Parker, CO - July 17, 2013 - Virginia Bartholomay was unstoppable at Summer in the Rockies V, claiming the championship and reserve in the Modified Adult Hunters and taking the top two spots in the Modified Adult Hunter Classic. Under the guidance of trainer Diane Carney of Telluride Farm, she piloted her two horses, Pepe and Lamarni, through impressive performances to earn the highest placings in her division.
"I had a fantastic show," Bartholomay said. "I never anticipated the success that I had this week, and were it not for an awful lot of people behind me, I don't think I would have this success."
Bartholomay overcame several challenges, including a switch in disciplines and a hip that needs replacement, to compete with the best at Summer in the Rockies V. She has been splitting her energies between her riding, which she calls her first passion, and her other passion: breeding Leonberger dogs. She is also in the midst of preparing for a move from the Chicago area to Montana. She lists Carney, Brenda Mueller, Allie Qutub, Caitlin Hope, and her horses' grooms as essential supporters who have helped her excel in the show ring despite everything else going on her life.
"There's a team of people that make this all happen for me, especially because I haven't been riding regularly of late," she said. "Without them, it really doesn't happen. It's a very solid team effort."
|Virginia Bartholomay and Pepe, winners of the Modified Adult Hunter Classic at Summer in the Rockies V. Photo by Flying Horse Photography.
Bartholomay estimates she has been riding with Carney for 8-10 years, and she appreciates Carney's extensive knowledge and ability to build her confidence. "She's a wonderful teacher," Bartholomay said. "She told me a few things that really helped this week. I don't know that I should give away all her tricks, so I won't tell what those little tidbits are, but she's very insightful. She gives me a boatload of confidence, and she has been incredibly supportive of my efforts to keep going and do something that I really dearly love."
Bartholomay has worked her way back to the hunter ring after competing in the jumpers. "I have a bum leg right now and I need a hip replacement, so I'm able to go around but I don't have the balance that I used to have," she explained. "I don't want to be death-defying out there! I thought I would just drop down and do something that made sense."
She worked extensively with Carney over the winter to make the switch in disciplines. "It was a hard transition for me," she admitted. "I like to pull, and in the hunters, you can't pull as much as I would like. All winter long, we worked on changing that, and then I put that into practice here at the show. What I've learned during the winter has really come into play."
Pepe, her 19-year-old Oldenburg, has made the journey back to the hunters with her. "He is my jumper who has now been recommissioned as a modified adult hunter," she explained with a smile. "He is wonderful, absolutely wonderful. He was a 1.50m horse at one point in his career, and as he and I have gotten older, we've been working our way down in height together."
While Pepe may be older than most of his competition, he doesn't let that get in his way. "Pepe is the ultimate competitor," Bartholomay said. "He is always on. He's willing to do whatever you want him to do. I've been very lucky that he is such a versatile horse: he can do the hunters, he can do the equitation, and he can do the jumpers."
"He's 19 going on 9 - he doesn't know his age," she laughed. "He's extremely athletic, and he wants to get on the truck every single time."
While Bartholomay has a long history with Pepe, Lamarni is a newer mount for her. She recently purchased him from Brenda Mueller and sees him as a great fit for what she needed. "He has been an absolute perfect addition to my life," she said. "He's really been helping me understand the hunters, because I've had to relearn that coming from the jumper ring."
Bartholomay is quickly forging a good connection with Lamarni and enjoying his versatility and consistent effort. "He is so solid and such a good guy," she said. "Kind as the day is long, and very patient. He's an exceptional individual."
This was Bartholomay's first year showing at the Colorado Horse Park. She has enjoyed the facility and can see herself returning in future years. "I love the Colorado Horse Park," she said. "I like the facility, and I like how things have been run. They take great care of the facility, the footing is very nice, the jumps are good, and the courses are very rideable. I would very happily come back!"