Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gulfport Weeks 1 & 1.25 – Tales of the controlling horse owner

I know this is hard to believe, but I am a controlling horse owner.  Right, you’re surprised, amazed, and shocked at this revelation.  I keep my controlling nature so well hidden that you could have never guessed this would be the case.  Got it.  

Regardless of how surprising this is, it is true.  I am a controlling horse owner.  First step is admitting your weakness.  Mine would be never wanting to turn the reins over to others (both literally and metaphorically speaking).  After our WEF Melt Down, otherwise known as WMD (I’m not sure a better acronym could exist), Matt and I jointly decided (along with DH approval) to send him to Gulfport.  If you regularly read this blog, you probably already know that.  

What you didn’t know is that sending him to Gulfport means taking a deep breath, recognizing that DC is not the black stallion and others are fully capable of his care, and turning the reins over to the trusted Matt and entourage.  The plan was to let DC have the first week off to do a little hacking, a little schooling, and a lot of regrouping.  This meant I had no reason to be in Gulfport, and it meant I wouldn’t even see my horse for two solid weeks while he was trying to remember how it felt to win ribbons at WEF (pre WMD).  

Given my propensity for control issues, I warned Matt ahead of time:

Me: “You know I’m going to be super annoying and text all the time asking how my horse is.”

Matt: “haha”

Me: “No really, it’s going to be obnoxious.”

Matt: “ok yeah haha.”

Me: “You might not be laughing at text number 234.”

After the first week, I felt very successful at limiting myself to only (approximately) two texts per day. Ok maybe sometimes more, but I promise it averaged out to two-ish.  In general the updates were good.  

Me: “How is he?”

Matt: “Great, got turned out today, had a nice hack.”

Me: “So he seems happy?”

Matt: “Yes most definitely.”

At this point I would have to fight the daily urge to ask 100 questions (as I needed to keep my average down to two), so I would respond with something seemingly cool and blasé like “K thanks.”  I was aiming for a new found zen attitude and self-control.  Sometimes I even succeeded.  

Matt, understanding my quirky (I’m just going to go with quirky ok??) personality even sent me a picture.

Blessed is the trainer who feeds my anxiety with pictures.

This system of zen attitude and self-control was fully in force until yesterday.  

<sidenote> Nothing says zen like having a system for being zen.</sidenote>

Why yesterday?  Well for the first time in the duration of my 24 year show career, I was having a trainer do a pro division on my horse.  There have been sprinklings of time over the years where a pro has done a class or two for me when I’m having a specific problem or I can’t get to the show in time.  But, never before has a pro taken control, and done an entire division prior to my arrival.  I knew that if it was ever going to happen, now would be the time as I needed to be home for work, and DC had some things that needed to be worked on.  

Thus, Matt did his very first 3’3 performance division on DC.  This resulted in a myriad of texts which brought my average well above 2 per day.  

Me: “How is he feeling?”

Me: “How’s the weather?”

Me: “Have you gone yet?”

Me: “Was he fresh?”

Me: “When do you jog?”

Me: “Can I pay someone to video you jogging?”

Me: “Final results?”

Matt being the good sport that he is kindly and patiently answered all of them.  The end result being that despite horrible 40 degree and raining weather and a sloppy ring, DC walked away from the first day of his pro division with a 2nd and a 6th in the performance and a “blue ribbon” in the warm up.  He had a hard rub at the first jump in the second hunter, but was otherwise lovely.  The warm ups in Gulfport are red/blue ribbon rounds.   If you score an 85 or above it’s a blue, if you score a 70-84 it’s a red, below 70 no ribbon at all.

I’d love to share a picture of the ribbons, but alas I feel that that is just too much to ask, even for me. 


  1. Are you going to show him this weekend?

  2. Hahahahahaha you remind me so much of myself. I am the definition of a neurotic horse owner and I like to do everything myself. I feel like a fish out of water when others take over riding or care.

    Glad DC was a good boy, and it sounds like it was a good decision. Also, thank goodness for modern cell phone technology that allows us to keep track of our babies from hundreds of miles away!

    1. No kidding! I hope it continues to go well.

  3. The warmup. Oh, how I loathe the warmup. I'd go in, lay down a perfect warmup trip, and then totally screw up my first division trip (because after the warmup, I was like "I am an expert. I've got this."). End of the day would roll around and I'd hear over the loudspeaker that I'd won the day's warmup, and then I'd have to run fast and far to avoid being smacked silly by my trainer.

    1. On Tj I quit doing warm ups, always where I laid it down.

  4. Haha, it's a struggle for all of us.

  5. Glad he had some nice rounds with Matt!

  6. I do the same text sequence to my trainer. When I was traveling last week I texted to see how Ellie was doing in her trial and I got a cryptic message back about how brave she was being. Which I then over analyzed for longer than necessary.