By Olivia Godfrey.
Recently as I’m sure many of you have seen on my Twitter, my horse Lulu and I attended Grazing Fields Farm’s Head of The Bay Classic in Buzzards Bay, MA (Cape Cod). This was Lulu’s first stay-in-a-tent-for-a-week show, and I was very excited to see how she would handle the transition and new environment for the week. I’ve been to grazing fields multiple times for one day shows, and I have competed in the HOTB Classic for years prior to this one, so, I was very prepared and knew exactly what to expect of the show which I think helped Lulu a lot. When we arrived on Tuesday Lulu had no idea what to think. She stepped off the trailer and looked around, but was very timid towards the tents. She didn’t really know what to think when I asked her to walk into the big, white and blue attraction (the tent). However, eventually, with some trepidation, she finally walked in and relaxed once I put her in the stall which would be her new home for the week.
The first day was pretty quiet, and I was just focused on unpacking and settling Lulu in for the night. After I was organized I took Lulu for another small hand walk around the farm to show her the tents and other little things that changed because of the classic. I then hopped on and took her for a hack, and she felt really great, so I was super confident about showing the next day. I was my own groom the entire week, which was SO exhausting. Side Note: Props to those who care for and show multiple horses on their own.
The next day we were showing, so after a quick Starbucks stop (which was only 2 minutes away from the show grounds…. amazing) I arrived at around 6 A.M. I immediately went to the ring to look over the class sizes and enter myself in the puddle and training that were running that day. I decided to skip the warm-up because Lulu has been to the show so many times, and I don’t mind going in cold. Additionally, her puddle round is considered to be her warm-up class for that day. The first round (puddle) went really well, and she was clean except for one rail in the jump off, which was a rider error. The second round went better in the sense that she was faster and more responsive; however (rider error again) we had 2 rails in the power, so we didn’t make it to the speed. The first rail was me not setting her up well enough (however she should’ve helped me out), and the second was a schooling rail; when you add an extra stride to get a rub or a knock down so the horses pickup their feet. After the schooling rail, she went clean and jumped much better, so I was pleased!
The rest of the week was pretty light, and I lunged and hacked around the show every day that we weren’t showing. I was alone for the second half of the show because the farm whose stall I was able to take only stayed the first week. This made it really challenging, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure I cared for my horse the best way I could. Lulu only had one scare when she was slightly dehydrated and acted colic-y. However, I called the vet and gave her some milk of magnesia and thankfully she was much better the rest of the night and the next day.
Grazing Fields Farm is so beautiful and has so much land to explore. It’s honestly one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been. They have a great size flat grass field, which is awesome for lessons or light hacks, 3 schooling rings, a pony ring, hunter land, and a huge eq/jumper ring. The atmosphere at Grazing Field Farm is surprisingly not tense, even though there is a horse show there, which is probably because everyone at the farm works really hard to make sure the days run smoothly. They have a huge team with a great work ethic. You always see the coaches hopping from horse to horse and ring to ring. I had the pleasure of training with Grazing Fields during HOTB and in the past at one day shows. I’m either training with the owner of the farm, Kathy Fletcher, or one of her coaches. But either way (even though Kathy is super awesome) I always feel taken care of, comfortable, confident, and genuinely cared about, even though I’m not a boarder or a part of their farm the majority of the time. All the trainers have given me awesome insight and tips to use with Lulu, not only when showing, but at home as well.
My last two days showing went really well. On Tuesday I competed in the training jumpers. Lulu was great, and we got a 4th and an 8th out of classes with 20 or so entries. I was really happy with the results even though we don’t ride for ribbons just yet… still learning the ropes!
Overall it was an awesome experience. While it was really exhausting, I still had a lot of fun, and the Cape Cod beach is my favorite. I totally recommend this show to anyone who wants to have a relaxing two weeks where you can easily focus on you and your horse and enjoy a show ground where everything is within walking distance (no golf cart or dirt bike necessary). I’m so pleased with how Lulu handled everything as a 6 year old OTTB competing in her first real show season.