Thursday, March 15, 2018

getting excited about other things

I like to think of myself as mistress of my own destiny, for better or worse. It's easy to become flustered or paralyzed by choice, sure, but I try really hard to resist that. When things aren't going well, or when I find myself not quite satisfied with outcomes, I start thinking about what I, personally, can do to change the situation.

I wrote a little bit already about some of those options for Charlie's current undying abscess. Namely: Option 1: Go full helicopter mom and throw every manner of ridiculously expensive diagnostics at the horse. Which, you better believe I've been talking with vets and trusted advisers during this process.

The reality, tho, is that.... sure, we could take rads. But.... I mean, we already know the hoof is real sore. We could try to block it to make sure nothing else is also sore but... it's also pretty hard to block an extremely ouchie foot. I may pursue further evaluative measures when the hoof gets better just to be sure, but really the most realistic course of action is just letting the abscess do what it's going to do. And try to keep Charlie as comfortable as possible in the meantime.

my volunteer prize for winning Sara's february drawing!! very pretty packaging from Grey Horse Candle Company
Option #2?? Lol... that would be the whole "fly completely off the handle and buy a second horse" idea. Which, wow. So tempting. There are so many pretty horses out there, guys. So so so many. And I did really love the restarting journey with Charlie.... wouldn't it be fun to do that again??

But. Ya know. Resources like time, money and energy are precious commodities. So for now all my eggs stay in one basket. Tho I won't rule out being impulsively foolish at some later date lol.

So where does that leave me? Sitting around feeling sorry for myself isn't really my favorite activity. I need stuff to look forward to on the calendar. And sure, I still have all sorts of fun shows and outings planned, but Charlie's proving that I can't just rely on our own outings for positive excitement.

and it smells delightful - sweet but soft. can't tell you what, exactly, it smells like bc i'm shit at identifying scents.... but i like it a lot! i've actually purchased these candles as gifts before but this is my first one to keep, and i love it!! thanks Sara!
So. Enter Sara's year-long Volunteer Contest. It's no secret that I love horse shows. LOVE. Whether that's just hangin out as a spectator, or helping out my friends at their competitions, or actually participating as a volunteer. I love it all. Plus, my local combined training association has volunteer requirements to be eligible for year end prizes. So volunteering is a no brainer.

Usually I can hit my requirements just by doing the fun local schooling stuff at my own barn or hosted by my local association. But I was surprised by how much I enjoyed stewarding the xc warm up ring at a USEA show last year. Really surprised, actually, it was a blast!

Given that volunteerism is one of my goals this year (I'm aiming for an event in 7 of 12 months this year), and the fact that Sara's doing monthly drawings, I decided to be a little more proactive about seeking out volunteer opportunities. So I hit up the USEA volunteer portal* to search for upcoming events in my area.

(*You need to create an account if you don't already have one, but it only takes a second and is then super easy to use. and no, you don't have to be a USEA member - I am not, for instance)

 
I decided to sign up for a bunch of small schooling events at Loch Moy, bc they have awesome volunteer swag bags with t-shirts, stickers, food, and xc schooling passes. Bingo!

There were also a couple upcoming FEH/YEH qualifier events that looked awesome, but all the volunteer positions were already filled. Which made me realize, if I wanted to do cool stuff at the bigger events, I *had* to be planning in advance.

Luckily, my calendar-obsessed self already tracks dates of all the events that look like something Charlie and I might want to do, so it was just a matter of cross referencing that against the upcoming events listed on the USEA's website and picking what looked interesting.

Scribing for the YEH jump phase? And the FEH conformation phase??? Uh, yea. That sounds fascinating. Especially as someone who fully acknowledges that developing my eye for quality, skill, and style in a horse has not always been a priority.

So yea. Putting stuff on the calendar gets me real excited haha. Ideally, Charlie and I will have our own competitions too, obvi, but I'm also really excited about the idea of getting some new experiences (and hopefully new knowledge!) at some of these events later in the year. It's stuff to look forward to, ya know?

Do you also like volunteering? And did you sign up for Sara's contest? Have you used the USEA's volunteer portal? Or do you mostly just sign up to volunteer at your own barn's events? Or through your local association?

Volunteering, for me, has been a great way to get familiar with a new sport and learn more about levels beyond my experience. Plus, ya know, watching pretty ponies do amazing things is pretty inspiring. Esp if the ponies and/or rider don't look much different from me and my pony haha. What are you favorite things about volunteering?

31 comments:

  1. That seems like an excellent way to stay busy while simultaneously learning a lot (and possibly collecting swag!). You're in a great area for that, so many fun events!

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    1. lol i'm definitely pumped about the swag. and honestly hope to treat these outings almost like "mini clinics." we are super lucky tho to have so many options in area II

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  2. The YEH and FEH stuff are awesome! I would totally volunteer for that if we had the opportunities available. And... if my horse wasn't participating.

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    1. they're definitely super interesting programs - i really enjoyed watching the 4- and 5-yos at the championship at fair hill last year, esp with the marilyn payne clinic. if Presto qualified for any of the championships would you go?

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    2. There's a central FEH championship now that's in Texas. It's FEH only, no YEH. So yeah I'd go to that for shits and giggles (if he wasn't in a super hideous stage at the time), even though I'm not sure that he'd qualify. I'm much more interested in YEH for him, if he matures in such a way that makes him a good candidate. Showing on the line can be such a dog show, ya know? The under saddle stuff is where you really can see what you've got. I'm mostly gonna do FEH stuff just to support the program, not because I actually place much value in it.

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    3. oh that's great that there's a central option now, also great bc it suggests there's enough of a demand for the program. i hear ya on the "dog show" bit tho. i'm really curious to see what the championships here are like. i kinda got the impression from the YEH championships last year that there was more going into the judging than just the horse as it performed in front of the judges... some of the scoring seemed a bit surprising. but honestly i don't really know. curious to learn more tho!

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    4. Really it's just Jayne Lloyd wanting to show all her young horses at Championships but not wanting to haul all the way to FHI, so she ponied up the cash to get a central one. LOL

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    5. ha. well then. i mean. what is it that bill gates said about lazy people? 'choose a lazy person to do a hard job and they'll find an easy way to do it?' a little money to grease the wheels of progress never hurt either! ;)

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  3. Regarding throwing the book at Charlie... You have more restraint than I do. I think I would have images of all the things at this point. Also can totally say that while multiple horses is tempting they all like to break at once and rack up really fun vet bills for me. Like lets do herd health at the tune of 1k and then also Huey wants blood work and potentially scoping and Annie decides to turn into naked mole rate. Horses dude...

    This is a great idea. I wish we had more events locally or within just a couple hours. I would have to drive 4-6 hours for most volunteer opportunities. I do normally volunteer when I compete at River Glen HT as they are really great about making it easy for competitors to participate. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences!

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    1. oh man, "naked mole rat" is quite the imagery!!!! poor Annie! honestly the resource for me that is the most limited when it comes to a second horse is time. esp considering the amount of time i already put into charlie, that i wouldn't necessarily want to cut. and considering i'm pretty sure it's this investment of consistent time spent with the horse that makes the most difference in their training, i wouldn't want to sacrifice that for a second horse either. sigh. if only i could be independently wealthy and not work!!! maybe one day!

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    2. lol hillary your first paragraph made me laugh. thats my #1 against multiple horses. because i get a cross species vet bomb explosion (o cat needs dental, horse has a 'touch' of cellulitis and dog has whipworms *confetti*)

      but i am also an image-aholic. my vet knows if I want her to look at something to just bring the machine out because im always good for a couple pictures....

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  4. Though I definitely won't be winning the volunteer contest by a long shot, I did sign up and I'm currently signed up to volunteer at 2 events! I'm going to be in the vet box on Saturday of Carolina International and a dressage score runner on Friday of the Fork HT. There's not that much within a 2 hour drive for me, but I'm hoping to get to more this year.

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    1. ooooooh i would love to do some vet box stuff one of these days too, that sounds super interesting!!! and hey, sara's monthly prizes are done by random drawings so you've got just as much chance to win one of those prizes as anybody else who volunteers that month ;)

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  5. That does sound like a lot of fun. I used to volunteer in the show office of the local schooling show back home, and I think my real talents was tallying points after the show (omg spreadsheets). I'd love to scribe for a Hunter judge one of these days. (Back gate was not my favorite)

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    1. so far i haven't done any of the office type tasks yet, tho there is opportunity for that. i'm kinda afraid of crossing that line too far into show administration and then getting roped into more work than i really want haha. i'd LOVE to scribe for a hunter judge tho! my last barn head trainer at the h/j place where charlie lived used to talk a lot about judging and what goes into the scores - it was fascinating!

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  6. That sounds like a lot of fun! I enjoy volunteering, too, and if I'm not showing I generally like ring steward so I can pick the judge's brain. I also want to volunteer (hopefully) at Coconino this year but it's a long drive away so I couldn't do it often.

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    1. oh man, i bet coconino would make a great big weekend event, esp to get a feel for a more local (ish) level of eventing vs the extreme upper levels of rolex

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    2. COCONINO IS THE BEST. It's old school eventing at it's finest. No frills, just fun.

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  7. It sounds like you are making the most of things. I always enjoyed volunteering. I didn't sign up for the contest though because things don't start here until June!

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    1. oh man, you totally should have signed up tho!! esp the monthly drawings are just random, not about how much or how often you volunteer. i wonder if sara would still take late entries....

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  8. I volunteered as a golf cart driver at an event last year - best job ever!! (OK, not as educational as scribing, but it sure was fun)

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    1. oh man i love driving the golf carts tho haha, i used to do that all the time at my college's events

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  9. Yay!! I'm glad it arrived and smelled good :) Your plans look like a to of fun. Volunteering is a great way to learn and network within the sport. Thanks for participating!!!!

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    1. thanks for hosting! it was just the kick in the pants i needed to broaden my horizons and get beyond just the few standard local shows i've done the past few years (that almost always seem to have scheduling conflicts with shows i want to actually ride in too...)

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  10. I enjoy volunteering as well and racked up quite a few hours last year. So far none this year although I did sign up they ended up not needing me. I checked out the program you linked to and there is one event in my area and it's 8+ hours away from me, so that's not happening.

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    1. ugh that's so annoying about getting your volunteer time cancelled! regarding the link above, that's the actual USEA website, so it's going to capture any event that reports volunteer opportunities to it. i got the distinct sense from looking at mine that a lot of places haven't gotten around to listing their volunteer spots yet (it's still early). but the nice thing about signing up is that now i get a regular email letting me know about upcoming opportunities in my area. so maybe more of your normal events will get their stuff for the year updated soon and it'll come out in an email?

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  11. I am really jealous of your situation with all these volunteer opportunities! If I volunteer it's usually herding the smaller riders at shows, or helping in the concession stand. Helpful maybe, but not nearly as impactful on my learning!

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  12. Nice job!!! I won in January (there were two entries, lol) and should have probably blogged about it. Sara rocks! It looks like you're going to be very busy volunteering which is awesome! Have I told you how impressive I find your attitude about these things?

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  13. oh my goddddddddddd why dont we let our giant broken idiots be pasture puffs and go in on a horse together??? we could have a custody battle over it. alternate holidays. it'd be just like a real marriage. except with more bribery.

    i'm sorry charlie is still broken. i hope his foot figures its shit out soon, or its cadaver legs for him.

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  14. Oohh, should see you at one of those Twilight events I hope! I'd like to hit 2 or 3 of those up between late April - August. We've been riding basically not at all so far as dressage and jumping goes so there's no way I'd go out before then.

    And I'd love to volunteer more at events, but the 6 hour round trip makes it harder to want to do. I may see about helping out with some of the local western stuff tho! My volunteering lately ends up being for a lot of non-horse things though as they're more prevalent.

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  15. I’m bummed to hear Charlie is still out of action. I remember reading a post about his abscess but I didn’t realize it was still going on, I’m sorry! Totally feel your pain on being sidelined. Volunteering is a great thing to do with your time though!

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