Monday, January 31, 2011

The eventing year begins!

Tate Shaw with Mr Mc Cuan's Mario enjoying the sunshine!

What a great start to the year at Pine Top I this weekend! We had great weather (75 and sunshine), great courses and great horses. This weekend was for Mario, Cole and Beth Sohkohl's Charmer. Charmer and Cole did well in the dressage but Mario wasn't on his best form, suddenly finding the dressage ring to be a little lonely and neighing throughout the entire test! The judges comments were along the lines of 'lacking focus' and 'a little unsettled' today! He was still good enough to be in 4th place, but I was disappointed given his work was far better outside the ring. He did redeem himself cross country however by giving me the best ride of the three, which was a surprise to me as Charmer and Cole are typically xc machines. They were both good but I think a little insulted by the small size of the jumps. While neither of them took it seriously at least Charmer was polite and pretended to be interested. Cole was downright rude and explained to me that I was wasting his time. They will be back there in two weeks in the prelim and intermediate so I hope that makes them happier! It defiantly was great to be back out galloping between those red and white flags, I think there shouldn't be any break over the holidays for eventing!

Lola, Ti and Key start they year at Full Gallop this Wednesday.

Whilst living down south for the eventing is great for the training and the horses (it's the best time of the year in that respect), it is a huge strain on the finances and time.. I'm very committed to the students I leave behind in MD and travel back each week to teach them. This is what a typical weekly schedule looks like starting from Thursdays.

Thursday - XC school 4 horses. Ride another 4 at home. 1 or 2 lessons.

Friday - Ride 8 horses and prepare for show.

Saturday - 5am start taking 4 horses to a show. Get home ride 3.

Sunday - 5am start back to show. Get home ride 3. Break every speed limit to get to the airport (located in GA) in time for first of two flights. 11.30pm arrive in MD, go hire car, get to house at 1.30am.

Monday - 7.30am till 9.30pm teach.

Tuesday - 3.45am leave house to return car and catch first of two flights back to GA. 11am back in farm in SC to ride 8 horses.

Wednesday - sleep in till 8 then jump 4 horses and ride 4. Teach a lesson or two.

Even with this hectic schedule I still only just break even and am VERY VERY appreciative of my students and owners continued loyalty, support and commitment to my horses and their own endevours. I feel truly lucky to live the life I do.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For all the Australian's wondering if it is really necessary to move EVERYTHING south for the winter. This is the side mirror of my truck. Yes, ice! This happened on one of the drives down..

After a great holiday in Australia (some spent on the beach working on my non existent tan!), it was back to MD on Christmas day and straight to work. The week between Christmas and New Year is always hectic and this one was no different. Teaching, riding, packing plus teaching, riding and packing! The first load of horses went on January the first to Aiken. Followed by the second load on the third and the last load a week later. That's 66 hours on the road for me just to get them team relocated to avoid the winter cold! The 'South of the Border' signs, once a source of entertainment and joy, get a little less amusing each time I drive past them.........

Whilst the eventing doesn't start until next weekend I thought I'd blow out the jumping cobwebs and by competing in the Aiken showjumping winter classic. Very successful show with Checkout the Charmer winning (owner Beth Sokohl on enforced break), Titanium (Amy Taggart) winning a couple of thirds and Mario (Sunset Hills) jumping a super double clear in the 1.30m and having a rail in the Mini Prix.

The schooling and training is going very well with all the horses appreciating the sun and sand. Cole is going well and really getting way better on the flat. And Lola is loving her jumping!

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