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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Aiken is wonderful!!!!

So the horses and I have arrived safely in Aiken, SC! The drive down was a bit more exciting and eventful than I had anticipated.
Thankfully, we arrived safely and it was very nice to have company for the trip with Melissa S. from True Prospect leading the
way from Richmond, VA south. Fortunately, good buddy Randa was about an hour ahead of our convoy, so she was able to give traffic

It was quite a sight to see the big sombero at South of the Border (a big landmark destination on I95)
completely covered with icicles! If you are a 'friend' of mine on Facebook, most of my status updates are about the pretty sunrise
and sunsets at the farm...well, the sunrise on Sunday morning was simply spectacular! Intense pinks and reds with a lot of purple,
too...definitely not a run of the mill start to the day as the waning moon was fading in the western sky. We were well into SC on
I20 heading west when the sun began to set in earnest and the sunset was intesified with all of the ice still clinging to the tree
branches - it made a misty, almost surreal abstract effect to the fading light. And if that had not been a special hightlight to the
trip, there was spectacular moonrise that really reminded me of van Gogh's Starry Night...just really special to see! Of course, I
had been hoping to be well off of the highway and to have the horses settled in their stalls long before the moon rose, is
the way travel goes sometimes.

Ryan was very kind and met me after I was a bit lost...well, sidetracked is probably a better word - I had followed Melissa to Boyd
Martin's stable by accident, so Ryan drove over and gave me a lead to Phillip's barn next door. He helped to get Dillon settled into
the fabulous barn at Red Oak Farm. Dillon is true to his genetics - he found his water bucket, got a drink and then began to munch
on his hay I continued on to Sally's with no worries about him at his new residence. It is a really pretty farm and I will
try to get some photos of the facility, so everyone can 'see' Dillon's home for the next few months.

Kitty is living the life of a happy horse at Sally & Nat Cousins' farm - it is lovely -- spreading out over ground that has a bit
of a roll to it and the barn has a lovely view of the show jumping and cross country field. She definitely knows that she is here
to event! Normally she is very reserved at home, but now she is constantly looking for the next jump and very bright eyed and
forward without being strong or wild...just a very content horse who knows exactly why she is here!

Thanks also go out to the Gartland family for putting me up the first night I was here! The trip had taken quite a bit longer due
to the weather and traffic in NC, so it was too late to try to find downtown Aiken...honestly, it was a relief to be off the road
and to have the horses safely in stalls for the night. It was great fun to catch up with Sara and her mom as Sara's been down here
since the New Year started.

So my first 'real' day down in Aiken was spent getting the horses settled, moving into the bungalow where I am staying with Randa
and hacking Kitty before going to Red Oak to see Ryan and Dillon. Aiken is a charming city with some spectacular places to eat
and plenty of 'horse country' I am really liking my time down here so far. Internet access is best found at the laundromat,
Burger King or one of the several coffee houses. Regretfully, I will only be logging on every few days to post photos and updates -
but I will try to keep everyone up to speed about what is happening down here in Aiken. :)

It is now the morning of my second day down here and while it is rainy and cooler with temperatures in the 40s - it is still
lovely to be in fewer layers! I have a lesson with Sally later this afternoon to see where Kitty is with our show jumping. Kitty was
a bit cheerful to be able to stretch her legs yesterday, so I am very glad to have left home a bit will give her some
extra time to settle down with the warmer weather. I'll also be going over to take some more photos and/or video of Dillon & Ryan
in the middle of the day. Karin's Adelaide WF is also down here at Sally's and while I haven't gotten to see her go undersaddle yet,
she looks great - super muscling, nice and fit - all a testament to Sally's good work! But it made me giggle to be unloading Kitty
and hear Addie whinny (she has a distinctive 'voice').

The plan for Kitty this week has me cross country schooling on Thursday in the middle of the day, so I am quite excited to go to
see some of the farms I have only heard about thus far...all the facilities I have been to, or driven past look lovely and inviting.
I will freely admit how lucky I am to be down here enjoying warmer weather and to have such a nice group of friends to stay with!
When you add in Sally's expert advice & support, it is a real treat! Thanks Mom & Dad for making it possible for me to do this!