Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rolex 2009

What a great weekend.Very inspiring.The new dressage test is very demanding and it was obvious that the riders need more time to perfect it but there were some seriously nice rides and the standard has really jumped up.The hard work everyone did over the past year showed.The Europeans really gave the US a run for the money and I can't help but think and envy them for the way they are trained and presented themselves.The European system is so very different from over here.Their team spirit and presentation was very evident.

The cross country course was spectacular as always.I was most impressed by the increase in the number of angled questions the horses had to jump.A serious test of nerve and control.The only way to get good at that stuff is a lot of practice.It is a matter of OWNING YOUR LINE.Not easy to do for eleven minutes!

Show Jumping was absolutely nail biting right down to the end.The course was up to size and quite technical.I had a great appreciation for the questions asked by Richard Jefferies after attending his seminar in New Orleans last year.The riders were brave and talented and I envied every one of them.Forward riding was the only way to go.

The weekend was a master class for eventing.I saw so many great principles being put into practice and I returned inspired and energized.

One thing for sure,there was some GREAT STUFF this weekend.Well done to everyone at Kentucky!It was a great vacation for me.Now back to work.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let The Games Begin

I finally can get back to writing a blog about riding instead of flowers , butterflies or the weather.

I started riding again last Wednesday. Today, Monday I had 5 dressage lessons and want to tell all of you out there that think YOU feel out of whack while riding, you should have been there today.

One shoulder was consistantly higher than the other and I COULD NOT make my brain go to my hip(left ) at all! Poor Carol tried and tried to verbalize where and how to move and sit and ask and talk to my poor horses.I could not get it."Like this,,,,,like this,,,,,,,,,is this right,,,,,,,silence,,,,oh god that CAN'T be right,,,,,,,oooh,,,,ahhh,,,,,ping ,,,,pop,,,,tear,,,,rip,,,ugh.After trying to tell me how to get it on the horses,she poked and prodded me on the ground,"move like this...."(ARE YOU SURE?????)I thought?After THAT didn't work,she stopped me again and told me to sit still and stretched my legs out by about 8 feet. Pulling with both hands, we roared with laughter,both of us thinking,,,,,Oh this is going to be a long recovery.

After quite graphic discussion of the way to use one's pelvis we got on with it.Finally I heard the words"THAT"S BETTER! CAN YOU FEEL THAT?" (OH SURE I feel that!UGH!!!!!,I thought)

Riverdance was number one and was a saint until the medium trots,where he checked out on me and went back to Belmont Park to race against his grandfather Seattle Slew.So he got me today.Peter Pan was next and said he was as tight as a violin string.But quickly turned into Mr.Rythm and flow so it wasn't so bad.Harry was a saint but I couldn't seem to get straight and connected for the longest time.Pickles definately had a contract out for me today and said,You'd better be good if you want me Honey.But we got him in the end.I was never allowed off the circle with him.And Stryder was an angel.

So after over 3 hours of riding without stirrups I bolted into town for some mental balancing,then off to Mr.Muscle for another hour of popping and stretching.

I watch a lot of people work out in town and they make it look easy.They can grab parts of their bodies and stretch that I can't even reach with both hands,let alone stay on my feet. I get knocked out of my comfort zone (Which happens in the first excercise), personal failure crosses my mind. I beat myself up call myself retarded ,apologize to my teacher for being so dumb, slow, uncoordinated. But I FINALLY realized after I needed extra rubber bands to aid me in my stretching, that I it wasn't a lack of coordination, talent, or ability, but simply that I am too TIGHT! DUH!Then I rolled around on this round thing looking for knots in my muscles.Boy did I find them! UGH!

When I am supposed to do things eight times and I start to shake at number four and then breakdown at 5 or 6 and HAVE TO STOP!It is not failure.It Is not bad.It IS OK!There is a long road ahead for sure.It is an interesting feeling when the excercises are more powerful than I am .When one reaches their limit and has to make a decision .Can you go past this,can you get through or does one wait till next time.decisions definately have to be made.

This is very challenging and it's great to be SO FAR OUT of the zone that I know.So it's not just you all out there that feel like upside down turtles.I am right there with you all.I am sure learning a great deal about stretching and the importance of it for us and our horses. About time!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


All I can say is WOW! I am SO HAPPY to be back in the saddle.Riverdance was my first ride.I can NEVER EVER write about him or hardly even look into his eyes without getting choked up.He gave me a perfect ride.Everything except medium and extended trots.Posting is hard.There is one very small dime sized place on my ankle that screams the way ones teeth do when chewing tin foil.But if I put the stirrup all the way home there is zero pain.So far I have ridden up to 6 in a day without any pain.Only on the flat and only in the ring.It is GREAT to be back in the saddle.

It is great to be able to carry things and walk too! What freedom.I must go ride.Minutes are ticking away and there is too much to do.Stay tuned. Thankyou everyone for all your support and yes I am being careful and sensible!No jumping till next week! Ha

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We are on go

Good News.Green Light from the Doctor today.We are on go.Can't wait to alk without crutches,carry things and ride! YEA! Stay tuned

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Moving On

Today was Easter Sunday.A perfectly beautiful day here in Aiken.I had the day off from the farm and saw lots of children wildly chasing easter eggs in their beautiful dresses and little suits.I spent a large part of the morning playing with two newborn goats(Billy and Naaaaanu).They were hysterical.Watching them buck and play was just what I needed.

It has taken everybit of a week for me to shake off the agrivation and disgust from last weekend at the horse show. Many people witnessed and commented on the goings on at the show.I am not alone in my feelings.

So Tuesday is a big day. Another Dr. appointment. Wouldn't it be great if he says I can walk and RIDE AGAIN! The leg feels good and I am ready.Fingers crossed!

I am ready to move on.I am hoping to get back with all the devils.I am itching to make some entries but can't yet as I don't want to jinx anything.Come tuesday night I am hoping to have a LARGE dent in my bank account with lessons and entries for the future.

I am looking forward to going to watch the big horse shows in town over the next two weeks.There will be some seriously good horses and riders here .Then There's Rolex and Badminton.Very exciting!Very inspiring!

Dreaming is such a huge part of this game.I dream about riding again.Will I remember how?I dream about things I need for the farm and the horses.I dream about painting the house (inside)I dream about planting millions of trees and flowers.I dream and scheme a million ways to try and pay for it all. To make it happen.Life is good.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Follow Up

Thankyou again to all of you that have responded to the past blog. My GOD what happened ?

Well in a word, I am dead set against the use of drugs and they were rampant at the Aiken Horse Show.

To those local people that call themselves professionals or not, it is truely pathetic that you chose to mar the Aiken Horse Show with your pathetic (yes I know I used this word twice ) decisions to drug your horses in order to compete in a local Horse Show that has the history and tradition of the Aiken Horse Show.

Your blatant ignorance says everything about your lack of horsemanship and respect for our wonderful town, and your horses. You have done nothing but insult tradition and every form of horsemanship and sportsmanship that the Hitchcocks ever wanted for Aiken.

You did not deserve your awards.You won them only with dishonesty and deciept.

Your decisions are irreprehensible and inexcusable.

I truely feel sorry for those of you that felt you had to administer medication and then lie about it in order to win prizes.Wal mart sells colored ribbon very cheaply if you are that desperate for things to hang in your tack room.And I will personally give you the fifty cents so you can feel important.

I have to wonder, who gives this advice to you all, telling you that the use of drugs is ok? Who advises you all that it is the thing to do? Does anyone think about the danger involved when riding a horse that is medicated? Do the words "altered state" even enter into your thoughts about how to ride your horses? Do you even think at all?

If you have to medicate your horses to take them into a class at a horse show,why not withdraw?

I am embarrassed that people have actually come to this.

I am very sad that this has entered into the sanctuary of the Hitchcock woods.You have done more damage than you will ever know.I pity your decisions and your ignorance.

Here is a magical concept. Why not ride better? Go home and practice. You need it just like the rest of us.

Not So Much Fun

I can barely write this and will keep it very short. The Aiken Horse Show was not so much fun. There were absolutely magical parts of it. The weather was perfect. The setting and the ring were a wonderland, unsurpassed anywhere in the world. The course beautifully laid out like a garden. The footing an amazing carpet of the most brilliant green. The horses and riders were very well turned out.

The side saddle and costume classes and the leadline were the best ever.Seeing the children on the Staurday and their faces were the memory that I took with me when I left on Sunday.

I drove out of the woods on the Sunday in a personal turmoil that I have yet to resolve. I am not sure which way to go. The safest and most pleasant, for me, is just to look at the old pictures of what I know Aiken to be and close my eyes to the new. I am confused by the new Aiken. The things I knew to be real and valuable are not that way anymore.

Perhaps my basset hounds will give me the answers I am looking for. I seem to be burying my face deep into the folds of their wrinkles a lot since last weekend. I am looking for answers from the pictures I have of Aikens yesteryear.

This was not at all the blog I thought I'd ever write about the magical Aiken Horse Show.Hope the next one is better.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I was moaning a bit in the last blog about people not making an effort to think about balance.I have to retract a possible negative connotation.EVERYONE makes an effort to fix it when reminded and EVERYONE trys their heart out around here and that gives me GREAT satisfaction.It's just a lifelong issue for us all,like maintaining good posture,proper eating habits and drinking enough water EVERDAY? I know I don't always follow that perfect plan.

There have been LOTS os VERY SERIOUS efforts made by SO Many to get reay for The famous Aiken Horse Show in the woods.It will be great fun as always and is for the best cause.So many people have been REALLY WORKING HARD at their riding and having LOTS of fun with their horses.

So many people are taking HUGE risks ,leaping out of their comfort zones ,to enter that show ring this weekend.They must be applauded.Everything changes when ones leaves the saftey and comraderie of the warm up area and passes through the hallowed in gate.Gulp."Now what did she say? Smile ,pat the horse,breath,remember the course,the track,the size of stride,oops,oh no,wronglead,ahhhhhh what do I do now,turn right,oh god was it left?Was it the Aiken or the gate and then they will be hearing STRAAAAAAAAAAAAight down the lines.?oh God Oh God Oh God! Whew,deep breath.Remember to ride a good finish.Oh whew,now I can breath",walk ,walk, walk, out the gate.Huge Cheers from everyone no matter what.

I have been riding in the Aiken horse Show since I was about 4 years old.This is a magical show.There will be A LOT of sleepless riders tonight.A lot of sore elbows from all the polishing,scrubbing,and braiding.Stay tuned.I look forward to seeing all these gallant people ride this weekend.

Spring In Aiken

I would love to be writing about the horse adventures at Paradise ,but my biggest adventures at the moment are going back and forth from the ring to the stable to the house and back to the ring to watch the horses work.My golfcart is definately fit enough for a four star.

It's a very hard thing to watch everyone else work the horses.After spending so much time learning about balance and communication with the horses, it is hard watching them go in different balances.I find a lot of the riders I watch do not place the balance very high on their personal priority list.They just do not think about it.I have to try hard not to be overbearing.I want to SCREAM!

So I see the horses VERY overbent and downhill and leaning ,hanging,dumping,dragging their legs.With constant badgering and reminding I can maneuver the riders verbally to change the balance but I do not see them correcting themselves or even thinking about it.I seem to think of nothing else.At my last ICP clinic,I was deemed the balance queen.I title I consider an honor.

Anyway HOPEFULLY just a couple more weeks and I can put my money where my mouth is and get back on in search of the Omnipotent uphill balance.

Spring is here in Aiken and it is heaven.I hope the people that come to Aiken can take the time out of their busy schedules to see the beauty of this place.The flowers,the azaleas,dogwoods,kalmia,tea olives ect that not only fill ones eye with the most wonderful sights but also fill the air with the smells of Aiken and Spring.If I could add anything on my plate it would be to pursue planting trees,flowers,boxwood hedges and climbing things everywhere around the farm.There are many established gardens here in Aiken that I will spend more time in in the distant future.

The rain we have gotten this spring is SUCH a blessing.Though it will soon be time for endless mowing,each drop we get now is a gift from above.Let it rain.(Of course I can say that as I am not riding in it everyday as normal)But these warm rains are heavenly in it or not.

Spring has Sprung.I am looking forward to the Easter Bunny,Rolex,Badminton.The Aiken Horse Show.(Another blog) and RIDING AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!