Thursday, January 17, 2019

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Aiken 2014: The Season Finale (Day 12)

Apr 01 2014

Wednesday was my twelfth and final day in Aiken.  I got up early to check out of the hotel and head to the barn.  When I arrived at the barn, I noticed a friend’s horse was in distress.  His hoof was caught in the fencing of his paddock.  Nothing like a mini-horse-emergency to get your blood pumping first thing in the morning!  Once the horse was free, I brought Owen into the barn to feed him breakfast and dressed him in a sheet for the ride home.  I then proceeded to pick out his paddock, trailer, and stall and clean up around the barn.

Finally, it was time to load the horses and hit the road.  About 6 hours into our 9 hour journey, we pulled over on the side of the road to check on the horses.  I got in my friend’s trailer and helped her reload a couple of hay nets.  About 10 minutes past before we were back on the road driving again.  All of a sudden, anaphylactic shock set in – my nose clogged up, my throat began to close, my chest felt tight, and my lungs began to fill with fluid.  It happened very quickly and it was very scary.  I knew that if I stopped breathing, I would only have a few seconds to pull the truck and trailer off the road safely before I might pass out.  Luckily, I was able to take short, shallow breathes and stay calm.  The allergic reaction lasted about 90 minutes before I started to slowly feel better. 

Thankfully, we made it back to Team CEO safely without any other incidents!  Owen was super happy to be turned out in a paddock to stretch his legs and roll. 

All in all, the Aiken 2014 trip was an incredible experience.  I felt the 12 day trip was a more ideal duration than the 8 days I spent last year.  I am in debt to Megan Moore for the MONTHS of planning and coordination that goes into making every Aiken trip a success.  And for her patience, encouragement, and guidance for 10 straight days of lessons.

Click on the link below to see the “week in review” Megan made for us at the end of the trip!  The video includes clips from: cross country schooling at Paradise Farm and Gibbes Farm, jumping in Hitchcock Woods, and a dressage lesson.

Kelly at Team CEO Training Camp 2014

I can’t wait until Aiken 2015!  I am already counting down the days and planning my packing list for next year.  :-)  Until then, I am going to thoroughly enjoy the April-October 2014 show season now that I have completed our “spring training” trip.

Aiken 2014: Full Gallop Farm XC (Day 11)

Mar 31 2014

Tuesday, March 18th in Aiken was cold (think upper 30’s) and damp.  We slept in late at the hotel and then visited a handful of tack shops in the morning with the hopes that the sun would shine for our rides in the afternoon.  At the tack shops I bought three new riding shirts with the advanced technology fabric that is light weight, breathable, stretchy, and provides UVA protection.  I have worn one of the shirts twice so far and I love it!

For lunch we headed to downtown Aiken and visited the New Moon Cafe.  I love this place!  Everything from the drinks, to the sandwiches, to the desserts are to die for!  I had the Garcia sandwich – turkey, tomato, honey-dijon and brie cheese on a grilled panini with a cup of their crab bisque soup.  Delightful!

After lunch we grabbed the horses and headed to Full Gallop Farm.  Due to all the rain over the last 2 days, we decided to put studs in the horses schooling Training level and above.  This was the first time I used studs on cross country in Aiken, but I was thankful to have them.

Training Level Ramp


Roll Top at the Water Complex

Roll Top



For dinner, we headed back to Takosushi (the same restaurant we ate at on Day 5).  This time I ordered the miso soup, tempura asparagus, and “Cary’s Roll.”  The roll had tuna, salmon, white tuna, tilapia, cream cheese.  Then it was flash fried then drizzled with Taskosushi sauce and teriyaki sauce.  It was amazing!

Aiken 2014: Dressage and Show Jumping (Day 9 and 10)

Mar 30 2014

On Sunday, March 16, the weather took a turn for the worse.  We ended up having 3 straight days of rain, wind, and cold.  Not very Aiken-like weather, but that didn’t slow us down from continuing with the Team CEO training camp!

On Day 9, I had a dressage lesson in the pouring rain and then went for a quick hack around the property.  After training for 8 days straight, it was good to give Owen a little bit of a break with an easier day. 

For dinner, we headed to Ferrando’s Italian Pizzeria where I had the chicken parmesan which was amazing.  After dinner, three of us headed to the local movie theater to watch “Non-Stop” with Liam Neeson.  A great way to end the day!

On Monday we headed back over to Paradise Farm.  They had a full show jumping course setup from a schooling show they held a few days prior.  Despite the bad weather, this ended up being my favorite activity from Week 2.  Megan had the Beg Novice / Novice horses jump as a group, then we raised the fences for the Training / Prelim horses.  Owen and I got to jump with the big kids!  Owen jumped his heart out and felt as fresh and fit as can be.  What a good boy!

Red Oxer

Yellow Oxer 2

Head Shot

After show jumping, we headed back to the hotel to warm up, dry off, and change clothes.  Then we headed to Maria’s Mexican for strawberry margaritas and beef nachos for dinner.  Yum!

Aiken 2014: Gibbes Farm XC (Day 8)

Mar 28 2014

Day 8 of the 2014 Aiken Trip marked the end of Week 1 and the beginning of Week 2.  We traveled East to Gibbes Farm in St. Matthews, SC and took advantage of their amazing cross country course!  They had hundreds of jumps from Beginner Novice through Advanced.  What was most exciting is that they provided the opportunity to school tougher questions at the lower levels.  For example, you could practice the Beg Novice/Novice coffin complex before tackling the Training/Prelim complex and then on to the Intermediate/Advanced complex.  What a great way to instill confidence in both the horse and rider! 

Owen and I at the second water complex.

Log into Water

Video of us at the baby coffin.

Video of us at the Sunken Road.  I got left a little behind jumping the up bank, but I think this was my favorite jump of the day. The downhill approach was a lot steeper than it looks in the video!


After schooling, we headed back to our hotel in Aiken to clean up and put on our “fancy” clothes to head to award winning restaurant The Wilcox for dinner.  I had a glass of Riesling, an upscale hamburger with a side of parmesan fries with truffle oil.  Yum!

Aiken 2014: Training Track and Hitchcock Woods (Day 7)

Mar 22 2014

It was exceptionally cold Friday morning, so we bundled up in coats and gloves and headed to the Aiken Training Track to have breakfast and watch the race horses breeze around the track in preparation for their upcoming races.  It was fun watching the powerful horses in motion, and imagining them becoming Event horses once their racing careers are complete.

Girls at Tracker Race Horses 1 

After breakfast, we tacked up our horses and headed back to Hitchcock Woods to trail ride and enjoy the sunny day.  Owen was relaxed and was in a great mood.  I rode around on a loose rein and frequently kicked my feet out of the stirrups to stretch and relax.

Pictured below is half of our Week 1 group.  Team CEO!

Group Shot

Friday night we headed to downtown Aiken to have dinner at the Aiken Brewery Company.  I drank a glass of Pinot Grigio (I haven’t been a beer drinker since college) and enjoyed pretzel bites, a buffalo chicken wrap, and a side salad.


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