2007 is the MFHA's Centennial year. As part of this celebration each of the districts in North America help a Centenninal Field Hunter Qualfier. The southern district held two qualfiers. One was in Moreland, GA hosted by the Bear Creek Hounds on Janurary 20, 2007 and the second one in Tampa February 14, 2007 hosted by the South Creek Fox Hounds.
Julie and Leica were planning on attending the Bear Creek qualifier, however, Leica managed to hurt herself in the trailer the Sunday before the competion on the way home from the Mooreland/Midland Centennial Joint Meet.
After consulting with veterinarian, Dr. Larry Olsen the possibalities were not looking very good for competing Leica. One last look on the Thursday before the competition showed Julie just what she feared, Leica was a no go.
After a bit of self pity, Julie realizied that Leica's daughter also qualified for the competition. So, after faxing all the paperwork to the Master of Midland Foxhounds and then back to Linda Barry at Bear Creek Julie and Snap Shot (aka Attie) were in the competition !!
Then the realization hit Julie, Attie in her first season of hunting had never cantered a fence, jumped a ditch, wire or anything strange, so Friday was going to be a big learning curve for Attie, as Saturday was the competition.
Attie was a superstar, she hacked very well, even got her canter leads (which she learned the day before).
In the mock hunt phase she jumped everything like she had been doing it all her life. Thanks to Cathy Taber from Live Oak Hounds on her beautiful stallion. Julie put Attie right behind him, knowing that Cathy and he would jump everything perfect, and he did. Attie ended up in the top twelve picked for the ride off section.
Attie went into the jump off and sailed over everthing. Julie, not wanting to take any chances, trotted all the fences, which gave Attie plenty of time to see what was coming up next.
There were two quite difficult jumps. The first was a 3'6" coop with a down hill landing, it had quite a few stops. The other was a horse cooler draped over a hay string.
Attie jumped them all. Some were a bit green looking, but she got over everything and ended fifth over all. Julie was quite proud of her, as this was way out of her comfort zone and Attie sucked it up and did her best.
Feburary 5, 2007 Julie got permission from the vet to put Leica back to work. They had a lot of work to do as Leica had been off for the last three weeks with her injury.
At this point the vet only wanted Leica to be ridden on the flat, no jumping until Leica could be re-ultrasounded the next Monday.
Julie and Leica went to work on the flat. Every day for a good 45 mins. until neither one could stand any more. Leica seemed to be very sound and working hard as she knew something was up.
Dr. Olsen came out Monday evening to re-check Leica. They were scheduled to leave Tuesday morning for the competition in Tampa on Wednesday the 14th. Dr. Olsen gave Leica the OK to go and jump.
Tuesday morning Julie and Leica are packed and ready to go. Now, realizing that Leica had not hunted since January 13th and had not jumped anything since Janurary 11th, Julie was getting a bit worried that they would not be at their best.
Leica and Julie looked beautiful for the best dressed phase. Julie can not get her foot into a dress boot without a zipper, so she and Leica ended up 2nd in the appointments class.
After a quick tack change for the performance phase Leica and Julie were ready. Leica went into the flat phase of hte competition and had her game day brain in full swing. She was hacking her brains out, flicking her toes and knew the judges were looking. She managed two beautiful turn on the haunches for the reverse at the walk. The hand gallop to a halt was flawless. Leica came to a perfect square halt and didn't move a muscle until asked. Michele Vogel who was the chairperson of the event felt Leica won the flat phase hands down.
The mock hunt immedately followed the flat phase. The fences were very inviting consisting of mostly coops, but one jump was a hanging log down hill, to a dip and two strides up to another hanging log. Leica ate up each and every question that was asked of her. She rode in the front, the back and in the middle and never missed a beat.
Leica and Julie were called back for the final jump off phase. Julie did not ride the first fence very well, however, the rest of the course was perfect. Leica galloped around like she lived there.
The final results, Leica won !! Now she has qualified to compete with 64 other riders from all across North America, including Canada.
To view more photos of this exciting event - follow these links: