For many upper level horse and rider combinations, Pine Top serves as the first true test of the season. Aiken snowbirds consider this weekend a testament to weeks of hard work, preparation, and basking in the warm sun. This year was no exception with three very full divisions of advanced competitors – from seasoned three and four-star horses to rookie horse/rider combinations. I fell into the latter category with my Connemara pony, Wil’Ya Love Me. Warming up next to those vying for a London slots was awe-inspiring and an honor to say the least!