Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Aiken March Update

Abigail on Fernhill Flag, Photo Credit Mark Lehner, Hoofclix
It has been some time since I last posted and what an exciting few weeks it has been!  We have had successful weekends at the Pine Top Advanced Horse Trials, Sporting Days Horse Trials,  as well as Full Gallop Farm Horse Trials.

Beginning with the most recent competition, Full Gallop Farm held their March Two-Day event this past weekend.  I rode the two youngsters Peace Proposal and Paddy the Caddy in the Training and Novice, and despite a one bank complex that was out to get me, they were both great.  
The highlight of my weekend was coaching Abigail Wilson and her mount Fernhill Flag through their second Intermediate with two clean jumping rounds!  The ground was very hard, so Abigail chose to take the course quite slowly which added some time faults.  Otherwise, both her show-jump and cross-country rides looked foot-perfect as both of them cruised around confidently over the large Intermediate track.  
Abigail is a full-time student at UD, so she is only able to come down on the weekends to ride.  It is quite an attribute to her ability that with just two to three rides per week, she is able to ride her horse so confidently and precisely in competition.  With her great ride this weekend, she has laid the groundwork and created confidence in her horse for the tougher tracks she will be seeing as the season progresses.  Good work, Abigail!

One week prior we had Sporting Days Farm March Horse Trials, with just three horses entered on that weekend.  I rode Stonewall Winters in the Training for Dennis Glaccum, who had a great weekend to finish fourth in a competitive Open Training division.  Once again the highlight of my weekend was my students' performances, as Julie Henk and Mica Kane rode their respective mounts Merry Sioux and The Cobbler's Son in the Novice.  Merry is a new mount for Julie, as we have had her for just a few weeks.  Julie has only had a handful of rides on her, so it was very impressive to see her finish second on her dressage score of 31 in an open division.  With a fifteen point improvement in the dressage from Paradise just two weeks ago, I am excited to see what they will be able to do in a few months!  
Mica Kane also impressed me greatly, as she finished 6th on her dressage score with a 36.  With the exception of a few short rides over Christmas, Mica has not been in the saddle since mid-August of 2011.  She had a cross-country school and a dressage lesson in the two days before Sporting Days, and then cruised around the novice like she owned it!  These two girls made me so proud over the weekend, and I am excited to see what they have in store for this competition season!

Continuing on with my reverse chronology of the recent weekends, Pine Top Advanced is the last (but certainly not the least) of the events to recap. Andi Lawrence had her third start at the Preliminary level on Armani IV, Abigail Wilson had her first start in the Intermediate on Fernhill Flag, and our most recent edition, Wyn Maling, rode Stellar's Run in the Training.  Despite very inclement weather in the beginning of the weekend, all three girls had a good wrap-up to the competition.  Andi rode two clean jump rounds to third place in the JYOP, and Wyn had a third place finish as well in her Training division.  Abigail experienced a few bumps in the road on her first Intermediate track, but nonetheless finished her first intermediate competition with new goals and improvements to achieve.

My big star, No Boundaries, had his first Advanced start of the season at Pine Top as well, and it wrapped up as a great weekend for him.  We have been working with Bettina Hoy in the dressage and the results are showing as he is more confident in the arena.  He sat in the top six in his division after the dressage on a score of 40, just a few points off the lead.  He put in a great show jumping effort, completing his first double clear show jump round of his Advanced career!  We have been frequenting the PSJ Jumper Shows at Highfields in Aiken this winter, and that effort has been paying off!  He cruised around the cross-country with ease and moved into a fourth-place finish in the Advanced C division.  I am cautiously moving forward towards the " Event we don't speak of " coming at the end of April. . . so far, so good!  Bucky's next start will be the Advanced at Southern Pines, so stay tuned for updates!

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