Hello to the blizzard-ified north! Here in aiken we got rain, LOTS of rain, but I can't complain, it's better than the awful amounts of snow that you guys have been pounded with.
We've officially been in Aiken a week today, and I have been very tardy in updating this blog. I promise to get better (sorry Mom!!!!)
I am in love with the setup of my barn this year. I have a little shed row barn all to myself off in the corner of Sandy Hills. The horses have all settled in fine, and I have been busy organizing and making the place feel like home. This place is amazing with the amount of riding space we have access to. Along with the fields, arenas, and track there are trails throughout the different properties along the road which everyone shares, and since my barn borders one of the access points I've had a few visitors already. Just the other day Fernanda Kellogg (the driving force behind Fitch's Corner) hacked by and invited me over to her farm across the street for lunch: BBQ shrimp, taco soup, salad, some amazing baked beans, the works! While over there I also chatted with Silva Martin who is heading to FL this week which makes room for Alison Springer to move in. Nick Meyer's (Fernanda's right hand man) and I started discussing hay and, BINGO!, he has plenty of good quality northern hay that I can buy off of him that beats every price in Aiken. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! For those that are unaware, the drought that the country suffered last year has drastically effected hay prices, the same hay I bought last year for $11.75 is now $19 a bale!!!
Now what everyone really cares about- the horses!!! The first day of turnout had me calling Tom right off the bat to tack on some pulled shoes for me. Stewart and Ari both needed a quick resest, but at least I found the shoes! After the first exciting day everyone settled down nicely so that we could focus on riding. All horses hacked the first two days to get them stretched out and settled in after their long haul, I have to admit there were some acrobatic moments from all five ponies, but the dancing award definitely goes to Diem who was so excited about the warm weather and sunshine he could barely keep his feet on the ground until we got down to the track and let him blow off a little steam. At this point all horses have done two dressage schools (in the amazing full sized dressage arena with mirrors all down one length), a sj school, and a conditioning day in addition to the first couple of hacks. The easiest horse to gallop? Devin! The best show jump school? Diem! The worst show jump school? Beacon (who thought it was very exciting to be outside and jumping and decided galloping between fences was much more fun). The best dressage schools are awarded to both Stew and Ari, and Beacon gets most improved after he jumped like a gentleman again last night. Red's rides have also been going really well; yesterday she jumped Moon on her first ever XC school and the little mare ate it up! Keelan owns the third thrown shoe so instead of riding him yesterday Bubba (the wonderful owner of Sandy hills) helped Red swim him in the pond. He was a superstar at it, more on that and pictures to come later.
All of the horses are getting geared up for the first competions starting just next week. There are two combined tests before Beacon and the ladies run Paradise Horse Trials next weekend. This weekend everyone will get to jump around the derby field a bit, and I have started the process of signing up for lessons with Suzie, Doug, Eric, and Mara. I think I will also try working with Alison this year since she is so close.
That's all for now. Stay warm!!!!