Bits & Bytes Farm

Captain Arias knows how important it is to wear your safety gear - especially when riding cross country.
Captain has his helmet on and is ready to ride!


Captain Arias ready for cross country

Pine Top Horse Trial Diary - November 30 - December 1, 2002

Captain is back from a busy weekend at the Pine Top Farm Horse Trials in Thomson, Georgia. The trial had the maximum number of entries and the Novice Horse division was packed with 18 riders.

Saturday's Dressage was terrific, with major improvements in the canter transitions, straightness, and a steady accurate ride. One mistake was made at C when the judge moved some papers on the table and Captain shied for a moment. He quickly got it 'together' when he crossed our diagonal line at the working trot. His serpentines were lovely and the rider decided to sit the movements and have Captain show more bend. The plan worked and he flowed through them. Captain showed he has matured significantly and he was more focused and listening to the seat and leg. Captain's score was 41% putting him in 7th place. The judge's final comment was a "lovely pair."

Captain Arias Photo by Dean Graham Photography

The stadium course was set up in a small paddock area with grassy footing. We wondered how Captain would take the holiday decorations hanging off of the fences and the fact that he was jumping on grass for the first time. Footing plays a huge roll as how the horse travels across the ground. The course had 9 fences total and reminded us of a hunter course, with outside lines to diagonal combinations. Once again, Captain came through. He rode steady and he was careful to keep his knees tight. Captain completed the course with a clear round and four time penalties.

Photo by Dean Graham Photography

On Sunday afternoon, Captain jogged out to the cross-country field. He felt good and was happy to be out in the open for the warm up. This course had the maximum number of fences (15), built to the maximum height and width allowed. The goal with Captain was not to have any stops on course. Fence 1, was a pretty log and flower oxer. Captain was concentrating. He sailed over it in stride, turning to the right towards the hanging log that was Fence 2. It's set on an uphill grade. Again, he sailed over the fence. Fence 3 was an island bank-up and bank-down — over he went. We thought as we watched, "Now, he's really getting it."

Captain Arias
Photo by Dean Graham Photography

Captain rode over a simple oxer into the woods to the combination Fences 5 and 6. The gymnastic work at home paid off, as he collected himself at the approach to 5 and then a 2-stride gallop over a strange looking vertical fence. Fence 7 was quite a distance away and he had a long gallop stretch. Captain set into a good, balanced gallop. Finally, to Fence 7, a big table and then on to a very sturdy log table built into the fence line. At the landing, Captain cut a sharp turn to the left and galloped to a huge oxer. This fence looked like a fence at Training Level, but Captain never slowed down. All the rider had to do was to draw her shoulders back, soften her hands and wait for takeoff. It was textbook perfect.

Fences 10 and 11 were 'breather fences' as Captain made the approach to Fence 12, an interesting ditch. This area of the course was very congested, with many fences, spectators, and jump judge vehicles. From 4 strides out, he increased the gallop speed and over he went as he made a rollback turn to Fence 13, the cabin. On landing, hugging the fence line made for a clear approach to the water complex. Once again, this area was very congested with traffic. Captain was determined to go clear. The water was dyed a strange blue and Captain began to suck-back slightly as we approached. This was the only time on course that the rider touched him with the whip. Captain cantered into the water and up over the bank out of the complex. We were so happy for him! His rider gave him a big pat on the neck as they headed to last fence. Fence 15 was an attractive hogs-back table, and he easily galloped over and through the finish. Captain did it!

The only negative was that Captian was 4.8 seconds early! Captain was happy and had his ears pricked up at each fence and he never doubted himself. He didn't realize he was going so fast. It was easy for him.


The rider untied her pinny at the finish, dropped the reins and casually walked to the barns. You would swear to God, this horse was actually strutting the entire way back. He ended the competition on a score of 49.8 in 9th place - just out of the ribbons.

Captain will be getting a bit of a break for the month of December, but he will be back to work and competing at Pine Top in February and on to Jumping Branch in March.

Captain Arias
Photo by Dean Graham Photography


Captain Arias

©2003 Copyright Bits & Bytes Farm /Egeland Wood & Zuber, Inc.




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