Whew, what a weekend!!!!
Congratulations to the following students on a more-than-exceptional Chicken Event:
Joan Parker and Lola
Sandy Blancher and Essa
Maddy Helier and Dime
Debi Clark and Bells
Faith Redmond and Soleil
Hannah Hunsaker and Nito
Sara Windley and Grace Kelly
Mary Howell and Pete
Mavis Quarles and Hero
And our adopted friend Stephanie Abbey!
Firstly, I’ll acknowledge all of your successes individually:
Joan and Lola had their first jump coarse, during which Joan successfully directed and rode her pony to a very well organized round.  They ended the weekend in the middle of the grasshopper pack, and had lots of enlightening moments to help them both at the next show:)
Sandy and Essa had progressed leaps and bounds since their first show experience last summer, and this was evident in their dressage test and stadium round.  Sandy and Essa ended up receiving one of the lowest dressage scores in our group!  However, the two will be working on their cross-country communication for Golden Spike because while Essa kicked up her heels on XC, Sandy unfortunately landed in the dirt!  Oh well, that’s why we love this sport: all three phases have to sync up during the same weekend!
Maddy Helier and Dime ended up with a First Place ribbon for their exceptional first show!  Dime helped teach Maddy the ropes as Maddy is new to eventing, and the result was a very happy pair.  We expect to see some amazing things from these two in the future!
Debi Clark and Bells had three really beautiful phases this weekend and I was very proud of them both!  Their successes at The Chicken Event are the result of all of their hard work over the winter, and their countless hours at the barn have begun to pay off.  Debi and Bells ended up in 6th place in the Grasshopper division, even though their gallop across the finish line was certainly eventful!!
Faith and Soleil have been working on ‘putting everything together’ in the dressage ring, and during this event, Faith and Soleil had quite a connection.  This harmony between the two continued into the stadium warmup where Faith had some ‘ah hah!’ moments with her fabulous pony, and as the two of them gain show experience together, Faith will begin to continue this connection into the show ring as well.  Faith and Soleil demonstrated the joy of riding from one’s leg!:)
Hannah and Nito have started their show season off with a bang!  After one of the nicest dressage tests I’ve ever seen the pair do, they continued to a bouncy and balanced show jumping and a foot-perfect cross-country.  Hannah and Nito are working on building up the tools that will allow them to successfully move beyond Novice, but in the meantime, they’re happy to take 3rd place in the Novice Division as well.  Well done!
Sara and Grace Kelly also had some great moments over the weekend.  While Golden Spike seems to get Grace Kelly a little revved up, Sara worked throughout the day on prioritizing Grace Kelly’s balance even though GK would have rather acted a little ‘irresponsible’!  The result of all of their hard working during dressage and stadium was that by the end of the day, the two completed a very balanced cross-country ride, and it was this type of balance that had been the goal all along!  I guess XC is the reason we do this sport, right?
Mary and Peter Pan have also opened the season with a bang, finishing The Chicken Event with two killer jump rounds and a 6th Place ribbon.  Mary and Pete spent last year at Intro, and after many months of applying impulsion and balance to their jumping, they’re beginning to see the results.  Keep and eye out for these two at Golden Spike…after they work some more on their dressage, right Mary?;)
Mavis and Hero, on their home course, were awesome!  Novice Level has been a serious goal for Mavis for a while, and I’m pleased to announce that the two were certainly in their element at this level.  Mavis spent the day really riding hard, and this includes a daring finale over the last cross-country fence when Mavis’s stirrup fell off and the two jumped the last fence stirrup-less.  Mavis and Hero are both my heroes!!!
Finally, Stephanie Abbey joined us from Jackson Hole with her adorable 22 year old Chestnut gelding.  They both schooled really well the day before the show, and during the show, they worked on using Stephanie’s leg as a base of support for both horse and rider.  As Stephanie practiced riding deliberately and providing her horse with support and guidance, the change in the pair was really fun to watch!  By the end of the day, after all that riding from her leg, Stephanie and Tai were tired and didn’t get to play on the cross-country course!:(  But they have lots of good things to work on and they’ll be serious competitors at The Pumpkin Event!
Congratulations to everyone!  I’m really proud to be part of this program, and you all continue to amazing me, daily, with your hard work, dedication, and progress.  Oh…and I may have mentioned already: I’m not the only one to notice these things…the Eventing community notices as well:)
A special thanks to our support crew: Connie, Mike, Susan, and Lisa- love youuuu!!!:)