Carolina International Re-cap

Bomber, Kelley, and Jean-Michel You can’t always get what you want… but if you try sometimes you get what you need.  Yep, that about sums up my trip to The Carolina International HT and CIC.  It was a great weekend and my horses came out of it better than we went in.  Bomber was lovely in the dressage but still has some improving to do to keep up with the big kids in the sand box but I could not have been happier with his performance there.  He  show jumped clean which was a great confidence booster for since we all know how I feel about show jumping!  He was a bit impressed by the size of the course but answered that by just jumping bigger!  Yay Bomber!  The cross country course was really nicely designed and I expected that as long as he settled in well over the first few he would have a good go.  The first water was known for not riding too well but B is very brave and honest where those things are concerned.  He jumped the first 7 fences really well, felling quite brave and aggressive which was a great feeling to get from him, since all I ever do any more is worry that I will ask him to do anything that will make him suffer a set back.  He was operating with about 110% confidence by the time we got to fence 8… now, let’s see how good your Bomber trivia is… fence 8 was a big hanging log angled over a big ditch… flashbacks anyone?  Well apparently Bomber was having some pretty stiff memories from out last big event (and our only big crash) at Millbrook in 2012 at an angle ditch and brush that he misinterpreted!  So after a strong approach he had a last minute lapse in his faith and ran out.  After regrouping from the surprise of what had just happened we re-approached, and with a little encouragement he went right on over… phew… but of course the very next jump was the nasty water.  We did crawl through this a bit, and with me being so overly concerned with how my boy was feeling I figured we would canter up the hill to the next confidence builder and then be done with the course for the day.  Bomber on the other hand landed in the water saw the uphill leading away took the bit and GALLOPED on… hmmm, maybe we would try one more jump… and one more… and before you know it he was back on track and feeling SUPER through the rest of the course.  SO the end of the story is that Bomber had some dragons to slay (angled ditch jumps will be schooled) and so did I (my horse is FINE and feeling strong) and we ended the weekend knowing right where we are which is something I have been waiting to find out about for a while now!  On to Fair Hill in April to see what improvements we can make!

Spotty had a fabulous first event back… man he loves his job!  He put in a really lovely dressage test and ran around the cross country like he never missed a day!  He is SO much fun to ride!  He did have one rail at the first fence in the show jumping ring but really out in a huge effort from there on.  This should be a really exciting year for him.  He just needs a bit more fitness and he will be on track to move up this spring.  So exciting!

SpottyWe also had the great fortune to get to spend some time working with Jean Michele Devoucoux and Vincent Eddahri of Devoucoux saddles to get some special pads made for my crooked little Spotty (this is his only imperfection I swear) so that his saddles now fit him beautifully AND we may have had a little fun enjoying Jean-Michel Devoucoux’s expertise at saddle design when it comes to my next dressage saddle… oooh soooo exciting!!!


Back to Muddy Maryland….

Bomber xc

Well we certainly had a whirl wind trip to Aiken that spanned weather conditions from freezing temps and ice, to close to 80 degrees and sunny.   I even got a little sun burned one day!  This year certainly had a different tone than past years with the ups and downs in the weather and the unpredictability of what I was going to get accomplished.  I normally pack my time with as many lesson, shows, hacks, and green monster smoothies as I can!  This year I just had to be a little more efficient with the days that did have good weather so I could still have a productive trip. 

Looking back,  I do feel pretty good about what we got done!  Spots got to get his baseline conditioning work started for the up coming spring season and even got to see a cross country jump or two.  Bomber got to get out to his first event in a year and a half and showed that he feels ready to take on the world!  Then there’s the bitter sweet news that barn favorite,  Luke, got sold!  Congratulations to Rhiannon Bosma on her purchase of a super star in the making and a HUGE thank you to Stephen for trusting me to help find this lovely horse his future!  All in all not bad for two weeks work!

Now we are looking ahead to the up coming spring (it is coming…..I am sure of this!) to see where Bomber wants to go…..  I am pretty sure he thinks Rolex should be on his docket this spring but for now we will have to be satisfied with one strong horse trial under our belt and a horse that seems not only to have maintained his good feel but might even be feeling a little better for it!  We are hopeful that Spots will get to take a stab at Prelim this spring, he seems to be really getting into the swing of things.    He will have a warm up run at Training Level at  The Carolina International Horse Trials in a few weeks to see how he is feeling about my big plans!

Fingers crossed that these sunny skies and warmer temperatures stick around so we can all get out there and do what we love to do!


Aiken is much more Aiken-like Now!

Back to life as we know it……..

I am finally willing and able to sit back down to make another post…..the last week has been totally wild!  I kept feeling like every time we would just about know what to expect we would get another curve ball, like, say, an earthquake????  Sure.  Why not….
We got through the week last week and made our preparations for my first horse trial of the season and for my first show with Luke….well, technically my first ride outside of an enclosed ring on Luke save one long walk, all while still having no power which meant dirty horses and no light to braid…..and no showers for the humans!

Here is the part where I will pause to thank some awesome people that made last week work.First and most important my mom for running the show at ABBF back in Maryland when she would really rather be here.  I know that without her things would have been completely out of control up there!  While I love and appreciate everyone who has helped out at the farm this week a lot of people wound up sick and or snowed in and my mom really had to step up and take over.  THANK YOU!!!!!!  My awesome husband and my dad for clearing the paths to get to the horses and keeping the kids entertained on their 5 day weekend!  And of course for Louisa, here in Aiken, for offering me the use of her SHOWER when we were several days in to the power outage.  Julia and Mary were fabulous company as we sorted our way through managing all the horses needs as well as our own to get through!

Now back to business……Luke had an outstanding debut under less than ideal circumstances, he was steady and relaxed in the dressage even with wild wind and wild horses everywhere.  He went cross country like he hadn’t missed a day of it….SO brave this horse.  Then he show jumped with more grace and composure than I expected only dropping one rail when his ding dong rider took…..oh, I don’t know, 5 too many tugs coming up a hill to an oxer.  Next weekend should be so much fun at Pine Top for his first Training level.  I can’t wait!
One last little memo for anyone who wasn’t sure…..Bomber still loves cross country.  Good gracious does that horse LOVE cross country.  We had our first school over solid obstacles in over a year today he is just so much fun.  I think he really missed it and is feeling quite pleased and proud this afternoon!  We are headed to Pine Top this weekend to run the Preliminary just to test out his legs and brain but I think we are going to have a really good time this spring!


Making the best of it…

Friday 2/14/14  – Kelley, Julia, and Mary lost power on Wednesday, and by last reports, it still wasn’t back on.  But today was warmer so the horses got to be naked and they could collect water melting off the roof of the barn.  Resourceful ladies!

Catching WaterI hope they get power soon!  I can’t even imagine how many layers of clothing they are wearing at night to be comfortable enough to sleep.  Chin up girls!  Each day gets warmer and warmer!


Adventures in Icy South Carolina…

2/12/14  Now there is ice……BUT we do have power for now! The horses are spending the day in today because of all the ice and Bomber is none too happy to be out of his paddock where he can roll to his hearts content.  Luke is happily napping and Spots just wants to nibble on everyone and everything!  They all did get out to stretch their legs yesterday though and I hope that by tomorrow afternoon we should be able to get out again.

Not Cool....-Kelley

Tuesday 2/11/14 in South Carolina

Well… things are not starting out exactly the way I had envisioned.  The forecast in Aiken is for rain today and heavy icing tomorrow.  I don’t think I will be getting that hack or cross country school in today or anytime soon.  I know I can’t complain since at home the are calling for 6 inches (or more) of snow from this same system.  I will truly be happy to bid this winter goodbye!
On the up side Bomber, Spots, and Luke did get to go out for a few hours yesterday after we arrived with no clothing to weigh them down and no rutted frozen footing to bruise their feet… this was cause for much celebrating!

Naked Ponies!
Looking ahead, things get much better weather wise by the end of the week and into next week too!  I will ride today however, that is what they make rain pants for!


July Wrap Up!

Diablo GuapoThings have been heating up around ABBF this month!  Not only have we faced some seriously HOT weather but I feel like the slow start we had to the spring and summer finally boiled off and things are finally in full swing around here!  Bomber is slowly making his return to work after his rather extended vacation and he is feeling SUPER!  I can’t wait to see how he comes through the fall so we can hopefully make some plans for next year.  Spotty felt that Bomber shouldn’t be the only one lounging about so he saw it appropriate to take a few weeks off for a minor injury as well, but all indications are that he is ready for the fall competition season to get going!  I am so excited to see what we can get done after having such a fun spring. 

The most exciting update from the month of July is perhaps about Po who went to his first show, a combined test at the lovely Southwind Farm in Damascus, MD, and he won!  He was such a professional, sleeping at the trailer all afternoon and bopping around the show jumping course like he has been doing it all his life.  Better even still, this past weekend he made his eventing debut at Full Moon Farm’s Aloha HT.  He jumped around what I considered to be a pretty tough beginner novice course to finish on his dressage score and in second place!  He is turning out to be such a lovely horse that is the perfect prospect for just about any discipline.  Such and easy going guy and he is certainly uncomplicated enough to be someone’s first green bean to bring along!  I feel very lucky to have him in my barn.  See some new videos posted on the sales page.

The last, but not least bit of exciting news for July, has been the addition of a lovely 3 yo TB gelding (thank you once again to the fabulous Jen Johnston and Leslie Molinari for putting us together).  TateHis name is “Very Tasteful” aka “Tate”… yes that is the name of my youngest son but you just try convincing the most stubborn child on the planet that it might be “weird” to have a horse in the barn with same name!  In any case, watch for this one in the future, we think he is going places!!!


Sales Horse Diablo Guapo Update!

First Baby XC School!


A post discussing the awesomeness of ABBF sale horse Diablo Guapo (aka “Po”) is long overdue, but first I want to congratulate Ashleigh Horton who bought Mesonic  from us about a month ago.  He is a super kind and willing horse and I know they  are going to have SO much fun together.  We brought Po and Mesonic home at the  same time and they both were so quick to show what lovely horses they are.  We have had our hands on Po for a bit longer so he has started some jumping under saddle including a little bit of cross country!  An absolute delight to work with, he eats up every new task and experience.  Just this past week we took him out to the baby x/c field to see what he thought about that!  It was such a pleasant surprise that he didn’t even bat an eye at popping over the handful of jumps we have!   He has a  huge personality that keeps everyone on the farm entertained.  Just the right mix of confidence and playfulness to make him the kind of horse I love to work with.  Not to mention that loves being groomed and snuggled.  He is certain he can do anything you ask him to…  and most likely a little better than anyone else.  He isn’t quite sure why I haven’t decided to  keep him yet, just like I did with his 1/2 brother Spots.  I won’t say it’s not  tempting BUT we certainly cannot hold on to ever nice horse that comes through  the barn, even if we wish we could!  So if you are looking for an exciting and  fun prospect for eventing or really just about anything check this boy out!  I am  certain he will not disappoint!


First hack off the farm (Nic and Po)

On a super cold day last week, Kel and I took the newbies for their first hack off the property.   No older chaperone needed as these two are just so mellow.  You can see Nic’s ears and Po’s nice rump :-).   And yes, Kel is riding in her Carhartts, it was that cold.  Come on spring!

-KimNic and Po on their first off the property hack!