IMG 8660By Shannon Habenicht
Grand Times Eventing

As Finley has been working so hard at home on school projects and so hard at the barn with Aleta, she has had no time to write her blog this month, so I decided I would take it over as the year is coming to an end!  It's been a whirlwind year!  We both got new horses - Finley got Aleta NSF in July.  Aleta is a 12 year old Trakehner mare that we found through Danica and Bobby Meyerhoff in Statesville, NC. The Meyerhoffs were so easy and fun to work with, Finley has enjoyed keeping up the relationship as she and Aleta progress.  My girls are still figuring each other out, but each ride brings them closer to where they want to be, which is in Kentucky at Rolex! Many more years until that goal is achieved but if they keep working this hard, I hope to be grooming for my sponsored rider in about 15 years or so! Finley and Aleta completed their first horse trial over the weekend at Carolina Horse Park's War Horse Event Series.  She had qualified for the Maiden Championships with her old horse, Gunner, and was sad not to be able to compete in that division, but they had a wonderful ride in the green as grass division!  They recieved a 29.4 in dressage and with only 3 time faults in stadium and double clear in XC, Finley declared it the "best show ever"!  Finley has big plans this winter for training and hopes to move back up to maiden and then BN throughout 2017.

In June, I brought home a 5-6 year old draft cross, Dodger, whom I believe is half Great Dane pup and half elephant based on his sweet personality and his gigantic poops - seriously, I didn't know one horse could produce so much poop!  Dodger is a sweetheart and while he about 6 years old, he wasn't started under saddle until June at Sugaree Ranch!  Talk about a world of difference from my previously well schooled quarter horse, Te!  We have had our ups and downs, but I am hopeful that throughout the next year, we will get in a groove and will be well on our way to a great life together. While I grew up in the hunter-jumper world at Cedarhill Farm in Waxhaw, NC, I now have no interest in competing.  I hope Dodger and I will become great trail partners, learn a little dressage, a little jumping, a little of this and a little of that, and just enjoy the rides!  Finley and Theo are our best trail partners! 

 

Finley, Aleta and mom! PC: The Summerhouse

 

Bringing two new horses into our family within a month of each other was a bit choatic at first, to say the least!  Dodger lives at home with our pony, Theo, and two mini-donks - Riley and Donkey. Introducing a young, and slightly entitled, gelding into our herd provided many days of entertainment as Dodger settled in.  We must have watched him chase the donks for hours, while they pretended to hate it, they were brawing and galloping around like wild men!  Theo is about as quiet as can be though and soon the four dudes figured out who was where in the herd heirarchy. Aleta lives at Kibler Shamrock Farm in Monroe for now where Finley trains with Brett Ingram.  We wanted to get a good bond with the girls before adding a third horse, a mare no less, to our family farm! It should be interested to see how Aleta and Dodger eventually co-exist as they both feel very empowered in their current pastures!  Finley is sure Theo will be in love with Aleta and I am pretty sure the donks are going to drive her crazy! 

As 2016 quickly draws to an end - November 15 already? Come on!  It's astonishing to look back and see everything that has gone on this year, both horse related and not.  I want it all to slow down, just as Finley wants it all to speed up for the 2017 season!  Hopefully we can keep each other, and our horses, in check through the cold winter days!