Adult Rider Camp and Southern Pines I. What could go wrong?
As most of you know, I went to Southern Pines for the Adult Rider camp and to ride in the Southern Pines I HT. For those of you who have never been to Southern Pines, it is a lovely, lovely part of the country.
It was sad to see so many horse farms in Vass, NC, which is where the camp was held, for sale. If anyone wants a ready made farm in an eventing mecca, then go look there. There are drool worthy farms for sale, everywhere.
The folks with whom we stayed and boarded Tess were wonderful. Aggie and David Cohen have a small farm and were generous to rent us a room. The board for Tess included a 12x12 stall and turn out in a pasture. Kate and Jim, from PA, also stayed at the Cohen's for the week.
Linda Dreher and Suda McNeill did a great job putting together the camp. Suda cooked all of the lunches and dinners, which were yummy. She rode in the lessons, too. I have no clue how she did both? I was exhausted just riding in the two a day lessons.
Jeannette Van Mill, Becca Vick, Gina Fiore, Mari Secrist and Nancy Lindroth were terrific instructors! I learned that Tess can march off in walk to trot transitions, by using her hind legs correctly (thanks Jeanette!). She can do shallow to deep bending lines at the canter, without going lateral in her canter (thanks Becca!). I learned that you can get your correct pace cross country to music (thanks Mari!) "Ride, Ride, Ride, Let it Ride" by Bachman Turner Overdrive. I learned that Tess can jump like a horse entered in the $250,000 Hunter Classic (thanks Gina!). Finally, I learned that conditioning in 3-4" sand does not compute with working in the 5-7" sand in the Sandhills of NC.
By the end of the fourth day of camp, Tess had strained tendons in all four legs. Megan Ross, DVM, did a chiro visit on Thursday, then rechecked Tess on Friday. She said to scratch the event. She said that the strains were related to the footing.
Since I could not ride in the HT, my DH volunteered as a dressage runner. I stayed home, so that I could cold hose and hand walk several times during the day on Saturday.
The drive home took over 10 hours. We got lost trying to find 421 to Greensboro, so lost an hour, plus the hour that we lost in the DST time change. I guess that it was fitting for a mixed bag of a trip. My DH said that it was "snake bit" from the start.
My good friend, who posts on COTH as Mtnmomma, fell on the first day of camp and fractured her Femur. She had to have surgery to put in a plate and screws. She broke some ribs, too. She spent the week in the hospital and had to scratch the HT, too. Please send out some jingles and prayers for her to heal well?
Since there is no way for me to condition for deep sand, I will not be going back to the Southern Pines area. I am sorry that I never made it to the event. I wanted to meet all of the COTH'ers. I especially missed ACMeventing's welcome wagon!
Oh wow, sorry Auburn! What a week, it sounds like you could have REALLY used something from the traveling COTH cooler. I asked around about you (twist of fate helped look too). Sorry we didn't meet.
Hope your horse heals up lickity split. The sand can be deep for sure, but it isn't deep all the time at all the venues, so I hope it doesn't put you off from us forever. For instance, the footing at CHP is fantastic (this from the person that events 2 horses with bare feet).
Big jingles to your friend with the broken femur, hope she gets well soon.
Sorry that had to happen, Auburn! I hope your girlie feels better after some cold hosing and R+R and I'm glad you at least got something out of adult riding camp. I've heard such wonderful things about Southern Pines. I had brunch with cother Jen-s yesterday and got the lowdown on the event, so she has successfully convinced me to come to The Fork in April! Fingers crossed travel & hotel arrangements work out! Jen also mentioned how ridiculously cheap apartment rentals are in the area, and I'm now contemplating it for my internship which I have to do in the NC School system next year.
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
If I'm reading your post correctly, you rode in two lessons a day? That could also have contributed to your horse's strains. Any horse used to once/day, going to twice/day in a clinic situation, could get sore, never mind if the footing changes and makes the work harder.
You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng
Blugal: The first, fourth and last day were single lesson days. Of course, we did not do the last two days. Day 2 was a dressage and SJ day, which I thought was doable. The hardest was day 3, which was SJ and cross country. It started raining just as my SJ lesson was done, so I did cross country at Mari's in the rain. I did bow out of the last part of the lesson, because I thought that it might be too much. Day 4 was cross country at Tamarack. Tess became lame that day.
Before I left for NC, I was conditioning up to an hour, with 4 minute trot sets, 2 minute walk, 4 trot, etc. etc. These were added on to either another 20 minutes of dressage or jumping. I did conditioning days 3xweek. The other two days were 45 minutes of walk, plus dressage. Since the ground has been so wet in KY, most of the work was done in a sand arena. It has 3-4" of sand in it. I felt like Tess and I were fit enough, but not used to the depth of the sand in the Sandhills of NC.
Every farm that was used for lessons during camp is linked by sandy trails or a wide sandy berm on the main road. The sand on the trails was 5-7" deep, too.
An analogy would be for you to go for a jog on a beach. If you do it close to the water, then it is not as hard on your legs, because the sand is packed harder. If you jog in the deeper sand, then you will definitely feel the difference. I imagine that it is much the same for a horse.
Well, there are certainly spots of deep sand, but it's definitely not 5-7" everywhere. I've only seen sand that deep in a few spots, and they were easy to go around. Two lessons a day is tough on a horse, for sure. I hope your pony heals up fine.
I'm sorry you and your horse did not have the best time, but glad you could visit our little bit of paradise
tle: I am sending jingles and healing prayers for MtnMomma, too! She is an amazing lady.
FairWeather: Tess was not the only horse who ended up with some lameness issues. The other horses were not native to NC, either. Your area of the country is beautiful! I believe if we had the opportunity to slowly get used to the deeper sand, then we would probably have been fine. Since Dr. Megan Ross told me that Tessie's injuries are "footing related", then this is on what I have based my information.
Are you located in Vass or have you ridden the trails that connect the farms there? If you were at the camp, would you please send me a PM? I would love to get your impressions of the instructors, with whom I did not get a chance to ride.
I have entered Spring Bay. I have Rocky Mason, a Vet from Hagyard, coming out on Thursday to see if Tess is OK to go. If not, then I can scratch before next Tuesday and still get a refund. If we cannot run, then my DH and I will volunteer to be jump judges. Mary and Carolyn can always use the help.
Just a guess, but the cost of land in Moore County is high for NC, though it's probably still attractive for those coming down from the Great North. Also the property taxes are pretty astronomical. Which is probably why so many people seem to be building in Hoke County near CHP these days.
Also I think Aiken has also become more of "the place" to be during the winter months, though there's still a solid schedule of schooling events and many ULRs in Southern Pines pretty much year-round.
"Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn't make sense!"
A buddy is trying to lure me to Vass, NC. The many farms for sale there help, too.
Besides the deep sand, what's wrong with the place that so many farms are for sale?
Looks too good to be true, eh?
I know of one situation where the aging owners are simply getting out of horses and ready to downsize from their gorgeous Vass horse farm. I lived there for a year, wish I could go back! Never had an issue with the footing as it only seemed deep in certain areas of the foundation and trails, but I probably never did anything as strenuous as the adult camp!
I know that one of the farms was bought and built by someone for their daughters to ride. It has an outdoor arena, a covered arena, barns, trails and jumps. The daughters moved on to other interests, so the farm is for sale.
The economy hurt a lot of the folks there, too. Of course, everything is relative. One of the lovely farms is going, at a loss, for $650,000. Even at that price, we still could not afford to buy it.
On a good note, all of Tessie's legs were cold today. I will take her out tomorrow and jog her down in the arena. Dr. Mason will still have to give me the go ahead for the next events, but things are starting to look up.