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!