Wednesday, May. 29, 2024

Blogger Elly Schobel

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OK, so I am probably the oldest pony rider in history, but it is just so much fun! My partner in crime is Foxcry Nicodemus, "Nick" (or a few other chosen names I will not repeat in public) for short. He stands VERY confidently at 12.1 hands, and let me tell you, he feels a lot taller than that. More times then I care to admit, I have jumped off him, only to hit the ground with my behind first—he just looks around with this expression of "DUH, again?!"

March 29th through 30th offered the last of the five USEF High Performance Eventing Training sessions, held either at Three Runs Plantation or Paradise Farm, both here in Aiken, S.C.

Katie Prudent was coaching our top eventers this time, concentrating on gymnastics as well as the controlled approach to fences.

The groups were split up in 3 to 4 riders, many of whom brought numerous horses. Imagine you had to ride in a group consisting of Phillip Dutton, Kim Severson and Doug Payne—talk about intimidating.

Yesterday was one of the reasons why I LOVE living in South Carolina—a balmy 83 degrees, bright blue skies, perfect footing and, oh yes, it is the end of February!

So instead of working on our new Grand Prix freestyle, my beloved Andalusian stallion Oyente' and I joined the fun-loving and highly entertaining Charlotte Nagle, Heather Carlson, Susan Trotter and Arden Mason for a leisurely hack. And yes, it was a blast.

A number of years ago, I decided to breed two of my competition mares (one successful thru FEI, the other in-hand) to one of my favorite stallions, with hopes for two healthy equine athletes. Well, fast forward a few years and here we are—starting those youngsters under saddle.

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Pine Top Farm in Thompson, Ga., has been a staple of the East Coast eventing show circuit for many years, so when I got onto Highway 302, I was not surprise to find that I instantly became part of a convoy of truck and trailers, all heading West towards Georgia. At least I was not the only one who got up at 4 a.m. to feed horses, in my case in order to arrive in time to help my first student with the dressage warm-up.

The voice on the PA system told us that it was actually the 92nd horse trial held at Pine Top. Now that has to be some kind of a record!

It was 62 sunny degrees, and I was sitting in the Clubhouse of Three Runs Plantation, watching the 2011 Eventing High Performance Training Session conducted by Mark Phillips.

A Who's Who of our top eventers were invited to these sessions. Bettina Hoy, another of the most successful international eventers, was in town last week for a clinic that was so full, she told me of lessons starting before 8 a.m. In other words, around here, eventing rules.

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are now part of history—they certainly were an eye opener for me, in so many ways.

Having competed at the Kentucky Horse Park for years, I was simply dumbfounded by the scale of transformation which took place in preparation for this huge event. I also marveled at the huge improvement in the footing. I still remember having to compete on something that felt like concrete, and now the rings are full of spectacular high-tech footing. It's incredible!

We rolled into my farm in South Carolina around 9 p.m. last night. Three long and exciting weeks are over. My dogs went ballistic, and at this point I can’t go anywhere without a canine escort.

On our way home I stopped at Marydell Farm in Columbus, N.C., to pick up my new Hanoverian filly Dawn MF (by Don Principe, out of La Dolce Vita by Londonderry). She and Ralee were sharing hay before I even left that farm.

Ralee had a “spa day” scheduled for today. Laura Scherr-Stilhaus came by to work on him, and I had just put his magnetic blanket on him and given him lunch when he choked. It scared the daylights out of me. Thankfully my fellow team members reacted incredibly fast, and we had two FEI vets at the barn within four minutes. They lavaged him and were able to coax the blockage out almost instantly. Ralee was calm and quiet throughout the entire ordeal and was begging for food as soon as the tube was removed !

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