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August 12, 2011

A Quick Trip Home To Play Mom To The Working Students

Everyone at Gavilan Farm has goals! Photo by Molly Sorge

I just flew back to England after having been home for just over three weeks, and when I was in North Carolina, I had to echo the obvious and most common post on Facebook, “Man it’s hot here!!!” Unlike most folks on Facebook, however, I refrained from taking a photo of my car’s thermometer.

It was been great to be back and catch up with friends, spend time with my dogs and do some home and barn projects. The girls, Kaitlyn and Jazz, along with a very good friend of mine and Will’s, Yvonne Hansman, who is looking after Will’s beloved dogs and house, had Gavilan Farm running like clockwork.

In the time I was home, a new working student started, Jordan Payton with her lovely OTTB Stoney. She has fit right in here and cleans like a demon, which always puts a smile on my face. Apart from learning and improving your riding when you come to Gavilan Farm, you also learn how to manage your horse and your barn—from setting mouse traps, to scrubbing fly poop off walls and doors, feed, management, and veterinary care.

I really believe that it all comes hand in hand. Now it may drive them insane at times, but as my mother would say “You’ll be glad I taught you all this when you are older!” Its seems that as each year passes and I have another birthday, the working students seem closer and closer to be being young enough to be my own children. I’m sure at times it feels like that to them as well, for example, when I ask them if they’ve had their truck serviced or ordered the new supplements we discussed, at great lengths. Or have they changed the filters in the air conditioning unit in the apartment?

For all the times I seem like a nagging mother, I hope there are times when they like having me about as their driving force. I have a vested interest in Will, obviously, but I also want the team as a whole to be successful. Whether it’s at the next show, at Rolex in a couple of years or just when they have their own barn and are dealing with a tricky client, I hope that they will be able to think of us and say “Wow, that’s why I had to go through that and I’m glad I learnt to deal with that situation.”

Being a working student can be on one hand really hard work and on the other hand a fantastic learning experience, and that’s what we try to give them. By the way Gavilan looked when I got back and the way the girls horses were going I think Will and I are on track.

I flew back to England on Aug. 9, and have to say, yep you guessed it, I’m happy with the cooler weather and not feeling like I’m in a sauna. I mean, it just does nothing for my frizzy hair.

I absolutely loved being home but couldn’t wait to see the ponies and Will. While I was home, Kaitlyn Mosing spent 10 days over with Will and got to go to two events while she was there and then Jazz went over and went to Gatcombe with Will. It was such an incredible experience for them, and amazing generosity of both Jennifer Mosing and Will to fly them over to see it all. It seemed unfair to leave them sitting in North Carolina as students all summer with no one to teach them (although big thanks to Bob Costello and Mark Weisbecker for helping them in Will’s absence), and being completely selfish, I had no desire to spend that much time in the UK.

I know from watching and helping Kaitlyn since she got back she seriously picked up a greater understanding of dressage from seeing Will’s lessons with Sandy Phillips and a new determination I hadn’t seen before, and it’s awesome. And from what I hear from Jazz, her two horses better watch out—she’s taking no prisoners.

In last minute preparations of heading away from the farm I left the mile-long ‘WORLD’S FUNNEST LIST OF THINGS TO DO’ for the girls (that’s where the love comes in), organized trailer repairs, mower blades to be sharpened (I think I dulled them with my exuberant mowing), a man to come and give a quote on electric fencing, an electrician to come to fix some random problem and yadda yadda yadda the list goes on…

I had one last trip to get important supplies, PEPPERMINTS! And to tie up some loose ends before I started to pack, one thing I hate doing, not because I hate packing but Milly and Thumper, my dogs, just know what it means. If only I could talk dog and explain to them that I’ll be back in a month and a half and that Jazz, their second mum, will be here to take over in a mere few hours as we cross paths in an airport. I think I’m getting soft in my old age.

I’ll keep you posted on our road to Burghley and Blenheim and already can’t wait to be back in the States….

I just remembered or realized I didn’t update anyone on how Will and the horses are… Whoops! They are all good. Will’s dressage is definitely improving. After two in the top five at Gatcombe and Andy in second after the dressage at his last intermediate start, it is all starting to pay off. It sounds like there are some kinks but none of the wheels have fallen off and everyone is on track for their respective events. Will is also getting himself in shape for Burghley and Blenheim; he is going to the gym daily, has cut out drinking and is watching his diet as he wants to be as fit and as healthy as his horses when those big tracks come around. I’m so proud—see, the mom in me comes out every now and then… More when I get to the U.K…..