So sore. So tired. SO HAPPY!
Today was Pa and my second day in Aiken, and we made it another full one! We got up early and headed over to Pine Top to watch Suzi ride a few horses at the event there. It was another absolutely perfect day, and Pine Top was looking swooningly beautiful with the spring bloom coming out. Pa had never been there before, and so he was (of course) blown away by how beautiful it is. I can't wait for him to really see the cross country tomorrow!
(Pine Top is beeeooootiful)
Suzi rode her own horse, Ryan, first in the Prelim. He hasn't been out to a full event in a few years and was a bit "excited" during his dressage test. As usual, I was so impressed with the quiet and tactful way that Suzi rode through a tough situation; she's such an amazing horsewoman, and truly the rider I look up to most.
Afterwards she headed straight over to show jumping, where they jumped a very nice clean round. Since the course had been causing quite a few problems up to that point, it was nice to see it done properly!
(Ryan is an awesome jumper and quickly redeemed himself after his questionable dressage performance)
We then helped her quickly cool Ryan off and tack up her second ride of the day, a client's horse named Merlot who was going novice. He's a super nice, fancy little horse, and they had a lovely test. In a true reflection of the competitiveness of divisions down south, she scored a 31.5... and was in 10th place!
(Such a pretty boy)
(His canter especially was kind of swoon worthy - I wish I'd gotten better photos! I realized at the end of the day that I had it set in the wrong mode (stupid!) so I had to toss out a loottttt of blurry photos - boo)
After that, we headed back to the farm to ride the ponies. I got on Kiki first and did some nice big trot and then forward canter and counter canter out in the big field. I was feeling a lot better in my balance today, though I definitely still had a few shaky moments! I already find my balance in two point difficult on her because she's so small that the balance point on her is very, very fine. Her canter felt very good, though I'll be interested to do some more "dressagey" cantering in the next few days (ie: actually sitting on her back) and see how she responds, as that's usually when her weakness comes out most acutely. She definitely feels much straighter, though, and could even do some counter bending in the counter canter and still keep a nice, active step behind. Good girl!!
(Kiki's got a bit of a belly at the moment too! We're just two fat girls, trying to make it in this world =D)
(Thanks, Pa, for the awesome photos!)
With Ringo, I did four laps of the arena at trot, with a lap of walk break in between each. My balance needs to be in such a different place for him than it does for Kiki that I definitely flopped around a bit the first quarter or so of the ring!! He feels very relaxed but a bit heavy and stiff in the bridle, which isn't too surprising given his current strength and workload but still feels weird compared to the featherlight feel that I remember from before his injury. Still, I'd much rather have him be a little too heavy in the bridle than too light! He also feels wonderfully sound and even, which I can't be thankful for enough.
Afterwards, we came back to the hotel, changed, and then went for a run! My legs were absolutely dead from riding so it was a pretty hard run for me even though it was only three miles, but I still was proud with how cardiovascularly fit I felt and in my ability to stick it out despite my legs feeling like they literally had nothing more to give.
I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be an earrrlllly night tonight, and then it's up bright and early tomorrow morning for cross country day at Pine Top! It's going to be another exciting day for sure =)