tarco (Tracy) and Gigi (James Benedetto) go this afternoon.

Our stables are 50 feet from the schooling area and the ring another 30 feet–quite convenient if a bit crowded–but the areas to work the horses in the morning or anytime not preparing for a class is way down a dirt road through hill and dale and up a steep incline to an outdoor sand arena or indoor ring, which is where they held the vet check.

Face flies and gnats are horrendous–we all need mosquito netting as they fly in every orifice–in your eyes, ears, mouth and up your nose. It’s understandable that the horses are crazed at times. We are, too–we just have to outrun them in the ring!

Orders aren’t posted until an hour before the class. Got to go now and get ready for the next event. There are lots of horses here–it’s a big national show for the Germans with young rider and young horse classes galore.

I will try to write tomorrow. Cheers to all!