Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fox wants to be an Eventer and Apparently I want to be Bruce Davidson

This past weekend Fox had his very first true XC school/lesson with our coach K. And I had my first lesson in truly being a horse taxi. 

For many years I had been a trailerless horse owner. I had to beg and borrow from kind friends or local shipping companies to get my pony to where I wanted go.  When Superhubs and I finally got our own farm I was still trailerless for about a year, although there is a local tack shop that rents trailer and I did have a truck so I wasn't completely immobile.  But it was still a hassel and expensive to trek all the way over to the tack shop pick up the trailer and trek all the way back, then do it again when I had to turn the trailer in. 

There was also the small issue of Seneca's well known trailering issue. Which I couldn't work on if I didn't have a trailer. So Superhubs and I finally bought our own trailer. It wasn't anything special but it was affordable.  About a year later I was able to upgrade to the lovely 3 horse Exiss slant that I currently tote my horses around in. Which as you might imagine has made me quite popular among my trailerless friends.

So when K. started getting the schooling day together and a friend at a local farm who was sans trailer really wanted to go I happily offered to divert my path to pick up her lovely draft cross Birdie. About midway through the week prior to our XC day my coach texted me to ask if I'd be willing to stop and pick up one of her other students at another local stable.  Having been on the trailerless end of horse owning I know exactly what its like trying desperately to find a ride so you can school/train/compete/have fun.  So I try to help when I can.  I made a second correction to my planned route and coordinated everybody. 

I picked everyone up without mishap with only a small issue loading R.'s mare in to the trailer. Soon enough off we went to a local farm that recently upgraded all their XC fences. I can't tell you how awesome it is to have a cross country course within an hour of my house!

Fox was mostly brillant.  He had a few squirrely moments where naughty thoughts of spooking and shying entered his brain.  There were a couple of seconds when he heard then caught sight of the farm's geese. I refocused his attention on the super scary rolltop and he stopped thinking about spooking. 

My little red pony was pretty honest to everything until I started getting in his way.  There were three fences on course where I lost my grip on my big girl panties. The rolltop was the first it just seemed so massive so we had a stop.  The second was a confection of brush and railroad ties, again it looked really wide so we had two stops.  But Fox went right over the scary brush fence where nearly everyone else had run outs or stops.

I had no problem with the BN/N size ditch but Fox did try to step down in to it rather than over it the first time.  But eventually he got the idea and trotted over like a champ.  The real bear on course was the bank.  Fox didn't exactly understand the up question.  So he had to think about it a long while.  When he did get it I got in his way because I didn't release enough or create enough impulsion going in to get the job done.  The down bank was where I was suddenly (and I have no memory of doing it) morphing in to Bruce Davidson.  

Fox did manage to whack himself on the last run up the bank.  He got a cut on the one spot on his back right hind not protected by a boot,  on the front of his fetlock.  I found it while hosing him off afterwards and before loading in the trailer.  Fox blew it off as a minor scrape, I doctored him with an antibiotic cream and other than being really tired when he got home he's been fine.

Lesson's learned?  Get out of my own way, let my horse go forward and he will take care of me.  One of these days I'm going to learn to do that.  We did canter quite a bit, not over any fences, those type of big girl panties are still out of reach for me but we're going in that direction.

Until we get there keep it between the flags!

The Old and the New

Spring has finally arrived! I feel like it's safe to put my winter clothes away and dig out the summer duds. More often than not I can do the evening feeds in shorts and a t-shirt! We've even had to turn the air conditioning on a few times.  Thank you Mother Nature! Every year I grow more and more to hate the winter and the cold.  If I had easier access to a climate controlled indoor I'd probably hate it less but that's not going to happen any time soon. 

So what's been happening at Eventing at Midnight?  Let's see, Superhubs and I finally found an economical sun shelter for the side pastures. Seneca aka Spookzilla is still skeptical of it but the boys ate breakfast under it since it was pouring rain from Tropical Depression Ana.  Fox racked up an ungodly amount of money for hoof care due to new shoes and what I believe might have been a bruise.  I'm hoping that's what it is and he's healing from it since we are supposed to go XC schooling this weekend.  If Fox isn't sound for it my only options are going but not riding and taking Cowboy.  Neither option fills me with a whole lot of joy.  But as of last night Fox was acting his normal self and when he spooked at the new shelter and trotted off he looked sound but only the lunge line will tell for sure.

Fox is almost completely shed out of his winter coat in to a golden-ish chestnut with black, white and darker chestnut spots.  I swear he's trying to become an Appaloosa and I am pretty sure he didn't have as many spots last year. The other two horses are lagging in the shedding department but another couple weeks and they will be just as sleek as Fox.

Vet was out for the semi-annual visit and everyone got a clean bill of health and shiny new coggins for the year.  I managed to watch most of Rolex via the internet and cheered for Sparrow's Nio as he completed his first 4 Star.  That pony is super cute. 

And the ducks have grown by leaps and bounds.  They are huge at this point and their adult feathers are starting to come in.  I also decided on a new goal but its a long term one since I don't know when we'll be able to fulfill the requirements for qualifying. After reading all the blog posts over on Flying Solo Eventing about the long format 3DE for lower levels and watching the online videos at So8ths YouTube channel I really want to try and do that.  Even if I only do it once and we complete it dead last I still want to experience that.  But you have to have completed four BN recognized horse trials with one being in the six months prior to the event that happens generally at the end of April.  That is the sticking point, well that and getting then keeping Fox fit enough complete a long format.  So I think we might be able to compete at the Heart of the Carolinas 3DE in 2017, two years from now.  That's if there aren't any drastic changes in my life or my job. I'll be choosing new orders in October and I have no idea where I might have to go. The job listings haven't been all that great lately but I'm hopeful that I can spend another four years at my current farm.  Here's hoping for the best. Keep it between the flags everyone!