Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bucky's Advanced Debut at Pine Top Horse Trials

As I know many of you were watching the live scoring yesterday with bated breath, I am pleased to announce that Bucky and I had a very successful first Advanced run at Pine Top Farm yesterday.  Bucky put in a great effort, finishing sixth place in a field of twenty Advanced horses!
Both of us felt a bit green having our first try at the Advanced A test.  I have been working with Silva since december on training the half-passes and changes, and it was finally time to put them all together.  Bucky is trying very hard with the changes, but he anticipates them a bit and tends to have very expressive changes when riding them in the test.  I felt he put a good effort forth to score a 38, and there's heaps of room for improvement as our training goes on.
I was most impressed with Bucky's efforts in the showjumping yesterday.  It was a big course in a small paddock set on a hill, and the tumultuous ground makes for a tricky ride.  He felt like he was jumping out of his skin over every fence, just having one rail down that was completely rider error.  I was nervous to see how he would take to the larger fences, and to my pleasant surprise, he just keeps jumping better and better.
The cross-country course was a big, galloping advanced course and it was really well suited for his first run.  He had a dodgy moment early on in the course at the 5 AB combination.  I knew the combination would spook him, so I was ready kick on and help him through it.  He galloped around the rest of the course bold and strong and he had a blast!  I took some photos of the cross country fences below.  Enjoy the virtual coursewalk!
Please stay tuned to the blog on Monday as I will be announcing some important news about Bucky and our plans for the season!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We  were spoiled with unbeatable weather and competition this past weekend at Paradise Farm Horse Trials.  I was so lucky to have Lauren and Annelise Aurillo, Mica and Lisa Kane, Hannah and Lori Daneker visiting for the weekend to see the show and enjoy the warm weather.  The horse trials competition was spread over three days, with one phase of competition each day.  

Annelise and Wexford competed in the Open Novice Division, while I rode Tessa in her Novice debut and Parris in her Beginner Novice debut to USEA competition!  All the horses were so well behaved and put forth a good effort.  Annelise had a great dressage test, and had an unlucky rail in showjumping to drop them out of the lead in a very competitive Open division.  She had a great cross-country ride, and is looking ready to move up to the training level in two weeks!  Tessa put forth a great effort this weekend, just showing to be a bit green in the dressage ring and on the cross-country.  I am confident with a bit more time and training she will become competitive at that level!  Parris surprised all of us with her effort on the weekend.  She was a bit tense in the dressage, but jumped around the show jumping and cross country like a machine!  She tried so hard and really seemed to enjoy her job.

On Saturday afternoon we organized a group ride with all the kids and Moms so I could show everyone around the countryside.  We rode out from the farm on an hour-long loop, and everyone got to see the farms and country that surround our location at Southern Cross Farm.  The horses were so well-behaved and everyone enjoyed the ride.  We also got a chance to dine at a few great spots in Aiken, such as Takosushi (Lauren's favorite!).  The Aurillos and Kanes headed home early monday morning, while Hannah and Lori stuck around for one more day.

On Monday we had a light riding day since most of the horses had the day off, so we got a chance to watch the USEF High Performance Training Sessions going on at Three Runs Plantation.  We watched a few of the Dressage lessons with Mark Phillips (see attached picture below of Boyd on Remi with Mark),  and it gave me some good pointers to work on with my own flatwork.  Hannah and Lori and I were able to squeeze in one more cross-country ride before they had to head home later in the afternoon.  It was a great weekend to have all the visitors around, and we had a blast!

This week I am focusing on Bucky and getting geared up for the Pine Top Horse Trials this coming weekend.  This is the biggest winter competition in Aiken, and I am sure it will have the toughest competition yet.   I will have a dressage lesson with Silva and a jump lesson with Boyd to tune up, and we will be shipping off to Pine Top on friday.  I will keep everyone posted on my rides there!  Thanks for following the blog!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Aiken Update February 15th

Happy belated Valentines Day to all!  I apologize for not posting sooner, I have just been so busy training up all the future champions I have with me.  I have had a seriously busy and exciting last seven days, so I would love to catch everyone up with the happenings in Aiken!

The swirl of competitions began mid-week last week with Full Gallop Farm's Wednesday Horse Trials.  Annelise Aurillo's, Your Lucky Day put in a great performance to finish third in a seriously competitive Open Novice division.  Kara Coat's young mare Tessa also had her first go of the season in the Beginner Novice.  We had a bitting issue in the dressage which made for quite a poor score, but she jumped around the show jumps and cross country like she has not missed a beat from last fall.  I will be looking forward to moving her up to the Novice level this coming weekend at Paradise.  She has matured a lot in the past few months, and she is shaping into a really nice mare that loves her job.  

Thursday I packed up the trailer to head to the Sporting Days Combined Test with Peace Proposal (Parris), Cornwallis (Wally), and Tessa.  Parris and Wally were having their first showing experience, and all things considered were both pretty good!   They are very green and are getting heaps of exposure while they're down here.  (Parris is pictured above learning how to behave while tied to the trailer at the show!)  Unfortunately, the pilot forgot the finish flags in show jumping on both horses which made for a costly technical elimination on both rides.  Don't worry, I straightened myself out just in time for Tessa's ride.  She competed in the novice combined test and presented a much nicer dressage test than the day before, and jumped her second show jump course clear!  She had a well deserved day off after her back-to-back shows.  

On Saturday, I headed off to Pine Top Farm Horse Trials in Thomson, Georgia for the dressage and show jumping day.  I was really pleased with Bucky, as I felt he performed well in the dressage and I made a few errors that made for a higher score than I would have liked.  He also show jumped clear, which was really exciting.  I had a 7 AM tune-up with Boyd the day before that helped me get my head on straight to ride well in the show jumping.  

Unfortunately, I did not have my head on straight for my cross-country ride the next morning!  Bucky was jumping great and I gave him a terrible ride into one of the simplest fences early on in the course.  I had an unfortunate stop, which woke me up and got me riding the way I needed to for the rest of the course.  I think I got to working so much on my show jumping that I forgot how to ride cross-country a bit!  I was still really pleased in how well he jumped around all the tough spots on the course, so all things considered I was happy with the weekend.  He's pictured here taking a little nap after all his hard work!!
Yesterday we were lucky enough to have Boyd out on the farm all afternoon to teach me and Jenny on our horses.  He got on both Wally and Parris and helped me a lot with them, so I have a good idea of what we need to work on with each of them.  They are equally green but in very different ways, so I need to have a very different focus with each of them.

I have a busy weekend coming up, with the Aurillos, Danekers, and Kanes arriving!  We are very excited to go out to Takosushi and enjoy a beautiful weekend at Paradise Horse Trials. Stay warm and I will post again soon!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Erin sends the following news from Aiken!

"I have finally been able to get completely settled in Aiken with the last group of horses arriving yesterday morning.  We were greeted with great weather the first two days, and the last few days have brought some heavy rain.  

Jennifer Berryman has been kind enough to lease out a portion of her beautiful facility at Southern Cross Farm, and I am excited to get winter training underway!  Southern Cross Farm is conveniently located central to Paradise Farm, Full Gallop Farm, Sporting Days Farm, as well as Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin's winter training facilities at Bridle Creek.  I have seven horses with me, and each one is at a slightly different training point right now.  This should make for a busy time in Aiken!  

I am also pleased to announce that I had my first competition of the season with Bucky today.  I was so happy with the performance he put forth, placing third with a CLEAN showjumping round!  Its hard to believe we were bound to flatwork and canter sets in the indoor until four days ago!  I'm sure most of you are aware of our struggles in show jumping, so his performance today was a great kick-off to the season and gave me a boost of confidence in him.   I plan to compete with Bucky in the Intermediate at Pine Top next weekend, and we will hopefully be looking to move up to Advanced at some point in the near future.  He feels spot-on on the cross country right now, and I am confident we are ready to rise to the higher stakes of the next level! 

I also have Full Gallop coming up this week as well as a schooling show for the young ones, so stay tuned for that update!"

Enjoy the slideshow!!  LT

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gambler's Choice Jump Derby at Lilybridge!

This past Sunday all our Lilybridge riders enjoyed the warmer temperatures with a Gambler's Choice Jump Derby at the farm.  The ground may be snow-covered outside but that did not stop us from having a blast indoors!  Riders of all ages got a chance to get a bit wild and competitive with my tricky jump course, and they presented some pretty impressive rounds. 
I also took the chance yesterday to have Stephanie Boyer come and meet all the riders and parents, as she will be teaching in Pa. for the duration while I'm in Aiken.  She was impressed by the caliber of riding my students showcased, and she is very excited to start teaching them.  My personal favorite part of the day was the fact that out of the twenty two riders competing, not one popped out of the tack!  That was a great sight to see before I headed off to the south for the next two months.  
I would like to congratulate Eliza Crosby, Emma Stradley, Corrinne Stuart, and Claire McEntee for their ourstanding performances, leading each of their divisions with high scores.  I look forward to getting back in the spring to see all these riders showcase their skills on the eventing scene!
On a side note, Keith and I have safely arrived to Aiken with Bucky, Parris, Wally, and Tessa.  Its 50 degrees out right now, I am a happy camper, but it's time to get some rest!!