Life in Aiken has been a whirlwind.  This is the first time I can remember sitting down mid day and able to up-date all of our loyal followers, better now than never, right???

We just finished a roller coaster of a weekend at Full Gallop Farm.  Today was one of those days that will keep me in this sport for many years to come.  I’m overwhelmed with joy and just so proud of my long time working student Hannah Metz- a double clear in her 2nd ever Preliminary xc on a horse that she has trained ALL herself.  This was no easy course, in fact many top fabulous riders decided to withdraw for various reasons.  Not Hannah.  She never once gave sign of any concern with the challenges this course provided, it just made her that much more focused and on her game.  What a star 🙂

Hannah wasnt the only star.  Wonder Woman aka Sabrina has gotten a late start to the season as I’ve really wanted to address some fitness and SJ work.  She is truly back on her game and gave me just the best feeling out there on XC- I told the girls I feel bad for anyone that doesnt get to ride this horse xc, she’s incredible out there.  Sabrina was winning after dressage but I strayed from the straight, calm and focused riding I’ve learned to do with her in the SJ and pulled two rails. My fault not hers, I’m so thrilled of how well she jumps now and am determined to not let myself ride for anything but that.

Movin on up…
The Diesel Boy has had a tough Aiken.  Not sure what all was the cause but I think I’m on the right track.  Leto went from being the perfect young horse to an absolute terror.  I’ve changed some feed around and also started treating him as if he might have some belly problems.  He did ship over in a commercial hauler and perhaps that was enough to stress him out.  With just a few days of this change he is back on track, it is so lovely riding my good boy again!  Today’s course was more challenging than I’d ideally have put in front of him for his begging prelim courses.  There was a real optical illusion and braveness question in the beggining that he just didnt get.  He had a few honest stops there and then put all his trust in me and got over the “bush” and through the small hole on the other side.  He just grew with confidence the whole rest of the course and got better and better.  I love this horse and feel wonderful about his future.

Puttin on the Ritz is looking to be moving on up – so he did the IP class.  Benny is really growing into a fine looking young man.  He made the Intermediate show jumping feel easy- what a joy to ride a horse with such good rhythm and balance over jumps.  Last year Benny was un-sure about this whole jumping into water idea and I’m thrilled to publicly announce that he seems to really like water now!  Phew 🙂  The jumps and questions feel easy on Benny this year- he has so much ability.  I’m on the fence about when he’ll move up to be an Intermediate horse.  The ability is there but I want him to not loose any of this great confidence he has- I feel like this is the toughest part of my job,  moving the horses up at the right time.

Toulouse also was entered this weekend but had a tough luck weekend.  Somehow he ended up with a cut on the inside and outside of his lip.  The guy looks like he was in a bar fight and lost.  For anyone that knows Tman you would know that he would never lose a fight, I’m just saying that he LOOKS like he did.  Toulouse raced for a long time and we are still working on developing a better connection and softer smoother rounds.  I had a bit and noseband that seemed to work really really well on him.  But with the cut on his lip I couldnt use that set up.  I show jumped him in a bit that I thought would work but I was wrong.  He is absolutely green at this level and over jumped the first fence so much that he got me way off balance and I admittedly really caught him in the mouth.  This lead to a lot of bad and we didnt finish the course.  This horse will jump ANYTHING in front of him, prepared or not.  He tried so hard but I just felt it was just not doing him any favors to keep making him go on.  At the end I found out that he had badly sprung his shoe and I’m sure that wasnt making him feel any better.  In the end its just one weekend and now is time for me to ride him in a hackamore until his mouth heals and get some miles at some easier rounds until all feels ready to tackle another Preliminary round.  Again this is another very scopey horse, he just needs some more good miles.

All the others…
I talked so much about this weekend at Full Gallop I’m going to summarize the rest.  As much as I love seeing students move up to Preliminary and as much I enjoy feeling horses develop into upper level eventers- I really take pride in bringing horses into this sport and preparing them to be wonderful mounts for their new owners.  We just sold “Rosario” to a really lovely lady way up north in the snow. White ground and all Ro looks so pleased to be at Katherine Coopers farm.  I think Ro landed the best life she could have found.  I’m not about selling I’m about creating partnerships.  I think it only works out if the horse and the rider match.  I have a feeling this is going to be a great match 🙂

We are doing our best to get all the others as much experience and exposure as possible so they’ll be ready to go when they find their “dream come true mom or dad”.  Last weekend we competed lots of youngsters at Sporting Days and had a super successful weekend.  Kynymonts Cassidy finished in 1st and Kynynmont’s Emily in 2nd – Ellie finished in 4th and Azrael just missed the win by a few bummer of rails in the SJ.  Sebastian finished his first ever event – a rising star!

I’m in the midst of filling our last few weeks up here with schoolings, outings and shows… Then we will be back in Kirkwood, PA by the beginning of April.

Bye for now,