Hope tackled a very difficult Full Gallop Training course. She dropped three rails, but I finally had the adjustment I had been working so hard to achieve. Next was Pine Top. Dressage warm-up, incredible. Begin to go around ring and horse starts chasing cow in field next to ring. Hope is a star and we held it together. Not. Talk about a melt down. When the situation was finally addressed we began our test and finished on our worst score to date. One of the few double clears in stadium moved us from 21st to 11th. The XC was, um, large. The week before I was told "Its hard to do a Training course at Novice speed". The result was Hope and I having several discussions as to what was appropriate for speed throughout the entire course. Finished with time penalties. I guess she was right. I ended my stay in Aiken with a trip to Gibbs Farm with Kristin Schmolze. It was incredible and I got to watch Allison get a lesson on Arthur!
Rose was going well in Aiken. Then Hope kicked her and fractured her tibia. X-rays confirmed the fracture as being non-displaced and the resulting prognosis was stall rest and the potential to avoid surgery. She has since been re-filmed and the fracture is healing. In three months we may be able to start again. Bummed is a complete understatement. I know, and others have confirmed it, this mare has star quality.
Grace. Not much changes in this category ever. I think conditioning will forever be this ones weakness. With Rose out of commission, Grace stepped up her game the last few weeks in Aiken. I started more technical grid work with Kristin and Grace demonstrated some serious scope. I mean serious. The decision now comes to selling her, which everyone has told me to do since I am pressed for finances. But this mare is a blast to ride and I always dismount with an ear-to-ear grin. She has been schooling Novice XC fences and even some softer Training ones.
|Proof Numero Uno|
|Proof Numero Dos|
I returned from Aiken with mixed emotions. I don't regret the trip, but there are some things I would have done differently. In the end I just felt completely unappreciated in the position I was brought in for. I, in no way, claim to know everything, but was consistantly addressed as if I know nothing. I came back from Aiken financially ruined (Thank you Mom and Dad for helping me out. Again). I count my blessings everyday for Kristin and her groom Vanessa because I am sure I would have self-destructed without their company and guidance. Since returning home my riding has been steadily improving. I know this is because I have been a much happier and stress-free person.
This weekend Hope and I will tackle MCTA, followed by Fair Hill in two weeks. Cheers to a happy report back.
P.S. - Just finished some great books. I believe we just discovered a new name for Rose upon returning to work and her debut to competing; Divergent.