Things continue to be busier than ever as the competition season powers ahead through the last few shows. We are in the final push to round out the year with a fantastic finish. First, a few updates about some other details.

One, congratulations to Erin Thomas who is now ½ leasing Pyper from Michelle Martin while Michelle is in school. We are super excited to welcome Erin to “The Village” and look forward to her having a successful partnership with Pyper. He is such a great boy and has a lot to offer her. Michelle is continuing to ride Pyper half the time as well and will spend then next year focusing more on training for the FEI arena and a bit less on competing.

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(Erin enjoying her first ride on Pyper)

Two, HUGE HUGE HUGE congratulations and major thanks are in order to Marion Hughes Roger of Jersey City, NJ. She and I are the proud new owners of H.R.H. Popstarr! We could not be more excited about this. Marion is fulfilling her lifelong dream of owning a horse (and what an incredible horse to own) and I am so overwhelmingly grateful to her for making it possible for him to not only continue to compete with me but also becoming ½ mine.  There truly are no words to express my gratitude. He really is the horse of a lifetime and I am so excited to be able to share this journey with my long time friend, Marion.

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(Marion enjoying her first ride on Popstarr!!)

And three, Popstarr and I are so incredibly excited to welcome our newest sponsors, Black Country Saddles and Dynamic Saddle Fitting. Major thanks to Brita Rizzi for making this possible. Popstarr and I are now riding in the most amazing new black country eloquence. I could seriously go on and on and on for days about how wonderful these saddles are. I have ridden in them for several years now and not only is the craftsmanship exquisite but they are so so so comfortable. They put the rider in a very correct position but also allow you to move and feel with your horse. The difference in how Pop went once he was in his new saddle was incredible. He was even more up and through and swinging through his topline than before. No denying what a difference it has made for him. I can’t recommend these saddles enough. If you are in the market for a new saddle please check them out, I promise you will not be disappointed. We are so lucky here in the sandhills to have Brita Rizzi of Dynamic Saddle Fitting locally to keep our horses saddles in top shape. She is a certified independent saddle fitter so even if your saddle is not a black country she can still help you. She is so knowledgeable and passionate about saddle fit, really going the extra mile above and beyond to make sure you and your horse are as comfortable as possible. If you are located anywhere near the sandhills and are in need of a saddle fitter please please please contact Brita. I have been in this business for a long time and I can assure you there is no one out there who will do a better and more thorough job than Brita. I am so proud to say she has taken care of all of my horses and student’s for over 4 years now.

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(Popstarr’s new gorgeous black country saddle!)

            Ok, moving on to some show updates. September 20 and 21 we were showing here locally in Pinehurst at Pinehurst Fall Dressage. This is a Sporting Services show and Sue and Marty really do the most amazing job organizing these shows. They are always some of my favorite shows to attend because they really go the extra mile and it comes through in everything they do. I also really love these shows because Sue offers a jr/yr scholarship, which consist of basically a free show and a stall for the weekend for the jr/yr who is awarded the scholarship. I am so proud to report that Isabelle Martinez was one of only eight applicants to be awarded the scholarship for this show. She has worked so hard for so long and it has been so fantastic to see her hard work being rewarded. She showed William this weekend and had a clean sweep, winning all 4 of her classes. In some of the classes she not only won against all the jr/yr’s but also the aa and open competitors. She really went all out this weekend and boy did it show. William is not always the easiest horse to ride, in fact he is often one of the hardest so for her to go in the ring and score as high as 69% on him I could not be more proud. This girl is seriously going to be one to lookout for in the future. I’m telling you we will be seeing her in the Olympics one day. Mark my words…. Emily Grace showed Laira on Saturday only and had a fantastic day. She had some huge scores up into the mid 70’s at one point, which is just incredible. I can’t remember exactly what her scores were but she won both of her classes as well. Michelle and Pyper had some lovely test both days and Pyper was really letting Michelle ride him more than he has in past tests. She won at least one of her classes as well and had some solid scores. Ellen and Boomer had a great weekend as well, they are really working through some issues well and it is starting to really show. He is coming along wonderfully and we’re looking forward to starting to work towards making the jump to first level in the near future. Lysa and Bogie had another fantastic weekend as well including doing a first level test on Saturday. She has done such a fantastic job with Bogie and I am so proud of all the hard work she has put into her partnership with him.

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(Isabelle and Just William on their way to one of their four wins of the weekend)

Two weeks after Pinehurst Fall Dressage we packed up and headed to Williamston for a weekend of adventure. And boy what an adventure it was, really one for the record books. Ellen, Michelle, Emily Grace, Lysa and I were all riding. Ellen and Michelle drove ahead so they could spray down our stalls with disinfectant and get them all set up for the horses. Lysa and I drove a little bit behind them with the horses. The trip started out great, until about Cary where I blew a tire on the horse trailer. I feel like it is worth noting that I should be a member of a nascar pit crew because I managed to changed that tire in less than 20 minutes and we were on the road again. I think that is pretty darn impressive considering those tires weigh more than I do! 😛 Never mind that the tire that blew was a brand spanking new tire, literally bought on Thursday, blew on Friday. Best 150$ I’ve ever spend. Not. Well, after that excitement we were back on the road headed east. Once we got to Williamston and dropped the ramp on the trailer I was able to see that my floor had literally buckled in the horse trailer, the steel beams were bent and the boards had broke loose and buckled up and were there like loose stacked lumber. My rubber mats were the only things keeping a couple of the horses from putting their feet through the floor. {Insert epic panic attack and meltdown here} Inevitably from the tire incident when it went up under the trailer it caused all of this. When we stopped I looked into the trailer to check on everyone and they all seemed just fine. As best as I can tell I was unable to see the floor because the mats and the shavings in there at the angle that I was looking down over the side ramp into the trailer made it look totally fine, I wasn’t able to really see the bubble in the floor until I dropped the ramp and was looking eye level at it. Thank God that all the horses were fine and walked away unharmed. That could have been such a horrific nightmare and I am just so thankful it turned out like it did. God was no doubt watching over all of us. Huge thanks go out to my awesome friend Brianna Spence who came to my rescue and drove her truck and trailer to the show on Saturday and left her trailer for me and took my trailer home to start the repair process. Lysa had one extra space in her trailer so Boomer caught a ride home with her, and a neighbor had an extra spot in her trailer so Pop went home with her and I took Pyper and Laira back in Bri’s trailer. We really live in such an amazing town that pulls together for people so well. I had so many offers of help for my trailer, it really was overwhelming.

Ok, now on to the good stuff, the actual show part! First awesome part of the weekend was that Marion was able to fly down from NJ and meet her boy for the first time. It was so cool to see her reaction when she met him and I think it’s safe to say he is everything that she thought he would be and more. J He and I did our first PSG together this weekend and it was a great start. I put him in the double on Saturday and he really didn’t need it at all (I swear one day I will get it right) so he wasn’t as steady in the connection as I (or the judge) would have liked but he still won his class so I’ll take it. I put him back into the snaffle on Sunday and he was so much better in the contact and felt great. The judge I rode for was being pretty tough on everyone and I still managed to bring my score up several points and win the class again so I was certainly not complaining. We are no where near what we are capable of yet but considering he has only been in work for basically 3 months now and we are still building our relationship together I could not be more proud of him. Ellen and Boomer had a HUGE day on Saturday. They did 3 classes and managed to WIN a HUGE championship class in addition to doing super in her other classes as well. I was so excited for her that I was literally jumping up and down squealing when they announced that she won. She has worked so hard and it was so wonderful to see it be rewarded in a championship class no less. She ended up placing 3rd in the NCDCTA Championship also! Michelle and Pyper had a great finish to their show season. She was 4th in her NCDCTA Championship at 3rd level and put in some great tests with some solid mid 60’s scores to finish in the top placings in all of her classes. I’d say it was a fantastic finish to her 3rd level year. Lysa and Bogie had a good weekend filled with lots of growth for both of them. Atmospheres like Williamston are tough for Bogie, especially with full, crowded warm-ups but he and Lysa handed everything like pro’s and managed to do wonderfully in all of their classes as well, including winning some too and she was 5th in the NCDCTA championships class. Emily Grace rounded out the weekend for everyone with a successful show as well. She was 4th in a large NCDCTA Championship JR/YR class and had some really lovely test all weekend. I am so proud of how much she and Laira have grown over the last few months. I am such a fan of Laira’s and what is there not to love about Emily Grace? I’m so excited to see how these two improve over the winter and what 2014 has in store for them. All in all it was a very good weekend, filled with some ups and downs of course but ended over all on the upside. Not to mention we had a great time hanging out as a group and had lots of laughs and jokes.

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(Popstarr and I on our way to winning the PSG)

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(Popstarr, Marion and I)

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(I’d call this a successful weekend!)

           We have ONE more show this season. Just ONE more. We head back to Williamston again in 2 weeks for the NCDCTA Autumn Leaves Dressage and CBLM Championships. On some levels it will be a very small show for us and on other levels it will be a huge show. Popstarr and I are the only ones competing in the CBLM championships. We are doing the 4th level champs as well as one other PSG class. Cosmo is having a HUGE debut this weekend coming out for the first time at PSG. After the rollercoaster year he and I have had together I am really hopeful it will go well and he can finish out the year on top. Ellen and Boomer are doing 5 tests over 3 days at training level and I will be bringing Boomer out at first level for the first time on Sunday and Lysa and Bogie will be showing as well, also making their “official” first level debut. Everyone else is staying home this weekend and getting some much needed rest. However, we are super excited that Melanie will be in town a few days before the show and will also be able to go to Williamston with us. I am so excited to have a couple days of intensive eyes on Cosmo and Pop as well as some help in the warm-up all weekend. Hopefully it will be a wonderful weekend and we can finish out the year as great as it started! Stay tuned for a full report……BImage

(Cosmo working hard to prepare for his PSG debut)