Aiken Client Trip–Emily’s Wrapup

Here’s installment #2 of our client updates from their week long training camp with Team CEO this past week.  This time the post comes from Emily, a 19 year old novice level eventer who rides her own 6yo TB named Koda.

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This is going to be long, so get comfy 🙂


As soon as I heard details for the 2012 Aiken Trip, I started saving up.  Koda and I had such a great time last year, I figured this year would be even better!  My countdown for the trip began at 61 days, 18 hours, and 31 minutes…


After we arrived with the horses on Saturday, we had the opportunity to tack up and take them for a gallop on the track!  Wow was that fun!  Koda surprised me by loping around the track like a gentleman, and it was so fun to see everybody out and stretching their legs after the long drive.


Sunday was Hitchcock Woods, which is always an incredible time.  Megan was awesome and let me ride her incredibly talented young horse, Ryan, in group 1.  He taught me so much about where to keep my position, and gave me an introduction to adding strides and waiting to the base of jumps.  By the time group 2 was riding, I was ready to apply this riding style to Koda.  Megan has us working on two main things the whole week: me sitting up, and Koda cantering/galloping in a lighter frame with a slower canter.  While we weren’t perfect, it was a start.


Monday we took the horses to Jumping Branch for a XC Schooling.  Once again, I was lucky enough to get to ride another one of Megan’s awesome young horses, Faith, in group 1.  She was fabulous, and we were schooling the training level water questions by the end of the ride.  Riding Koda in group 2 that afternoon, I was already feeling a difference in the way he traveled.  We schooled lots of fun jumps, like a trakehner, a full coffin, log drops in water, and some skinny logs out of water.  Koda and I got to work on counting strides and XC position, where I had to learn to SIT BACK and collect him a bunch. Even more improvement!!


On Tuesday we had our dressage lesson with Megan.  It was like riding a completely different horse on the flat!  I was having to ride him in more of an up frame and getting him to be through at the trot and really reach under at the canter. Core workout!  I learned tons and was SO happy with him!  We used counter flexion to keep him from over bending one way, and shoulder-in to improve his trot.


Wednesday was AWESOME!!  We went to Full Gallop (I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite…) to school some super tricky jumps.  Our warm-up course was all Training level (sooo much fun), and later we schooled the big bank complex, trakehners, and a jump IN the water!  I’ve never done that before, so it was super new to me, and Koda totally saved my butt, but it was a huge learning moment!  Koda was a lot easier to ride up to the jumps, and I was still working on sitting up, but I could feel lots of improvement!


Thursday…SHOW DAY!!!  Koda gave me the best dressage test he’s EVER done, and a show jumping round that felt nothing less than incredible and left me smiling ear to ear.  The goal of the SJ round was to get him to add to the base and not canter around with his head between him legs.  He was perfect, adding a stride to every fence on the 15 jump long course.  He finished in 4th place, and…it was our first ever clean SJ round! FODS!


Friday we were fortunate enough to go back to Hitchcock Woods as one big group.  We schooled in an entirely new part of the woods over some super fun jumps, including a hedge that was larger than I thought it was!  It was incredible to see Jester jump over his first BN fences!


Saturday…the last day…sigh.  We went out with a bang by XC schooling at Sporting Days.  We got to do a lot of course work.  Koda was AMAZING!  I could feel a massive improvement in the way he was jumping (and Megan was awesome enough to let me borrow the devoucoux…) and he stayed at his more elevated, controlled canter/gallop sooo much easier.  Koda and I got to jump a training cabin, training water question, training table thing, training hedge with a HUGE downhill slide upon landing…you get the idea.  He was super, and it felt great to sit up more!


It was SO sad to have to leave on Sunday after such HUGE improvements were made throughout the week.  I loved meeting new friends and seeing old ones.  Christina and Tortellini were fabulous all week, trucking around courses with style.  Kathryn’s young horse, Sammy, grew braver and neater over fences, and was only better as the jumps got bigger!  Carlene and Forest were terrific learning to get a good balance to jumps. Holly and Jester were SO adorable, and he was sooo confident by the end of the week.  Marian and Chris were super brave to every question, and Micki and Oreo were fabulous together.  Obviously Nikki, Ali, Andrea, and Holly W. were incredible, and I learned loads from just watching how they rode certain fences.


I am incredibly excited for what this year holds for Team CEO, and I can’t wait to see how much everybody has improved because of this trip!


So the countdown begins again for the 2013 Aiken trip!!


Only 355 days 🙂


Emily and Koda

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About widespreadpanic

Advanced level event rider and instructor at Team CEO Eventing in Lexington KY.
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