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Totally envious of all you Aiken and Southern Pines spring-schoolers. Questions!

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  • Totally envious of all you Aiken and Southern Pines spring-schoolers. Questions!

    It seems like every year I see more and more FB postings and pictures of people I know having an AWFULLY good time going to Aiken, or Southern Pines, or some such early-spring horsey mecca to do some schooling. And I envy you all with a deep and bitter envy!

    What gives, people? Is there a memo I didn't get? How do you all arrange these trips? Where do you stay? Where do you school? Who arranges these trips, and can I come next year?

    This winter sucked the life out of me--no time off, no little escapes from reality. We're going on a family vacation in April, but by then it will be somewhat nice out and I'll be itching to get to my first horse show. Next year I've semi-promised myself that I will take my horse and run away from home for a week in March, and someplace like So. Pines or Aiken, while not CLOSE, is a lot closer than Ocala.

    It sure would be a lot more fun to go with some people I know, even through COTH. Who's got the scoop?

    Click here before you buy.

  • #2
    I am going to do Camp Denny next year. I'm saving up now. That leads right into Southern Pines I, where we can test how much we learned!

    There is also an adult camp run by the Carolina Horse Park some time in March with lots of instructors.

    There is a Hilton Garden Inn in Pinehurst that is very reasonable, has a kitchen, serves breakfast, and comes with multiple bedrooms. I've shared with COTHers before! We should totally do it.
    "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" Barack Obama


    • Original Poster

      Great info, thank you! Keep it coming. Going to look at CHP and Tamarack websites for camp info . . .
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        We love Aiken. Lots to do as far as training, we are nowhere close to showing when we go. Great XC schooling with excellent footing. Aiken can be a little chilly, but it's closer and less of a climate change for our horses the two weeks we are there. Lots of eventers around. It's a commitment, the drive is stressful (what else is new) but it's a great start to blow the rust off.


        • #5
          DW - There's Denny's camp, then the Southern Pines Adult Camp, which I think is what HiJump is thinking of. The Southern Pines camp is typically the week prior to Southern Pines HT I, which is held at CHP.

          If you do seriously consider coming to NC and neither camp's dates work for you, it would be very easy to rent a stall/paddock and trailer down the road to a different ULR every day, or pick one and do an intensive week or so at their barn. Everyone here is very used to snowbirds!

          There's a very helpful and active Facebook page (Sandhills Area Equestrians) where you can put out feelers for stabling.
          "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!"


          • #6
            Yes, that is what I meant. Thanks Scaramouch. And yes, SHAE group is a great source of knowledge. Lots of people will rent paddocks and stalls (including Denny) if you do the non-organized lesson plan. Which is totally fun. And just Moss Foundation riding is enough to occupy me for a week!
            "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" Barack Obama


            • #7
              It's easy to rent a stall and trailer out to ride with whomever you like. Full Gallop rents dry stalls, has a full XC course, and pros coming in all the time - I think either Stephen Bradley or Sally Cousins is based there for the winter. Also easy to hook up with any of the pros and board with them, ranging from self to full care, depending on who you're with I think. I would recommend planning on sending your horse for at least 2 weeks, especially if it's a long haul. Just one week is not nearly enough to take advantage of all the xc courses, hacking, clinics, shows etc! Also most pros will keep your horse legged up if you are only able to come yourself for part of the time. Aiken really is amazing and very much worth it if you can swing it IMHO. The footing is out of this world. It doesn't matter what the temp is - it's still fluffy. Amazing.


              • #8
                An aiken trip isn't really that hard to put together...this was the 5th year I've done it, and there are lots of housing/stabling/schooling options. I go for about a week to a week and a half (all I can get away from work). We stable at Jumping Branch...so we have access to xc schooling right there...and usually get out to Sandy Hills to school, as well as to whatever course is open after their event that week. There are lots of instructor options...just depends on your preference. I usually stay at the Days Inn in town...cheap, clean, has internet/microwave/fridge/breakfast...but there are lots of housing options too!
                ~Drafties Clique~Sprite's Mom~ASB-loving eventer~
                www.gianthorse.photoreflect.com ~ http://photobucket.com/albums/v692/tarheelmd07/


                • #9
                  Not to rain on your parade, but . . . . .

                  DW: I am in the same camp, every year I fixate on all the fun they are having and can't figure out why I can't go. But here are the logistical problems I have run into:

                  1. My horse is not used to temperatures or twice a day rides. Can't change the temp issues. Last year I took him to AL and had to body clip him, he was sore and miserable from the trailer ride and never got into a groove. I couldn't get that much training done b/c he was just not up to the workload.

                  2. See Auburn's post on what the sand did to her horse at CHP.

                  3. When I come back, I still am not able to get in fields, so lose all advantage of conditioning I might have had.

                  4. Snowstorms on travel days, serious possibility here. (My weather is considerably worse than yours).

                  One year I went south in the fall to extend my season. Liked that much better!! (last HT here is 1st weekend of OCT).
                  Last edited by pheasantknoll; Mar. 17, 2013, 07:09 PM. Reason: more info


                  • #10
                    It's a gift

                    I live in NC, but I am broke. I have a really awesome mom and while she doesn't have a lot of money either, she gave me 10 days of staying with awesome trainer here as an Xmas present. I took the time off work and am living in pretend world where everything is horsies and eventing. They make me go back to reality on Thursday. :-(

                    So for me, this is probably a once in a lifetime thing, I am soaking up everything I can, because it is certainly not something I could do on my own.
                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                    We Are Flying Solo


                    • #11
                      Just to correct, Auburn was not at CHP. And while I am sorry Auburn had problems with the sandy footing here, there are lots and lots of folks who head south to SoPo or Aiken and never have those problems.

                      DW - anytime you want to head this direction, let me know. I can arrange housing and stabling for you easy peasey.



                      • #12
                        Denny's camp runs *after* SP1.
                        I love both, and am lucky enough to live in SoPines and go to Aiken regularly during the winter. Love both!
                        As for the "footing" issues that someone experienced--sorry, it's far fetched that our "deep" sand was the cause. I was ALL over that area int he last three days and found exactly three patches of sand that was roughly schooling-ring depth. The rest was completely packed sand.
                        Thousands of people ride in this sand with zero problems, in fact, many flock to both towns strictly FOR the footing.


                        • #13
                          Ditto what pegasusmom said, DW. Probably the best thing to do would be to pick the calendar dates that you can get away and go from there. I can give you lots of numbers of great resources and you can fill in the blanks with which lessons on which days (as can quite a few of our COTH family).

                          Not sure which would be preferable - stabling at a neutral site and going to different trainers? or stabling and training at the same site for the duration?

                          Of course if you decide to do the NC route instead of Aiken you are welcome to a paddock and futon at my place anytime. I'd tell you it's BYOB but it'd be a lie, I always have a plentiful supply
                          Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                          The Grove at Five Points


                          • #14
                            I used to be jealous too but then last year a group of people I know went down.

                            They went for 10 days I think and they had fun, but when they came back they still had 2 months before the next show, so they didn't really get a "jump" on their season. They were also doing lower levels so not sure about the point there..

                            We also had a very mild winter last year, so I was doing as much riding as them without the travel and $$$

                            I feel like if you're not going down for a big chunk of time, or at least sending your horse down for a big chuck of time, it's not really worth it.


                            • #15
                              This was my second year going. My horse stays at my trainer's farm at her daily rate and I go out every day for a lesson and a hack (and get on any other horses I can finagle a ride on that day). My friends and I arranged housing in downtown Aiken. Last year it was only three of us so we rented a little two bedroom apartment. This year more people joined the fun so we rented a really nice four bedroom townhouse. Both times we were walking distance from downtown, Hitchcock woods, etc.

                              On a typical Aiken day I woke up, had a leisurely breakfast, and drove out to the farm. I usually spent a few hours at the farm riding, cleaning tack, and watching other lessons. In the evening we all met back at the house and took turns cooking dinner. Last year I went on runs in the morning, this year it was colder and I'm a fair weather runner

                              Of course there were plenty of non-typical days... xc schooling at Gibbes, Wednesday CT at Apple Tree, Full Gallop HT... And you have to hit up Hotel Aiken's bar for karaoke night! Last year we saw Will Coleman and Doug Payne there. You also have to do dinner at Takosushi. MMmmmmmm.

                              This year I was able to send my horse down before me, so he got a full two weeks while I was there for ten days. I consider it a vacation, and probably my only one for this year. It was worth it!
                              The big guy: Lincoln

                              Southern Maryland Equestrian


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ACMEeventing View Post

                                Not sure which would be preferable - stabling at a neutral site and going to different trainers? or stabling and training at the same site for the duration?
                                Personally I find it much more cost effective to stable and train at the same place. My daily rate was a little less than the cost of a lesson. Since I got a lesson almost every day with my trainer AND awesome full care board on top of it, this made the most sense by far.

                                If you're only planning on having a few lessons and spending the rest of your time riding on your own then maybe staying at a neutral site makes sense.
                                The big guy: Lincoln

                                Southern Maryland Equestrian


                                • #17
                                  Good point Duckz. It's also smart use of $$$ when you can audit other lessons while away.
                                  Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                                  The Grove at Five Points


                                  • #18
                                    No, doesn't really give you a start on the season, but having 10 days of no mud, warmer temps, being able to ride every day, xc schooling in multiple places, horsey places to visit and do every day, hacking out . My vacation for the year. Makes the 10 hour drive worth it.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Exactly, EC! I am a very, very casual competitor so "gearing up" for show season for me is a matter of loading up and going. For this sort of trip I won't have anything more on my agenda than getting away with my horse and my doggie and to have no beeper and no stethoscope for a while.

                                      I definitely appreciate that my horse would have to be fit enough to make it worthwhile but that is not too hard as we have an indoor where I do my winter boarding. And yeah, winter storms are always a possibility--all the more reason to get the hell out of town! If I had to I'd use a commercial shipper but I'm pretty comfortable with long drives, even in the snow.

                                      Ten days would be an absolute MAXIMUM for me work-wise.

                                      Thank you all for the great insights and suggestions! It is definitely starting to stick in my head as something to do for sure.

                                      Are there any/many H/J shows going on down there during March? I love to go watch some nice hunters.
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by elizabeth Callahan View Post
                                        No, doesn't really give you a start on the season, but having 10 days of no mud, warmer temps, being able to ride every day, xc schooling in multiple places, horsey places to visit and do every day, hacking out . My vacation for the year. Makes the 10 hour drive worth it.

                                        I agree!!!

                                        Make any mistakes going forward!