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On Sunday, I headed out to watch the final day at Upperville, intending to catch a bit of the Juniors, watch a friend’s filly in the Hunter Breeding, and see the Grand Prix. I figured arriving about 10:30 would be perfect for that, until I got a text from my friend that I was able to read after getting off the highway at The Plains, and saw her note that they weren’t expecting the HB to go before 2. Well, more hunters to watch, then, I figured, and headed up one of my favorite roads (and I’ve seen some amazing ones), Halfway Road, which goes up from The Plains to Middleburg through some aspirational farms.  (One day, when I win the Powerball….)  The drive was made extra fun by the fact that I’d borrowed WBBF’s Subaru Crosstrek, in case the Upperville Mud had not dried up enough to safely maneuver my car.  No worried on that, because I followed a Telsa out into the parking field, though I must say the Subie seemed much happier zipping out through there than the Tesla did.  (I may have done an extra, unnecessary lap of the field on the way out.  Shhhh.)

I headed over to the Hunter side, where kids were on course in both rings.  I paused for a minute under the oaks between the two rings, and just soaked it all in for a moment, and enjoyed watching the horses on course.  I then dug out my phone and consulted the directions Erica had given me for finding their stabling, and set off in search of her.  Turns out I arrived just in time to say hello to two members of the fantastic riding staff at Hollins, who I haven’t seen since graduating!  I also got to meet Erica’s very sweet filly, who was relaxing and preparing for her big moment.

So I left her to work, and I headed to the Lime Fizz stand, to get one and gloat to lime-loving WBBF about it via text, then settled in to watch the Junior Hunters from the historic old grandstand.  I always feel like I should be wearing a dress and pearls sitting in there.  (I was wearing pearls, but with a gingham shirt and jeans.)  I had a great view down near the first fence of the handy hunter round, near the rollback to the outside line.  It was a great vantage point, and I used it to brush back up on my over fences photography, which I haven’t really gotten to play with in a while.  Of course, during the most fantastic round of the day, in which Tori Colvin SCORED A PERFECT 100, I was a bit too distracted, and the only good shot I got was a smidge early over the oxer.

Tori on Way Cool

The round was just awe-insipring, because not only was it flawless, it looked absolutely effortless.  The Way Cool was lovely and relaxed but forward, and it made me want to get on and ride that way.  It’s now a (literally) perfect visual in my mind of what to work towards, and I feel privileged to have gotten to sit and watch it.  Then she came in and laid down another near-perfect trip, scoring a 98 on Inclusive, who does have the advantage of looking extra-flashy due to perfect socks.

Tori Colvin on Inclusive

It was really like getting two riding lessons for free.  It will surprise none of you, dear readers, to hear that those two finished one-two in the Juniors.

Til the Juniors finished, however, the GP had already started, and the Hunter Breeding was getting ready to start.  I debated, but didn’t want to miss Erica’s filly, and haven’t ever watched much HB, so I decided to stay on the Hunter side and watch that.  They did exactly what I had to do in my in-hand class last month, so it was interesting to watch the handling and presentation, and to see such beautiful young horses out and showing.  I’ve seen grown horses at shows that didn’t look as polished as the 2 Year Old winner.

Two Year Old Colt/Geldings winner

Then I got the chance to get some nice shots of Erica’s filly, and cheer her on in her division.  She showed well, and is a really classy girl who has a great start on her, and it’s nice to see these young horses out getting ready to have a career.

Unfortunately, until the breeding classes were done, so was the Grand Prix, which meant that other than some cheering echoing across the grounds, I didn’t get to experience any of it, which was a bummer.  But I got to see a perfect hunter trip, which only comes along once in a blue moon, so I’ll consider myself lucky for the day, and having gotten a nice education in both riding a lovely trip, and bringing a young horse along in the ring.  I really could just sit in that grandstand and watch, all week long.

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