By Lila Stoddard (written March 20, 2015)
I’ve been at the Arezzo Toscana Tour since Tuesday, and I can definitely say that I’m in love with this show! I’m here with my nine year old gelding, Fior di Loto, but we have a total of 30 horses from my stable, so it’s been a busy week so far.
From Tuesday to Thursday, my trainers were competing their young horses and I wasn’t competing Fior yet, so I got to work Fior for about half an hour each morning and hand-walk him for another half an hour in the afternoon. Riding Fior outside of competition was actually a really interesting experience in itself- I got to ride in the same arena as the Philippearts brothers, Malin Baryard-Johnsson, and Jessica Mendoza, just to name a few of the professional riders here this week. Riding with them made me a lot more aware of my position and how Fior is working; let’s face it, we all want to make good impressions on people we admire! But o n the first day riding him here Fior had other ideas. Every single time we passed Jessica Mendoza, he tried to kick or bite her horse. I had to apologize several times, to say the least! Luckily he’s behaved much better as he’s gotten used to his surroundings here, so we haven’t had any issues since then!
Today was my first day competing Fior at Arezzo, and my first outdoor competition with him since October. I live in Hong Kong while he lives in Italy, so I don’t get to ride or compete him very often. As a result, I haven’t jumped him in about three weeks, but he’s been really great all week flatting here; lots of energy, but not overly spooky or fresh. He was super during our class today. We did the 1.15m class of the Bronze Tour to start with, and he was really going around the course, I barely had to push him forward. We had an unlucky rail at the second jump; we had a good distance and good rhythm, but he just barely touched it with his hind legs. If it wasn’t for that rail, we would have come in 3rd place! We were the fastest of the four-faulters though, and since I sometimes struggle with going fast enough, I was really happy with that! One of my biggest challenges riding today, though, was my boots: the zipper on my boots broke yesterday morning, so I had to get a new pair of tall boots and compete in them after only wearing them for a couple hours! I have massive bruises on the back of my knees and my feet are killing me, but luckily the leather is softening up pretty quickly!
One of my good friends from our stable won my 1.15m class, my trainer won the 1.40m Silver Tour class, and a few other people from our stables placed in various classes throughout the day, so overall it was a good day for our team.
I’m doing the 1.15m tomorrow morning at 8:30, so bright and early! It’s my first time competing internationally for Hong Kong, so hopefully I’ll represent well with a clear round tomorrow!