In trying to prepare for Epic Winter Tour (EWT) 2015, I decided I needed a strict program, lots of lessons, and a strong exercise program so we could be as ready as possible. This pretty much worked just about as well as weather, horses, and work would allow it.
Stage 1 – A week at Woodhill
After ending on a sub-par note at the Thanksgiving and Christmas shows in December in Texas, Matt and I agreed that spending a week at Woodhill in January couldn’t be the worst thing in the world for either of us. The plan was to take the horses on Friday, lesson over the weekend, and leave them there until the next weekend for Matt to ride and then more lessons before heading home. Unfortunately due to my work schedule, I absolutely had to be in Austin Friday afternoon and Sunday morning (remember Woodhill is 3.5 hours away north of Ft. Worth in Northlake). As a result I coerced DH into going on a one day turn around trip up to the Farm, ride 5 horses, and back to Austin. Leaving at 5 am, some excellent lessons, a truck stuck in the mud, and a shutdown highway later, and we were back in Austin just shy of 2 am. Seriously, my husband is the best.
Over the next week I got excellent reports on DC with texts such as “considering the weather, he wasn’t bad” and “well he’s straighter now, I hope.” Raving reports I tell you.
The second weekend I was actually able to do consecutive days of riding and got to school both TJ and DC in the big field. We prepared for WEF by jumping this:
Just kidding, that we tried to walk by, spooked 5 feet and I almost came off. How great of a story would that have been? “How’d you come off?” “Oh I was walking by the water jump.” “Jumping the water jump?” “No, just walking.”
Both horses were great all weekend, and I felt like I had some good homework for the next two weeks.
Stage 2a – Two weeks at home with lots of work
Stage 2b – Pray it stops raining
Stage 2c – Realize it’s not going to stop raining and pick my way through some grass like areas trying to just keep the horses in shape.
Stage 2d – 30 degrees and freezing rain -- Just give up and start dreaming of Florida and 85 degrees. Who needs prep anyways?
Stage 3 – DRIVE TO WELLINGTON
Fantastically, the drive to Wellington was mostly uneventful. No polar vortex related traffic, no colicky horses, just the awesome BFFs DC and TJ hanging in the trailer being their angelic selves.
However, I can tell you that if you need a friend at an Ag station, Howard at the Escambia County office is the man to know. Howard and I became close as the coggins I printed wasn’t signed, my Health Certs didn’t match the other paperwork, and the State Veterinarian wanted to quarantine me for 24 hours. I placed a panicked phone call to my vet, had new paperwork emailed to me, and then sent to my new BFF Howard. Bless his heart, he printed it for me, sent an online copy to the State Vet, and got me out of the quarantine restrictions. Thank God for small favors by Howard who clearly went above and beyond to help get me to my destination.
Stage 4 – Arrive!!!!
We arrived to the PBEC at a decent time of 5pm, which seemed decent until I realized the daunting task of everything that needed to be done to settle the horses. We are stabled this year on the show grounds instead of one of the farmettes offsite. Our long term stalls were full, so we had some layover stalls on grounds. After finally heading to my winter home (I’m the sometimes roommate) at 11pm, I crashed with dreams of those blue ribbons that I was sure to win, or something.