<Warning> This blog may be very long, somewhat to be determined after I finish writing it. Read it at will but be aware it may take a while. </Warning>
My day started with my normal blahblahworkblahblah, BUT the horse show was ON. Though it had rained like additional cats and dogs overnight, the installed drainage, ring water pumps, and excellent footing led to a show day in the beautiful Florida sun. Beautiful Florida sun combined with not so beautiful Florida humidity. I couldn’t really tell if the steaminess was coming from the air or off the ground but either way it was a good day to hope your horse was a good sweater (the salty cooling kind, not the wool itchy kind) (that word looks weird, is there a word that means a being who sweats?).
On my way to the horse show, I encountered a completely normal sight of two horses casually crossing a 6 lane road.
Yes, that’s something I often come across at home. Then when almost to the barn, there was a regular traffic jam. I can’t pass the horse on the right because of the horse and golf cart on the left. It was a long quarter mile to my final turn.
What’s that? Oh that’s one of those facilities I posted last night pumping water out of their ring. To quote the much overused saying “go big or go home.”
<Side note> On my first day here I saw a Dually with four stickers on the tailgate. On the left, an American flag. On the right a Flag for the Republic of Ireland (had to look it up). On the bottom a GIANT Hanoverian sticker. Smack dab in the middle a sticker which said “GO BIG OR GO HOME.” Yes, when I think of the appropriate use of that saying, the first thing that comes to mind is a Hanoverian H with horse heads on each side. First official pic that I wish I had taken. </Side Note>
When I got to the barn, I texted Matt to see when to get on.
Wait <Side note again> Microsoft word is telling me that that previous sentence is a fragment. I am aware that I often write in fragments, but this is not one of those times. Texted is clearly past tense form of text or to text. Get with it MS Word. </Side Note>
He responded that it would be a while and that there would be showing coming up. I decided to hop on my bike and head over to the show to watch.
That was until I went to hop on my bike to head over to the show to watch. I had a flat tire. I had gone from a girl of two wheels in desperate need of a bell (remember accessories are all the rage) to a girl with no wheels at all. So instead, I decided to drive over and park at the show. That’s easier said than done. What is a 10 minute trail ride through the bridle trails is a 30 minute drive in a truck, with questionable availability of parking at the end, and still a 10 minute walk to the show grounds after parking. Lesson learned, just walk already.
During my walk to the rings, I passed through vendors in full swing, a VIP tent complete with 4’ tall flower arrangement and chandelier, and caught a glimpse of the 1.50 meter Suncast Classic that was underway. 1.50 meters is HUGE. Matt let me know that he was currently in Ring 6. That means a lot to other people and almost nothing to me. I did however know where Rings 7 and 8 were so I headed that direction. I wandered around and found in no particular order Rings 8, 7, 9, 10, DeNemethy, and Mogavero (after this experience I took a picture of the facility map for future reference).
It took so long that I felt particularly parched and sweaty, so I stopped at one of the numerous coffee stands and ordered myself a Chai smoothie. I am a bit obsessed with Chai in general, and Chai smoothie was a new form of heaven for me.
Chai mix, milk and ice blended like a smoothie. Need I say more?
Finally, 6th times the charm (at ring 6!), and I located Matt walking the course. I told Matt I typically find him by looking for the tall guy with the booming voice. Not the case in WEF, as Matt said, they specialize in tall guys with booming voices here. Matt headed over to DeNemethy to school Zepplin for the Medium A/Os. I took the opportunity to sit back and watch the jumpers school and a few rounds go.
Interestingly in the jumper warm up ring, they actually had white and red flags to signal which way the rider was supposed to jump the jump. When switching directions, the person setting the jump was responsible for switching the flags too. Zepplin is a Grand Prix and high A/O horse that is warming up this week in the mediums. Watching him in the warm up ring I could really see that he was in a class all his own. There is no end to his scope it seems. She ended up clean in the first round and 8 faults in the jump off, finishing in 8th place.
For those of you who are fashionistas, I saw what I think of as the typical jumper look. Trimmed tails at the hocks, manes cut straight across on the long side, and custom bonnets. On the riders I saw GPAs and Charles Owen helmets, but few other brands. Most of the COs were either AYR8 or the aptly named Wellington pro, with a lot of custom helmets including pin striping along the seams on the top and dual colored helmets. GPAs were Speed Airs, but honestly (and surprisingly) I saw more COs than GPAs.
After watching Zepplin, it was time for me to head back and get on. We were planning to school at a barn in Grand Prix village which seems to have the official name of “Ralph’s.” Matt says to me, “ok go get on and I’ll meet you at Ralph’s, I know where it is but not how to tell you to get there and my phone is almost dead. Grand Prix village is like a ‘U’ he’s in the far right corner and it’s over in that direction.” Matt claims this is throwing him under the bus, I find a better description to be “adventures in Matt directions.” With those clear and exact guidelines I headed back to the barn to get on DC.
I was “excited” to see which DC I had today. On one hand it was hot and steamy. On the other he had been sitting in a stall for over a day because of the rain. The result was somewhere in between calm, cool and collected and wound up. I asked a couple of other people for some more specific directions and off we went. The trail ride to the showgrounds was smooth, calm, and relaxed.
First thing after entering the show grounds was having to pass by the dreaded ‘no parking’ sign. DC was on the lookout for it with much intensity. His plan was foiled however, by (ironically enough) a parked truck blocking the sign. So we walked past the tents and to the bridle path for Grand Prix Village.
Upon arriving to the GP Village trail we encountered another DC panic attack. These trails are much more elaborate in their setting.
Perhaps DC had read Harry Potter unbeknownst to me, and was concerned that at the end of the labyrinth was a portkey that was surely going to take him straight to Voldemort and his pending death. For this experience we were in the middle of a road with many cars waiting ever so patiently to pass while we did a dance of back, forward, snort, back, forward snort, repeat. Again I give thanks for Good Samaritan golf carters. A cute Columbian guy offered me a lead. Pride having already been lost whilst causing a traffic jam, I gladly accepted.
I was on my way once again and in short order (45 minutes later) found Ralph’s. For all of you Scattered Oaks riders, this barn was just built for you.
Matt wasn’t there, but Ralph wandered out to the ring to introduce himself. He commented “my that’s a pretty horse, wow that’s such a pretty horse, what a very pretty horse” almost in succession. I liked Ralph immediately. This ring was definitely unique. On one side there was a pond, and on the other a bansion (new name for barn mansion).
DC schooled beautifully and we headed back to the barn. One long trail ride later, we had a final hazard to pass.
At this point, TJ would have been out, he just doesn’t do water. But DC merrily slopped through not even thinking twice.
I show Saturday and Sunday, hold your breath, cross your fingers, and say a prayer for me. I just want to survive and have fun.
Congratulations! You made it to the end of today’s VLB (Very Long Blog). I would probably have given up around paragraph 6 or so.