Most horse sports are considered year round ventures, but in the eventing world as adult amateurs we typically consider our competition year over before Thanksgiving. That is, of course, unless you are close to Aiken or Ocala, the two winter havens of eventing.
Truthfully, I feel like this year the season ended before it really began. Granted, I am only months into my relationship with Jack, and I’m acutely feeling the lack of competition after 3 years away from Fosterpants. I want to keep at it both because I miss competing so much as well as wanting to continue exposing Jack to all the things, instead of taking a break.
I chatted with a friend who is originally from Belgium, and she noted that there is a separate winter season thanks to the popularity of indoor arenas there. Luckily, the facility I board Jack at happens to have an indoor arena, and so I am blessed to keep riding through the cold and wet where many fellow NC natives are forced to quit when the dark winter months roll around.
So I’m currently looking at the calendar and trying to see what opportunities exist for outings. We’ve got the Boyd clinic this weekend, and then our schedule looks like a pretty big question mark after that. Do I go to Aiken? Settle in at home and grind away at honing our skills? What to do!
What about you guys? Is your season over? What are your winter plans? How does this time of year affect your riding and your competition schedule? How does your location affect your winter goals? What skills do you plan to refine over the coming months?
My ride season is just getting started, this was my “Summer of my Discontent” and a bad boarding situation while I was out of town for work left me with all my tack stolen and my horse lost a lot of weight due to the barn not feeding him (I have receipts for the hay and grain I was buying but he didn’t get or at least not enough of it). He is almost back to decent weight and I am borrowing tack until I can purchase more. Then we will start gradually building back fitness with hopefully the goal of an Intro 15 mile Limited Distance ride by March. Living in So Fla means we can ride most of the “winter” (using the term loosely as our winter will be 50’s with occasional dips to the low 40’s at night) and we have access to 100 miles of dedicated horse trails to build fitness with. I have 3 major horse trail heads within 15-20 minute ride of our new boarding barn so I am very excited about riding out again.
On a side note, watching your Jack morph into a fit event horse has been very education and fun to see the changes in him, he was always a looker but dang, he is looking good.
Shit- that sounds like a heck of a year! So glad you are getting back on track and I hope the saddle time serves as therapy for all those terrible experiences!
Also- thank you! Makes me realize I should do an updated conformation photo.
Thanks!! Been one heck of a year, but I am one of those disgusting optimists, and “this too shall pass” is my new mantra. I’ve made the joke I’m changing my name to “Jane the Resilient”.
I’d totally go to Aiken or Ocala if I was closer, or could take extended time off work. We basically lose the whole summer here (or I do, at least, with my horse) so It kinda sucks for me now too, that we’re done til March essentially. We just got going!
How far is Aiken/Ocala from you? Aiken works out to be a ~4 hour drive for me (I believe).. so the thought of going down for a show, or even a schooling weekend, seems totally within the realm of possibility.
Poor Henny in the heat!
AIken is 16.5, Ocala is 15.5. Lots of people from here go, but they tend to stay for 3-6 weeks, since it’s such a long haul.
Holy heck that’s a drive. Yeah, I would stay for a long time too if that’s the case!
Yeaaaaah. I mean, we’re used to 4-6 hours, thats pretty standard for here, but 15-16 is a lot lol. Not that people don’t do it, but it’s a lot for me!
I love winter for schooling. In NorCal the winter shows are pretty non-existent until you get to around February and then you might just get shit tons of rain. In SoCal the seasons keep on grinding away and I’ll hopefully sneak 1 more horse show in before 2017 is over.
UGH February is disgusting here for rain as well. But at least in Aiken the ground is mostly sandy loam so it holds up well. Yay to one more 2017 show with the Dante bebe!
I typically only show May-October and take the winter off. Mostly it’s because I don’t like to travel (I’m so spoiled showing 20 minutes from home all summer!) and I usually need a break mentally, emotionally and financially.
You know my thoughts – Ocala, Ocala, Ocala! Send your horse to Ocala with Emily to train for a month!
We’ve already got snow on the ground, sooooooo. Winter is about schooling, unless you go south. Half our horses head to Wellington and the winter barn there, and one of the two barns closes up entirely.