Friday, January 31, 2014

WEF Day 5

Today I will not start with a caveat (go me!), but a warning instead.

<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.  


Also, this:

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. 

WEF Day 4



Perhaps one day I will begin my blog without any caveats.  But today is not that day.  I figure, my blog, my caveats.  It’s like I’ve caught caveatitis or something.

I’d like to thank my friend Lauren for being my appointed blog mentor.  She didn’t even volunteer for the job, and was chosen by default as she’s the most experienced blogger I know.  Visit her site at www.shemovedtotexas.com!

Day 4 started with my cough returning with a vengeance.  Cough was angry that I had kept him down for most of Day 3, and wanted to let me know that he would make me cough as much as he wanted thankyouverymuch.  If I were to write a letter to cough, it would go something like this.

Dear Cough,

I hate you and you suck.  Please go away forever.

Sincerely,

Anna

Apparently I write letters on the 5th grade level, but I did say please, so I think he should listen.

The second piece of bad news I received was the following text from Matt; “Show is cancelled for the day.  They say there is nowhere to ride over there either.  You may just want to work today.”  If Matt is suggesting I work over ride, I know things must be very serious.  Shortly thereafter, I came across this picture on Facebook
PC Kimberly Stewart


It did undeniably look like the show grounds were completely underwater.  

The bright side (and man am I REALLY stretching for a bright side), is that I did have a ton of work to get done and what looked like a full day in which to do it.  Thankfully I still had the faithful Trout to help me along, and even Lucy the kitty felt like I was finally ready to move beyond ‘hated new person in my house’ to ‘person who I shall allow to pet me because I am feeling generous.’



After a few conference calls and a lot of demo script writing.  I decided it was time to head over to welly world to feed DC some treats and further spoil him rotten.  

Earlier in the week, Suzanne had told me about a consignment tack store in Wellington that often had all sorts of hidden gems.  The bargain shopper that I am, and knowing that I was in one of the wealthiest concentration of horse people around, I headed there first.  What better plan is there than to shop in the rain? I walked in to a full rack of shadbellies in all sizes, and knew I had come to the right place.

The store was really well organized by size and type of clothing, and did a good job of separating all different sorts of tack so you could go hunting for what you “needed.”  As I hummed Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” to myself I proceeded to bargain hunt.  The first thing I found was a Stubben EZ Control D-Ring bit for 30 dollars.  I’ve wanted to try this bit on TJ, so I was excited.  The next thing I found was a beautiful black soft shell Pikeur show coat.  It has a velvet collar and is lined in light gray.  It fit me beautifully, and was priced aggressively.  I do have one reservation about the coat; it has four silver buttons rather than the traditional 3 conservative button look.

So hunter readers of the world, what do you think for the hunters, simply beautiful or pure tacky?

After my expedition into consignment shopping, I headed over to a place called the Tackeria.  In Austin, we have lots of Taquerias, but no Tackerias.  They look fairly similar right?








I wandered around the Tackeria marveling at the large amount of polo equipment, and taking interest in how it vastly differs from H/J tack.  Trying to be good (and having already bought a coat and a bit), I did not buy even one thing at the Tackeria.  I would like to repeat this for DH’s (Darling Husband) benefit.  I DID NOT EVEN BUY ONE THING AT THE TACKERIA.  I’m not quite sure he’ll believe me, but I did put it in all caps in hopes that he will be convinced.  

Next, I drove to the barn to visit DC.  As expected, he was munching on hay in his stall looking quite content with his fluffy shavings and lack of being ridden.  I believe DC thinks this plan is working out perfectly, nice warm Baker sheet, plenty of hay, and not a single ‘no parking' sign to be found.  To further is elation at this turn of the weather, I had arrived to lavishly feed him treats and tell him how cute he is like the good minion I am.

This is a picture of the barn river that was once an arena.

Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to venture over to the show grounds to see for myself what things looked like.  On my way there, I snapped a few pictures of the stables that are in the neighborhood where Woodhill is stabled.  I do believe that every barn is fancier and more immaculate than my house.  I have labeled each with ‘house’ or ‘barn’ as I find it easy to get confused as to which one is which.
House, with an arena to the left of it.


 
House with paddock in the front




Barn with arena


House, though the barn for this house had the exact same entrance
 
Barn with arena in front and to the left
Although it was heavily raining when I arrived at the show grounds, I did manage to take a shot of an arena.



I have always called DC my little sea horse, because well, doesn’t he look like a seahorse to you?


I think the seahorse attributes will come in very handy for the swimming pool that was once an arena.

Other than my minion activities, the two highlights of my day were

  • Receiving a pic of my TJ back in Austin

And 

  • Hearing that Konan had been actively using his leg that had been surgically repaired after being shattered when he was hit by a truck.  For those of you who don’t know the full Konan story, perhaps I will blog on that in the future.

Not to be left out, Kora continues in her cute ways.  She’s the kind of dog that relies on her looks to get her out of trouble, as trouble she finds in almost every way possible.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

WEF Day 3



Today’s caveat is dedicated to my one follower, Melissa.  One is much better than none, and thanks for following!

When I woke up on Day 3, I was armed with a full 8 hours of sleep, and a greatly reduced amount of coughing.  The bits of lung were safe for the time being it seemed.  On top of that, I was fully oxygenated and ready to take on all that Wellington had to offer.  

Then I looked outside.

I knew that rain was predicted, and I knew rain was likely.  But the reality of rain did not set in until I saw it with my very own eyes.  I really wanted to believe that sunny and 85 was the only option here in horse heaven.  But I have to say, if it was going to rain, today was a great day to get that over with.  Work really was trying to get in the way of riding, and I spent the majority of the daylight hours in front of a computer.  Not to make the computer feel badly about itself or left out of the fun…..



Thankfully Trout was here to see me through.  



When I did finally venture to horseland, it was to a gray and rainy day.  That said I also arrived to an ecstatic Matt who had gone double clean on all of his horses.  If you’ve ever heard the saying “happy wife happy life” I would like to amend that to “winning trainer, happy horseshow.”  It doesn’t have quite the ring to it, but trust me it fits the bill.  

Given my above preoccupation with work, all I had time to ride today was DC. 
 
DC is an animal whose attitude is more driven by the weather than any other horse I’ve ever known.  Not just that, its relative weather.  Whenever there is a drop in temperature, he gets a wild hair and finds riding to be FUN, and EXCITING!!!  I, on the other hand, do not find the fun and excitement in this turn of events.  If you will remember, DC was the horse that quietly enjoyed his trail ride from barn to show grounds, who braved the scary flags and bridges and led Amigo through this “treacherous” terrain.  When the temperature dropped from 85 to 65 he went from this brave, calm soul to a horse that believed that danger was lurking in every palm tree, the bridge was just too much to handle, and the flapping flags were bound to eat him alive.  

When we did make it to the show grounds, we made it into the facility approximately 10 steps when he spied a “No Parking Zone” sign.  Warning signals went up, snorting commenced, and he proceeded to go quickly backwards the entire 10 steps that we had previously accomplished.  “OH GOD WE CANNOT PARK HERE.”  A lovely young lady in a golf cart that was headed my direction had politely stopped to let me attempt to get past the death by parking sign drama.  After what seemed like an eternity, she called out to me “do you need a lead?”  

Oh the dilemma.  On one hand I was making no progress in the battle of DC vs parking sign, on the other, admitting defeat and requiring a lead from a complete stranger set me up for embarrassing moment number one of the day.  In the end my pride was worth less than the desire to get to the ring, and the nice young woman not only led us past the death defying sign, but also fed DC a cookie, which may have convinced him he was not walking into the death trap he previously believed to be true.  

We made our way past the barns, slowly and carefully, watching out for any additional no parking zones that might come up.  At which time we came across a small bay hunter being led to the rings.  DC decided that this must be his long lost herd and attached himself to the horse following behind him at a safe distance, and giving us the confidence to face the now terrifying show grounds.  The upside to this was he was finally walking like a normal relaxed beast.  The down side was that the horse was headed in the opposite direction I needed to go.  I chose the upside, so we followed him on the path that leads to the international warm up ring.  

The international ring is where all the big time jumpers happen.  Immediately upon arriving at the end of the path, I realized my mistake.  The bay hunter was headed left, and I needed to go right.  To clarify, I needed to go right with my spookasaurus who really wanted to go left with his new found herd.  To clarify further, I needed to go right directly in front of all of the big time jumpers schooling for their big time class while I was atop a horse that when it is chilly, sometimes finds amusement in playfully humping his back in place thinking he’s looking super cute.  I do not agree with the cuteness of said behavior.  I said a little prayer that he would act like an adult for at least the 30 seconds it took to get past the warm up ring and proceeded on.  Somehow he took a deep breath relaxed his tense self, and decided it wasn’t all that bad after all.  Prayers answered.

We made it to ring 8, which was open for hacking, and started the process of focusing, relaxing, concentrating, and rounding.  After about 5 minutes or so, my normal DC returned in full form and giving me a lot of good work through his back and hind end.  

About 10 minutes later, yet another beautiful gray walked in the ring, this time a hunter.  When that horse started to trot, I think my jaw dropped all the way to the ground.  I honestly didn’t even know a horse could move like that.  He made any “10” mover you’ve ever thought of look like an ugly hackney pony.  Watching this rider warm him up was a true testament to the type of talent I’ve seen here at WEF.  Riding that is so skilled I can honestly only ever hope to aspire to.  It was beautiful to watch.  

For all of you hunter riders out there, I’ve seen a lot of pro riders work to make a horse push through their hind end, haunches in and out, lateral movement where the butt is working much more than the front end.  I’ve also seen A LOT of counter canter work.  Specifically riders cantering across the diagonal and purposefully holding the current lead, turning it into a counter canter around the end.  

At the end of our hack, I took the opportunity to walk DC around on a loose rein quietly while watching some of the 3’3 pre-greens going on in the adjacent ring.  I saw some amazing riding and beautifully jumping horses.  The kind of horses that might accidentally hit their knee on their jaw they're jumping so amazing.  But I also saw some ordinary mistakes.  The previously mentioned beautiful gray had two swaps off the ground, I saw a rider run for the gap in a not so pretty way, and I saw a horse that didn’t actually jump a 10.  I must keep reminding myself on almost a minute by minute basis, that these are riders too.

After riding, I decided to hop on my bike and head over to the show grounds to purchase tickets for Hunter Hayes on Saturday night.   



That’s right; Hunter Hayes is playing at the show grounds for the Saturday entertainment.  On my way there, I got a bit lost, but my… what a place to get lost in.  I accidentally found my way to Hickstead Place.



And although I didn’t get a picture of the barn, this is what one of their arenas looked like.  Even rainy and wet, it was beautiful.



The other thing I came across while trying to find the show office was….



They were closed, so I did not go in, but now that I know where it is, pure danger.

Thankfully, since I did not bring my rain coat, Suzanne let me borrow hers.  In hindsight, I believe she may have regretted that decision.

  

Bike riding in the wet sand is a dirty business.  Thus why only the grooms and I can be seen pedaling around.  Everyone else has a golf cart, typically custom in their barn colors, logo, and decked out to the max.  Maybe if I add a bell to my bike I'll feel like I fit in better.  Accessories are all the rage.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WEF Days 1.9 and 2



Once again, before I begin, I must add a caveat to my blog.   I am an amateur rider, through and through.  I work a full time “real” job, I make huge mistakes in the ring, and most importantly, I follow the amateur rules vehemently.  I’m adding this caveat as I don’t want it to appear like my hacking horses that don’t belong to me is for anything other than my own pure enjoyment.  Yes, I enjoy riding horses!  I know, shocking revelation.  Really I do feel as though every new horse I get on has something to teach me, and I certainly wouldn’t be the rider I am today without the variety of creatures that I have been blessed to ride over the years.  I digress.

Day 1.9

I know I know.  You all thought we were done with day 1 yesterday, and we would move along quickly to my day 2 carry-ons.  However, there is one important part of day 1 that I left out yesterday, and that would be after dinner which thus becomes day 1.9.  I came back to Suzanne’s place to sit down to some lovely work (this time creating a power point deck, really my job is enthralling).  After that, I decided to unpack.  

Earlier in the evening, Suzanne had helped me carry my plethora of bags up to her place.  Given the sheer number of bags, I was excited that I clearly had packed so well and for all occasions!  That was until I actually started unpacking.  Based on numbers alone, the following were my priorities when packing for three weeks of horse showing in South Florida (if you don’t know what the weather is like here, go look it up as I clearly should have done). 
  1. Cute going out clothes – for all those times I would be going out after working 8-9 hours at my real job and hacking a few horses.  My energy abundance knows no bounds.
  2. Socks – ok good necessity. Check!
  3. Sports bras – nicely done self!
  4. Coats – Fleeces (2), Vests (2), Softshell coats (3), and a Ski Jacket (???) for all of those wintery snowy days in South Florida I suppose.  Please note, not included is my rain coat, since you know, it’s not a tropical climate or anything.
  5. Breeches – always a good choice, my list is looking up!
  6. Underwear – I should maybe be concerned that I brought fewer pairs of underwear than breeches.  This is perhaps where things start to go awry.
  7. Show Coats & Show Shirts – at least I have more underwear than show clothes.
  8. Long Underwear – In my defense, tops only and no bottoms.  Further in my defense, it was icing in Austin when I was packing.  Ok really, I have no defense for bringing long underwear.
  9. Bikinis – because what goes better with long underwear than several bathing suits for the beach?
  10. T-Shirts – surely I need fewer T-Shirts than bikinis.
  11. Running shorts – this goes with my abundance of energy from number 1.  Not only was I planning to go out and look cute, but I was also planning to run (???) in my spare time.

Missing from this ubiquitous list are a few important things.  Such as polos, shorts, and the aforementioned rain coat.  On the bright side there’s an old navy just across the street.  As a backup just in case I decide that the ratio of 3 T-Shirts to 3 weeks is not high enough.  The good people of the Chronicle of the Horse boards recommended I pack for all weather.  I believe I succeeded in the oddest way possible.
 
Day 2

Finally we have made it past Day 1.  To tell the truth if all of my days are like Day 1, 3 weeks here might seem like 3 months elsewhere. 

I wake up Day 2 sounding like a 60 year old lifetime smoker with emphysema.  For once, I am not exaggerating in the least.  I felt like I was trying to breathe through water, an elephant was sitting on my chest, and I was attempting to cough small bits of my lungs right out of my body.  Since I am fond of all the bits of my lungs, I decided that my best course of action would be to go visit a doc-in-the-box before things really went south.  I have asthma, but it only affects me when I get sick or take a sprint across the Houston airport in desperation to catch a flight.  Since this occasion is the former and not the latter, and me being my brilliant self who doesn’t have the wherewithal to pack asthma medication (reference Day 1.9), I needed to get myself to a place that could prevent this from going further south.  However, all of that said, apparently my small bits of lung were less important to me than working and of course riding.

Thus I began my day with more work work work, boring boring boring.  No offense to my work really.  It pays my way to be here in horse paradise, I’m actually fairly decent at it, and I’ve met and become friends with some of the coolest coworkers on the planet, but it is still work.  The very best thing about my job is the flexibility I have to work remotely a lot of the time.  This gives me the opportunity to be here and work all at the same time (except next week, when I go home to work in the office).

After wrapping up a few conference calls (and before the next series commenced), I headed to the barn for some more beloved pony time.  On my drive there I passed a live polo match, full on Pretty Woman style.  I wish I could have snapped a pic, I’ve never seen a polo match before, and even in passing I could tell it was incredibly intense.    

The barn we are stabled at is a quaint place with a pond out front, a cute house with an apartment above, and an adorable barn with huge airy stalls.



On my list to ride today was Zomar, DC, and a new one to me, Rainbow.  When I picture an equine named Rainbow, I picture a tricolor paint pony.  In reality Rainbow is a 17.3 h jumper bad ass.  Maybe the name gives him a softer side.  

I started with Zomar.  We had our normal walk to the show grounds, but as soon as we entered, it was obvious it was no longer Monday.  In horse show land, Mondays are dead days.  Everyone recovering from showing the previous week, I think yesterday I saw a total of 5 horses out other than the ones I was riding.  But now, now it was Tuesday and the show grounds were buzzing.  Horses, golf carts, and dirt bikes where everywhere, it was like a hives nest of activity.  The difference in Zomar was palpable.  My slightly up horse was nowhere to be found.  In replacement was a jumper that was READY TO GO.  He has so much power and athleticism to him it’s cool to sit on.  

I navigated my way to a warm up ring where a couple of other jumpers were hacking as well.  Immediately I was struck by the feeling of “I don’t belong.”  This is the big leagues where the leading rider board looks like this.



Whizzing by me was a Kessler Show Stables golf cart, and riding with me in the ring were a pair of beautiful stallions ridden by young handsome foreign men.  So pervasive was this “I don’t belong” awareness that I had talk myself down off the nervousness I felt.  In order to do this I convinced myself that these amazing riders simply had no idea that I didn’t belong.  For all they knew I could be some up and coming young German rider named Annika Geschlauder that they just hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting yet.  Why did I choose German?  No idea.  

I played this out in my mind while hacking and gained some confidence.  That was until I was merrily cantering along on my right lead, and one of the handsome young men on a gray stallion headed my direction on the opposite lead.  We were quite a ways apart from each other with plenty of room to pass, but the beautiful gray had a different idea.  He SPUN out from under his young foreign rider and galloped the other way, almost dumping him in the dirt.  It was a close call.  CRAP.  Gone were my day dreams of being Annika, and back was the reality that the young foreign man almost ended up in the dirt, partly caused by my horse cantering the opposite direction.  When I had the opportunity, after he had worked the stallion down a bit, I apologized to him.  He looked at me, and laughed.  He said “no it is not your fault, you were just cantering, this? this horse is a Dick.”  At that moment I felt some of my nervousness dissipate.  Even if they’re handsome, famous, and riding beautiful creatures, these riders handle the same issues every rider faces, including sometimes horses being a D$%#. 

I ended my hack nicely and headed back to the barn to get on DC.  Since we were planning to school DC in a show ring today, and not just hack I had to wear a back number.  That’s another new thing to me.  It wasn’t ticketed warm up, just schooling, but still I needed a number to enter the ring.  DC and I headed over to the show grounds, showing the way to Rego who was leading Amigo in hand.  As a note, Amigo didn’t so much as flick an ear while Rego was leading him.  I swear that guy is like a horse whisperer.

We started with jumping DC over a few warm up jumps in the schooling area, and then were called for our turn in the show ring.  They manage the traffic and number of horses in the ring very tightly, and you have an order of go just like you would for showing.  I walked in the ring and once again felt my panic rise.  I came very very close to getting off and letting Matt do my school.  I think if he would have had his helmet with him I would have.  But alas, he was helmetless and I needed to buck up.  I have to honestly say DC couldn’t have schooled better.  He was amazing, responsive, open, flexible, and clearly loved to be jumping.  He helped calm my nerves more, and gave me confidence that at very least he looks like he belongs.  I don’t have any pictures of our ride, but here he is in bath time!


The last horse I rode was the non tri-color paint pony, Rainbow.  Officially, Rainbow is the type of jumper I’d love to have if I ever had a jumper again.  He was a straightforward ride who did exactly as I asked as soon as I asked it.  He was just lovely to hack, and the kind of horse that makes a rider feel like they’re actually very competent and not some pointless sack of potatoes getting in his way.  However, he did try to jump all of the palm tree shadows on the bridle path.  To his credit, they look an awful lot like poles on the ground, but it amused me none the less.  On the way back to the barn, I couldn’t help but take this picture of the Beval store.  Yes, a Beval store. I swear I will get to blogging about the show facility itself….eventually.

After riding, I had to jump on a series of conference calls, and I really felt like I wasn’t getting enough oxygen.  I headed to the urgent care facility that is closest to Suzanne’s place.  Officially, according to the doc, I have acute bronchitis.  Not sure what the difference is between acute and non-acute, but I’d rather be a-cute (hardy har har) any day of the week.  He prescribed me asthma meds, antibiotic, and cough syrup so I could sleep.  

And sleep I did, dreaming of being independently wealthy and spending my winters at WEF.