Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Spotlight On Jenn Cain!!

Jenn on Wild Genius at Walton Place Jumper Show
Jenn Cain, barn manager and assistant trainer at Lilybridge Eventing, has been with the team since 2011, when she came to work for Erin after working for Missy Ransehousen at Blue Hill Farm.

She has groomed for Erin at Rolex and Burghley and brings a lifetime of riding and barn management skills to the facility.

We recently put Jenn on the spot & asked her for a bit of a bio, since we're spiffing up the website.  Thanks Jenn for the following statement about your history in the eventing world!

" I'm 26 years old and have been riding since I was 9, living in this area my entire life. I was a working student for Missy Ransehousen for 3 years before starting to work for Erin in 2011.   I have competed up to Prelim and recently winning the prelim at the fall Plantation Field has been one of my greatest moment yet!"

"In 2006 I was leading national novice rider.   I have had the privilege to groom for Missy at Rolex and groomed for Erin at both Rolex and Burghley.  Working for Erin has opened my doors up to so much.  She has given me the opportunity to be her assistant trainer and to be the barn manager of Lilybridge Eventing, both of which I love. These experiences have helped fuel my dreams of being a 4* rider one day, and I have Missy and Erin to thank for that!!"

Jenn, who currently helps Erin train the junior clients, is a integral part of the team at Lilybridge and we're so grateful that she keeps things running smoothly at our new facility!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Virginia/Waradeca Recap

Bucky approves of the new farm!! (Photo by Jenn Cain) 

Greetings from the new farm! I was excited to return to the farm and find that all of the horses had safely moved over and were happily settled in. They are really enjoying all the grass and the brisk fall weather. The last several weeks have been hectic even by an event riders standard. Before I delve into the successes of Waradeca and Virginia, let me take a moment to offer a huge thank you to all the parents and students that have made it possible for me to move into the new farm. In particular, I would like to thank Michelle Carson for her enormous investment of time and effort in painting and sanding. Thanks Michelle! I would also be remiss if I did not thank my family, especially my parents (who have given a certain credence to the rumors that they might be moving down in the near future). I am really excited about LBE's new location. I have not been able to find a fitting name for the farm yet. I am open to suggestions!

I am equally excited about the weekend we had at Virginia Horse Trials. Our weekend started, as it far too often does, at three in the morning on Thursday when I woke up. We arrived safely at the horse park and all three horses in the 1* were accepted for jogs. Paddy the Caddy, Merry Sioux, and California Comet all rode dressage on Friday. I hoped that Paddy would be better on the flat. I changed my bit earlier in the fall. He worked well with the bit for awhile but he started to fuss with it. I hope our flatwork will progress next spring. Paddy continues to be bold and smart on cross country. There were some challenges on the course which he met admirably. We capped off the weekend with one of two double clear show jumpings. Tori and Callie had a similarly successful weekend. They jumped clear around their first CCI 1* cross country on saturday. They laid claim to one of the nicer show jumpings in the young riders division. In a division where the rails were dropping constantly, the pair was controlled and balanced and had a nearly perfect round. The only real disappointment of the weekend was that Julie Henk and Merry Sioux didn't finish the final jog after having a great cross country. It is disappointing that their weekend was cut short.

LBE's presence was felt in the horse trials as well. Kaelen Speck and Sweet Rebellion continued to develop a partnership. They had a very successful outing in the junior novice. They finished third after a clear cross country. Well done you two! Hannah Daneker also earned herself a yellow ribbon in the open novice after a lovely dressage and a clear cross country. She has been very successful since moving up to the big "n".  Kaelen was equally successful on Regal Dancer in the training. She finished in fourth on her dressage score of 34.5. Also in training, Annelise and the Daneker's mare Parris had a very successful run. Annelise and Parris finished on their dressage score of 36.4. I hope that Parris's successful runs at Virginia and Maryland have rebuilt her confidence after her bauble at Plantation.

Waradeca was a final practice run for Tori and Callie before their first CCI 1*  and they finished very competitively in fifth. It was also a successful weekend for many of my students. Kaelen Speck flirted with moving up to preliminary in the preliminary/training on Regal Dancer. She started out tied for seventh on a 37 in her first preliminary test. She finished in third after a double clear cross country. Meanwhile over in the novice Kaelen and her new partner Sweet Rebellion continued to bond. They had one stop in cross country, but they had an otherwise successful weekend. Also in the novice, Hannah Daneker had a great run on her Classy Lady they finished on their dressage score in sixth. They were obviously ready to move up a level! Braden Speck and the very experienced Weasel finished the beginner novice in sixth after jumping double clear around cross country and show jumping. Well done Braden!

The season is winding down and many of the LBE family will be celebrating various holidays. Many of my horses are enjoying a little down time. Although some of them (cough Bucky cough) miss the attention, treats, and action of the competition season, the time off is important for them. I look forward to starting them up in Aiken!!

One last piece of news, I am pleased to report that Rasher has found a new home (or more accurately a new owner)!! I am thrilled that Rasher will stay in my program, and I hope that Annelise will enjoy her new horse. I look forward to seeing this pair compete soon!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fair Hill

Bucky and I through the first water (Photo by Gayle Hughes
Fair Hill is the biggest competition of my fall season, and I came into it with a big goal. Coming off of my third place finish in the 3* at Plantation, I aimed to win the 3* at Fair Hill. Bucky has made such progress on the flat, and he can usually turn out a clear cross country. It is disappointing when, despite your best preparation, you make a frustrating error. The cross country course proved very challenging and shook up the standings more than I had expected.

Friday was a big day for me, Bucky and I have been really focusing on becoming more competitive on the flat. I have been tailoring his fitness and diet to give myself the best chance of a relaxed test. After his successful tests at Richland and Plantation, I aimed to score in the low 40's. His test was not as successful as I had hoped it would be. I watched the video after and it looked better than it felt. We had a few unfortunate slip ups in the canter work, but his trot work was improved. I placed further back than I aimed for. I hoped that Bucky and I would be able to turn in a quick and clean cross country and move up the leaderboard.

Derek di Grazia's course really challenge horses and riders while remaining safe. His courses are big and technical and take advantage of the terrain to test both horse and rider. The course got off to a rough start. Bucky was distracted by something around the second and third fence but he was able to jump over them. He was his typical self over the fourth fence but I had to pass the second/third fence to get to the water at five. He must have been focused on something else because he seemed surprised by the fence even though he had a good approach to size it up and understand it. In the past he would have  hopped over the fence but instead he stopped. We managed to get through the rest of the course. he became more focused  as the course went on. Bucky relearned a valuable lesson that if he has a stop his grandmother won't give him treats. I think he will go clear for the treats next time! My disappointing weekend finished on a high note when Bucky and I show jumped double clear. I am really pleased with the progress we have made in show jumping. Bucky is now on vacation after a very busy season. I look forward to what will hopefully be an even more competitive season next year!

I am thrilled that so many of my students and their parents were able to make it to Fair Hill to cheer us on. I am even more pleased that so many of them have helped me freshen up the Baker Barn! While I am not looking forward to the logistics of moving more than twenty horses, I am looking forward to getting everyone settled at the new farm. Also a huge thanks to my parents who have been a huge help. Next up Virginia! Before you leave be sure to watch the videos of Bucky's dressage and show jumping on our Facebook page.

Clearing the log oxen (Photos by J Blair) 

Look at how focused these two are (Photo by Gayle Hughes) 

Friday, October 11, 2013

RRTP/Middleburg Recap

Rasher and I at Pimlico (Thanks Tori for the picture) 

It is a period of transition for Lilybridge Eventing: the leaves are falling, the cool air is coming in, and I am in the process of changing facilities. Since Plantation, my students have had  successful runs at Middleburg Horse Trials and I had a great showing at the Retired Racehorse Training Project at Pimlico.

Lilybridge had a hectic day at Middleburg Horse Trials with my two rides on Gideon and Sweet Rebellion; Julie Henk's ride on Merry Sioux; and a training showdown between Tori Kager, Melissa Carson, and Kaelen Speck.  Julie had a slip-up and got technically eliminated, but I am sure that they will have a great outing at their next show. I was pleased with both Gideon and Sweet Rebellion in the training. Sweet Rebellion finished in seventh on her dressage score of 34.10. I have been thrilled with the progress she has made throughout the season. She is a very careful jumper full of try. I am excited to guide Kaelen as she begins to build a partnership with Sweet Rebellion. I look forward to seeing them compete next year! Gideon was also successful, scoring a 43.60 on the flat and jumping double clear in both show jumping and cross-country to finish in 9th. Meanwhile three of my students went head to head in the junior training, and all three had successful outings. Melissa and her mate Bo Brown came out on top finishing on their dressage score of 34.50. Kaelen and her old friend Regal Dancer finished half a point behind Melissa in fifth after jumping going double clear in both show jumping and cross-country. Tori and her Avi finished in Eighth, only a few points behind Melissa and Kaelen, after dropping a rail in show jumping and jumping  clear on cross country. Congrats on the clear cross-countries!

As soon as we unpacked from Middleburg, it was time to prepare for the Retired Racehorse Training Program's symposium at Pimlico. I am thrilled that I was invited to participate in this project. I have worked with Rasher throughout the summer. He was very well behaved; he managed to stay pretty focused even though there were large crowds. He is a very scopey jumper and got to show off his talent in the demonstration. He really impressed people when he leaped over a cross-country table from a trot. I hope Rasher finds a great rider to bring him along!

Next up for me is Fair Hill next weekend and moving in to my new farm. Hopefully I will see many of you cheering me on at Fair Hill. Thanks for checking in on me and my precious cargo of students and horses!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Plantation Recap

Missy and I clear the Ditch and Wall (Photo by J Blair) 
I am writing this after wrapping up a very successful weekend at Plantation. I am thrilled that so many could make it to watch team Lily do me proud. I would like to thank Jill Tallman in particular for flying in from Massachusetts to cheer Bucky and I on. I was also thrilled to see Frank and his family, the Specks, the Kager clan, the Daneker's, and all the students and parents who made it out to watch. The weather was perfect throughout the weekend and I was very proud of my horses and my students. It was the first one star for Tori and Miranda. They should be very proud that they both managed to complete! It was a busy weekend for team Lily, I was riding four horses, one in the 1*, two in the 2*, and one in the 3*. I was coached Miranda and Tori while they competed their first 1*'s and Jenn as she brought home a blue ribbon for team Lily in the preliminary.

The competition started on Thursday with Mettraise's dressage. Missy (Mettraise) is still figuring out the flat work, but her test was better than her test at Richland. Hopefully, every time we go out we score just a little bit better. Thursday was also an opportunity to take a peak at the courses and build a plan for Saturday.

Thursday eased us into the competition, but things sped up on Friday with Bucky's (No Boundaries) test, Parris's (Peace Proposal) test, Cali's (California Comet) test, Espresso's test, and Wild Genius's test.  I was very pleased with Bucky's test. He clearly wanted to show off for Jill. I was very pleased to be ninth in such a large and competitive division. I am hopeful that we have worked through his nervousness and found a warm up that relaxes him. Paddy the Caddy had a very nice test in the 1* scoring a 48.6 with Tori and Cali right on his tail with a 50.5. Miranda also got off to a good start with Espresso, they scored a respectable 61.3. Unfortunately Parris was naughty, ignoring my aids and putting movements in the wrong place. Finally, Jenn had a very consistent test in the preliminary and started off the weekend well placed in eighth.

In a break from most event protocol Jenn show jumped and ran cross-country on Saturday while Bucky and Missy show jumped and Cali, Paddy, and Espresso had a day to rest. Jenn was the winner of the day, going double clear cross-country and moving up from eighth to first. Well done Jenn! Bucky had a great day as well jumping having one of a handful of clear rounds in the show jumping and moving into fourth. No pressure! Missy had a dissapointing show jumping she wasn't able to focus and we pulled three rails.

Sunday was the big day for everyone. I am so glad that so many people were around to watch! The day was action packed with show jumping and cross country for the 1*, and cross country for the 2* and the 3*. Paddy show jumped clear and both Miranda and Tori jumped well. Missy was the first horse to go cross country. True to form, she was bold and quickly jumped around the course.  I was very impressed with the way she handled the course. We moved up from 40th to 21st. Sadly, my run on Parris wasn't as successful. She has been struggling with drops, and although we schooled several in the lead up she stopped short at the fence before the drop and I fell off. Guess who will be schooling drops in the near future! The 1* was a more successful outing. Paddy continued to be fearless as he jumped around the course within the time. Tori and Miranda were equally as successful on their cross countries. Miranda jumped around double clear. Tori had an unlucky run by on course but she rode well throughout the course. Both Miranda and Tori learned a lot this weekend and I look forward to working with them to prepare for their next events. Finally it was the hour of reckoning. Bucky was very bold and fresh on course. We came in just under the time and finished in third! Well done Bucky!

Enjoy these additional photos and a few short videos: Thanks for reading and I will check in after the next competition! 

Bucky bonds with his friend Jill 

Bucky looks out for the next fence 

Missy drops into the water 

Missy heads towards the exit

Missy finds her way out of the water complex

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

August Update

Maggie keeps a careful eye on the farm
Photo Courtesy of WeatherBeeta

It has been a busy August for Lilybridge Eventing. I have been busy bringing Missy and Bucky back into work, my students have had successful several successful outings, And Rasher has been progressing nicely. I do apologize for the delay in posting but I promise to fill you in on all of Lilybridge’s successes.

I will start off with Millbrook, which seems fitting because Millbrook was an event of firsts. It was Missy and Bucky’s first competition after a break, and it was Tory and Cali’s first prelim as a pair. This is also the first time that Bucky and Missy have gone head to head in the intermediate and Bucky managed to edge out a win. I was very pleased with Bucky’s dressage test. He was tied for third in a very competitive division on a 25.6. I know he has the raw talent, and I am hopeful that we are bringing it out. Unfortunately Missy’s test was disappointing, she lost her composure going down the long side and put in some unasked for movements. We managed to recover and score a 39.6. Kaelen Speck had a similarly mixed dressage test. There e some lovely moments but her mount Regal Dancer was being difficult.  Kaelen rode nicely and earned every point she could. Tori had a great first preliminary dressage on California Comet. They earned a 36.1 and started their preliminary career strongly.

If the dressage didn’t go according to plan, Team Lilybridge managed to pull it together for cross-country and make easy work of our courses. Millbrook has been a tough event for me, but I was determined that No Boundaries would cross the finish line this time. Thankfully it was a great first event for both Missy and Bucky, they were jumping great and I could feel that they were very excited to be back on course! Tori and Cali managed to make similarly easy work of their first Preliminary (save for one non textbook ride through the water). I was very proud of Kaelen who didn’t let her disappointing dressage hold her back. She rode very well around a big and technical training. Good job Tori and Kaelen.

I capped off the weekend with two clear show jumping rounds on both Missy and Bucky. I finished sixth on Bucky, and I finished just outside the ribbons on Missy. It was a strong start for both of them. I was proud of both Kaelen and Tori for all their hard work! Millbrook and Jonah Hill lookalike in our rearview mirror, we headed home to  prepare for Waredaca.

My students had a very successful weekend at Waredeca. I was very proud of the riding on display. First off I would like to congratulate Kaelen Speck, She recovered nicely from her disappointing dressage at Millbrook and put in a great test to earn a 31.8 and second place after dressage. Great job Kaelen! Sometimes horses just don’t want to do dressage. Kaelen jumped double clear in both show jumping and cross- country and ended up wining her division. Also in Kaelen’s division Melissa Carson and Bo Brown went double clear in both show jumping and cross-country. They finished on their dressage score of 42.7 moving up from 17th to 10th. Meanwhile, Kaelen’s soon to be new partner Pet Me Pet Me had a very successful run in her training division. I got my lowest score ever on Mimi scoring an 18.60. I gave up my blue ribbon because I wanted to give her all the time she needed to get safely around the course. I am very pleased with her progress! In the preliminary Miranda Webb and Espresso managed to get another event under their belt. They had an unfortunate stop and a bit of time but they came out of the weekend more experienced and ready for the next event.

            We had just finished unpacking from Waredeca when we started packing the trailer, minus one passport for Bucky, for Richland. He must have travelled oversees without my permission!Thankfully we managed to get the passport sorted out and started our long drive to Michigan. Thursday meant dressage for both horses. Missy continued to improve on the flat but she has a lot of work left to do. Our participation in the High Performance Training Sessions will be an excellent opportunity for us to make progress on the flat. I look forward to working with David O’Connor and growing as a pair. I no sooner dismounted from Missy than I was heading back out to warm-up on Bucky. I was very pleased with Bucky’s test. Bucky was very relaxed and focused on the test. I was thrilled with his score of 48 and his placing in the very competitive division.

Friday was a less successful day for Bucky and Missy. Both horses struggled with the large and technical course. Bucky took two rails and Missy took three. Both horses struggle with show jumping, but they have both made progress. Saturday ended the weekend on a high note. I am blessed with two bold and skilled cross-country horses. I was cautiously optimistic that they could both handle the challenging courses laid out in front of them. They both jumped around their courses beautifully. I didn’t finish in the top 8 with either horse, but this event was an important step in getting both horses ready for their fall seasons. They have both come out of work focused, determined, and ready for their next challenges.

I look forward to what the fall brings for my horses, my students, and myself. I think more will change than the leaves!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Maryland Horse Trials Recap

This weekend brought the caravan to Maryland, for the Maryland horse trials. I am pleased to report that it was a very successful weekend for Team Lily. Congratulations are due to Annelise and Your Lucky Day. The pair seemed to take the phrase "back and better than ever" as a challenge, and responded by winning  their Training division. They had a beautiful dressage test, scoring a 26 and jumping double clear. It was exciting to see them make such easy work of the course. Congratulations you two!

As impressed as I was with Annelise and her mount, they were not the only successful pair this weekend. Miranda Webb, Eliza Crosby, and myself all competed on Saturday. Miranda successfully completed her second preliminary on Espresso adding no jumping faults to their dressage score. Eliza Crosby had an impressive dressage test scoring 28 and jumping double clear to finish in fourth in novice. I had two rides on Saturday. The Speck's Pet Me Pet Me continued to progress at novice. I was very pleased with our dressage test, which scored a 24, and our two clear jumping rounds.

My Training and Beginner Novice riders had an equally successful outing. Hannah Daneker and her Classy Lady had a lovely dressage test and jumped clear to finish in fourth in the beginner novice. I also rode my new project Go Devil Go in the beginner novice. I was very pleased with my cross-country and show jumping. I look forward to improving our dressage test.  Meanwhile Annelise won her training division. It is quite a feat to win your second event back. Victoria Kager and her new find California Comet continued to bond and had a very successful outing in their  training division. They had a nice dressage test  and made the cross-country look easy. The pair finished in third. Right behind Tori was Kaelen Speck and her trusty companion Regal Dancer. They were tied for fifth after dressage, and finished in fifth on a score of 34 after two clear jumping rounds.

I am also pleased to announce that I have found a horse named Rasher to retrain for the RRTP. I am just getting to know him, pushing all his buttons and allowing him to acclimate to the atmosphere of a high energy (read chaotic) eventing barn. He appears to have a good disposition and be willing to learn. I look forward to working with him.  Thanks for checking in, look in soon for the next update of the competing shenanigans of LBE!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Successful Weekend at Seneca.

With Springs like that: Parris proves that she can jump with the big horses! 
Thanks to Mike McNally for the photo

From Canada to Maryland in one week, such is the life of an eventer during competition season. I am glad to report that it was a successful weekend for my students and I. Parris and Espresso were both presented with the challenges of a higher level of competition. Thankfully this weekend demonstrated that both horses are ready for this challenge. In her first intermediate, Parris placed tenth after scoring a 40 in dressage and adding four points in show jumping. She handled the challenging intermediate cross-country course very well. It was a relief to jump clear! I am very happy with our seventh place finish. Miranda and Espresso had a similarly strong debut at preliminary. They started off the day with a 44 in dressage and two rails in show jumping. Espresso and Miranda proved themselves ready for preliminary by jumping clear and finishing in seventh. Well done Miranda!

My training students had an equally successful Saturday!  It was an exciting day for Annelise Aurillo and Your Lucky Day. This was their first event since recovering from an injury and they staged a great comeback! It was a pleasure to see them jumping smooth and clear around the cross-country. I look forward to seeing them out there more. My working student Tori Kager and her new mount California Comet finished in sixth after going double clear in the junior open training. Melissa Carson was right behind Tori in eighth. She continued the LBE trend of jumping clear cross-country. Unfortunately Kaelyn Speck received a TE because of a misguided action by her trainer. I was thoroughly impressed by her riding; I can't wait for her to go out and kick butt at the next competition!

Sunday I rode the Speck's Pet Me Pet Me in the novice and Hannah Daneker and Classy Lady made their mark in their beginner novice division. Pet Me Pet Me finished in second place on her dressage score of 21.50. She felt great throughout the course. Hannah and her Classy Lady finished in third adding just one time fault to her dressage score. Great job Hannah!

I would like to end this blog by thanking my students, my owners, and my sponsors. I have been thrilled by the progress we have made together. I am very pleased with how hard my students work and how much progress they have made since the winter. I am also grateful to my owners and very pleased with the progress my horses have made this season. So far this year, I have successfully moved up Peace Proposal (Parris), Paddy The Caddy, and Metraisse (Missy). I have been continually surprised by how hard these horses try and how quickly they learn. I would not be lucky enough to ride these horses without the generosity of the McEntee's, the Danekers, and my parents (the original owners).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Fork Recap

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Bucky and I clearing a big table on our way home! (Photo by J Blair) 

   There comes a moment when even the most enthralled eventer questions their dedication. That moment occurred while warming Missy up for dressage in the pouring rain. Bad weather and deep mud aside, I was very happy with the weekend. Before dropping into a recap, I would like to take a moment to thank Jenn for slogging through the literal and proverbial mud all weekend, allowing me to make all my ride times! Jenn also had a successful weekend running Wylie at his first prelim this season. Wylie performed well in the terrible weather during dressage, and he jumped well around both the cross-country and show jumping. Good job Jenn and Wiley! I would also like to thank Tori, who stayed home and made sure the barn was still standing when I came back! Team Lilybridge runs smoothly thanks to both of your hard work. 

   They say bad things come in three, apparently that applies to weather. It was cold, rainy, and windy during Missy's dressage on Thursday. Once I persuaded her to leave the stall, she was obedient and put in a very consistent test. I was very proud of her place in seventh after dressage. Thankfully, it stopped raining by Bucky's test on Friday.

   Fortunately a much more obedient Bucky trotted into the arena. I am grateful to David O'Connor for working with us before we went into our test. David has been challenging both of us on the flat; we are constantly improving with his support. I was happy with my test and the development it showed. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the score and my position after dressage.  I spent the rest of the day Friday walking the intermediate and three star courses. Both courses were highly technical and required unbroken focus from horse and rider. 

   Saturday brought the sunshine and sunburns. In a break from protocol that Bucky did not endorse, I show jumped him and rode cross-country on Missy. Fortunately, Bucky channeled his high spirits into the show jumping arena. He easily cleared most of the fences, and I was surprised by the rail we pulled. In hindsight, It may have been fortunate to end our streak of clear rounds before Rolex. Earlier that morning, Missy handled the cross-country course well. She was not responding to my half halts as much as usual, so she came into the water too fast and stumbled up the bank. I did not attempt to jump the cabin after the bank, but she managed the combination on the second attempt. Missy got valuable experience during her second intermediate run, and she will feel more confident and able at the next competition. 

   Sunday was the most important day of the competition, with Bucky's cross-country. I felt confident in Bucky; he loves his job, and he is a very skillful jumper. Bucky jumped great throughout the course. I rode more conservatively in the water than normal, because I was determined not to have another mishap there! I wasn't as competitive with Bucky as I had aimed to be, but we had three mishap free rides. We go into our next competition feeling well prepared. Missy show jumped better than at Southern Pines, dropping two rails. We are still figuring it out, but she has a great attitude and plenty of talent! 

   Thank you for checking up on our progress. Check Lilybridge's Facebook page for video and pictures of the weekend. Stop by next week for a recap of Plantation Spring Horse Trials. Paris will be running her first intermediate. I am very excited to see how she handles the challenge! 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Morven Update

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Tori Kager and Avi clear a show jump on the way to completing their first clear prelim. Thanks to Chris Kager for the photo. 

Many of you probably celebrated Easter by sharing a large meal with close family and friends. We here at Lilybridge have a slightly different take on the holiday, nothing says Easter like competing your best friend in the rain. The girls were all troopers handling the inclement weather, and the easter bunny rewarded them with sugar free ribbons! 

Tori Kager finished fifth on her wonderful mount Avi. The pair were tied for seventh after dressage with a 39.6. They had one rail down in show jumping, and they went clear cross country. Congrats Tori on your first clear preliminary! Meanwhile in the open preliminary Julie Henk and Merry Sioux had great runs in the show jumping and cross country, and they moved up to finish in sixth place. Well done Julie! 

Eliza Crosby and Woodstock Rawley finished in fifth on their dressage score. They had a lovely dressage, scoring a 33 which put them into seventh place. They made easy work of the show jumping and cross country, adding no points to their score and moving up two places. Olivia Sabers and Stonewall Winters had an equally strong show jumping and cross country finishing in seventh. Good work Eliza and Olivia! 

I have been busy getting Bucky ready for The Fork and settling back into the barn. I enjoyed the weather in Aiken and I am hoping it will eventually arrive at Lilybridge. Come on Spring!! Check in next week for a recap of The Fork. Hopefully Bucky will be on his best behavior on the flat! 


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Southern Pines and Home

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Bucky and I jumping into the water at Southern Pines (Photo Courtesy of J Blair's iPhone) 

It was a busy weekend for me at Southern Pines! Thankfully, the rain mostly held off on Friday and Saturday. I was impressed with the cross-country courses for all divisions; they were challenging and the footing was in great shape. It would not have been possible for me to compete all four horses without the hard work and dedication of Tori Kager and Jenn Cain. Thank you for all of your hard work and good job this weekend! Southern Pines was a great last hurrah  before heading home to be greeted by a snow storm!

On Friday, I was happy with Paris's, Paddy's, and Missy's dressage tests; they put in good efforts and were well placed in competitive divisions.I was looking forward to Bucky's test. We have made a lot of progress during the high performance training sessions with David O'Connor, and I was excited to show off our hard work. Sadly Bucky decided to turn his test into a  how-not-to tutorial, misbehaving throughout the test. I was disappointed with the test and my placing after dressage. On top of helping me all day, Jenn managed to control a spirited Wylie to score a 33 in the training rider division, and Tori rode well on Avi in the junior open training division and earned a 43. 

Saturday was a crazy day for me with four cross-countries, three show jumpings, two tired grooms, and one exhausted rider! Bucky must have sensed my disappointment with his dressage; he made a strong campaign to get back in my good graces the rest of the weekend. I was really pleased with the way he attacked the cross-country course. It was our most challenging course this season, and the way he jumped makes me feel ready for The Forks. Paris, Paddy, and Missy all handled the challenging preliminary cross-country well. I was very pleased with their clear rounds. Unfortunately, the show jumping proved more challenging. Paddy studded himself, In his excitement, on cross-country. He was in pain during show-jumping, but he was a trooper only knocking down one rail. Paris show jumped well, only adding two time. I was surprised by the difficulty that Missy had in show jumping, taking down five rails was  unexpected. I had hoped to finish on the ribbons on these promising horses, but I was satisfied overall with their performances. The little hiccups throughout the weekend are easy to fix. Jenn and Tori both had strong cross-country and show jumping rides. I was very pleased with their rides! I want thank Jenn and Tori for their enormous effort, getting all my horses ready in time. It was a long but rewarding day for everyone!

On Sunday, in torrential downpours, I had Bucky's show jumping left; it was a highlight of the weekend. I tried to really focus on my position throughout the course, and Bucky was clearly very focused on not knocking down any rails. He jumped really big and managed to turn in one of a handful of clear rounds. This was a big accomplishment for him given the weather and the size of the course. I have to hand it to Bucky, he usually knows when he has messed up and needs to make up for it with some impressive jumping! I was very pleasantly surprised by my Eighth place finish, and Bucky was very pleased with himself. 

Check in, in a few weeks for a recap of The Fork. After this weekend, my entry for Rolex is in the mail! Bucky has asked for a throng of adoring fans to cheer him on at Rolex, so hopefully I will see many of you out there! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Final Aiken Update


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Eliza Crosby and Woodstock Rawley riding their way to a second place finish in the Junior Novice. Well done Eliza and Thornie!! 

Greetings from Aiken! We are winding down our Aiken season and have just wrapped up a very busy weekend at Pine Top Horse Trials. We had seven horses competing, novice through preliminary. We were blessed with great weather, and we enjoyed every minute of it! 

I had a very busy weekend, riding five horses! Peace Proposal and Paddy the Caddy had a prep run, in the preliminary division, for the upcoming Southern Pines. I had two rides in the training division, one on Marnie Kelly's Campground and another on Melissa Carson's Bo Brown. Melissa has unfortunately been sidelined for a few weeks due to a broken wrist. The Speck's mare Mimi also rode in the novice. I was somewhat surprised by how wild the horses were given the warm weather. We had a very hectic week leading up to the competition, and I did not focus on dressage as much as  I normally would have. Despite a less than perfect dressage, I was ecstatic by how well they all jumped. Their performances were particularly impressive given the challenging tracks at all levels. Each horse was well behaved and focused, it was highly encouraging to see the progress they have made in Aiken. 

Eliza Crosby and Olivia Saber made another journey south to compete in the novice. Their horses have been camping out in Aiken with me for the past two weeks. It was great to have the girls around for another school and competition. Eliza and Woodstock Rawley pulled in the LBE leading result of the weekend, adding yet another second place finish in the junior novice (We're counting on a win at your next outing Thornie). Olivia and Stonewall had a great dressage and show jumping, and an unlucky parting of company at a spooky fence on cross-country. We will be sure to iron the kinks out before Morven! 

I was sad to pull out of Pine Top Farm yesterday afternoon, as it felt like a farewell to the Aiken season. Pine Top is one of my favorite event venues. I find the courses there are always tactfully designed and get the horses running well. The cross-country always seems to look difficult as you walk it, but all levels have open courses that always give horses confidence building runs that educate them. 

We had some slight hiccups in the program through last week and the weekend. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who helped out immensely and made the event happen. I owe a huge thank you to Olivia and Eliza for working long days and late nights, leading up to Pine Top, on the farm. You girls were troopers! I would like to also thank Wyn Maling and Tori Kager for grooming at the event, and keeping the days running smoothly. As always, we are thankful to Sumner Crosby for keeping us well fed and hydrated, but also for being our in-house photographer. 

Team Lily is wishing Melissa Carson a speedy recovery from her wrist fracture. Bobo the clown is very excited to get you out on the training cross-country. He is even more excited to sass you in the dressage ring!

We have the last segment of the USEF High Performance Training Sessions this week with David O'Connor. Please check out the USEF High Performance Eventing Facebook Page for more info. 

Thanks for following us, and stay tuned for this coming weekends excitement at Southern Pines! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Aiken Report



Where are the Treats? 

Our time in Aiken is flying by! It’s hard to believe that our first load of horses will depart for Pennsylvania in just two weeks. We have been extremely busy since I last wrote I apologize for the lack of updates.


On February 12, 13, and 14, Bucky and I took part in the USEF Training Sessions with David O'Connor at Stable View Farm. David's attentive and insightful coaching has been incredibly beneficial in identifying adjustments that could make Bucky and I a more competitive pair. David offered a roadmap for executing these adjustments. I look forward to implementing David's excellent advice throughout what will hopefully be a safe, exciting, and successful season! 


That weekend  Paradise Farm Horse Trials was invaded by Team LilyBridge supporters spurring on their favorite horses. Frank, Kate, and Claire McEntee came to support Paddy the Caddy, Lori and Hannah Daneker cheered on Peace Proposal and enjoyed the wonderful Aiken hacking, Lauren and Ally Aurillo made the trip down to see Annelise and Hal’s home away from home, Cassidy and Nancy Heitzenrater came to visit their young horse Prada and cheer on the weekends’ competitors, and Sally Speck brought her daughter Kaelen and steed Regal Dancer to compete in their debut event of the 2013 season. At Paradise, Peace Proposal finished in 3rd and Paddy the Caddy in 4th in the Open Preliminary division; each horse adding just a few time penalties to their dressage score. In the Preliminary Rider division, Julie Henk rode her own Merry Sioux to an impressive 3rd place finish. My working student, Melissa Carson, rode her talented young horse Bo Brown clear through the jumping phases after a very nice dressage test in her Novice Rider division. Kaelen and Dancer started the season off strong by pulling 3rd place in their Novice Rider division.


The following weekend was Pine Top Spring Advanced. No Boundaries ran his first Advanced of the year and I am very excited by his performance; his dressage was steady and offered me a chance to check our progress early in the season.  He was smooth, speedy, and clean in the jumping phases to bring home 2nd place! I was very pleased by his clear show jumping. Mettraise made her Intermediate debut and showed great promise in all three phases. She particularly impressed me as she jumped the cross country as if she had seen every fence before. I was very pleased when she finished in 4th place. I rode Abigail Wilson’s Fernhill Flag in the Intermediate and his performance was astounding. With just cross-country time added to his competitive dressage score, he finished  4th in a tough Open division. My working student Tori Kager rode her own Avogadro’s Constant in each of their first Preliminary horse trials; unfortunately, they took a tumble in the cross-country phase but both horse and rider were quick to recover their footing. 

Bucky and I had two more training sessions with David on the flat last week. The lessons were an opportunity to build upon earlier lessons and build the foundations for a successful season. One of the things I love about riding is the fact that as you learn more you also identify more opportunities for improvement. 


Another large group flocked to the Aiken base for Sporting Days this past weekend. On Saturday, Marnie Kelly’s Gideon moved up to Training level successfully and made light of the difference between divisions. I rode Pet Me Pet Me, recently purchased by the Speck family, to finish on her dressage score in her Novice Horse division. Students Olivia Saber with Stonewall Winters, Eliza Crosby with Woodstock Rawley, and Melissa Carson with Bo Brown all rode great dressage tests and double clean jumping phases to finish well within the ribbons.

This weekend we will be competing at Full Gallop. Stay tuned for more updates as we finish out these last three weeks of our Aiken season!