Rox enjoyed a little time off and RT has run his win streak to four.
These two Irish Sport Horses are among the talented athletes in International four-star level eventer Kristin Schmolze’s barn. The eventer was back in town this weekend at Sporting Days Farm conducting her Aiken Clinic Series.
Ballylaffin Bracken did have a respite after competing at Rolex Kentucky, but the 17.3 hand Irish Sport Horse, is back in work after a well desrved vacation.
“He’s going to run at Millbrook this weekend,” said Schmolze. “I’m just going to run him at intermediate because I let him have quite a bit of time to just kind of hack and be a horse after Kentucky.”
This fall’s itinerary for Schmolze and Rox include the Plantation Field Horse Trials in Unionville, Pa., Sept. 20-22 and the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI3* in Temecula, Calif., Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
“I’d like to do Rolex again in the spring,” said Schmolze.
RT, a 6-year-old, 16.1 hand Irish Sport Horse, has been a paragon of consistency, and continues to evolve as an athlete, said Schmolze.
“Ricardo Time has been doing fabulous,” said Schmolze. “He’s just matured tremendously. He’s going training and he’s won his last four trainings. He just won at Fitch’s Corner (Millbrook, N.Y., July 19-21). He had a 19 in dressage.”
Schmolze’s plans call to run RT at a few more Trainings, but the upper level rider is considering moving the horse up to preliminary by the end of the fall.
“That would be a good goal for him,” she said. “He’s been doing great and winning, and it would make sense to be moving him up, but I know him, and it’s taken a while for him to mature, and for him to become strong enough to get him to this point, so I’m not in any rush to push him.”
The big, tall. leggy gelding has been working diligently, but the slow and methodical approach has paid dividends.
“It’s taken a long time for him to get strong enough to be giving me what he’s giving me right now,” said Schmolze. “We’re going to do a few more trainings to make sure we’re really solid.”
However, it was RT’s recent dressage score, a 19, that was extremely engaging. Ricardo Time received the score from FEI Eventing Judge and United States Equestrian Federation ‘S’ or Senior Dressage Judge Marilyn Payne.
“I have to be honest, I thought he was very good, but that was not his best test,” said Schmolze. “I thought he was a little more distracted then he’s been in some other tests because of the location of the arena. It was a well deserved 19. He was a good boy.”
Rox benefitted from having a well earned rest after a demanding schedule this winter/spring that included Rolex Kentucky, but Schmolze’s philosophy for every horse is based on the individual.
“Rox is a horse that I don’t like to give a lot ot time off because he tends to stiffen up,” said Schmolze. “He’s a horse that doesn’t seem to enjoy a lot of turnout. So, when I give him time off, and when he’s not moving his body, it’s really hard to bring him back.”
The 13-year-old gelding born in County Tipperary, Ireland, has competed regularly over the past two years, but hasn’t had much time off after his major competitions, said the rider.
“I usually will give him a solid week off, but then he goes right back to walking, hacking or something to that effect to keep him loose, and keep his body in good shape,” said Schmolze. “I really think that’s perserved him for the last few years. I think it’s been very good for him.
Ballylaffin Bracken has been an intrepid warrior, doing two 2*’s in 2011, and two 3*’s in 2012, with a week off each time, with the objective being Rolex Kentucky, said the international four star level rider.
“After Kentucky, that’s so much exertion for them, it was time, he just needed a break,” said Schmolze.
The time off seemed to benefit Rox as he’s now in good form and appears poised and prepared for the fall.
“The first three weeks or so, I almost thought he was sick,” said Schmolze. “I kept getting worried about him, wanting to pull blood, and do this and that. He was just sort of letting down and tired. It was about the three or four week mark that he finally started nickering to me, and being like, ‘I’m bored. I’ve had enough vacation.’ So, I do think it’s important. It depends on the horse. Some people have a standard routine where they a give a horse a month off after every three day. You have to know your horse. But, after something big like Rolex Kentucky, where they give you so much, and there’s so much preparation, and they have to be so fit....There’s so much in getting them ready for a four star. The time off was great for him mentally, so he’s fantastic now, and is ready to go.”
The next Kristin Schmolze Aiken Clinic Series will be Aug. 17.
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