Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Am A Travelin' Girl, Part II By Cat Hill

Last time I checked in I was heading down to the Pine Top Advanced. Now, here I am a month later getting ready to head out to Southern Pines. Time sure does fly! I’ve certainly been busy in the interim, logging a few thousand more miles on the old Subaru and spending a few more hours singing to the hound dog. (Don’t judge, after 13 hours in a car you might be a little nutty too!)

The Pine Top weekend was certainly a full one. I ate at Tako Sushi with my favorite Alabamian who showed up on that rainy Friday with much needed coffee.  I worked on one of my favorite event horses out there, a red-head named Houston who is simply the sweetest advanced Eventer I’ve ever met.  I got him looking a little extra special for his first trip down to Red Hills, and trust me, there is not another horse on this planet that I would stand behind while he’s loose in his paddock and pull tail hairs! It’s a little tricky trying to find the rhythm when I only appear for the shows, but the Surefire team runs quite smoothly so it’s really easy to walk in and get to work. It helps too that Jan has just lovely horses. I like every one of my charges in that barn but I must confess to having a little crush on that Syd Kent. Watching Bettina Hoy work with Jan and Syd was probably the highlight of the weekend, I love watching master class lessons. It lights a fire for my own riding and teaching and I tend to go home pretty charged up! Friday at Pine Top had me wondering if Eby’s float and did anyone have paddles? Saturday was bittersweet. Pirate was the Surefire teams’ first horse on course and Megan totally rocked it! Syd was next up and left the box looking like a superstar but got held shortly thereafter. It is always nerve wracking to have a hold with your horse and rider on course, we all want to see those ears come between those flags sooner rather than later. My heart went out to Megan Moore and her team for not getting that moment, and seeing Wyatt, Syd and Pirate on the trailer looking forward to another day made me want to give them as many cookies as they could eat. 

                  I bid farewell to SC again and trekked homewards. The hound was totally exhausted and snored the entire way to Virginia Beach where we spent some quality time with old friends for the night and then home on Monday to get on my horse and remind myself that I needed to hack him for a few days, not get on and try to channel Bettina right away! I skipped Red Hills since Jan was not going, and my other main client is recovering from surgery. Shannon Lilley and her “Ballingowan Pizzaz” or Mango, is another of my teams and although sidelined for a little while that woman is made entirely of iron held together by drive and I’m certain we will be travelling together again soon! So I spent Red Hills weekend prepping my young Event Team for their first outing of the season. Last weekend we loaded up and took 6 teenage girls and went to a schooling combined test. It’s quite an adjustment going from Kentucky prep to first ever combined test. It really reminds you of the roots of the sport. At some point every one of those Advanced riders rose their first dressage test in an open field. Our kids really did a great job and I was proud to be there with each and every one of them. A couple learned that staying in the dressage ring might be the hardest part of a Beginner Novice test, and that on certain horses you can’t take any jump for granted, but I think (hope?!) that every one of them left with a desire to do it again.

                  The next few weeks should be quite exciting, starting with Southern Pines, and then packing up the “Galloping Vet” Dr. Keane to move North. The next weekend is the first cross-country school with the Foxmoor Event Team and then heading straight to The Fork. Until then!

Cat Hill, is a free lance professional groom and rider. She most recently groomed for Shannon Lilley at the Pan Am Games.

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