I can honestly say that Aiken has never gone by so very very fast.

Winter in Aiken 2014 gave us Snow, Ice, NO power, a very lost dog, super horses, wonderful friendships and a whole lot of character.

I have posted a smashing of pictures below and will talk briefly on each one from top to bottom.

This is a head shot of my newest mount- Bristol Indian.  Bristol is a full TB that I got last year when I sold the mare Sabrina that I used to ride Intermediate.  I have high hopes for Bristol.  Our partnership has taken awhile to develop but I felt this winter in Aiken that we are now truly buddies and I look forward to every day I get to ride him. Bristol and I have now had 2 clean preliminary rounds together… love this guy.

Many of you heard about how Aiken was shut down- put on hold- the Ice STORM of 2014 truly did change our lives.  I’ve never lived through such a thing but I now have memories that I will cherish.  After realizing that the power was out and going to be out for a long time we trecked the streets to find food= however this had some difficulties.  Stuck truck- no fuel- no open restaurants – not too many drivable roads… the list goes on.  We had a pretty hard core group that handled this week like champs- they are nicknamed TROOP MK.  Survivors.

Below is one of the members of Troop MK— this was before the power went out and as you can see Brody and Reef were already best of buddies.  Long lasting friendships- that’s what Aiken is all about 🙂

Reef is one of the luckiest puppies alive.  Not long after we got Reef he got to romp around in fluffy white snow.  Since then he’s gone on trail rides, jumped down banks, explored water jumps and even played at the beach.  Reef is brave, inquisitive and absolutely adorable. (spoken like a true mother!)

One of the more trying weeks in Aiken was while my older dog Clyde had gone on a walk-a-bout.  Clyde is very dear to myself, my husband and pretty much everyone that has ever met him.  We have no idea where he went but we are so thankful that he’s back.  While he was gone baby Reef took us exploring in the woods.  The picture below is where Reef was certain that we should focus our search- this hole looked to be there main hang out in the woods.  We were lucky enough to utilize a very skilled Jack Russel hunting dog- the JR assured us that Clyde was not in this hole.  I was still pretty happy with Reef for showing us where they played.  He’s a smart little guy.

At the end of Aiken every year we go through the process of making our barn and our living accommodations- cleaner than when we arrived.  My mom instilled this in me from a  young age— Im sure that my students all wished I was less concerned about this!  Many hours later after washing, cleaning, packing, organizing and loading we headed out to our last event of the southern trip- Carolina Horse Park.  We had a fantastic group of riders, horses, helpers, owners and parents.  It was a very fun show.  7 horses competed – 4 of whom I rode.  Luckily a quick stop to McDonalds en route to the show helped us re-fuel so we could set up a bangin’ good stall set up at the show.
Puttin on the Ritz owned by the Klavans family is currently my top mount in my program.  Benny and the Klavans have been near and dear to me for quite a few years now and sharing this weekend with them was a dream come true.  Benny has grown into a stellar event horse- he feels athletic, smart and brave.  So much fun to ride him.  Many people have helped get this horse to wear he is today and I really owe a large thank you to Phillip Dutton for his guidance on “waiting” until Benny gave us the signs that he wanted to move up.  Benny ran Intermediate at the event and will continue Intermediate through the spring with our eyes set on Fair Hill in the fall.
The Queen Bee was a “catch ride” for me at the last horse show.  “Tuesday’s” regular rider and owner wasn’t able to make it south so I was offered to take Tuesday to her first event of 2014.  Our group has been lucky to have some great “HONEY’s” – this girl is another special one to add to the list.  The fact that she’s a Mustang hasn’t kept her hops limited- she’s got springs in those feet!
Along with Tuesday and Benny I also rode The Diesel Boy and Bristol Indian in the Preliminary divisions.  FUN fun fun.  

Aiken 2014 brought us lots of visits from students, family and friends.  This photo was taken while we went xc schooling at Gibbes.  A few days before this photo was taken, Robyn Weaver took her horse Azrael to his first training level and won.  That was a good event for us- Full Gallop – we took home 2 blue ribbons a second and a third.  GO TEAM!
My life is full of excitement right now.  
Many thanks to everyone involved in MKE.  The riders, working students, owners, family and our awesome sponsors make this all possible.  We are now back in Kirkwood, PA. The horses have all earned a light week while we settle the herd into their northern accommodations.  
Lessons and training at Principia Stables are now available- please contact me if you’d like to join in!