By Finley Habenicht
Grand Times Eventing

 snow a

When living on a farm, preparing for a “snowstorm” can be pretty stressful. At my house, we prepare for the worst regardless of what the forecasters say. Even though this past weekend we barely got snow, we were expecting a huge storm. My mom and I put all the heaters in the water buckets, got hay bags ready, made sure our barn cats had lots of wet food to keep them toasty and made sure all the blankets were ready to go.  On Saturday, when we got snow, my mom and I tried to go dry the blankets at the laundromat in Waxhaw.  We drove through the snow and ice to get there and it was closed. We ended up washing them at home – which my dad loved! The dryer was covered in dirt when we finished, but hey, the blankets were dry and warm!  I played with my moms horse, Dodger, in the snow - he loved it! I would make him snowballs and he kept eating them.  Dodger loves kids and being in on the action so he was following me everywhere to see what I would do next.

snow b

Since Aleta doesn’t live at home, we had her put in the main barn at night at Kibler all weekend.  Her bestie, Panajah, came in too and they thought they were living at the Kibler Shamrock Farm Inn and Suites, they were so warm and spoiled all weekend!  My mom and I went to the barn on Sunday to “free jump" or really just "free move" Aleta, just to get her moving and stretched out.  We didn’t really plan to jump her, just get her trotting, it was so hard!  She wouldn’t move, she was so lazy and just kept standing in the sun.  My mom said it was too bad my mare was such a nut!

snow c

In my lessons with Aleta I have really been trying to release her more over jumps. If I don’t release, or if I jerk on her mouth, I have to pay the price. Aleta will swing her head around like crazy, but the second I release, she just canters on.  Aleta has very definite opinions about what can and should happen around her and I am quickly learning what she does and doesn’t like!  I know it’s my fault when I don’t release, so I’m really working on releasing and following.  The other day Aleta and I really clicked – a “that’s it” moment.  I had my hands in the right place the whole time, and she was awesome!  What my trainer, Brett Ingram, was saying to me really made sense and he showed me a different place to hold my hands and it all just came together.  Now I have a better plan going into my jump lessons. It’s funny how sometimes you can hear, or see, things and suddenly it’s all clear!  If I can keep riding like that, then we will have a killer show season!