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Spring Bay HT 2013 Wrap Up

Apr 27 2013
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I has officially been a year since I started this blog!  It has also officially been a year since Spring Bay HT 2012.  What a difference a year makes.  In 2012, I was hoping that Owen and I could make it through a Beginner Novice event without being eliminated.  In 2013, I was walking the Training level courses and wishing I was competing at Training instead of Novice.

Friday: With 3 friends in the truck and 3 horses in the trailer, the drive from St. Louis to Lexington was was quick and easy.  Once we got to the Kentucky Horse Park, we setup our stalls, picked up our competitor packets, rode, bathed, braided, and fed the horses, walked our cross country courses, ate dinner, and headed to bed.  The weather was perfect – sunny and mild with a light breeze.  We knew it was going to be a great weekend.

Dressage:  Our dressage time was around 11:30 am Saturday morning.  Owen warmed up really well and then we headed into the show ring.  Our test was steady and professional.  I need to work on keeping Owen rounder and deeper into the frame, but otherwise, the test was fairly good.  Also, this was my first time riding Novice Test A at a show, so it didn’t come as naturally as the Novice Test B does for me.

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HT 2013–Novice Test A

Trotting down center line.Dressage 1

Medium walk in the corner.Dressage 5

Show Jumping:  Saturday afternoon it was time for show jumping.  We had to share one warm up arena with both the Beginner Novice and Novice horses so it was very crowded.  Owen was upset about all of the horses running around invading his personal space and getting too close to his “mom”.  We trotted and cantered briefly, jumped 2-3 fences and then waited for our turn near the competition ring.

Our show jumping round was fairly rhythmical and consistent.  Owen was jumping great and was feeling good.  After spending the entire winter jumping in our indoor arena at home, jumping in the large outdoor ring was a big change.  Owen got strong a couple of times, but I remembered to sit up, keep my shoulders back, and not collapse and let him drag me around.

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HY 2013–Novice Rider Division

Getting last minute advice from Megan.SJ 1

Owen does not want to touch a rail.SJ 8

SJ 3

SJ 6

Cross Country:  On Sunday, we packed up the truck and trailer and headed to Masterson Station Park for cross country.  Several Team CEO riders, including Megan, rode the Novice cross country course before I did, so I was able to get detailed advice from them about how the course was riding.  I learned that the course was very “trappy” and that there were lots of opportunities for the horses to get stuck behind the rider’s leg.  That is a problem that Owen and I have had in years past, so I knew I needed to ride the course confidently and somewhat aggressively.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1….have a nice ride!  Out of the start box we went.  Owen and I went flying around the course and had a great time! Everything felt so easy and fun. The only bobble was before jump 10, a narrow brush fence that went from a sunny, open field to a dark tree filled area. Owen propped and seemed to ask “mom, are you sure?”  My prompt answer was “yes!” And off we went.

Owen and I finished the event on our dressage score!!  Better yet, we got to take home a second place ribbon in a big Novice Rider division.  What a way to start the season!

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HT 2013–Novice Cross Country Part 1

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HT 2013–Novice Cross Country Part 2

Kelly and Owen–Spring Bay HT 2013–Novice Cross Country Part 3

Over the faux ditch and wall.Ditch and Wall 2

What’s Next: Owen and I will be headed to Ohio to compete at the Greater Dayton Horse Trial in mid-May with the rest of the Team CEO group. I have never been there before, so I’m excited to check it out and ride at a new venue.

Aiken 2013: Long Road Home (Day 9)

Mar 25 2013
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On Day 9, we were supposed to spend the morning cross country schooling at Full Gallop Farm, the afternoon at the famous Aiken Steeplechase, then have a formal dinner at The Wilcox.  Unfortunately, it ended up raining in Aiken for 12 hours straight.  Add chilly weather  (30’s and 40’s) to the rain and we did not have weather conducive to a day of outdoor fun. 

In addition to the poor weather in Aiken, we were getting weather reports of a bad snow storm about to hit the Midwest.  So we all packed up our trucks and trailers and decided to cut our trip a day short and head home.

We left the Aiken Complex at 9:00 AM ET and arrived in Lexington, KY at 6:00 PM ET.  I spent 30 minutes moving my stuff from my friend’s rig to my rig while Owen relaxed in a stall and got some water.  Then I left Lexington at 6:40 PM ET and kept driving West to Millstadt, IL and arrived back at my barn at 12:00 AM CT.  That was a LONG day, but it was worth it.  By 10:00 AM the next morning, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana were starting to get hit with a snow storm.  By Monday morning, the St. Louis metro area had 12.5 inches of snow accumulation!

Snow at my house (and my dog Abby playing with her Frisbee).

Snow at House

Snow at the barn (the horse is laying down to roll).

Snow at the Barn

Snow on the roads.

Snow on the Roads

I was very sad our Aiken trip had to end, but I am SO glad Owen and I got home before the snow storm hit. 

Will I go on the Aiken trip again? –  ABSOLUTELY!
Was it worth it? – YES! 
Do I feel more prepared for the 2013 show season? – DEFINITELY!

A huge THANKS to Megan Moore for making this all possible.  She is single-handedly making my dreams come true.  Her patience, generosity, and kindness are unparalleled.  She has spent many hours/months/years helping me to learn more about my horse and myself, break old habits, and become a better rider.   I am incredibly grateful.  To quote Megan, I am forever looking for “that positive, encouraging, non-desperate, confident, I want that-go get that-kind of ride.”

Aiken 2013: Hitchcock Woods (Day 8)

Mar 25 2013
19
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This morning we went on a shopping spree!  We started at the Boots, Bridles & Britches shop where they were having an anniversary sale and everything was 25% off.  Then we headed to the Aiken Saddlery & Supply where they had lots of good tack and barn equipment.  Finally we headed to the Oak Manor Saddlery to look through their consignment tack and wide assortment of show clothes.  It was a miracle I made it through the morning without spending too much money.  :-)

Next we went to lunch at Becky’s On The Corner.  Several people in our group didn’t get to go there on Day 6, so we went there for a second time, which I was more than happy to oblige.  This time I had a root beer, gyro sandwich, and sweet potato fries.

Similar to Day 3, we tacked up the horses and went to Hitchcock Woods to hack the horses.  This time we explored a different section of the 2,000 acre park.  This place is amazing!

Here is a video of Owen and I from our dressage lesson on Day 7 (0:00 – 0:41) and of us jumping a cross country fence at Jumping Branch Farm on Day 6 (0:42 – 0:50) and of Owen and I jumping in Hitchcock Woods on Day 8 (1:16 – 1:33).

Hitchcock Woods, Aiken, SC–March 2013

Jump 2

Jump

Bog downhill brush fence.  This picture doesn’t do the jump justice.  It was a ton of fun!

Large Bush

We also got to ride across the quick sand river twice.  Definitely not something I get to experience every day living in the Midwest.

For dinner we headed to West Side Bowery in downtown Aiken.  The restaurant décor was very pleasant.  I had the best tenderloin medallions topped with fresh crab meet, steamed vegetables, side salad, baked potato, and Riesling wine.  Yum!

Aiken 2013: Dressage Boot Camp (Day 7)

Mar 23 2013
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Today it was very cold and windy in Aiken.  It was 34 degrees in the morning, and only warmed up to the mid-40’s during the day.  I must say that this did not feel like vacation weather, but I was still more than happy to spend the day with my horse.

Each rider got a private dressage lesson with Megan in the morning.  During my dressage lesson, we worked on keeping Owen in a lower, rounder frame.  Owen is naturally built very uphill.  He is also athletic and can “fake” a dressage frame which is what I am trying to avoid.  We also worked on keeping Owen’s hips swinging and his hocks active in all three gaits.  Megan gave me some great ideas on things I can keep working on once I get home.

Trot 3

Trot 4

We spent the afternoon shopping and hanging out before heading to Aiken Brewing Company for dinner.  Everyone showed up at the restaurant a few minutes apart.  As we trickled in to take a seat at our table, over half of us would look at the waiter and ask for a glass of wine.  He kept giving us a look to say “this is a brewery, not a winery!”  Oops.  I had a glass of Pinot Grigio, crab cakes, sautéed vegetables, and side salad.

Aiken 2013: Jumping Branch XC (Day 6)

Mar 22 2013
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Today we woke up bright and early and headed to the farm to get our horses ready to cross country school at Jumping Branch Farm.  To warm up, I took Owen over one Novice coop, one Training coop, and one Prelim roll top.  After that, we were ready to tackle all of the Training (and some Prelim) questions with ease. 

Novice Ramp

Training Rails

It is so exciting to experience the bond that Owen and I now share.  I purchased Owen 3 1/2 years ago, but it took until the end of last summer to really start working together as a team.  I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for us. 

Training water….and Prelim water.

Training Water 2  Prelim Water

Going down!

Log Drop 3

Up and over the Lady Bug combination.

Lady Bug

My first Trakehner!

Trakehaner

After getting the horses settled back in the barn, we headed to downtown Aiken for lunch at Betsy’s On The Corner.  I had a root beer, chicken wrap, and sweet potato fries.

Later that evening, we had dinner at Takosushi.  They boast that they have the best sushi and Southwest cuisine in Aiken.  I must agree!  I had the most amazing Mexican and Japanese cuisine you can image – all under the same roof. 

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