The hustle and bustle of Aiken seems to never allow for a bit of down time to catch up on catching everyone up on what's been happening down here! But being so busy is a very good thing! :)
It was a bit rainy on Friday, so taking photos of Ryan and Avebury was a bit tough...that being said, I was lucky enough to get some good shots of them schooling. Ryan is sponsored by The Outback Trading Company (based in Oxford, PA) and he was wearing his OTC rainproof jacket. It looked super and he was nice and dry, and well, I wasn't, so the camera did not stay out long!
On Saturday Sara & I hacked out Kitty & Frank and then went over to Boyd Martin's so she could get her Abundance daughter Always A Lady cleaned up for dressage and stadium at Sporting Days Farm. While she was busy scrubbing and braiding, I was fortunate enough to get to shoot photos of Ryan and Avebury schooling in Boyd's super outdoor arena. There are a ton of photos on the Facebook Fan Page, so I am just going to put up my favorites here -
Once Avebury & Ryan were all finished, Sara & her mom and I all went to Sporting Days Farm. No sooner did we pull in the parking lot than I saw Elly Schobel's truck and trailer! Elly and I met at the Raleigh CDI back in 2002 (or 2003) and have been good buddies since. She was there to do a dressage demo on her young Grand Prix stallion Oyente (translates to The Listener) and the nice folks at the office needed a 'translator' to explain what Elly was doing. When she was finished over in the presentation area, she did go over into the dressage warm up and I managed to snag a couple of photos of his lovely piaffe. :)
Then it was time to help Sara warm up Lady. She is such a good egg - I got to stand at the side of the warm up and shout nit picky instructions at her and feel ever so official...LOL. But all of Sara's hard work has paid off - she had a lovely smooth test and was quite pleased with how the ride went.
Lady is by Abundance and very much like several of the others I've been lucky enough to ride - so coaching a rider on her is sort of like settling down to have a chat with an old, trusted friend when you both have the leisure to do so. :)
Laura Vander Vliet is also down here in Aiken with her barn and I shot some photos of her Advanced horse King Billy doing his show jumping. He is a very, very good jumping horse! Laura ended up winning that division on her other horse and King Billy was second! Congratulations Laura!
Shortly after Laura went Sara had a good show jumping round and we went and walked our respective cross country courses. Then it was time to go to the barns, settle the horses in for the night and be organized for competing on Sunday! Here's Lady doing her SJ -
THEN (is this a long blog post or what????) it was finally Sunday and competition day for Miss Kitty, Lady needed to do her XC and Sara's cob Frank was heading out for his second recognized Beginner Novice. So here are photos of Lady & Frank with Sara -
Kitty and I had a better dressage test than I had been expecting. She is still a bit excited to be down south and part of the Preliminary cross country course was directly behind the dressage warm up...that made her a bit 'up' if you know what I mean. But she was as obedient as she could be given the circumstances with moments of very soft and responsive work in the warm up and test. Consistency is something that we will continue to work on in the coming months. As she was well aware of what happens at these competitions, stadium was a bit of a challenge for me as a rider. Given the winter weather we've been having, I probably needed a few more jumping lessons in order to be able to help her out more. Our over eagerness cost us 8 penalties with 2 rails down but it is always good to get a feel for what you need to work on for your next competition when you are just coming back from a break! Cross country was a super ride - great course, nice rolling terrain and one very quick bay mare having a marvelous time! I apologize for not having any photos of us - it is very tough to ask another person to shoot when they have their own horses to compete and care for...but Sara assured me that Kitty is bold and confident in her jumping! She and her mom were taking bets to see if I lapped the horse in front of us on XC - that horse was a having a more cautious round and Kitty was in the zone of being an event horse. LOL
Sara and Frank didn't have stadium and cross country until almost 5 pm. I was a bad friend and did not stay to take photos of those phases as I needed to get Kitty settled back in the barn.
So today is for cleaning tack, doing laundry, organizing everything that was thrown about during the weekend and, of course, catching all of you up on what's been happening down here!
Thank you to all the organizers, sponsors, volunteers and support staff that made this fun weekend possible. And of course thanks to the Gartland's for their help with Kitty, Sally for her patient coaching and to Mom and Dad for allowing me to ride such a fun horse!