One of the main goals of the newsletter is to help Area 1 riders connect with each other, to share our successes and our struggles, to help build a stronger community. To further this, we have invited Area 1 riders to contribute to the newsletter updates of their experiences in this competition year as we all try to figure out our new normal. This year, we would like to introduce you to Kelly Rooney and her young thoroughbred Tigger. They are going to update us on their progress throughout the year; look for updates in each edition of this year’s newsletter – and say hi if you see them out and about in the area!
When I signed up for this season update I was excited to share my journey with my new OTTB. Unfortunately the exciting journey has turned slightly into one of those haunted house hay wagon rides in the middle of a cornfield on a dark, moonless night. When I left off I was looking forward to the FEH clinic and show and Stephen Bradley clinic in early July. Days after submitting that update Tigger showed some hind end lameness. Some time off, a trip to Rood and Riddle and a diagnosis of a slightly sticky stifle meant the rest of July off and a plan to restart him in early August once he outgrew the weird growth stage he was in. No big deal. I scrambled and took a lesson horse to the FEH clinic (after dragging her onto the trailer!) and ate the entry to the show but was able to go and groom for my good friend and her 2yo homebred mare. It was really great to see how the FEH program runs and I hope to eventually bring my own baby through it! A generous student of mine let me use her horse for the Stephen Bradley clinic and we had a great time at CS&W. I brought another lesson student and lesson horse and the guy I took had his first off property experience and he handled everything like a champ! It was such a fun weekend, I love riding with Stephen and can’t wait for him to return next summer!
After scrambling to find horses to ride for all my prior entered events the next few weeks were relatively uneventful. I sold a horse for a friend of mine and shipped her off to Texas and met a friend in Virginia for a week of backpacking through Grayson Highlands. The wild ponies in the area were so friendly and cuddly!
Upon returning from my fun time in Virginia cuddling with the ponies I started Tigger back up with some field and hill walking. We went slow and he felt great, no hind end issues. I spent a Saturday XC fence judging at Millbrook watching some amazing riders and horses tackle the awesome course at Millbrook. It’s honestly probably my favorite day of the year! I was able to get to the Millbrook XC clinic and to the Larkin Hill schooling show for an Intro B test in the middle of August. I was starting to tentatively look at Larkin’s fall show for a possible intro level round. Unfortunately it was not in the cards. The day before school was to return (full, in person) Tigger spiked a 104 degree fever. Emergency vet call, antibiotics and banamine and the anaplasmosis was under control. However right before the fever I had noticed some lameness on his RF. After some weeks of stall rest, attempts at treating it like abscess and a soft tissue injury and no real improvement the vet was out again for a workup. It was not good news. I scrambled again and found a horse to ride at the Old Chatham hunter pace at the beginning of September on a gorgeous day and started looking into options.
I have fortunately found Tigger a great home where he will be used for some light trail riding after some rehab this winter. The search began for a new horse but in the meantime I was graciously given the opportunity to ride and market a sale horse at the barn. I spent a few weeks getting her back into work, enjoying some nice dressage lessons and marketed her on social media. She has found a great home not too far away in Massachusetts with a lovely adult ammy dressage rider.
I was able to get away and spectate at the Maryland 5 star and had such an amazing time! My parents and I had an adorable air BNB minutes from the Fair Hill Property and I was able to connect with people I had met during my time in Aiken last winter and a strong showing of Area 1 peeps. We unfortunately had to leave early Sunday because I was due back at work on Monday morning but it was so great to read about Boyd and how the SJ went after watching everyone go XC on Saturday.
So I am hoping to find a new prospect soon before winter really hits so that I can get some hours in the saddle before the season begins next Spring. Fingers crossed that I will actually be out and RIDING at events next season!
More about Kelly: I have been riding for over 25 years and while I dabbled in various English disciplines, eventing has always been my passion . In order to fund this passion, I am a high school science teacher by day and a riding instructor after school, so technically a professional in the eyes of the USEA. I recently trained my mare to training level (eventing) before leasing her to an adult amature at the barn for a carefree (dressage) life and purchased a 4yo OTTB in February from Ballyclare Thoroughbreds in Virginia. I look forward to sharing our journey this year with everyone, from the first ride to hopefully the first event in the autumn season!