Thursday, March 3, 2011

Aiken in Full Swing

Don't be fooled by the picture, neither Gunsmoke, Lara, nor Smarty have much time to stand around and enjoy the scenery down here lately! I think that's a good thing, well at least I know that Lara and I are at our best when the schedule is action packed, we kinda thrive on the excitement and challenges of a seemingly overwhelming schedule. With another horse arriving down here in Aiken this week, well things at times were certainly very exciting!
Pine Top parte dos happened Saturday and Sunday. Morris was a mere 5 points off the lead in his Intermediate division, in part thanks to dressage lessons from Marilyn and a massage from Katie Lou (for Morris, that is. Remember, I've been too busy running around Samantha Charles' lovely Shag Hill Farm for such selfish indulgences!). Lara had him looking like a million bucks, and he acted for his entire pre-ride and warm-up, and for moments during his actual test as well! The show jumping course was fairly straight forward, although the terrain definitely came into play a few times. Morris and I fell victim to jumping the oxer at fence 2 a little too quietly, and got to the very vertical at fence 3 on a lovely strung-out not quite 5 strides. Oopsie. Down she went. More canter poles and grid work for homework for us! I enjoyed my course walk with DOC, although I use the term 'walk' very loosely as we biked around and gave Gunsmoke a good work out. In fact, that's a great picture of the lercher trying to swim in the trough at fence 6. Watching him crawl between the rail and the lip of the trough was priceless! As usual, David gave great advice (can we say, New Chef?!?) and pretty much predicted exactly how it was going to ride for Morris and I. On Sunday, we didn't disappoint! Although it nearly started with disaster, we ship in to Pine Top and didn't get the memo that there was a giant move up on times and the entire day was running early. Major props to Lara who got my pony ready in record breaking time, and acted calm, cool, and collected about hitting fast forward on her morning. Well done! Morris did our part to return the favor. Clean and fast and it was the best that Morris has ever jumped a coffin, I dare say in his entire life. Finished a strong 6th, would've been 3rd without our show jumping rail!
No rest for the weary, however, with the rest of our week. Farriers, dentists, shows for sales, more farriers, lessons, and cross country schoolings. Whew! Today was a lot of fun schooling at Full Gallop. Took the beginner novice fleet, about to make their recognized debut next weekend. As long as the grey/white chevrons were not on our course, we would have been spectacular. Not one of my little darlings, however, wanted to jump that on the first try. Poor little Buttons in fact was trying to dart away from it at least 8 strides out. I see more cross country schooling in his future! Also had fun with Playtime, schooled a good bit of the training, or preliminary. That's the bad thing about schooling. Sometimes it is nice to have the map and the colored flags so you know exactly what you have gotten yourself into lol. He is certainly up for the challenge, however, the bigger the better for that cheeky little fellow! Big weekend ahead, in fact I guess I had better get to bed 5 minutes ago, my last Key Equestrian Team competition and we have the Champion title clenched, or so it appears. Still hoping for a very strong finish for a talented group of riders that I have had the absolute pleasure to work with this season. Wish us luck!

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