Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Paradise Farm Horse Trials Feb.2009

Well folks ,we made it through another event.I think this was the best one yet.I can not remember when we had one with three days of sunshine.It was very cold and windy but at least the sun shone and everyone was smiling.

I was thrilled to host our sponsor ARENUS.They kindly donated a wonderful dinner in our beautiful sponsor tent on the Thursday before the event and about 45 people came.Sadly our keynote speaker Dr.Kopp could not get there to speak as we had planned as he got hung up in travel.But the food was excellent and we were able to greet those that came and talk .

Dressage ran smoothly with three hundred horses prancing around.Our great volunteers kept everything running smoothly in the four rings and we finished right on time.Immediately following we had a super crew attack the rings with a vengence and the sand arena was drug(dragged?)and up popped the show jumping course,ready for Sunday.Whew!The upper show jumping had been set up the week before.I was SO PROUD of our new sponsor jumps.Everything was very bright and shiny and really looked top shelf.

Cross Country day started very early and was FREEZING!We had to drive a truck thru the water jump at 6.30 am to break the ice that had formed the night before.The first prelim horse went out on course at 7.15 am as planned and the entire day went smoothly.There were only two falls that day and niether of the two ambulances ever had to move thank god.A GREAT DAY!!!
Riders loved the courses.It is a wonderful feeling to see horses galloping across the hills.Paradise is a great track.It is for the horses.The buzz afterwards from the riders was good.

Show Jumping day was also great.The wind was strong and blew a few jumps down here and there but people were tolerant.I think they found the courses challenging.There is no question that a bright course makes everyone ride better.

I was actually impressed and thought the riders were cheerful,helpful and positive this time.I did not feel the pressure that we've had in years past.The parking was orderly and worked well.To me ,that is one of the key parts of the puzzel,making sure everyone can get in and out without drama.This year the riders really helped out and followed the plan. I am VERY GREATFUL to them for that!The parkers were out there from 5.30 am till......and did a fantastic job.

The volunteers were as always amazing.It is a huge undertaking for all these people to come out,stand in the cold and do their jobs.Everyone develops their own systems for their tasks.There is always stress at the beginning but after a few hours into it,it's full speed ahead.

Two things that weren't the best.My new communications system did not work.The system could only be heard it you strained to hear.And the new radios were also insufficient.So we need to fix that up for the next one.Those are two huge parts to the puzzel but we managed to get through the whole thing unscathed!

I am very greatful to ARENUS for maing it a special event.They gave lots of prizes,information and help to our horses and dogs.They too were pleased with the event and the chance to meet lots of the riders.I cannot thank my volunteers enough for all that they did.There were many that worked the entire 4 days and many days in advance of the competition as well.

My farm staff deserve a million thanx and lots of extra money for all their extra efforts.Believe me ,it is not easy being at Paradise the last few weeks before the event.Everyone that is anywhere within fifty feet of me is put to hard labour and never gets any rest till they escape out the driveway.

I also want to THANK the RIDERS! You guys were very helpful and stayed out of the no horse zones and followed the parking and were on time and polite.Thankyou!Thankyou for entering early.

We know there a many that wish the event were over two days instead of three.We hope you will bear with us and enjoy the quality we try to bring to you over the three days.At the moment we do not have plans to change the system.Organizing this one competition is a very complex ,time consuming project and we hope you can enjoy what we bring to you the way it is.

I awoke today at 1.15 am and it is now 3.34 am on Wed.25 feb.I am getting ready for todays jumping derby.We ran out of time between Sunday and Wednesday.I changed my mind and have put the JD in the XC field as it was impossible to de-stake all the XC jumps necesary to move them all up the front field like last year.So we'll see how this works.I am hoping to put a water jump and a sunken road in the derby field for next year but we'll have to see.And I will need much more labour to pull it off.

It is very hard to complete all the details necessary to make a show day happen.Even an unrecognized one.Therefore,no sleep.After I finish in the office here,I am going to get dressed,brave the cold and go out there and move more stuff around before daylight.Trailers,warm up jumps,flags for jumping and parking.On and on.I have no idea how many people will even come today.We had a full house last year.Fingers crossed.

After today we will be in operation put back.That will take about 10 days to get the farm back to normal.I plan to move all xc jumps on skids and really give the back field an overhaul for next year .And while we're doing that, the eventers and other horses will be back in full work.Lessons will get cranked back up and we are still hunting.

So stay tuned to life in Paradise!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Countdown to the Horse Trials

I apologize to all my friends about being so neglectful of this blog. WE are in major countdown . Four days till it all begins. Though the Aiken event scene has been a buzz for several weeks, I have been a good girl,sticking to my January resolution to put the farm first so we have been busy here preparing for the Horse Trials, keeping the horses in work (I only get to ride mine every other day, but my owners horses get done first since mine do not come out till march) WE have been hunting a lot and having a SUPER SEASON! (Yesterday I played hookey and went out with Flat Branch and had a ball!)

Anyway, Dressage(four rings) and The Upper show jumping course is done. (Thank God) Those are 2 jobs that keep me up at night till they are finished. I really hope one day to spend more time with some experienced course designers as it is something I am very interested in. WE had quite a team to put up all the rings and the jumps. It's great fun when done early enough to allow for all the mishaps that always seem to pop up.

The name of the game is get ready early. Thats for sure. This year Paradise is honored to have the United States Equestriam Team riders come and train for a day on the cross country course, just 2 days before the competition starts. Though this adds to the stress level somewhat, it is an excellent kick in the you know where to make sure we are presentable early!

So the program is done (more or less), flags are up, and flowers are starting to sprout everywhere and gallons of stain are splashing about. Trees are planted, tents are going up, new water spickets and electrical sockets have been put in. There is a new sound system getting wired . I hope it works. Two new additions are the new upper road that I hope will prevent a repeat of last years tractor pull for all the giant rigs that had to fight the DEEP MUD for three days! UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then we have bitten the bullet and gone wild with more radios! Lets hope these A:work,B:last a while! Communications is such a big part of the operation. And one of the many that send me round the bend.

So one of the last jobs is putting up all the stabling cards and moving 100 bags of shavings for the stalls. UGH. And yes folks, I am right there on that end to make sure they go in the right place. Who needs the gym? Personal trainer? Become an event organizer!

My favorite part of the event is seeing all the phases come together after weeks of stress and hard work. We have been so very very lucky with a great group of experienced friends that make it all happen.

With the help of our sponsor ARENUS, there will be some great prizes for the riders and we have built a few new jumps that are a definate addition to the event. ARENUS has been so generous with this competition, not only finacially but so supportive in helping make it a fun and informative experience for the competitors, by offering a barbeque and several seminars during the days of competition. I am honored to be a part of this company.

Barbie is riding the horses when I can't. This final week I stop teaching. It is safer for all concerned! Antonio and Ramon are doing everything imaginable. My mother is hot rodding it to Sams for all the goodies that go into the best lunches around! Todays request was for extra toilet paper(again!) and paper towels. I shall not repeat what she said here!

So stay tuned! Fingers crossed! WE are on go!