Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

What do you do when you have 2 quality horses and 2 trainers look to end their show season with a bang?  Head to Vegas baby!!  Our FCF Pro’s Chelsea and Giana rounded up a horse trailer (thanks Dina!) loaded up and made the 10 hr drive to the Nevada desert for a week of the best horse showing on the west coast.

Our epic lunch spot during the drive

The drive was smooth and uneventful (yay), and the arrival was intense.  With only 1 way in and 1 way out through the indoor stables, you have to wait in line until you can pull through and then you have 30 minutes on the clock to get your horses/stuff unloaded and get outta there... or else!  So as soon as we pulled in, the race was on and we’re proud to say we clocked in at 23 minutes (go us!).   Now, this show is very unique in that it is hosted inside of a huge hotel just off the Vegas strip.  You literally walk down the hotel hall to the indoor arena and exit through a door in the side to the stabling.  If it wasn’t for the one outdoor hacking arena (beside the freeway I might add) you would never see the light of day.  Very reminiscent of Indoor Finals.  Although, it’s truly interesting, and fun to be able to go throw some money down at the roulette table, eat lunch at fantastic restaurants or visit the spa between rounds!  Other perks: food delivery to your stalls, a live feed of the ring to your hotel room tv and the best footing, jumps, course designers and competition a show can offer.

Vegas Main Show Arena

The tiny Warm Up!

Vegas Baby!

Our week of showing was one to remember.  Dusty Z and Giana competed throughout the week in the open classes, executing beautiful clean rounds over challenging courses.  Dusty Z proved to everyone what a brave and bold horse he is by walking off the trailer Monday night and straight into a class Tuesday morning with no preparation and immediately going clear.  Good boy! We love that horse.  It was also a big week for our boy Peter and Chelsea.  They started the week with a warm up class on Tuesday, rest day Wednesday and the FEI Welcome Grand Prix on Thursday night.  Peter jumped so well in the Thursday Grand Prix (watch his round here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY85roHRuqE ) that the decision was made: it was time for his first World Cup Qualifier!  Saturday night came around and the course was HUGE for the $54,000 Grand Prix of Las Vegas.  Peter proved that while inexperienced, he is a man of heart.  A few of the wider oxers proved difficult and maybe a little surprising (this class being by far the largest Peter as ever jumped) but he jumped around with class and style, even clearing the last vertical which clocked in at a towering 1.65m!  We’re so proud of Peter and know that with a little more experience, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Giana in the outdoor Hacking Ring
FEI Jog Order

Peter resting up for his Jog!
Jogging in the middle of Vegas

One thing I forgot to mention: with only 2 horses competing, we made the decision to do our own grooming.  It was busy, sticking to feed schedules, mucking, grooming, bathing, wrapping, the whole nine yards, but it is something we enjoy doing when we have the opportunity,  Majority of us started this sport purely based on our love of these gorgeous creatures and with this whirlwind lifestyle, it can be easy to feel as if we lose our connection with these animals.  By being their caretakers, we had the opportunity to reconnect with our horses and spend a little quality time getting to know them on a deeper level.  Sometimes that can make all the difference inside the arena.  Also, special thank you and shout out to our helping hand and Groom Extraordinaire, Skyler Brittner, for helping us to take top notch care of our boys.  From hand walking, to mucking, to bathing, he was there to help us out!
Skyler and Dusty Z returning from the show arena

After all that, and on 4 hours sleep, we loaded our boys and equipment back up and drove on home.  It was sad to see the sights of Vegas recede into the distance, but one thought comforted us: Next Year!

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