Here we are in Williamston, N.C., for our first real show of the year. Lots of good omens: On Thursday Fender walked on the trailer like an old pro, Ella ate, no traffic and the sun was bright and shiny.
Down centerline, it might seem I'm out there alone with my horse. In reality, I have an amazing support team riding every step with me. I've got lots of people in my camp—too many to list in one blog—but all deserving of note.
The plan was simple. As long as Ella was going to suffer through conditioning sets, I would suffer with her by riding at least one of those sets without my stirrups. I ride four to six horses a day most days, if not more. I can totally handle that.
T-minus six days until Midge and Ella’s first show. Yes, it’s a schooling show. Yes, it is a very, very small deal. And yes, my blood pressure is rapidly rising.
They’re ready. Neither is going to get 90 percent scores, but they’re ready enough. Midge’s 3s and 4s sometimes look a little more like calculus than simple counting, complete with imaginary numbers and the square root of pi, but the pirouettes are pretty super, and the trot work is gravy. He’ll be fine.
Given the snow has cancelled FOUR clinics for us this winter, I haven't had a lesson since January. There's been some pretty major freak-out-itude going on 'round here. So when Scott said he could move his schedule around to accommodate two trailer-in lessons for me on Monday, normally my day off, I jumped at the chance.
Yes, I drove three hours up and four down (rush hour traffic) for 1½ hours of riding. News flash: we horse people are crazy.
After a week of the usual pre-clinic chaos—lame horses, sick riders, people who can't get their trailers out because of an inability to operate a shovel—Lendon called me at noon on Friday to inform me that all of New England was getting whomped by—Surprise!—an epic snowstorm. Her flight had been cancelled, and when Lendon Gray, a tough-as-nails Mainer, says the weather is cataclysmic, I believe her.
One of my clients had to back out of a schooling show on Saturday, and I made the last-minute decision to take her place. But who to ride? Training 1 and 2, hardly daunting tests. But should I take Fender, give him an opportunity to get off the farm and try wearing the big horse pants, or take Douwe, the Friesian I train who needs to get off the farm but goes better in a first-second level kind of way than in a training level one?
The snow is melting slowly, the roads are almost passable, and life is slowly returning to normal. I have a few choice words for VDOT on their idea of plowing a road versus my own, but I'll let it slide for now. And I'm 99 percent sure we're off to Florida next winter, which will guarantee a Virginia winter of 55 degrees and mostly sunny every day from December to April. You can thank me later.
10 a.m. Tuesday: The farm truck is stuck halfway down my driveway. I did not put it there, and that is all I have to say about that.
I am, however, in charge of supervising its removal. My working students schlep valliantly, and out it comes. I really want it at the barn, but there just ain't no way. So it goes to the end of the driveway, and there it will stay.