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!