A perfect day for x-c schooling!


Julie and Sapphie

Today was a perfect day for schooling….especially since I didn’t have to ride ūüôā I took Julie and Sapphie along with Elizabeth and her brand new horse, Quinn.¬†¬† Julie is looking to move up to Novice at Octoberfest this year so we were schooling some bigger fences and combinations.¬† Sapphie was fantastic!¬† She jumped the half coffin, some tougher banks up and down, and some fences on¬†hills.¬† Julie did really well, and Sapphie’s gallop is really coming along.¬† “Quinn”, Elizabeth’s new Connemara mare, jumped several starter and Beginner novice fences.¬† She is going to be a blast.¬† Elizabeth smiled from ear to ear the entire time…….a nice change on the cross country course.¬†¬†¬† WELCOME, QUINN!!!

Elizabeth and Quinn


A Rough Ending to an Already Rough Show

Gus didn’t eat his grain Sunday morning.¬† That was the first sign that something wasn’t quite right.¬† He wasn’t very dirty either, which meant he had done most of his sleeping standing up.¬† Also weird.¬† I was slightly concerned about colic due to the chilly evenings and really hot days over the weekend, but he was eating his hay and otherwise seemed normal.¬† The swelling in his right knee was completely gone, and his legs looked great when Erica took off his wraps.¬† His back was really sore to the touch, and I was already beginning to wonder if his back adjustment held.

He warmed up at the trot well, but when I asked for the canter I knew his back was not right.¬† He didn’t come under himself and was extremely tense and stompy.¬† Another thing that made me think he was really sore was that he stood quietly at¬†the end of the arena (while mounted) to let me watch some stadium rounds.¬† That also never happens.¬† He jumped the warmup crossrail well, but when I tried to jump the vertical he never even picked up his knees . It was like we were stuck to the ground.¬† He tore the whole fence down, standards and all.¬† I knew it was going to be a long¬†morning.

He jumped a few fences well after that so¬†I decided to try the course and pull out if I needed to.¬† He jumped #1 beautifully, and I thought maybe we were going to be ok.¬† We came to the next line, a combination with 4 strides between them and I knew we were in for some trouble.¬† ¬†He knocked the rail on the first one and the second one ,and I could tell that he just couldn’t use his back end correctly enough to push off.¬† I raised my hand to signal to the judge that I was withdrawing, and hopped off of Gus.¬†¬†

I think Gus was extremely relieved to be done with the show, and as soon as we put him back in the stall he ate all of his grain.  It took us another 2 hours to pack up the trailer and get the heck out of Dodge.  I left the show with a REALLY cool picture of Gus jumping through the keyhole jump, and a knowlege that he can jump a big, technical course with no whip. 

It was a long drive home.  Waiting for me back in Waynesville were 500 bales of hay needing to be picked up out of my field.  A perfect ending to a perfect weekend!  Thanks to all of our helpers we were able to get it done in a couple of hours.  The hay looks fantastic, and now we can try to get a 3rd cutting.

The show is over, the hay is in the barn, and I have 300 people coming to my house for a big party this weekend………..Barn Bash 2011 is upon us……..and it makes me want to cry just a little.

An almost perfect ride…..

Xc went ” mostly ” well today. I started the course off by losing my whip over fence number one…….a slight problem. Don’t really know how it happened, but the sucker slipped right through my fingers somewhere in the first 10 seconds of my ride. I managed to slap him on the shoulder with my hand (embarrassing, but very true) hard enough to get him through the first water complex. We had a stop at the sunken road due to the fact I couldn’t beat him over the first element. The rest of the course was nearly perfect.

Despite the fact that nothing about this show (or this whole crazy week) has gone according to plan, I have come away from this experience with some pearls of wisdom….

Here are just a few….

Just because I can ride a horse well doesn’t mean that I can also ride a bicycle well. I nearly drove my bike into a moving truck today and almost wrecked twice.

Flip flops + mud = dirty breeches and dirty shirt

Don’t sit your lawnchairs behind cars that are getting ready to back up.

2 extra chairs at your campsite is an open invitation for creepy boys camping nearby to stay and chit chat late into the night.

Waking up to dogs fighting outside at 6 am makes me want to shoot someone.

Drunk people are not the best at cornhole.

Stepping in dog poop while in flip flops also makes me want to shoot someone.

Under armour is awesome when camping in 50 degree weather.

Culvers makes me happy.

Horse shows may be the most frustrating thing in the entire world.

Getting to see Karen and David O’Connor, Philip Dutton, Leslie Law, Becky Holder etc.etc.etc. ride all weekend almost makes it worth it.

Well, it’s off to bed. The competitor’s party was fun, but I ride early tomorrow.

I’ll be glad to put this show behind me and get ready for Flying Cross.

Not such a fantastic start to the weekend…….”a very capable horse, just tense today”

Well…. Gus’s braids looked spectacular, and he warmed up well. As soon as his hooves hit the sand, however, all of that relaxation went out the window. We had some brilliant moments and some moments of real crappiness. I was surrounded by some of the best preliminary riders in the nation, and I feel like my horse let me down. I guess he tried to behave…..when he wasn’t busy taking off with me in the counter canter and doing random flying changes. At least he did two immobile halts and didn’t trot off with me after my freewalk. I think I’m just going to have to be happy with that. We are currently sitting in 15th out of 15 with a 43.5. We have never before placed this poorly after dressage and I don’t really know what to do with myself. I just keep telling myself that there’s nowhere else to go but up.

I walked my xc course 3 times today. It’s big, but seems inviting for the most part. There are a few areas that are a little intimidating, but I think Gus will like the course overall.

Tonight we ate dinner and spent some time at the hotel with a. few of Erica’s Michigan friends . While we were there we bummed a shower too! Much better.

When we got back to the park I walked Gus and finished cleaning his stall for the night. We’re back at our campsite now just getting ready for another great night of “roughing it”. It was chilly last night…in the 50’s ….but I slept well enough thanks to my under armour.

Tomorrow morning I will wheel my course and ride at 2:45. Let’s hope my friend (Gus) comes to work tomorrow!

Here we go…..

We got up here by 5 today, and we couldn’t believe how many people were here! Erica set up Gus’s stall while I parked the trailer. When I got back to the stall, he was all ready to get tacked up for my ride. I had a nice quiet dressage ride….a night and day difference from Tuesday! We fed him his dinner and then headed out to dinner with some of Erica’s friends from Michigan. After dinner, we fed Gus some more hay and cleaned his stall for the last time of the night. Erica let me borrow some toothpaste so I could brush my teeth….we don’t have any running water, so it’s bottled water and the ground to spit on. I still have some dressage test studying to do, and then it’s “flashlights” off for me. At least it looks like it’s going to be a great weekend for camping. ……is there such a thing?

Headed to Richland Park………..but just barely.

What a week it has been.  Why is it that things always seem to go haywire right before a big show????  This week was supposed to be a textbook training week.  It turned out to be anything but that.

Last Friday I did my last gallop sets at Twin Towers and then did a few cross country fences.¬† Gus galloped nicely, and¬†for the most part jumped well.¬† I did¬†notice that he didn’t seem to use his back end the way he normally did, but I chalked it up to his¬†being tired after his gallop.¬† Saturday he had off.¬† Sunday he had¬†a long¬†walk with Erica.¬†

Monday we were scheduled to do a light jump school so that we could do our final jump school Wednesday and leave Thursday.  Gus was an absolute idiot over fences.  He seemed to be using himself correctly, but he had a gigantic left drift over fences.  He refused to get off of my left leg, and we ended up having a long hard battle.  I won in the end, and considered it a positive thing to get it out of the way before we left for Richland Park. 

Tuesday we did dressage.¬† My goal was to give Gus a really easy ride and then take him for a long hack.¬† Didn’t exactly go according to plan.¬† He started out nicely, but then was an absolute idiot again.¬† He threw himself around the arena refusing to do anything to the left without a fight.¬† He didn’t canter well at all.¬† He was never off, but he was tense and “stomping” in the canter.¬† He acted like he was going to rear, and several times nearly got me unseated.¬† We did our torture circling all over the arena, and I finally got him settled down after an hour.¬† Wow…..all I wanted to do was practice my dressage test and go for a walk.¬† When I went to untack him I noticed that his right knee was hugely swollen.¬† I think he probably hit his knee with his other front hoof while he was throwing himself around the arena.¬†

While we cold hosed his knee and checked him over for other injuries, I noticed his back was starting to look out.  Now it all started to make sense.  I started to put 2 and 2 together, and came up with the theory that his back had been getting sore over the last couple of days and now he was letting me know in his own subtle (ha!) way that he was hurting. 

At 7pm I put in an emergency call to the chiropractor and the vet.¬†I cold hosed and iced his knee all night on Tuesday.¬† He had bute and was¬†jogging up sound¬†by 11pm Tuesday night.¬† The right knee was still swollen, but it didn’t seem to be affecting him at all.

¬†At 8am Wednesday¬†the chiropractor came to adjust his back.¬† He was REALLY out.¬† He was locked up in his neck and had a few bad places on his left side.¬† Probably the reason he wouldn’t get off of my left leg.¬† The chiropractor said to ride him long and low that day (Wednesday) as long as Dr. Miller ok’d his knee.

Dr. Miller arrived to look at the knee at about 10am.  He gave him a shot to help reduce the edema in the knee, and said he was fine.  He wrote me a note to take to the show saying that Gus was sound to compete.  WE WERE HEADED TO RICHLAND PARK!!!!!

I rode Gus after the vet left.¬† He was phenomenal!¬† I kept him long and low, and¬† didn’t do any tight turns or circles.¬† His movement was back to normal.¬† I realized then that he hadn’t felt this good for awhile.¬† His back must have been bothering him for a couple of weeks, but it took an act of complete rebellion and craziness for him to let me know.¬†

So……I am packed and ready for the show.¬† Erica and I leave at about 11am today for Michigan.¬† His knee is fine, his back is fine, and I am now completely at peace about the whole thing.¬†

Without the injury to the knee, I probably wouldn’t have been aware of the major problems with his back.¬† I think God has big plans for us this weekend….and Gus needs to be physically ready for the challenge at hand.¬†

I’ll let you know how it all turns out……………………



Welcome Loxo and Loggo!

Wade was fortunate enough (thanks to his wonderful uncle Greg) to win two fish at the Lion’s Club Festival this weekend.¬† He named them “Loxo” and “Loggo” ……no one has an explanation.¬† My declaration of “I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER have any more fish in the house has been thrown out the window.¬†

Wade is thrilled……

Loxo and Loggo-----Wade's new fish