Before I begin, I’d like to shout out to my three commenters (which is not a word but take it as 'people who comment'), Margaret, Lori, and KP. That is exactly three more comments than I’d ever thought I’d have. Thanks ladies!
I’d like to say that WEF day one was a whole lot of kittens and rainbows, but alas the working rider must work. I started off my day with work work work, conference call conference call, conference call, project plan project plan project plan, usability usability usability. There is a reason I do not blog about my career.
Sadly, on top of all of this work, it became very clear that I was coming down with the same nasty cold that Stephen had been carrying with him for the better part of a week. I could no longer ignore the sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head, coughing that was encroaching on me; I was becoming a real life NyQuil commercial. However, no small cold was going to keep this girl down, it was time to ride some ponies!
Upon arriving at the barn, I was greeted by this sweet face in turn out. He had parked himself in a shady area and was snoozing away happily.
For those of you who don’t know a lot about WEF (I really didn’t until I began to plan this trip), it’s very different from a typical horse show. They have about 20 tents of stalls on-site, but there are equal number of horses (or more) that stable off show grounds. It was hard for me to imagine before I experienced it myself, but around the wellington area there are “neighborhoods” which essentially are series of small farmettes. Each farmette typically has its own barn, turn outs, and arena. All of these little barns are situated on an extended set of trails or bridle paths. These bridle paths allow access around wellington on horseback, including to the show grounds. I akin it to golf cart paths in country club neighborhoods, but for horses.
Woodhill (my barn) is stabled in one of the smaller farmettes on the bridle path. We have 9 horses that came to WEF, and while that isn’t a huge number, it’s a fun group of friendly people who love their horses as much as I do. I arrived to a list of horses to ride, and a trainer that was nowhere in sight. Rego, the head groom told me that Matt was out riding. I asked where? He says “Anna, this is a big place, very big, I have no idea.” Okkkkkkk so I wait.
About 20 minutes later Matt arrives back from the show, gives me some vague directions on how to get there, “go left, go left again, you’ll find it,” and wishes me luck. He also tells me that today is about “a little trail ride, pick a ring and hack for 5-10 minutes and come back.” What I didn’t know at the time was that today was REALLY about getting the horses accustomed to their new found trail riding freedom which included going through small spaces, flapping flags, going over a bridge, crossing a fairly busy road including using a rider-level crosswalk button, lizards crawling under the feet, birds flying all around, lawn guys mowing and weed-eating, et-cetera.
Perhaps the design is survival of the fittest. If you can make it to the horse show, you know you belong.
When I finally made it to the show grounds, I was a bit blown away. The show is shut down on Monday, but even with everything closed and few horses about, the sheer size and capacity of this place is unlike anything I’ve seen. I’ve decided it’s like a cross between Las Vegas and Disneyland but for horses (more on that in another blog).
We had a lovely hack, somehow made it back to the barn with much less drama, and I was on to Zomar. Zomar is an A/O jumper with an “attack life” personality. He cruised right on over to the show grounds, and was a little up, so we took our time hacking and getting some flexibility and roundness through his body. He really did quite well on his trail ride, except when some birds flew up by his face. That was cause for a slight panic attack. As reported by his owner “he doesn’t like anything that moves or makes noise.” Birds indeed qualify for both.
|Zomar ready to hit that blue trail|
I rode DC last, as that was all I had time for before taking Stephen to the airport. Granted, he is my horse, so I might have a slight bias, but he was the best one of the day.
|Over the River|
|And Through the Palm Trees|
|To the Horse Show We Go|
After my lovely riding, it was time to take the Darling Husband (henceforth DH) to the airport. To give you all an idea of the kind of quality guy he is, Stephen drove about 80% of our 26 hour trip, sick with a cold and sinus infection, only to turn around and fly home from 82 and sunny to 32 and icing in Austin. All the while telling me to ‘have fun’ in Florida. A rare breed is he.
When I dropped Stephen off, he seemed to be a bit concerned for my safety. Why, you might ask? Well my plan for home base for a large part of the next three weeks (save when I fly home) is my friend Suzanne’s place. This might seem pretty normal, except I met Suzanne through the Chronicle of the Horse bulletin boards. I did promise her that I was not an Axe murderer, however when driving toward her condo I could not remember her making the same promise to me. Given that I’m writing this blog, and it’s the next day, so far so good. She even has an adorable dog named Ellie, who I would like to rename trout, and a cat named Lucy. Suzanne and I had a lovely ‘Welcome to Florida’ dinner at the Key Lime House on the Intracoastal Waterway (look at me, already speaking the Florida lingo). I learned through this dinner of all of the awesome south Florida things she has planned for me, and that the Key Lime House is the largest building under a thatched roof in Florida, each piece of information equally as intriguing.
|Why get a glass of sangria when you can get a pitcher?|
|Trout, aka Ellie|