Madlen (Lesesne) and Melissa (Lempicki) competed at Full Gallop in the Beginner Novice on the weekend before Stable View. Madlen was able to complete her first recognized show and get over all the jumps and Melissa came in second. I’ve been lucky to have Madlen, a student of Mimi Combs who’s here for her J-Term, helping me this winter, and also 15-year-old Alissa Recapito, who’s doing school and working for me as well. Alissa was second on Bonnie After Dark in ONB.
Aiken’s so great because I could compete at Stable View Tuesday and Wednesday and have all my students compete on the weekend at Sporting Days. I was back at Sporting Days February 5th and Alissa did Training, and other than having a little blond moment in dressage, she jumped great. Madlen was hugely improved from her first show, jumped all the jumps the first time and improved her dressage by 12 points. I’m so proud of her! The Lichten sisters did their first show of the year and Katie was first on Luminati and Maddie was second on Yarrow. Both rode quite well even though there was a little dressage confusion in terms of which test they learned. There’s always something, it’s how you handle it that counts!
I rode Francesca’s young horse, Cooley High Flyer, in the Training and he won from start to finish. I’m quite proud of him. I also had the pleasure of riding the Lichten’s young horse, Kortina, in the Beginner Novice and she won her first event. We have to celebrate while we can because these things don’t happen that often. Madlen was tenth in the division.
After having a full weekend, I went to a rated dressage show on Wednesday and did a first level test with my three training horses, Elvis, Volcan and Dashwood. Elvis won and the other two tied for second. It was my first show in almost three years with JR (Inmidair) and he was fourth in First Level test 1. He was quite excited!
I had a really good jump school with Phillip in preparation for Pine Top and on the weekend competed. The three Training horses were pretty good except for poor Elvis, who was going cross-country when the train was going through the back of farm. He was so nervous—it was a huge train! What’s the likelihood of that happening? There are things you just can’t control and you have to deal with them.
Francesca ran in the Preliminary with her horse, Petit Blue Marine, and had a good learning weekend as far as making sure she could stay in rhythm and practice the details. Eventing this time of year is like spring training for baseball! The Lichten girls were great and they continue to ride well and improve every time. Their horses have come out this year stronger than ever. Katie was second and Maddie fifth in quite a competitive JYOP division. The highlight of my winter so far is that I got to do Preliminary on my good friend, JR. He put in a really nice dressage test although was quite excited for show jumping. I just let him go around cross-country conservatively because he was so excited—it’s the first time he’s run since Kentucky three years ago. JR’s such a pleasure to ride and such a great cross-country horse, we couldn’t take the smiles off our faces!
As you can tell, it’s been an exciting three weeks in Aiken. We have a couple horses at Paradise this weekend and then Pine Top Advanced. I have no major plans for JR—every day I get to ride him is a bonus, and it’s nice to see him so happy, a good reminder of why we do this.