By Finley Habenicht
Grand Times Eventing

First show of 2017 … a success and eye opening in a few ways!  Aleta and I recently competed in a CT at FENCE located in Tryon.  It was a lot of fun.  My friend, Morgan, moved her horse, Rose, and her brother’s horse, Max, to Kibler a few weeks ago so this is the first time we have shown together in a while.  We stayed at Renovation Farms, which was so pretty.  Trayce had a few horses going to the CT as well so it was fun to meet her.  Eric is still recovering from his accident a few weeks ago, but it was nice to see how their friends and family have come together to support and help them.  At the show, we had a full row of horses with us, including Jackson and Clarkson, Anna and Matt and Missy brought Glee.  Missy is my trainer’s wife.  They have a 1 year old daughter, Ellie, who came too!  She is so cute and it was fun having her there to play with between classes! 

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Rose and Aleta were immediate besties and do practically everything together so we learned a few things at this show, like don’t stall them next to each other!  They spent the whole time calling to each other and trying to look over the 10 foot walls at each other.  They behaved well otherwise.  We didn’t ride until the afternoon so I was able to cheer on my friends and watch their rides.  When it was our turn, we had dressage first, we ended up with a 25.6 which was great and also ended up being the lowest dressage score of the day!  That’s the second time we’ve had that honor and it was pretty exciting!  Aleta pays really close attention in dressage.

Warm up for our jump round was a bit crazy, there were horses flying around, it didn’t seem like everyone had control and riders weren’t paying attention.  Aleta was a little excited and gave a little buck, which was weird and a little scary.  We got our act together though and went in and had a clear jump round.  We ended up getting first in our division!  On Sunday we went XC schooling and it was awesome!  We jumped a few BN jumps and Aleta was just great.  Jumped my first ditch too! 

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It turns out Aleta’s unusual behavior in the warm up ring was a blessing in disguise.  We looked in her mouth because she was acting so funny and found a lump.  When we got back home, my mom got our vet, Dr. Marsha Severt, out first thing.  Dr. Marsha recommended taking her to State to have it removed.  My mom doesn’t waste time with our horses care, so she immediately asked Dr. Marsha to work some miracles and we got Aleta into State the NEXT day!  Mom and Brett drove her up, they did the surgery – which was a big success - and then I went the next day with my mom to pick her up!  Aleta needs a few weeks of recovery, but there’s no reason she and I won’t be hitting the events again soon.  It was a good reminder that there is always a reason for a horse to do something, whether it’s good or bad, you really need to watch your horse and be careful. 

It was really scary when they found the lump in Aleta’s mouth, taking her to State was even scarier, but seeing how great those vets are at their jobs really made me happy that we have such a great vet hospital and school in NC.  There were a lot of horses there in worse shape than Aleta and they were all being cared for in the best way possible.  While we hope to never have to go there again, it was a great experience and we got Aleta back safe and sound!  So I learned a lot in only a few days - Aleta has a best friend she can't live without, there are reasons for everything that happens and NC State vets rock!