Boot Camp Canceled

Riding during the winter was easier when I lived up North. Pretty much every barn had an indoor arena and while some were smaller and more difficult to ride in than others, the footing remained dry and you were out of the elements. While living in WI, I would ride indoors down to -5F which allowed me to ride pretty consistently year round. Indoor arenas are almost unheard of down here though there are a smattering of covered arenas which serve to protect you from the rain in the winter and the worst of the sun in the summer. 

Watching H’Appy and Old Man Winter play is one of the highlights of my days. At 28 Pete still whoops the young H’Appy’s butt on the regular after H’Appy initiates a game of bitey face which Pete escalates to rearing, chest slamming and galloping. 

This past weekend we got our first snow storm of the year. Since moving here in 2013, we have always had one week of nasty snowy/icy weather and then a return to sunny and mid 50s temperatures. I’m not very hopeful that this year will follow suit. It has dumped rain in huge quantities since September and there is no end in sight with another 1.5″ predicted for this Friday again. The ground is a soggy mess and my arena is currently under ice.

While the arena stays firm under the onslaught of rain and I don’t mind riding through puddles, this mess is going to take a while to clear out before I can use it again. 

All this made me stop and think on Sunday about my training arrangement. The barn is an hour north where they got more snow than down here and I was nervous that perhaps dropping him off wasn’t the best use of my money. I reached out to the woman via text verifying that she does in fact have a covered space to ride in so that he would get worked the agreed upon 5 days a week. Her response was that she didn’t but I could still bring him up. I really do not see the point in paying to have him sit in her pasture/barn for a month and not get worked. He can do that for free at home.  I’m glad I asked her and I am a bit miffed that she didn’t say anything first. I would have been really pissed had I taken off work, driven all the way there and then be told he wouldn’t be getting 5 days a week work.

My new normal routine of hanging blankets out to dry. I do not miss this part of northern living though I am now glad to have an excess of stalls to use for hanging cold, wet blankets on

This means no boot camp until probably after the holidays and into the new year. I’ve reached out to the local trainer only 30 minutes from my house that has the cross country course and a covered arena hoping maybe she has a spot available to take us on. It probably makes more sense to go with her anyway since she is the one I hope to transition to for lessons once we have our sea legs back under us. This way she knows him inside and out. We will see what comes of that. 

Thankful I have a barn this year to use. The horses have been kept inside more nights than not recently. H’Appy is a bit of a nervous wreck inside and paces more than anything, but with so much practice he has started to calm down and now finishes his hay every night and half the water in his bucket. 

There are a ton of options for trainers over in Aiken and their weather is more stable than ours two hours northwest. A lot of the top eventers in the NE winter there and the Aiken Facebook page is a constant stream of requests for temporary housing for humans and horses from now through March as people flood the area for winter training and showing opportunities. I’m not sure my timing is all that great for getting in with a trainer there plus the prices sky rocket in the winter. Plus it is 2 hour away and would be very difficult for me to find the time to head down for a lesson. It is a back up plan I hope to not have to engage.

Wyatt had to be picked up early at school the day after his birthday. He tried to make it up to me by drawing me pictures. It might have worked. 

Meanwhile I am awaiting the arrival of my beloved new sticky leather saddle. The tack shop lost power with the winter storm and will hopefully be back to normal today or tomorrow. I might be able to sneak up there after work tonight if it has come in, but if not my Friday is now free so I can make the trip in the rain then. This weather pattern of sunny and mid 50s Mon-Thursday and then 30s and pouring rain Fri-Sun has settled over the area since early October and will not go away. It is depressing and makes building a relationship with the hairy orange beast difficult. I’m also looking into the option to pay to use the indoor at the trainer’s facility and haul over there to work him a few days a week so that at the very least we are working on our hauling skills, working in a new environment and get some saddle time in as well. 

Cold wet weather means lots of snuggle time on the couch. 

Not all is lost, but 2018 sure is starting to kick my butt and I’m finding my typical resolve to always find the open window when a door closes begin to wane a bit after all that has been thrown at me this year. I still need to do my Waggy Tails update (she is generally ok, still happy, still wagging but her leg is dead and we are up in the air whether to give it more time or amputate) and Duke Energy coming to do a site visit planning to ruin our entire property with a new high voltage tower line through it which I’ve tried numerous ways to fight and am hitting road blocks every which way I try. I’ve tried to write a post about that numerous times, but each time makes me want to vomit, so I stop. Fifteen years of plotting, planning and working hard to make this dream come true and after a short 10 months of living the dream it all comes crashing down. My nerves are on edge and being completely honest, this boot camp for H’Appy was what was pulling me through the rest of this year. Now that that seems to be gone as well…well lets say I’m not a great person to be hanging around right now. 

Waggy tired herself out playing in the snow and spent the rest of the day curled in a Waggy sized ball on the couch

 But again…all is not lost. I have some tries left with Duke, a new situation potentially in the works for H’Appy and that sticky leather luxe saddle on its way. Always look for the open window folks. I swear it is generally there. 

42 thoughts on “Boot Camp Canceled”

  1. Eek. Out of all of that, the power line makes me wanna go grab a glass of wine for you. Like where thru your property?! Is it like an eminent domain sorta thing that you can’t fight? Hope the closer trainer works out, maybe it was meant to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a mess. If they go where they plan then they would have to move our driveway which would take out the front 5 acre pasture. Then they would take out all of our trees that line the hill and give natural weather protection and serves as the horses nap spot. It’s a mess really. Saturday they are coming to show us exactly what they want to do.

      It is eminent domain and they can do what they want.


      1. Omg that’s so horrible. Stage some sort of endangered bird or wild plant in the area, because the government will protect plants and animals over us. Insane they can make you move a driveway, give up a front pasture etc. Im so sorry. There’s gotta be a way they can skirt your property better.


  2. I hope that saddle shows up soon, and you take a minute to just sit on the floor and enjoy the sweet smell of brand new leather. Winter is tough and awful, even if you aren’t shoveling feet of snow.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel you! We typically get 1 – 2 weeks of really cold weather… and its usually in late January. This year? NOVEMBER started the deep freeze. Already over it.


  3. I agree where do they want to put the line? Hopefully far away from the house/barn etc. UGH. We had to fight once on them putting a sewage plant across the street from us (this was in TX) to this day it was never built AND we got 15k out of the lawsuit (It was a neighborhood thing, we agreed finally they could do it so we all got settlement) we moved on but I think it is hilarious they never got the damn thing built. Maybe the same will happen for you, it will be delayed forever?

    and I would totally put that saddle on the couch and look at it over and over and even deep smell it….:) I cant wait to see it!!

    Also re bootcamp…ick. i am glad you found out before hand. I mean….jeez….it would have been good to know. I totally think and hope that place nearer to you has an opening sooner. that would be great. So close. Also its just horrible sucky winter weather. I cannot believe i am bitching so much about the weather and i am 900 miles farther south! WTF…this am i had to unfreeze everything in the barn. IF i wanted that i would have stayed in NE! ICK

    Waggy looks happy! That is all that matters. I envy you your barn with all those extra stalls. I love my barn but not as much place to hang stuff and it is truly cold in there on these cold nights. Horses seem fine but BRGHHHHH its a southern barn and its WINTER! UGH

    Keep the faith things will get better soon (I sure hope so too I am pretty much in the pits of despair right now too)!


    1. I need to write the darn post about Duke to answer questions. In short the proposed path would mean moving our driveway, taking out the front 5 acres and then all the trees lining our hill. It is a mess.

      That saddle is the best thing going for me right now. once I get my hands on it, I’m going to sit in it to watch a movie while shoving chocolate in my face and drowning in wine. That is healthy right??

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ugh this is all so frustrating, I’m sorry. Hopefully you can get your Plan B trainer worked out, and have some success on fighting the power line. That would irritate the shit out of me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing that is hardest for me to swallow is that there is no alternate plan. I can solution my way out of this. I can try to fight, and I am, but every other obstacle in my life I have figured my way through: can;t get pregnant – adopt; job sucks and nobody is hiring – start my own practice etc…The alternate isn’t always easy but it works. For Duke I have no alternate. If they want to steam roll through my property, they can. Its frustrating to feel helpless in this. It doesn’t sit well with me.


  5. This is so frustrating! I’ll can’t offer much advice just anxiety and sympathy! But hopefully your plan be will work out (and if not, plan C or D or E). And the power line crap is awful. You sound like you’re doing better than me though if you’re not curled up in a ball crying though so I give you credit there! Best wishes that things turn around!


  6. I know that it doesn’t seem like it but not going to boot camp right now is a good thing. What if he went but you were unable to ride when he came back because of weather?
    Also, how is Waggy doing?


  7. Man, that’s a lot of frustrating stuff to deal with. It’s going to be okay. Even if boot camp is delayed a bit. With horses, everything takes a long time – “go slow to go fast,” right? Hang in there. Do some deep breathing exercises over your new saddle. That new saddle smell is way better than new car smell. It’s going to be all right.


    1. Eventually things will settle and whether or not we win against Duke, it will end and we will move on. Its hitting hard because I love this property, I love the farm and it is my happy place. Watching them rip it to shred for the next two years will destroy that feeling


  8. Oh man. The power line would have me fuming as well. These big, rich, companies have no soul.
    I think you’re totally making the right decision with H’Appy. And I think you’ll find an alternate situation. And agree that at least you didn’t take him up there and pay for nothing?
    Also, and I may be grabbing at straws here, but sometimes, when the weather is this bad, this early on, we are rewarded with an amazing early spring! So, maybe? Just maybe?


  9. When it rains, it pours. 😦 It sounds like perhaps it is just as well he didn’t head off to the trainer, as if she couldn’t be bothered to tell you she doesn’t have a covered or indoor arena to use, what else might she not tell you? Maybe the closer trainer will work out even better! You will eventually find a good situation for him, even if you have to wait and be patient. That worked out on the saddle and how exciting it will be arriving soon!!! Ohhh, I just got angry for you thinking about the power line issue. That is not good and I would be fighting it, too. Hang in there, as things can only get better, right!? *hugs*


  10. This is…a lot. I don’t know if it makes it better (you’d still have to contend with high voltage construction on your land), but my dressage trainer in South FL had high voltage power lines going through her property and she made do. She’s been running an upper level boarding and training facility out of there, and also lives there herself, for the last decade without issue. No health issues for herself, her husband nor her animals. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this now too on top of everything else though!! OMG.

    Regarding Waggy…I’m assuming that “dead leg” means that it is not functional (vs necrotic.) She is young and otherwise healthy, and it is a hind leg…I’m not a doctor (and of course Dusty is a vet), but I’ve worked with orthopedic veterinary surgeons for the last 3 years and I’ve seen much older, large breed dogs adapt tremendously well to lives as tripods. Unless she has hip dysplasia, amputating a nonfunctional hind limb can make life so much easier for them. They adjust to chronic pain from a compromised leg so well that their pain levels go unnoticed until the limb is removed…and the animal bounces back with puppy-like energy because they are finally pain-free. Obviously you and Dusty have access to specialists that you can talk to and we don’t know the whole story behind your decisions, but that’s just my two cents based on personal experience in the hopes of helping to give you peace of mind with a tough decision. ❤

    All fingers crossed that the plan B trainer closer to you works out! It sounds like a fantastic solution for the H'Appy issues.


    1. She suffered a crush injury to her sciatic nerve. The bones have healed well but she has no sensation to the foot so she walks on the top of it. Because of that she needs to be in a bandage but that then creates issues with fungus and yeast. We have tried some braces but the force they exert to keep the foot in the proper posture creates large sores elsewhere on the leg. It feels like a losing battle. The good news is that it was up above the knee to start and now she has use of the knee again and it is the ankle and foot only. The neurologist is tracking her and says that in about 16 more months she should have use of the foot but the issues posed by waiting are what makes us wonder if an amputation wouldn’t be more humane for her. her right hip has been bad since day one and is now her good leg. Amputating would mean the right leg having full weight. We have had her xrayed numerous times and the ortho surgeon look at it when evaluating her left injured leg and nobody can figure out why she limps on it. The concern with amputating the left is all the weight on the bad right. Its a battle to figure out what truly is the best for her.

      The health issues, or lack thereof, is good to hear. Other than aesthetics, the issue is the use of the land and how they plan to run the line. Also, property value with resale in the future. it is a mess and makes being home stressful.

      Basically, right now I am one big ball of stress.


  11. Ugh. Lots of general “ugh” for many things in this post. Though of all of it, I think the Duke Energy stuff is the most heartbreaking. I work closely with the regulatory side for things like that and it sucks so much when they want to traverse through private properties for new rights-of-way. I hope you can find an avenue to halt it or at least get the siting changed so it won’t have as large of an impact on you. I hate so much that they’re trying to alter the dream you all worked so hard to fulfill for yourselves.

    I don’t know if my skillset with regulatory stuff can help your situation, but you know how to get ahold of me if you’d like to pick my brain! ❤


  12. 😦 Really sorry to hear all of this. My heart sunk for you as soon as I saw your post title. Hopefully life on all fronts starts looking up for you real soon.


  13. I sent you a message with the name of a guy who might be able to help you with Duke Power. He was one of the guys who helped stop them from coming through our area a couple of years ago. Hopefully you’ll be able to stop them bc the company can be such assholes when it comes to their agenda!!!

    Also agree on this shit weather- Chimi’s in the same boat of not being able to start back in work bc the weather has been such crap and by the time it’s rideable more shit weather arrives. Grrrrrrrr!!!’

    Hope everything else is going well and that you guys didn’t lose power or for a short amount of time during this snow!!


    1. I called him – thanks! He understands my problems but doesn’t do that type of law but he gave me some good starting points to try. basically I need to make it as much of a pain in Duke’s butt as possible.

      This non stop rain is terrible! The moment is begins to dry out, it rains again! Another 1.5″ in the forecast for Friday. I think we have gotten more rain this fall than all 5 years combined that I have been here.

      We didn’t lose any power but Wyatt has been out of school the last two days and gets a 2 hour delay tomorrow. It is getting old


  14. Ugh, I’m so sorry about your property. What a mess- Duke seriously sucks. Set up a saddle stand with your new, fancy schmancy saddle, and sit in it at night while eating ice cream and guzzling wine.

    Stupid about the trainer not saying anything- good thing you thought to ask. Hopefully backup Trainer has some space since you want to work with her anyways!


    1. It is a lot of suck. I got even more bad news yesterday when a project I’ve been working on since this time last year to expand my career and remove a lot of stress was killed off with one blow. A whole years work down the drain because the person in charge got fired and the one who replaced him has no interest in supporting the project. It’s been a shitty end of the year but really t can only go up from here


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