Aiken, SC

Hello all from sunny Southern Carolina! 

This is my first time staying in this state and I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far! I was invited down here for a couple weeks to ride and train with Sally Cousins who is currently the Leading Lady Rider for United States Eventing. She's held this title 6 times now and is by far a fantastic trainer and rider! When I was invited down to ride with her I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity! 

I decided to bring Lucky and my working student, Emily Springer, along with me to help out grooming for the week and puppy sitting for both Foxy and the newest member of our family, 9week old black lab, Kimber. Emily and I were supposed to leave on Feb. 16th, though due to ice, snow, tornado warnings, and frigid temps our trip leave date got postponed until this past Saturday. 4:30AM Saturday morning both of us got up, loaded up the car with bags, dogs and junk food, hooked up the trailer, wrapped Lucky and loaded her up and hit the road! Finally a week later! Better late than never!  

The nine hour drive turned into thirteen hours with multiple gas stops, puppy potty breaks and Lucky watering breaks. Though we finally arrived late Saturday night around 9pm to a dark barn where we unloaded Lucky and headed back to our motel room in Aiken that we are sharing with another fellow rider, Beth! Now the motel accommodations aren't the best, smells like the building hasn't been aired out in many years and there are some sketchy characters staying/living here, but we have beds and a hot shower each night which is appreciated! 

Sunday was the first day of riding for myself and Lucky, I opted not to lesson that day knowing that Lucky would probably be a little crazy, I was right. We warp nine trotted around the giant field for a solid hour, then cantered for awhile till she finally felt like a normal horse again. The whole "no fenced arena area" thing really threw her for a loop! She got a full scrubby bath that day and we spent some of the afternoon watching Sally teach some of her other students. 

Monday was my first lesson at 2:30pm. I was tacked up and on warming up a solid 40 minutes before thinking Lucky might still be crazy, sure enough I rode a fire breathing dragon the entire warmup and lesson. Though we did start to establish a good beginning to some counter canter work and small collection work which was nice! 

Today was another beautiful day at almost 70 degrees, a little breezy but we couldn't complain! We watched Sally school some of her own horses in the morning while lazily sitting in the sun and soaking up some great Vitamin D. Then at 3:30pm I had my second lesson of the week. Another flat lesson, only this one started out with a nice quiet walk warmup and I rode my normal horse today!  Lucky was much better and quieter, having finally settled with the idea that there are no fences around the rings. We worked on some great medium trot work and established a better collected canter today while working on some 10 meter circles, finishing with some great leg yields and counter canter work again. 

It's off to bed now but we'll keep everyone updated for the week as the week progresses! Look for more blogs soon! 

Paetra :)