Tuesday, June 12, 2018

all the in betweens

We've been keeping up a fairly busy schedule for the past few weeks around here. And what with all the horse shows and big lessons and whatnot there's been so many thoughts and feelings (and pictures and videos) I've wanted to share that a lot of the smaller details, the "in between" moments have kinda gotten lost in the shuffle.

Like signing up as a last-minute warm up ring steward for the Dressage Festival at Loch Moy last weekend. It hadn't been a part of my original plan, but they desperately needed help and I'm a huge Loch Moy fan so.... I went. And guys, it was POURING OMG.

A ton of riders scratched, but actually not as many as you might expect and we were there all the way up until 5pm. Honestly I was pretty impressed with how tough some of these folks were, riding their tests despite the horrendous conditions!

It was an especially cool moment when both my trainer P and another OF barn mate were in side by side rings at the same time haha. They both did the farm proud!!

Really tho, I gotta say I really enjoy stewarding warm up rings. I like talking to the competitors, and I esp like being the one small spot of organization in the personal chaos that can be any one individual's show day experience. When I'm competing, it always makes me a little worried when the stewards don't seem to know whether things are on time, early, or late. Or if they don't have answers to questions about which ring riders are in, or other general logistical stuff. So as a steward, that's the stuff I always try to have handy and it's really gratifying to be able to help keep riders relaxed by being able to answer all their questions!

Another secondary benefit to volunteering at the show was getting to hang out with Austen too, haha. Tho she was more generous than I, and signed up for volunteering both days.

And what's better after a long day spent at a show in the rain than getting to head out to her new farm, where both boys are now living together?? Add a couple tall boys to the mix and it sounded pretty perfect lol.

It had actually been a while since I'd gotten to see Pig (I saw Bast earlier this winter but Pig had already moved by that point). The big guy is lookin good these days!! 

Plus Austen's new barn is located near some cool trails. I'm always surprised by how few fitbit steps I get doing an activity like stewarding. I guess even tho I'm on my feet all day, I'm not really logging enough "walking" activity to register as foot steps??? Idk, either way I needed to get moving haha.

It was a pretty day for a hike too - with the river reeeeeally high with all the rain, and the woods looking particularly dark and charming lol.

Mostly tho, it was nice to just hang out. Just us, the horses, and our tall boys lol ;)

Speaking of tall boys out in the Maryland jungle, Charlie's herd recently relocated back to their big summer pastures. This field is neat bc it has a muddy sacrifice area at the front of it that opens on a stream for 24/7 fresh water, then leads out to giant grassy pastures up the hillside. 

I had always worried that Charlie would be funny about drinking from the stream since he was so averse to water in the early days. But.... according to this video, I was definitely wrong lol.

Which ya know, I could have guessed anyway considering he's become such a pro out in the woods too. As mentioned yesterday, Charlie and I have been spending the lion's share of our time out there. For long quiet hacks and for more purposeful trot sets. And actually some barn mates have been wanting to join up with us lately too! 

I basically just go the same few paths for trot sets since the hills are kinda, ya know, fixed in place. Tho with the help of barn mates I'm constantly figuring out slight improvements - like turning one hill into a loop instead of just an out-and-back track. Charlie and I might have a few problems on our plate right now, but dammit, fitness isn't one of them!! lol...

Anyway, I already wrote about scribing at another twilight event too. I still haven't ridden in one of these myself considering the logistics involved with a weekday evening event are.... challenging for me. But in light of Charlie's and my recent "problems," trainer P thinks we need to get back out again, STAT.

So I might be looking into this more seriously soon.... We'll see. These are such cool events - they're super low key. Riders are encouraged to do their dressage tests in jump tack and go immediately to the jump rings. Stadium is straight forward, and then for cross country all the jumps are lined up row by row, and you just jump whatever height you feel like, no matter which level you entered. Perfect for schooling up or down depending on how your horse is feeling. And no ribbons or anything, nothing formal scored at the end of the day -- so no pressure no matter your intentions.

And honestly maybe I kinda see trainer P's point in looking back at all my pictures from rides leading up to the disastrous Plantation outing lol. Bc yea... they all look like this haha. Not that I don't love hacking! And Charlie loves it too!

But he only knows what I tell him, and if 80% of the time I'm telling him that his job is to mosey lazily about the country side.... well it's not unreasonable that he might be surprised that other 20% of the time when I'm like, "But buddy, you gotta GO like RIGHT NOW!"

Don't worry tho, we won't abandon hacking entirely. It's too fun getting out there with friends (and Riley dog!!) and a very important part of keeping Charlie physically and emotionally balanced. I just maybe need to be a little more thoughtful in formulating a routine that works better for us.

Bc there's something really important to say about long slow miles across varying terrain. Charlie's grown enormously in his ability to read the ground and handle tricky terrain and natural obstacles. But. Maybe we also need more gallop sets haha. Ya know. Some fast miles mixed with the slow. Honestly doesn't sound like the worst homework ever ;)

Actually Charlie might even kinda like it haha! He's definitely got a love for all things outdoorsy. Like trying to sneak in on his neighbor pony's window even tho he has his own even bigger window (with grass right within reach!). True story, he also reaches over the stall wall to steal this pony's hay. Perks of being tall, I guess!

You know what's not a perk to being tall tho?? All that extra coat real estate. Like when you see that flattened spot in the mud and just know that it's your own giant brontosaurus who laid down and wallowed in all the slop. 

Ha yup. The very one and same brontosaurus. You nasty, Charlie. But at least you're brown!! It all ended up getting rained off of him in our no-good, very-bad pre-show lesson when we got stuck in a downpour and Charlie very adamantly felt like that was some bullshit. But hey, at least the rain rinsed off some of the mud so I didn't have to scrub as much during his bath afterward! ....lol

And anyway I guess that lesson wasn't all bad. I mean, it was pretty awful, I'm not going to lie, but we were able to find a solid place to quit, with Charlie being successful (and responsive) over a simple exercise. You're still a good dog, Charlie, even if you don't always feel like bothering!

So. Ya know. We enjoy each other's company. It isn't all glamorous riding, or fancy horse shows. And sometimes it involves having a tail wrapped up in an ace bandage to try to avoid it turning into a poopy mess in the trailer lol....

But for the most part, it's all the quiet little in between moments with horses - all the time spent with friends or going slow or just doing normal random every day stuff that helps keep me happy and motivated to work through the less-fun parts. 

24 comments:

  1. 💖 Volunteering in the rain was made so much more fun by partnering up with you all day! So proud of how efficient and organized our rings were!

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    1. ha i was super proud of how organized our rings were too!! and i think the riders appreciated it too, esp the ones who were able to get their tests done early and get home out of the rain ahead of schedule lol. i hope we get to do it again sometime, tho hopefully in better weather!!

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  2. I do love the in between parts. You certainly manage to cram a lot into them too. :)

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    1. oh man, we definitely cram a lot in bc they're so so worth it <3

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  3. You are always so active. My inspiration to get better at hooking up my trailer and fixing my truck to go out and do stuff!!

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    1. it's definitely fun to get out and about, even without the pony sometimes! glad you're feeling motivated too!

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  4. Charlie's summer paddock looks like heaven! The in-between stuff definitely keeps me going.

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    1. yea the fields at this farm definitely don't suck - he certainly seems happy in his turnout!

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  5. The trails are gorgeous! And I'm sure the ponies love the pasture with a stream. We don't get that much in Oklahoma. Just a lot of flat grassland.

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    1. we're definitely super lucky in this area of maryland to have a lot of really pretty wooded areas!

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  6. Oh my you've been busy! I feel like all the horses go through a short stage where jumping is not quite so exciting anymore and they're like "Are you sure? It's hot out/My best friend is over there/This one actually might have a troll under it..." I love lots of long slow miles on the trail too, I think it's great for everyone's mental and physical wellbeing - especially when the scenery is as gorgeous as yours!

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    1. i love all this hacking but my trainer pointed out that it might be part of why we weren't super successful at our last show, and that i need to not lose focus of the schooling side of things too. so we'll see i guess!

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  7. So much fun! You're a master of time management fitting in so much between the bigger goings-on of work and showing Charlie. And that is some impressive mud wallowing, Sir Charles.

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    1. lol yea he was seriously covered in mud.... what a little piggy!

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  8. I would love some trails like you have. I think Amber would like her rehab more if we did that LOL. I agree with you tho - those little moments are worth it all :D

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    1. yea oh man the trails are so so helpful for rehab!!

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  9. that mud spot has me cracking up! Oh Charlie. You big beast you :) I am envious of your trails too. But ha on Charlie thinking it should all be meadows and wood trails. Nope buddy :)

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    1. ha yup, definitely a nope on that!! if all i wanted was meadows and wood trails i'd still be riding isabel!

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  10. That dressage ring looked disgusting- kudos to all those that stuck it out to ride!

    I'm so jealous of your trails.

    I agree with Trainer P that the twilight outing would be a great, low-key way to get your confidence back up :)

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    1. not sure that was her point - my confidence is fine and the horse's will be fine if he actually *goes forward* to the fence (he was a tad surprised that they become an awful lot harder to jump when you're crawling instead of cantering).

      her point was that we need to get back out again asap bc plantation was no way to leave things hanging. meanwhile, there aren't many starters in july or august around here, since that's when most of the usea events are, so our options are more limited.

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  11. You sure keep busy! I'm hoping to do some volunteering as a scribe or xc jump judge now that things are a bit more settled on my end. Your trails are so gorgeous! I would be playing out there and never getting any "real work" done all the time haha

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  12. I really wish I had trails like you do to ride on. We have some but they aren't nearly as pretty. I'd love to do more conditioning stuff like that. I'm working on getting Scarlet out on the trails on our own but we are still having issues with being barn sour and freaking out alone. A work in progress!

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  13. Yes, the in between moments... the quiet moments <3

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  14. Those trails are beautiful!! The mud, not so much, haha!

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