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HT on the Horizon

Jinxing myself big time here, but…I’ve sent in my entry for our first ever HT!!!!!!!

My original plan was for a mid November HT that Bette is also attending because everything is better with a friend, but that plan derailed pretty quickly when I saw the classes were either 18″ with Intro dressage or 2’3″ with BN A. What I really wanted was 2′ with BN dressage.

Why be so picky? Well, Intro dressage was walk and trot only and I want to canter. I can canter, maybe not at an 8 and maybe not always that well put together, but I can canter and have worked really hard this year to go from being afraid to not only enjoying the canter but also being able to remain functional. However, 2’3″ is too much for me right now. We are working over 2’3″ fences randomly, like the coop at the barn and that house out on xc, but not a full course. The entire single day format is going to be a bit taxing on both of us as it is, I don’t want to add height as well. I was prepared to do the 18″ division anyway to enjoy the show with friends, but then Trainer AB said she was already scheduled at a different venue that weekend and well that was that.

Wyatt had a fantastic lesson last week and ended it by riding off on a trail ride with the other girl in the lesson. Without me. On his own.

She ended up inviting me to a show she already has a group going to the following weekend. It will be at Jumping Branch Farm a couple hours from me in Aiken. They don’t allow cross country schooling the day before which a lot of the other schooling shows allow. I’m a little bummed about that but Eeyore isn’t a spooky horse so we should be ok without seeing it in advance. The plan apparently is to head down there Friday, set up stalls, then trailer over to a local venue to cross country school and head back over for the night at Jumping Branch to show the next day. We may not be schooling on the actual course, but we will school something and maybe that will help? We will find out!!!

This doofus is going to see some big dreams of mine come true. Whether he wants to or not 😂

I’m super excited and a whole lot nervous already. I have zero competitive goals, so I really could care less if we end up last. I do want to finish though and I’m not sure what will happen out there. I’m a bit queasy even writing about it!! My tasks for now are to get into a real dressage court to practice the test at least a time or two and maybe try to get another xc outing under our belt as well but we will see. I’m going out of town for continuing education the second weekend in November so that limits things a bit plus my surgery schedule is already filling up solid for the end of the year rush which limits the Fridays I can take off to ride. I still have 6 weeks though, so I refuse to let myself panic.

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Full Steam Ahead

Want to know the perfect recipe for an amazing cross-country outing?

1) Start with a horse who has decided that he is the bomb and no longer needs input from his rider

2) Add a rider who is riding as if they have never sat on a horse before

3) Complete it 10 minutes after mounting with a surprise appearance of your period which isn’t due for 2 more weeks and explains the headache, back pain and nausea you’ve been fighting all morning. Be thankful you chose your dark riding pants and have a dark saddle to avoid mortal embarrassment.

Off for adventures!

In all seriousness, even with some major issues it was a great outing filled with a lot of big deal firsts for me and while I did want to kill Eeyore a few times, he had his big boy pants on and well..I couldn’t ask for a lot more than that. Ok, I could ask for some brakes but details.

The water complex was surrounded by banks everywhere

Eeyore has been a bit of a tool lately. I’m going to say it is the cooler weather, the lack of exercise, and the fact that 30 year old Pete has awoken from his summer slumber and is picking on Eeyore non stop to play, play, play. It all has Eeyore a bit amped up. Trust me, he isn’t in any pain and his mystery right canter lead issue is a thing of the past. He is literally vibrating with excess energy which has resulted in the return of his cross tie pawing, trying to tear apart the trailer when asked to stand still and when I take his halter off to release him back to the pasture he flings his head and gallops like he hadn’t worked at all. I’m looking forward to a more consistent routine again and in fact he got ridden Friday, Saturday and Sunday and by the end of the ride Sunday he was a lot more polite about life once again.

M wanted to come watch and I tasked her with pictures. We warmed up over a simple small log hidden behind this larger log.

Trainer AB had invited another woman on her OTTB to join us for the outing and I was a bit concerned how Eeyore would behave. The last few times he has been with another horse he has decided he can not function more than 3 feet away from his new BFF. He must have learned something with our previous outings because this time he was a perfect gentleman about warming up far away, passing/being passed by the other horse, and waiting in the shade while she did her thing. He earned some big brownie points in the warm up which he then consumed during the rest of the ride.

Weee…Trainer AB is rather tired of telling me to stop hunching my back. It took only twice and I stopped so…progress.

It was pretty obvious from the start that Eeyore was happy to be out jumping and cantering around. He really lives for cross country. His exuberance and abundance of energy came out as a nice celebratory buck after each jump (ok..not a real buck more like dropping his head between his knees and faking it) then grabbing the bit and running into the sunset. He was jumping everything and anything just fine, it was the backside of the jumps that had me worried.

Look, I’m not that brave and I’ve finally gotten over wanting to puke looking at a jump. Eeyore has taught me that he will go over and that has boosted my confidence a ton. This new behavior really rattled me, I wasn’t riding all that strong and was fighting nausea and well it kinda turned into a battle of wills which isn’t a great idea.

Our first baby down bank. I think it is going to take me some time to figure out what my body should be doing

Still though, we did a line of three logs set at 4 strides which was a lot of fun. The first log was doubled and it caught him off guard a bit causing a stop the first time. After that he was game on though and tackled it with gusto. The line was a bit hairy because…well running away and all…but we did it each time both uphill and downhill and got a nod of approval from Trainer AB with a “well, sure you were getting run away with but you stayed the course and did each jump so it was good!”

After that line we moved to the bank complex which has a ramp leading up one side and then banks all around the other sides of the mound. They all looked huge to me. Trainer AB had us work on coming up the ramp then bending and going down the tiniest baby bank off it. The first few times Eeyore stopped at the lip and looked hard but he always went down without a fuss while I tried to figure out how to not be too far ahead yet not left behind.

Sorry for the quality but here we are doing the down bank

After that I thought we were done with banks because the others all looked above my pay grade, but nope. Trainer AB has more faith in me than I do. She had us trotting up the ramp then off over the bank at the far side of the complex. The first time Eeyore simply stepped off like a trail horse and Trainer AB said “Well, he made that way too easy on you. Come in with more power to encourage a jump off next time”

Which I did….

Heheheheh…

Ok..well…lets try that again….

Much better

By this point Eeyore had really decided that he was much better at this whole cross country thing than I am, which isn’t totally wrong, and really peaced out on listening to me. We would land and he would snatch the bit then run off. Trainer AB was telling me that I needed to sit up (always the answer), and kick on when he did that. We had a huge field to work with and where were we going to go? Make him work hard when he did that except I couldn’t convince myself to do it. I knew it was the right answer. I knew he would give up sooner or later because no matter how fit Frat boy thinks he is, he is lazy at heart. But feeling like I was already getting run away with and then kicking him was just not something I could convince my body to do in the moment.

She set up a nice little course for us next to help keep him thinking and responding to me versus tearing off. Fence 1 was a house, make a sweeping turn left to come to the bank then over the ramp’s tiny bank, then forward 4 strides to a log. I looked at her and blinked. The house? This house I was standing right beside? The house that is the biggest jump I have done to date? That house?!?! Yup.

I approached and uh…took a unique approach by clamping down and shutting my eyes hoping we’d make it to the other side. Probably not the best approach. We never did make that sweeping turn to the left because I had stopped riding upon the approach and Eeyore took full advantage of that crap. We stopped before we left the property though so yeah…proud of that HA!

You mean pointing at it and closing your eyes isn’t a good xc technique??

At this point I was really frustrated. I wanted to jump and I wanted to try that house again but I was really unsettled with his behavior. Trainer AB said he was having the time of his life and enjoying it and maybe it’s time to not be doing xc in a single jointed full cheek snaffle. She asked if I wanted to try another bit right then but I knew we weren’t going to be out much longer so I passed.

She wanted me to do it again but wanted a better approach to the house so she switched it up a bit. We did the double log jump we had done before then turned right to the house then left after to the down bank and the log. It went ok. I rode the house way better and we managed to keep it together but even Trainer AB agreed that Eeyore was only half listening to me and was charging forward like a horse going to war.

From there we had two more simple exercises to go. One was simply walking up and then down the huge, steep mound which he did without issue and the other was the water complex. We walked through first then trotted and then I got to canter through my first water complex!!!!!! It was so much fun.

Eeyore was pissed about the water complex. He loves water and he was hot. He wanted to swim and roll and was not pleased that I made him pick his damn head up and move

I don’t know. We’ve only been out xc once before and it was all new and I really don’t think he was being a jerk as much as just having a lot of fun and wanting to show off how brave and awesome he is. Which is fine just maybe tone it down a bit?

I had left the boys to their own devices at home. I returned and went to put my shoes away to find this in my shoe closet. Next time I’m taking the credit card with me.

Overall the outing was successful. We did our first down bank, jumped a large house and cantered through the water for the first time as well. He was game, brave and handled the stop and go format of a group outing way better than the last time. The jumps didn’t scare me at all but darn that behavior afterward sure did rattle me quite a bit.

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Let’s Play….What Is Wrong With My Horse?

Ugh guys.

I’m not panicking. I refuse to panic.

Temps over 100F combined with a hiatus to study combined with cementing myself out of the barn all added up to over 2 weeks without riding. Eeyore occupied himself in the pasture galloping around, playing bitey face with Pete, rearing and having a good time.

Went to a friend’s house and she has a goat named Lucy who has the run of the place. Now I want a goat.

Last night I finally got to ride. The temps were cool, overcast and windy. Watching him vibrate in the crossties didn’t instill a lot of confidence in me so I plopped him on the longe and let him rip. Literally at times.

He bucked and reared and farted and had a good time getting his wiggles out to the left and then I asked him to go right and he tried to nope his way right out of that. I got him to go but he was sulky, barely picked up the canter and only kept going because I forced him to. I didn’t think much of it. He had had his fun going left after all.

I tacked him up and hopped on to find a very compliant and content poneh under me. Really guys, we have come such a long long way from this time last year. We trotted and cantered left to warm up then turned to go right and he refused to pick up the right lead. He never has an issue with leads. Ever.

Wyatt trotted in his lesson last week for the first time. He was petrified but he did it. I was so proud of him.

Eventually he got the right lead, then swapped then got it again then sulked and got angry ears. It was obvious he wasn’t happy but was he not happy in the right lead or just because he was working?

Back to the left and no issues. Picked up the left lead, held it, worked on the 20 m circle. No issues.

The right? Same pissy, not wanting to pick it up, lurching into it behavior that told me he was not happy.

Well damn.

In the trot he was fine. I couldn’t detect anything off and he was happy enough to move forward and we even didn’t completely suck on the circle, but he did not want to canter right.

Well damn.

But I’m not panicking. You are panicking. Not me. I’m not having flashbacks to all last year dealing with right side lameness. Nope. I’m moving forward towards my HT debut in November. Yup. I’m fine.

Being a mom means doing trash pick up on Saturday morning with your kiddo. I will miss these days.

My game plan is to get under Trainer AB’s educated eye and maybe her butt too and see what she thinks. He was perfectly fine 2 weeks ago when I rode him last which was a flat school at home. He has been looking happy as a clam running around in the pasture. I couldn’t palpate any pain, swelling or heat anywhere and I made sure to really palpate hard around his left hip and SI area as that has been touchy before though it didn’t show up as any gait abnormality instead showing as a sensitivity to being groomed in that region. I found nothing. No reaction at all. I don’t know.

He is due for shoes next week and I may put pads on him. The ground is concrete though my arena is soft and fluffy. Maybe he is just sore from that???

Maybe????

If he is still weird tonight I’m going to make an appointment with the doc who did his lameness stuff last year. At least she will have her notes as a comparison. It may be a one off thing. Maybe he is sore from his pasture shenanigans or the hard ground or from his playing on the longe or maybe he got kicked by Pete or Gem or maybe he fell or maybe a few hundred other scenarios and he will ride perfectly fine tonight. Hopefully it isn’t anything and I’m just being paranoid but I have a gut feeling I’m screwed. We will see.

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Dumb

So….uh….yeah I did a dumb.

Want to hear all the excuses first??

I can’t recall another time in my life where I felt so stressed, stretched thin, and run down. I’m distracted. Pre occupied. Barely making it through my day without a panic attack.

Medical boards are Monday. I’ve been studying for 2 months. If I don’t pass these, I lose my hospital credentials. If I lose those, I lose my ability to accept insurance. If I lose that, I’m out of practice.

So it’s a bit important.

But I’ve taken important tests before and I can typically handle the study pressure. Only this time everything is piling up against me.

Pete can’t wait for the cooler weather to finally arrive this weekend. He doesn’t do heat very well.

Last spring Dusty signed up for a surgical wet lab. He asked if I had any plans or reasons he couldn’t go. Nope. I knew my boards would be in October but the previous 9 I have taken to qualify to take this one (this crap is a money laundering racket) have all been on a Wednesday so I figured him being gone for a Fri-Mon wasn’t going to be an issue.

Then they released the date for this 6 weeks ago and it isn’t just on a Monday, it’s on the Monday of the weekend he is gone.

Ok….I can work around that. Wyatt gets basically no screen time but when given it he will be zoned for the day. I’ll be that parent and plop my kid in front of a movie and study. My anxiety level dropped.

Me last weekend studying while I sent the kids and Dusty off on a hike to get out of the house

Except I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago with the realization that I have to be at the testing center at 715 am that day. Wyatt’s school doesn’t open until 715 am and I haven’t figured out a way to be in two places at once yet. Panic level: crucial.

Thankfully my mom agreed to get up at o dark thirty to come to get Wyatt ready for school and drop him off for me. Crisis averted.

Ok…things were looking settled. I’d be able to study all weekend and make it to my test.

Then the cub scouts schedule got published and Saturday is a major community service project that Wyatt needs to attend. There goes my morning of studying. Frick. Still….it should wear him out so that l can study all afternoon while he naps and then watches a movie. Sanity still intact.

If only I could be this relaxed

You know what’s coming don’t you?

Except…M then told me that homecoming is Saturday night. Are you kidding me?!?!! It goes until 10 and Wyatt goes to bed at 830 and well I couldn’t take it anymore so I told her I’d take her but she needs to find a way home. I’m not waking Wyatt up at 10 pm to drive to pick her up and I can’t leave him home sleeping alone and I can’t ask anyone else to do it so screw it. I just plumb can’t do it.

So that’s where my mind has been. Frazzled and distracted and crammed full of useless medical information that only comes in handy for board examinations.

Which leads me to my dumb.

The cutest scout there is

Dusty had the contractor out to give an estimate for the aisle on Sunday. It was under budget so we jumped on scheduling it and were surprised the guy could do it Tuesday. Great! Not being able to handle anything else on my plate, I left Dusty to handling it and walked away to return to my books.

They came, they did a great job and were done Tuesday night with instructions to keep the horses off it until Saturday. Ok..no biggie. We have fed in the pasture before they can handle 4 or 5 days without coming inside.

A couple weeks late but still funny. It was 98F yesterday. It will be 97F today. Where is fall?

Except….

I didn’t take the feed out of the barn.

Or any buckets.

Or any hay to supplement the dead pasture in this horrid drought.

Or any of my tack.

Or any brushes, fly spray, first aid items.

Basically, the horses are feral and PISSED OFF right now.

Eeyore is throwing things around in the pasture and giving me the nastiest looks I have ever seen. That horse does not take to being ignored very well. Gem is happy we have left her muzzle off for now and Pete is just miserable that he has his winter coat and it is remaining near 100F still and I can’t hose him off because the hose is…..inside the barn.

So uh…yeah…I’m dumb. Don’t be me folks. If you know your barn is going to be out of commission, please prepare….take feed out and buckets and your tack and grooming supplies and fly spray needs and your sanity as well.

If Eeyore lawn darts me for my ride Monday after boards, I will have deserved it.

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15 Years: The Cementaversary

15 years ago today I said “I do” to Dusty. Nobody could have predicted the trajectory our lives would take and even with the down moments, I’d do the whole thing over again.

I was 22 and he was 27. Such young kiddos.

Since that fateful evening we have lived in 8 different cities scattered throughout 4 states. It took 13 years but we finally managed to get our dream farm.

I decided to go to medical school, attended surgical residency, became an associate then opened my own practice. My eyes are set on a new path but it’s moving slower than I’d hoped so we shall see what life brings for me there.

Our honeymoon week long horse ride from the French Alps to the Mediterranean coast. The best trip of my life.

Dusty left a good associate position and entered the emergency work force, has dabbled in relief work, returned to the associate life and now has his own practice. His eyes are set on adding additional associates and practice locations. This weekend he is off learning a new surgery technique in the knee to offer his clients.

We have been through infertility and adoption together which marked both the darkest and brightest times in our marriage.

A hand print in cement isn’t as strong as the print he has put on my heart. Wyatt is the best part of my life.

Dusty started running while I was in residency and hasn’t stopped. I think he found his true love. He has gone from barely completing his first half marathon to having multiple ultras and a 100 under his belt. He continues to push himself and find new challenges.

You all know my hobby story quite well.

Now sitting here looking back over the last 15 years I’m wondering how it all happened so fast. It seems like yesterday but also like a lifetime ago that we were two young kids building a life together. It hasn’t been easy or a given. Life throws some shady stuff at you. It also isn’t a fairy tale, romantic movie or field of daisies. Marriage is work. It’s a conscious decision to remain with the person you love, to remember to love them in dark times when everything seems piled against you, and to look towards more than yourself and your dreams for the betterment of the couple as a whole.

Dusty got me a cement aisle in my barn. It’s honestly the best gift ever. No more dirt everywhere. I love it as odd as that seems to most of the people in my life. No jewelry or flowers for this girl.

I’d do it again a million times over and I’m looking forward to the 15 and where life takes us.

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The Barn Debacle

When I last left off in Tear it All Down, my barn had one half without any roof at all and the other half with enough holes to mistake it for a planetarium. Oh and a rain storm in the forecast. We had already expressed our displeasure and set up a meeting for Monday night at 6 pm to have all parties involved. When we hung up we left it with “do not come to the property tomorrow to do work prior to our meeting tomorrow night”.

You can all imagine how pleased I was then to show up at 5:30 pm and see that they were a) already there and b) had been working all day. Sigh. Listening was not their strong suit.

Holes everywhere in the initial roofing job.

The main factor in all our issues, well other than plain old fashion shoddy work, was the fact that the company we hired sub contracted out the work to another outfit which created a lot of middle man communication. They both were present though that Monday night and got an earful from me about all the garbage, food waste, beer bottles, cigarette boxes, holes in my roof and the wood work that my 6 year old could have done better. Of course, they nodded in agreement. What else do you do when a 5’4″ rat terrier is spewing insults and pointing out issues for half an hour? I wasn’t pleased and they knew it.

The sub contractor pointed out the new side that was done that day (without permission I remind you) and asked if I was happy with the quality on work over there. He had fired the original crew of two men and had a new crew of six on the job. I took my time inspecting it. I went into every stall looking at it from all angles. Thankfully there wasn’t a hole in sight and the wood work was of professional quality as far as I could tell.

I told him it passed and that he could repeat it on the right side.

He smiled and said they already had removed all the holey tin and replaced it. I looked at him dumbfounded and went to inspect that side of the roof. It hadn’t crossed my mind that they would have done that since the wood hadn’t been touched and we quite specifically told him that the wood work had to come down and be replaced properly yet there I stood looking at the same crap job.

Look at the new wood. They didn’t cut it correctly so instead they used other pieces to span the ends and nailed that on top. You can see how some pieces are short, they aren’t square and well…I could have done a better job and I am not handy at all.

He asked me if I was happy and I responded with “No. Make this side look like that side in all aspects, wood work included, and I may be.” He grumbled something as I walked away.

That was Monday. That night it poured and they had not finished the roof which meant that the entire inside of my barn got drenched. We had unopened bags of feed in the feed room and apparently they aren’t waterproof because a week later when we opened one to fill the bin, it was moldy. As were the other 4, so we lost 5 bags of expensive horse feed because of them. I’m still a bit bitter over that. There were puddles everywhere and it took weeks to get the barn aired out enough to not be moldy.

Tuesday night I came home to find that they had “finished” the roof. The subcontractor was pleased as punch with himself until I pointed out yet again that the wood work had not been replaced. Instead he had them taken down, cut to span from rafter to rafter, and then put back up in double fashion. I was a bit incredulous. What part of “make this side the same as the other” was hard to comprehend?

Sub contractor was not happy. In order to do the wood work appropriately, he would have to to take all that tin off yet again, replace the wood, and then replace the tin. Not my problem. I didn’t do the original crap work, I wasn’t the one who proceeded to work when I was told not to, and I wasn’t the one who replaced the tin without permission.

This is where I was happy we had paid a small portion for supplies only because at this point, had we paid in full, he would have walked away and left it as is. As it was, we still owed him a significant sum of money and he wanted that money. Wednesday saw him remove all that tin for a second time, replace all the wood properly and then replace the tin for the third time.

Wednesday evening he waited for me to get home and inspect the new roof for what would hopefully be the last time. I walked in, approved the wood, and then saw a new hole in the tin. When I showed it to him, I could see him visibly deflate. He called his main worker who drove to our house straight away, removed that piece, replaced it and then we called it square.

Look at how light it is in there!!! I ADORE it. All of this light is coming from the 8 plastic tiles we added. Before this was a dungeon that even the lights wouldn’t light up enough.

Except…

He pointed to the judge’s booth attached to the arena side of the barn. We had not wanted this done because it didn’t leak and wasn’t necessary and we had told the guy we hired not to include it. Apparently that didn’t get communicated to the sub contractor because he had done it.

“I know we weren’t supposed to do that, but I didn’t know it at the time. Can I charge you for it?”

HA! HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!

I explained to him that had the project gone smoothly and correctly without all the stress, the rain inside my building, the multiple conversations he didn’t listen to etc…I could probably be convinced to be nice and at least pay for the supplies he used to roof a building he wasn’t supposed to. As it was, no.

He left probably just as glad as I was that he would never be stepping foot on my property again.

In the end, the two day job spanned 10 days and was a royal mess the entire time. We lost bags of feed, had to deal with water inside the barn and they left behind tin that they stuck behind the barn and we didn’t find until a week later. The only thing that makes me happy are the new sun roof tiles we had them put it. They were more expensive but worth every single penny. The barn used to be a dark cave. I’m not sure why the original builder decided he had to make it for a snowy apocalypse, but that thing has no air flow and no light. The new plastic tiles let in so much light that I often think I left a light on in the barn. The farrier came out the week after this was all completed and even he remarked how nice the barn was with all the natural light. If you are ever doing your barn roof, you may want to look into these. I LOVE them.

So much light

You know what I don’t love though?

Dusty and I had joked that we would withhold $1000 of the money we owed until after it rained again. We didn’t because I’m not sure you can legally do that, but we were tempted. It hadn’t rained a single drop in the last 5 week until last night. It wasn’t a hard or long rain, but it was enough to wet the world a little. We have barn project #2 hopefully starting today (though that is already an issue god Lord but this barn is going to kill me) and the contractor was out last night to look things over one last time. Since I was in the barn, I gave a close look to see if anything had leaked. And….Pete’s stall has a leak in the roof. Everything else was dry and stable. Dusty shot a message off to the roofer but the chances of getting a response are basically zero. I am very tempted to sue his ass if he doesn’t respond and come fix the roof. We would win too but the headache of that is not something I need in my life which is already at 1000% stress level at the moment for a lot of things that I am not blogging about but probably should just to vent and get it off my mind.

Anyway…project #2 is about to start and it better go smoothly or I will tear this barn down with my bare hands.

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Your Grand Prix Tonight Is….

Words escape me. If I haven’t said how much I adore Trainer AB yet…I do…very, very much. Also, one Big Orange Butthead too.

Last night at 845 pm, I climbed aboard my Doofus for a lesson. It was late, it was dark and I almost canceled a dozen times during the day due to being exhausted and run down. Boy am I glad I didn’t. It is worthy to note here that I had ridden him on the flat working on the 42′ three stride canter pole exercise at home the night before and then hadn’t ridden him in the 10 days prior due to life and things. A year ago (you all tired of reading that yet??) a ride after a 10 day break would have been a disaster. Not now though. So anyway..there I was with a horse I had last seriously ridden 11 days prior at the show, then a quick 30 minute flat school the night before, and now we were in a lesson. Trainer AB’s lessons are no joke either. Come prepared to work your tail off.

Eeyore found the Nickerdoodle container in my trailer and was furious he couldn’t get it open. He worked at it a solid 5 minutes before he picked it up and threw it across the trailer in anger.

My warm up went really well and I am now graduated to being able to control the warm up all on my own. She will make some comments here and there but I’m responsible for how much and when I walk, trot and canter. She noted that he is getting a lot more balanced and staying on all four feet and under himself these days. While I can’t see it, I can feel it especially in the canter which is now infinitely easier to sit as I have a horse up in front of me instead of plowing down.

Then we moved on to the dressage portion. I cheated here and started left, my better side. Folks, holy crap. He was round, he was bent, he stayed on the circle and when we cantered? I have never felt something like that before. He was using himself, he was uphill, he was balanced, he was slow…he was incredible. Trainer AB had a grin that split her face for us.

Can I just ignore the right and move to the jumping portion? As amazing as the left was the right sucked that bad. He would.not.bend. Or if he did, he would not stay on the circle. Or if he did, he would not slow down. It was a hot mess express. When she finally let us quit she said “I don’t even know what to tell you. You are using all your aides and doing what I am saying.” To which I responded “Maybe I’m stronger in the right rein and pulling him in without realizing it or maybe I’m not sitting straight” And then for the first time ever the ever patient and self deprecating Trainer AB looked at me and said “Or maybe he could be a little obedient and do what you are asking”

Ha!! That will be the day LOL! Take note Big Orange Butthead…you are now on Trainer ABs bad side and I didn’t think she had one heheheh…

The reason I hadn’t ridden in so long. Wyatt joined cub scouts and we camped all weekend. This view did not suck.

She asked if I was ready to jump and both Eeyore and I lit up. That boy LOVES to jump. We started with simple ground poles at the trot which he decided to jump over. Trainer AB showed yet again why I adore her so much and said “You know, I don’t care and don’t make a big deal if he jumps or canters the trot pole. We will just calmly come again. I could do trot poles 50 times if that is what it takes for him to trot it nicely. That is on him” Really, her approach to training is my favorite thing ever. Thankfully it did not take 50 times before he chilled out and trotted them so we could move on.

Our next exercise was a simple cross rail bounce. I say simple…who am I??? We approached and he bounced right through no big deal both directions and Trainer AB said “huh…he is bored with this…lets move on…do you want to do the pipe tonight?”

Surprising even myself I said that I did and I meant it. She had us go to the skiny pipe flanked by barrels towards the barn first and I’m a bit embarrassed to say I flaked and pulled him of fit the first time. Don’t worry though. I yelled at myself for it and circled around and re approached without her having to say a word. The thing that haunts me still in jumping is backing off in front of the fence instead of attacking it. This stems from my Gem days where she would lock on and say yes, yes, yes until the very millisecond of take off and then somehow contort herself into a pretzel and zoom away. Attacking the jump was not smart unless I wanted to jump it by myself. So I learned to back off.

This pipe haunts my dreams

Eeyore says yes to EVERYTHING. But I have to back him up and support him over some of the more unusual fences with a giant squeeze. You know the typical more leg scenario. I’m learning how this feels and how to do this.

The second time I growled at myself and over we went! A bit over dramatic perhaps but it worked and we got it done. Over the pipe of my nightmares!!!! I was elated. She had us go over it a few more times towards the barn and then a few times away from the barn until it became a boring fence for both of us. I walked into the center to thank her thinking we were through.

Nope.

She then told me to do the coop. The COOP. The big, huge, super solid coop. She wanted it only away from the barn and said she would explain it later. I approached at the trot and pulled on his face pretty hard but he still went over. He clobbered it with his front feet which shook me a little. I really ahte the fact that he doesn’t seem to mind hitting the fences. Trainer AB yelled out “I hope he learned to be more careful with his legs. Come again!” This time I put my leg on and stayed out of his face and he went over clean with the front but clobbered it with his hind legs.

I am going to bring a tape measure to Wyatt’s lesson Friday and measure this coop. Trainer AB is not trustworthy. When I asked she said “Well, my belly button is at 3’3″ and this is under that so you are good”. I think it is 2’3″ but Dusty said counting the boards and the spaces and the top it may be 2’6″.

“Well, at least he learned something the first time. Come again and maybe he will lift all 4 legs this time”

He did!! It was a really smooth attempt and she said it was picture perfect.

I thought we were done until I heard her famous line “Now, your Grand Prix for the night is….to take the coop towards the barn at the trot, get 5 canter strides to the pipe and exit over that. Do that nicely and you can be done”

Uh…do the massive coop to the pipe of doom? Are you serious???

I approached the coop but Butthead was FEELING it now. He was proud of himself and being a cocky Butthead. I settled him as best I could in the trot and we flew over that coop, landed in the canter, somehow my brain stayed on and I counted the 5, and then we were out over the pipe and I was nearly in tears I was so damn happy with Eeyore and Trainer AB. I looked at her and her face was split from ear to ear with a grin that warmed my heart.

My personal Grand Prix coop, 5 strides, pipe. It rode so well and I was proud of my Big Orange Butthead.

As I dismounted to loosen the girth she told me that my homework is to find a schooling HT to sign up for and text her the dates so she can block it out. I’ll be getting right on that.

Folks….I don’t even know what to say. I’m so proud of Eeyore and how much he has improved. I am so proud of myself and the confidence that I have found somewhere along the way. I am thankful every time I throw a leg over Eeyore for finding Trainer AB and all she has done for us. Life is a wild ride and worth every single up and down.