Remember that plan I wrote about in my last blog, the strategy you devise through months of showing to show your horse to his best? Whether to handwalk, whether to lunge in the morning, how long to warm up, how many classes a day or a show?
Team Sprieser is all settled in at the Region 1 Finals, where we are 10 horses and 8 riders strong. It's a great group of my die-hards, all of whom have been showing regularly since the beginning of the year, which means that by now, we've got it all down to a pretty good system.
In spite of less-than-ideal preparations for my second triathlon (including a bum back, hot weather and a birthday celebration involving a staggering number of carbs), I had a really fun day. I had a less-than-stellar swim (in which I learned not to take my strong suit for granted!), but still had the fastest swim of my group. My bike felt AWESOME, which I'm so excited about because I've really been training hard for it.
Two weeks ago my friends Sheryl and Margaret asked me if I would be the test ride for Morven Park's advanced combined test division, a combination of three- and four-star riders who didn't want to run cross-country. A test ride is done at a lot of the bigger championship events to help the judges get calibrated with each other; they judge the test ride and then chat, and then they're "warmed up," as it were, for the first "real rider." I'd get all dressed up and ride the four-star test and be on my merry way.
When Cleo sustained the injury that would end her career and, as of today, her life, my vet, Dr. Kent Allen, told me that the average time from diagnosis to euthanasia was two years. That was the summer of 2009. Cleo was never one to go down without a fight.
But I won't know whether she'll take euthanasia easily, because I won't be there.
Here in Virginia, summer gave us one last beastly hoorah with a few days in the 90s before gifting us a beautiful weekend to head off to Morven Park for the last show before our Regional Finals in October. What was supposed to be a little outing for us turned into 12 horses, but everyone rode great, and our results spoke for themselves.
My farm is actually three parcels of land that all came up for sale at the same time—35 acres in the back with nothing on it, 50 acres on which we built the main house, and 50 acres on which there stood a 12-stall barn, with a few big paddocks and a tiny, rock-hard outdoor arena.