For those who have not been on social media for the prior two weeks, I am finally in one of my favorites towns with my two best, make that three best mates counting Huckle!
After holding out on PTO, I took the complete week off of work so that I could lesson with one of my coaches/mentors Allison Springer before competing in my first 3-star at Morven Park. So, only a few hours past intended start-time I pulled out of the barn in Newnan, Georgia with two ponies, a puppy, and a packed trailer. Of course between the casual missed turns, gas stops, and slow-driving habit I arrived at Beverly Equestrian at 11:30 yesterday evening. Fortunately the horses are troopers and drank plenty of water thanks to their sponsor, Pure Form Equine who keeps us packed with Chia biscuits that I double up on before a long trip!
I pulled into the Little River Inn, which completely encompasses the warm and travel-back in time feel that you want when you pull into Loudon County. (Complete with two fox spottings in five minutes. I take that as good luck!)
Today, Tuesday I sped back to the barn winding through Zulla Road after a quick stop at The Common Ground, my favorite coffee shop. You must order the ciabatta breakfast sandwich and be on your best behavior because you never know what famous rider will walk in behind you!
After hacking one of Allison’s Advanced horses on the most beautiful estate, Beverly Equestrian, I checked on my ponies before heading back into town to do a little shopping before my afternoon lessons. The key word is “little shopping.”
My first stop was the Middleburg Tack Exchange which is a bi-level consignment tack store. I have bought two beautiful used high-end saddles from the shop already so was excited to make some great finds. I came away with a Scrim and New stirrup leather for a quarter of the cost.
Within walking distance is The Tack Box, which carries Barbour, Tailored Sportsman, Deniro, & Sergio Grasso. Did I walk away with a pair of Sergio Grasso tall boots?! Perhaps. I’d been pining for a pair for years, and after one slip on my foot, I could already forsee marching across my first 3-star show-jump walk in these darlings. #noregrets
The daydream was short-lived after walking to my truck after shopping and lunch at The Upper Crust because right on my windshield was a fat ticket. #someregrets.
Concern set aside, I finally pulled back into Beverly Equestrian where Allison keeps her horses for my first lesson. Frye and I took a twenty-minute hack across the farm and met Allison down at the dressage ring. Again day-dreams of practicing perfect half-passes pushed aside initially. Straightness, connection, and all the things that Three-star riders are supposed to do, I have not been doing. Super Frye and I had to quickly attempt to pull all of this together, and made it out alive. PSA: Expensive boots do not improve your dressage skills.
Fortunately, Dancer was next on my roster, so I pulled out my jump saddle to take a long trail ride through the woods and knock off some conditioning work. AKA, rest my brain and body from the prior hour. Then, from the office I hear, “Let me know when your next one is tacked up, and we’ll head to the dressage ring!” Oh, dear. I had asked if time was available for a dressage lesson with Dancer as well… Dancer marched down to the ring, and then single-handedly navigated his way back to the barn with his jelly-like rider. I vent, but I really think some of the instruction was starting to stick by the end!
Fast-forward a shower, a coke, Pad Thai, and a glass of wine, I feel like jelly. I am not completely sure my legs are working, but my fingers fortunately have not lost feeling yet, so I can keep typing to you this adventure I am on.
Tomorrow, we jump. Thank you Jesus.
Over the next week, I will attempt to keep everyone in the loop. I want to do a completely synopsis and review of what training exercises we have worked on. Stay tuned!