Grand Times Eventing

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!


With summer ending and school starting, I will have a lot more responsibilities.  I am going into 5th grade and with a new horse, I will have to focus and work hard.  Right now, I am working on letting Aleta do more work than me in jumping, sometimes I make it a little too fast, so we can work together and she can figure things out. In dressage we are working on getting a good working trot and coming round.  We are doing a lot of trot sets to get in shape and are hoping to go xc schooling soon.  Right now we are working towards the October War Horse.  Aleta and I are doing well, but we still have a long way to go, and I’m excited for the journey.  I love Aleta so much and I’m sure we are ready to rock our first show season together!


Theo and Aleta getting their feet done – we must like greys!

This weekend, me, my mom, and our friends, Amanda and Mallory, went on a trail ride. My mom rode her green horse, Dodger, and I’m rode Theo bareback. He hasn’t had a saddle on in about a year!  I love riding him bareback!  It was my moms first trail ride on Dodger without a trainer, so we were really excited.  Everyone did so well and Dodger acted liked he’d done it a million times.  They went over the bridge and tires on the obstacle course too.  Dodger isn’t thrilled with puddles so mom got him to walked through some like a big boy!

I’m so glad all our horses are doing well. I can’t wait for the fall show season with Aleta, and I hope that my mom and Dodger have a great year.


Gunner and I went to our second War Horse event at the Carolina Horse Park a few weeks ago and placed  4th out of 18. Gunner was very good in Dressage and we worked on making him move like a big horse. We got a Dressage score of 30.1, putting us in 3rd. We made the time in stadium, but knocked 1 rail, pushing us back to 4th. Then we went double  clear xc! And finished in 4th. I couldn’t be more proud of us!

Sadly, my lease on him ended in June.  I think we ended on a great season, but it was still sad.  I have a new horse named Aleta NSF. She is a 12 year old, 16.1 hand Trekehner. I just brought her to my new barn, Kibler Shamrock, last week. We are planning on going to the October and November War Horses and will train hard to get there.  I cant wait to see what the future holds for us!


Also, my mom’s new green horse, Dodger, is in training at Sugaree Ranch. He is doing very well. He  went on 3 trails, learned to walk trot and canter, and is catching on very fast to everything. My mom has gotten on him a few times too and it’s fun to watch them trot around! I’m excited  to go on trail rides with my mom and Dodger soon!