Tuesday, January 3, 2023

finishing the year with arena xc

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! I'm feeling good about buttoning things up with 2022 and am looking forward to the new year, how about you?? 

Anyway. Things have been pleasantly peaceful and quiet around here for the holidays. Charlie is good, I got some (desperately needed) time off work, and the weather produced an absolutely delightful little window last week after that epic deep freeze most of the country experienced.

trucky truck 2.0 finally got a maiden voyage!! 
Obviously we would take advantage!! In the middle of a wine-induced text gossip session with a good barn mate, we realized --- omg the weather would be so good! We must go! To Loch Moy!!! With FRIENDS!! 

And a plan was born to fill all the spots in both our respective trailers! Charlie would invite his BFF Punky, who has had a hell of an 18 month roller coaster, but is ready to go do things again. And fancy pants young mare Rosette would invite Spirit, who you all may recognize from past adventures --- and who officially became an owned pony (vs leased) this past Christmas. Much excitement all around! 

lol for some reason, despite having a gigantic pasture of open grass, charlie was chillin (puns lol) on the one sheet of ice??? 
We definitely weren't the only ones with this idea, either haha... Loch Moy was bumpin when we pulled in around noon. Trailers errywhere. Lesson groups and local pros and familiar faces were crawling around the sprawling facility, with everybody in undeniably buoyant moods given the great weather.

It really is basically an eventing playground, too. Loch Moy has 8 acres of all weather footing divided into 3 interconnected (gigantic) arenas, one of which has built in features like ditches, banks and a water complex. The rings are packed with beautifully built portable xc fences ranging from 12" to 3'5. Plus the courses were set for an upcoming derby, complete with flags and numbers so it was easy to determine each jump's level just by the number color.

brosef lol.... it doesn't have to be like this! 
My plan with Charlie was pretty simple, too. I just wanted to have fun. Run around. Jump some things. Enjoy it. And I'm happy to report that we absolutely accomplished that mission LOL. 

If there was one big win from the past year, it's been getting my nerves and anxiety and expectations etc under control and in alignment by focusing on just doing the things that I WANT to do. Which, go figure, are not always the things I think I *should* be doing... nor the things that are necessarily going to be the most impressive or whatever.... But, turns out. Nobody cares as much as I do about how I feel doing the things I do -- crazy, I know. It's been a process, tho, to hammer this mentality into my head. 

oooooh open schooling on 8 acres of all weather arena footing in Loch Moy's derby courses!
We had a good time, tho. Well. Actually, Charlie was a bit shockingly spooky all day haha. One of the horses in our group spooked hard at some plastic wrapped landscape material near the mounting blocks when we first got on... Charlie didn't care about the plastic, but DID care that his friend was so scared. And since he didn't really understand WHY the horse was scared, maybe he just assumed he hadn't seen the monster yet, but it might be right over there omg

So that was kinda fun dealing with his random spooks and jolts lol... But honestly, aside from him looking for monsters whenever we were just wandering around, he was a total pro for the jumps. As always. 

d'aww charles <3 <3 still occasionally popping over T things! 
We jumped one or two Intro things, then another one or two BN things to warm up. Incidentally, including one surprisingly impressive looking BN brush fence going straight toward the parking lot that Charlie thought was reeeeeally kinda sketchy lol so he basically flung himself across it from quite a long distance away LOL. Nbd tho... 

Then moved quickly on to just jumping around the various N things. We stuck mostly to the jumps with a rolltop type profile --- wide and impressive enough to just let me push Charlie up to them and let him take care of the rest (vs more delicate or vertical type stuff that he often treats less carefully...). 

he's my favorite 
And he was basically perfect. Totally rideable, totally easy. After our first jump school since going on Equioxx, I worried that maybe he was going to get too strong again and start running away with me... So I put a hybrid leather/chain curb strap back on the hackamore instead of just a straight leather curb. 

Honestly don't know if I noticed a difference during this ride, tho. Except to say the hackamore continues to feel like the most natural, best bridle I've ever ridden this horse in. We are both so used to it, and we've definitely found our sweet spot for "contact" to the jumps. 

To every single jump, it felt like I could take that contact and close the leg, and he was just bang on the aids. He could wait for a distance, or move up to it -- either way without much effort or fanfare, and with nice even strides to every jump. 

Honestly I really just live for these rides. We rode for about an hour, but didn't jump a zillion things. Just focused on jumping the jumps that looked good -- and putting in good efforts. We didn't do any banks or ditches or water on this day either, mostly bc... Eh, the water was choked with ice chunks, and all the other stuff was kinda crowded by lesson groups. 

Tho we DID finish with one good Training level jump. Just a basic roll top that we've probably jumped before -- but a good effort. Charlie, bless his soul, was perhaps a little tired and not totally expecting the height increase haha -- so he had to put in a bit more effort. He nailed it, tho, and we finished on that. 

oooh he got a new bridle for christmas too!
I'm pretty excited about how good he feels, too. Like, sure, it's winter, the ground is trash, and our general condition is at the mercy of the weather lol.... But all the pieces are there, ya know? Gives me a really good feeling that we're on the right path --- doing the things that we enjoy, that feel easy and fun. 

Everyone else in our group had really really solid rides too -- it was just a good juju sort of day. Each horse had slightly different goals. Rosette only just started really jumping a couple months ago, but really really impressed on this day -- totally nonchalant about the jumps and finished with a great effort over a beefy BN roll top. Punky worked through some of the excitement of being out again after prolonged down time, and finished with some nice N efforts. Spirit was also basically the most perfect pony ever for his teen owner (eeeeee!), and also finished with some N stuff. 

Go team! 

hangin out at the rig with his buddy Spirit while we waited for the rest of our gang to finish up
Plus it was a good first outing with the new truck, which needed its own preparation to be trailer worthy --- including a new tonneau cover, and obvi electric brake controllers. The truck drives quite a bit differently from its 23yo predecessor LOL, the suspension is significantly stiffer and obvi the absurd mudder tires feel quite different on the road (and are probably getting replaced sooner rather than later). But it pulls and -- more importantly -- stops the trailer just fine. Yesss!

So. Last ride of 2022 is in the books. And now here we are in 2023. I'm excited. Charlie feels good, I feel good, and the rig is operational. Bring it on! 


  1. Woohoo!!! What a fun outing and great way to celebrate the end of the year!

    1. omg it's so fun there, i wish it wasn't so far away!!!

  2. This balmy weather has made all my horse friends positively giddy. I'm glad you had a good day, it sounds like so much fun!

    1. "positively giddy" ---> YES that was definitely the feeling!

  3. What fun! Mild weather in the middle of Winter is a gift for sure. And how cool to have those huge arenas with appropriate footing to enjoy. Super cool.

    1. dude this venue is incredible --- they offer so many different types of opportunities and really cater to like, the 'normies' of the horse world. folks who want to go out and enjoy it and have fun, but maybe mostly at lower heights and technicalities lol. it's a great business model!

  4. Sounds like a pretty perfect day! I love when the weather decides to play nice in the winter!
    Glad Charlie is feeling so great, and can't wait for you guys to do more fun things this year! (Or not... you know, whatever you feel like!)

    1. thanks i'm honestly really excited for the year ahead, not gonna lie. it might not necessarily look much different from any previous years, but who knows -- we'll see!

  5. What a perfect day!! Also that training jump looks massive, way to jump it so well!

    1. ha thanks! it wasn't necessarily our best effort ever -- charlie was a little tired and maybe a little surprised by the slightly larger effort.... but it felt honestly pretty great!

  6. Hooray maiden voyage! Loch Moy is such a cool venue. Envious as always.


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