That’s our girl Pistoya and Nick Dello Joio jumping to win the $100,000 Woodlea Farms Grand Prix, finale of the Lake Placid Horse Show. Nick was fresh off the plane from the international circuit in Calgary. The mare had jumped beautifully for Philip the week before. Philip had this maybe-crazy idea to send her back to the Adirondacks with Nick, on a borrowed trailer (Thanks, our dear, generous neighbors, Double H Farm!), for a crack at the big class. Nick had to borrow a white tie when he got there.
Well, it worked out all right. First news to reach us, via obsessive cellphone-app refreshing (Emily, mid-arena at our farm while we schooled the young horses) and website-checking (Philip, at his office, madly group-texting E. and me): they’re clear over the first-round course, qualifying to jump against the clock. Then: it’s a ten-horse jump-off, bound to be blazing fast, with some ultra-speedy riders in the lineup. And finally, just when we’d turned our attention to five-year-old Eddie and his jumping, the text from Philip: We Won!!!!!!
A flurry of multiple-exclamation-point texting began, and Philip kept calling me and sort of hyperventilating into the phone. E. and I were standing there with Jeffrey Welles, who’d trained Philip and Pistoya at the show and helped us prepare her in the weeks before. Plus Katie, who’s been exercise-riding Pistoya the last few months and was now mid-ride on Eddie. It was one of those perfect breezy/sunny afternoons and the young horses were going especially well. E. and J. and I wandered around adjusting the jumps for Eddie, in a kind of daze of so many good things.
And then another stars-aligning thing: it was Clio’s birthday. Here he is with Nick and the mare, the Grand-Prix-winning groom:
It was a blazing-fast jump-off. Nick and Pistoya edged out Pan Am Games double gold medalist Christine McCrea by four tenths of a second. (And her husband had leant Nick the tie.)
Here’s the press release.
Photos by The Book, LLC:
There in the old-timey red coat is our very own property manager, Alan Keeley. He moonlights as ringmaster for a few special shows, sounding the call to begin each important class. He was also our truck-and-trailer driver for this trip. Such a treat that he got to award the blue ribbon to our girl:
Philip, in the wake of all this, has been crazed. Just when I thought his obsession with the mare had already reached the maximum possible level. (He calls her “Baby Love.”) Yesterday morning, he woke me up with this report:
“I had a dream they were doing a new Godzilla movie, and they wanted Baby Love to be the one that stops Godzilla from climbing on the Empire State Building.”
Me (half-awake): “Really? That was an actual dream?”
Him (sheepish): “Yeah.”
Sunday afternoon we staged a barbecue at the barn by Baby Love’s stall. We all sat around admiring her and scratching her through the bars (which treatment she kept asking for more of). Nick and our other horsey-type friends all wanted to meet the three young horses, recently arrived from Europe. I bred them, out of my great mares Lapeti and Labelle. Naturally, the talk was of choosing a mate for Baby Love so she can continue the line.
Feature photo by Sarah Cole. Here’s another, enlargable look at that fabulous jumping style: