Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stepping Stone Farm 2-Phase - Sept. 11, 2011

Dreamy and I went up to Carmel, ME (almost three hours away) on Sunday, September 11 for a 2-phase event.  My friend Tania came along with me and I trailered her horse Otis.  It was Tania's first 2-phase, as she did her first three phase earlier this summer.  I have never been to this farm and normally I do not attend any of the Maine Eventing and Combined Training Association (MECTA) events because I have never found them particularly well run.

Well, sadly, this one was no different.  I will never show here again.  :-(

While everything else was awful, I will say that Dreamy was fabulous.  We won dressage with a 27.62, which is amazing.  We had a few 6s, mostly 7s and 8s, and TWO NINES!!!!  Holy crap!  They were on our free walk and left lead canter depart.  We went clear in stadium and she was very easy and happy.  The stadium course was very tight but I was pleased with her.  It made me realize that we could easily move up to Beginner Novice if we wanted (we show at Elementary right now, which is one step below BN).  We tied for first and the tie was broken by our collective marks...which put us into second place overall!  YAY DREAMY!


I was not happy with the parking, the warm up, or the general lack of professionalism.  The farm is right on top of Route 95, aka the Maine Turnpike, the major interstate here in the state.  We had to park across the (busy) street from the farm, in an uneven field that had not been mowed for quite a long time, which meant we were surrounded by dangerous traffic if a horse got loose.  I was not comfortable leaving a horse tied to the trailer, so we ended up keeping the horses with us at all times.  It was not ideal.


Worse was the dressage warm up.  It was a small, cramped, muddy, and extremely unlevel area behind the indoor and about 20 feet from the interstate.  It was hard to hear over the roar of the cars and trucks going 65+ mph.  No one could canter more than four strides and two horses warming up at the same time made it too cramped.  Yeah, it was ridiculous.  Dressage was held in a small and dark indoor, which would not have been that bad except for the UNLEVEL footing!  Every time we came around into the center of the ring for a movement, we were going downhill.  I felt like I was riding my dressage test on a mountainside.


Stadium warm up was cramped between the side of the indoor and a steep hill on the regular road in an area about 15' x 20'.  With three jumps in a line across, it was incredibly unsafe.  And when you landed from a jump, you immediately landed into the "dressage warm up".  Yep, it was stellar.  (note the sarcasm)  I firmly believe if you are going to hold a competition at your farm, you must have adequate facilities.  Not the case here.  :-(


And then there was no one around to help.  The farm owner/event manager was also the stadium judge so there was no way to ask her any questions.  My friend Tania had a mishap in the dressage (see link below) but there was no way to interrupt the jumping to speak with the manager!!  And while it showed on the score board that I was the winner of my division, they handed me a red ribbon.  It felt very awkward to do this, but I asked why I had not won since that is what the score board showed.  The young girl who gave me my ribbon and dressage test said that a boarder there at the farm decided to ride at the last minute and they never bothered to put her on the score board.  So I was to accept the fact that I tied with someone else and when the tie was broken I was in second.  I feel it is only correct to show ALL the rides and scores on the board.  It felt wrong and unethical to me and only further confirmed that Stepping Stone Farm was NOT a place to every return to.  We never even took any photos because we were both upset and just wanted to go home at the end of the day.


Here is Tania's mishap.  It was pretty infuriating to me and very upsetting to her.  I think it was WORSE than all of my complaints above combined.  The events that happened were out of her control and nothing she could have planned for.  I am proud of her and Otis no matter what.  We both sent negative event evaluations to MECTA and she also sent a letter directly to the farm.  Within days, without any other word or note, she received a refund check in the mail.  It was the least they could do.

Despite that, we did have fun together.  Tania and I get along very well and it is always fun to spend time with her.  And both horses were very well behaved.  :-) 

****CAUTION!****
  Please remember the opinions expressed here are MINE alone!  If you disagree, that is fine.  Freedom of speech is honored in Bloggerland, so I am free to write my opinion and you are free to disagree.  If you are offended, just stop reading!  :-)  Yay!   It is as easy as that.  

3 comments:

Dressager said...

Yikes! Yikes about the situation, yikes about the facility (looked it up too, and it didn't look "grade A"... I would never ever keep a horse for long periods of time in a 12x6 stall) and yikes about the show! Can't say you didn't try though, right?

Anonymous said...

I have been there before and noticed no problems with their farm. I actually liked it. You need to become accustomed to adjusting to any farm setting. as does your horse.

STB Eventer said...

Thanks for your opinion Anonymous! I am glad to hear you liked the farm, but it just was not the place for me. :-)

I guess you have not read much else of my blog, as you will see that I am very accustomed to adjusting to other farm settings. I have shown very successfully all over the place from Maine, NH, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Jersey. Dreamy and I even rode at the KY Horse Park in the WEG demos last year. So we are very used to varied settings. I guess I am used to more professional settings, that is all. :-)