Tuesday, November 10, 2015

horse showing from the perspective of a cripple

So we had TONS of fun at Loch Moy this weekend. Full of lots of excellent riding (by persons not named Emma), mostly well-behaved horses, some very welcomed wine and cheese, and lots of spectating. And obvi lots of pictures too haha, bc that's pretty much all I can do right now lol.

Show day started with a whirlwind EARLY morning. Oh man. We left the farm in the pitch black of 5:30am. Lucky for me, all I had to do was show up with the truck - Brita and Kaitlyn already had everything else ready to go, including the horses.

It meant that the first couple hours on grounds were a little jam packed, starting with getting Brita and Wick prepped for a 7:40 ride time.  I was pretty useless to help (which I hate), but at least could brush Wick's poopy tail out (thereby proceeding to splatter manure all over my medical-grade boot that stays on 24/7, even in bed. lovely). 
But I've long believed that, as a competitor, focusing on helping another rider get ready is the perfect way to keep my nerves at bay, and I think Kaitlyn would agree and got the horse tacked while Brita changed. Then Brita was off to warm up and get her test ridden! I'll let her share the details of the rides later tho :)
We had jusssssssst enough time between the two dressage tests to race out to the cross country field on a rented Kubota, with the added company of Austen and her two lovely pups Sonka and Lyra (whose ears are pictured above). The course looked really REALLY good. Lots of level appropriate questions (ditch option, up bank, water), some big fences and technical approaches, all with a nice use of terrain and wooded sections. Obvi I was eyeing the N course while we were out there too and felt a few pangs of disappointment to not be riding also... but whatever. Vicarious living actually isn't so bad ;)
Then right back to the grind of rider prep - this time Kaitlyn and Tillie's turn. Mare was fresh and sassy right off the trailer (as evidenced by this majestic AF tail flick haha - and see the bonus forelock flip too?!?) but all was well.
And obviously poor Austen got put to work again too, picking hooves and tacking up etc. 
And soon enough everyone was all dressed up and ready to go!
You can sorta see by the trailer fender on the left side of this pic that we were packed in like sardines in the parking lot - it was a BIG show (I think somewhere close to 300 horses?) and they used up every possible square foot of space. Fortunately we got very central parking so I was able to move about the grounds without too much issue.
It meant tho that the warm up ring was CRAZY. They had five - FIVE - dressage rings running simultaneously, with just one big area to warm up. Lots of screaming horses in there, but thankfully  mostly good steering by everyone involved. 
All was well tho - the tests were ridden and the horses were behaved, with perhaps one mightily unfortunate misstep that I'll let Kaitlyn write about. But then finally we could all take a little breather before getting Brita ready to jump. Some other folks from the barn showed up too - including R (who ended up scratching with Bali) and a couple young riders and barn moms. Yay for having a big supportive group! 
Tillie and Wick totally bonded too - as evidenced here by the mare sticking her face out of the trailer for kisses lol. Maybe she's wishing Wick good luck? lol
I just LOVE all the anticipation before jumping. Getting ready for dressage is it's own kind of anxiety, ya know? And the tension isn't really relieved after riding the test bc there's still two more phases to come. But when you're getting ready to go jump, it's just this big huge feeling of "THIS IS IT!!!!" And Wick certainly knew what all the commotion was about haha. He's got his whole thing figured out :)
And actually, being the useless cripple of the group had it's own benefits as well, as I got dog duty while Austen helped with boots etc. 
And these dogs are such a treat to hang out with :)
Lol this is a classic Brita face, snapped right before they headed out on cross country. Again, I'll leave the tales of her and Kaitlyn's rides for them to tell (hint: much awesomeness happened) - but will say that the cross country course was perfectly set up so that spectators could stand pretty much right smack in the center and see almost the entire course - even through the woods (since all the leaves have mostly dropped). 
It made for excellent spectating, which was convenient bc I was pretty worn out by the crutches at this point. So Austen and I opted to stay out by xc / stadium after Brita's round and while Kaitlyn got ready, rather than walking back and forth again.
And the huskies were more than happy to keep us entertained with their gladiator routine lol.
Lyra is such an instigator! 
Ooooooh and this dog - I believe a fox hunting cull - wanted to meet Sonka and Lyra sooooooooo bad. Omg so bad. He kept throwing himself on the ground trying to pull/roll/drag himself across the grass that way, like maybe his owner wouldn't notice him inching closer and closer haha. 
It was obviously pretty adorable - the huskies were intrigued!
Another benefit of hanging out longer over by the stadium and cross country area was all the spectating we got to do throughout the day. Like when we got to see trainer P take her training horse through stadium.
And then again through cross country, where they had another spectacular clear round. We got to see Dan with one of his novice horses too, who happened to put in quite a lovely test and clear jumping rounds to clinch the win.
But really, once it was all said and done (both riders were finished jumping by 10:30!) we spent a lot of time just hanging out relaxing at the trailer. And Tillie and Wick got to continue their love fest a little longer, until Wick went too far with the mutual grooming (pictured above) and Tillie threw some serious mare glare his way. We separated them after that lol.
Bc obviously we weren't ready to leave just yet - it was time for the best part of show day: Wine!!! 
And potato chips!!!
And CHEEEEEESE!!!!
Sonka very badly wanted a chip lol.
Also, puppy time. Bc look at that freaking sweater, how cute? 
And the horses seemed happy enough just hanging out. It was gorgeous weather and the hay and water were plentiful, so why not, right?
Even if the dogs kinda bogarted the water...
Oh I also somehow ended up with manure on my crutches. And also somehow didn't really care. Manure everywhere. Whatever. Two weeks away from the barn will make you appreciate very strange things indeed lol.
But eventually it was time to pack up and head home. It was kinda hard to leave tho - this venue is just so nice and the shows are so fun, I think we'll try to make it out here more often next season.

It was actually super hard to believe that it was our final planned show of the season - it was such a beautiful day and the horses had gone so well, how could there not be another event in a couple weeks? Kinda depressing actually, except I think everyone walked away excited to work on a couple areas over the off season and come back next year stronger than ever. 
And before we knew it we were back home (where a certain chestnut mare meandered over to the fence near the trailer wondering why she wasn't included in the fun), unpacking, and hanging it up for the year. 
I gotta say - being limited to the status of 'spectator' wasn't nearly as sad as I thought it might be - it was actually really fun getting to just support my friends and their horses without adding any of my own stress or tension to the mix... All the same tho, I'm definitely looking forward to getting back into the action soon :D

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes pictorial post from show day. Stay tuned for a guest post by Brita and check out Kaitlyn's blog to read how the actual riding went!! Complete with MUCH nicer pictures!

37 comments:

  1. This looks like so much fun! I am so jealous that your unrecognized shows are so big! They would be awesome prep for recognized. A tip I read about your boot, I heard some people wrap theirs in giant ziplock bags to keep them clean at the barn.

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    1. these shows are HUGE - and i guess it never occurred to me that other areas wouldn't have similar events... we're really pretty spoiled haha, esp bc they are so much fun :)

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    2. We are spoiled...and the recent USEA announcement about the assisted BN? here is the article: http://useventing.com/news/membership-committee-proposes-new-test-division-beginner-novice-assistance-allowed

      I at first was so confused because we are lucky and have such great starters here...but I think this would be great for the areas that don't.

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    3. i saw that assisted BN article too!! not entirely sure yet what i think, except that i like some of the reasoning behind it

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  2. You guys sure know how to have a good time at a horse show - I love it!! And I'm glad to hear you're still getting to partake in the showing fun. I really love helping friends out at shows - it's really satisfying for some reason!

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    1. it's definitely super satisfying and i'm glad i can hang out around the action still too (even if i'm super sore now lol)

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  3. I love spectating almost as much as competing, almost. Glad you had fun, and holy s most majestic tail filp ever!

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    1. it's been so long since i've been *just* a spectator that i had forgotten how nice it can be :) and yea, Tillie sure knows how to flip that thing around lol

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    2. Tillie knows how to whip around in all sorts of ways! Lol just wait until you read my XC recap later this week!

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    3. lolz she's vurrry expressive

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  4. I'm with redheadlins, I really enjoy being a spectator.

    Also, you should consider getting yourself a pair of BoT socks. I found that wearing mine beneath my boot helped with swelling and to this day I still find that wearing them helps decrease the pain.

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    1. interesting! as it is i pretty much have no pain and very minimal swelling so this injury is probably not getting any more investment from me than it's already had (it's like my least favorite child right now haha), but that's good to keep in mind all the same!

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  5. I always have more fun spectating than riding.

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    1. it really is a whole entirely different thing :) i LOVE competing tho, not sure that'll ever change

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  6. Bummer to be sidelined, but glad you still get to have fun!

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    1. thanks i'm pretty glad too, even if it was the last show of the season

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  7. Looks like you definitely made the best of spectating!!

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    1. it was such a blast - i wish i could spend every weekend like that :) (minus the crutches tho bc ugh sore)

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  8. Looks like you guys had a great time and I am envious!

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  9. So happy I got to experience showing with you! I dont think I ever want to do it alone again. THANK YOU for the ride, the support and kind (and not so kind) words of encouragement :) Even if it did cause some heads to turn our way lol

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    1. haha no you must always come with us haha!! we have all the fun always regardless of whatever happens :) now i just need a bigger trailer.....

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  10. Looks like a great day for spectating. Glad that you enjoyed yourself.

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    1. it was definitely perfect - couldnt' have asked for better conditions or parking or company or anything really :D

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  11. What a fun day! I'm envious both of your massive unrecognized shows and your awesome barn friends. Hopefully you'll be back to showing in no time!

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    1. So fun :) I really never realized how lucky we are to have these shows so close to home. This venue is AWESOME and I want to go back all the time haha. Idk how long it'll be before I'm showing again tho.... Maybe we will learn of some fun dressage shows over the winter?!?

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  12. Fun commentary and I loved the tail pic which at first glance appeared to be some sort of shrub. And the dog on the ground begging for attention. I love him/her. Looks like a perfect fall day too.

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  13. Fun commentary and I loved the tail pic which at first glance appeared to be some sort of shrub. And the dog on the ground begging for attention. I love him/her. Looks like a perfect fall day too.

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    1. that begging dog was soooo cute haha! and it really was the perfect day - the weather and scenery were gorgeous

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  14. I love spectating and helping friends out at shows, too. Too bad you ended up doing it this time around for a sucky reason! On to next season!

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    1. yea.... not the greatest reasons, but still worked out just fine. next season will be better!

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  15. I'm sorry I've been such a terrible blogger friend! After catching up on your previous posts I realized you are injured!!! That's so cool of you to accompany your friends to events though, AND keep up with blogging! Your positive attitude is such an inspiration!

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    1. aw thank you! it's honestly been pretty hard to stay positive... but writing helps and this won't last forever. we'll be back in action soon!

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  16. I had fun just reading this, so hopefully it was lots of fun in person. That's great you went out to support them!
    Those doggies are sooo cute!

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    1. it really was lots of fun - you can't really beat a beautiful day with fun people, nice dogs and good horses :D

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