Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Back to recognized eventing for the first time since August 2008
We can’t really call it bad luck, but this past weekend, the minor mishaps followed the “comes in threes” format. I set out to the airport Thursday morning, boarded the plane and after a short time, the captain announced that he had been told by maintenance that said plane would be going nowhere. Good news, another plane was coming in and we’d be making off with that one. Even better news, same plane so no need to rejigger seat assignments. So off one, on the other and on the ground in Orlando about an hour and a half later than planned. I did a bit of work, including a productive call with Heather Gold that may revive the percutaneous breast biopsy diffusion grant and then had a fun lesson with Susan Straub, doing some flatwork and some jumping on Isabelle, while Susan rode her Dutch (both horses for sale should anyone be looking). Finished in time for yoga at Full Circle, wonderful practice with Lewis. Friday morning, I worked for 6 hours, starting at surgeons’ time (6 am) and then heading back to Full Circle for Hatha Yoga. I had always thought Hatha an easier practice than Vinyasa/Ashtanga type power yoga, but this class totally belied that thought. It was a marvelous, super tough class that was a lot of fun. Then off to Ashmore, where I discovered minor mishap 2. Finn had managed to pull off a shoe and then bury it in the sand in his paddock so I couldn’t find it. We called Ashmore’s farrier John May, who offered to come out Saturday to fix this problem (I have been blessed with wonderful farriers at many barns and here is another example. John hadn’t even put the original shoe on). Meanwhile Hilda was off at Rocking Horse having a wonderful dressage test on Extravagance, completing dressage and SJ on Extravagance and Godsend. When she returned to Ashmore (so nice that Rocking Horse is so close), I had a dressage lesson on Isabelle, which went very well. Then Isabelle had her bath (followed by rolling in the sand). Saturday morning, after sleeping in until 6:30 (quite the late morning for a horseshow), headed off to Ashmore where I cleaned up and braided Isabelle. Then off to Rocking Horse with Isabelle, Extravagance and Godsend after a bit of trailer drama with Isabelle. You wouldn’t expect such a handy and compact horse to be even a little worried about the tightness of the trailer space. Saturday was quite successful. Hilda elected to run both of hers slowly, Godsend because he is practicing slowly as a life concept and Extravagance as there was no need to run him fast at this level. Isabelle put in a lovely dressage test – she even got to warm up this time. We ended up with a 34.4, my very best dressage score ever, though just shy of my 2010 dressage score goal of 34. Then, after plenty of time as a break and enough for the rain to start, back on for stadium jumping. It was an absolutely rhythmic, lovely round, though apparently a bit too much on the hunter plan as we were 4 seconds slow. I think I was so enjoying the lovely rhythmical aspect that I forgot to get a bit of step there, but it was a clean round and Hilda was pleased by the steadiness. The rain continued and as seems to be the trend, the skies opened up significantly twice through the afternoon. Once when Hilda was on course with Godsend and the really wild time when she was on course with Extravagance. The wind was blowing and it was raining sideways. Extravagance is well enough behaved that she was at one point, holding a hand up at the side of her face to block the rain and riding with only one hand on the reins (excellent opportunity to use homonyms in a sentence). At the end of the day, sans rain, we walked the cross country. It looked fairly straight forward, although the first two fences were less inviting than some of the later ones. There was no ditch, but water and a significant terrain feature, both of which Hilda said Isabelle might want to take a peek at before heading through. Sunday (more on this later). With us, were Marianna and her mom, Yitka. Marianna was riding at training level and is one of the up and coming area 3 young riders. Very nice young lady and I enjoyed meeting Yitka as well. Sunday morning dawned cloudy with a forecast high around 56. Had this happened, it would have been excellent. What we actually got was wind and about 45 degrees, brrr! Not appropriately Florida-like. And how do the weather-guessers mess up so badly? There was only xc with Isabelle, so we loaded Finn up as well. Finn, who hadn’t been ridden for two days (just got his shoe on Saturday afternoon. Yeah to Jackie for finding the shoe – she credits Vinny – after John May and I had the entire discussion about how to match a new shoe to the one Finn was wearing that had a tiny drive in stud, borium nails seemed to be missing, maybe drill and tap so I could thread in a tiny stud, or file off or drive out the other, all moot – Thanks Jackie!!). So, Finn who hadn’t been ridden in 2 days gets loaded up to head off in the cold and windy day. Those of you who have worked with OTTBs know what I was expecting, but it was not what I got. In fact, most of Hilda’s comments through our little dressage lesson and tour around the facility were of the ilk, “more leg” “go forward” “more canter” “go faster” Apparently, I have in my older years, become the queen of slowness, a very odd thought for those of you who have known me a while. But more extra points for Finn (he is really hoping all these points translate into cookies!). He then loaded back onto the trailer and stood there by himself for an hour while I tacked up, got on, warmed up and went xc on Isabelle. This time period was lengthened by minor mishap number 3. We set off from the start box, some minor bucking (perhaps my saddle doesn’t fit her or she is just excited to be on xc. I didn’t hit her this time, really). Jumps 1-6 went perfectly. 7 was the chevron before the water and she wanted to take a little look so we did and trotted through the water, all very nice, then back to the canter. Trying to be a bit more forward, I got up off her back and off we went to 9 and 10. 11 was the terrain feature. My plan, to put my butt back in the saddle 3-4 strides away so I could push her forward as she took her peek. Plan thwarted when she decided to take her peek 6 strides away while negotiating a stop that would do a roping horse proud. I stepped off over her shoulder, none the worse for the wear, actually thinking during the period between saddle and ground, “drat! Despite being far from the jump, that was definitely caused by jump, we need penalty zones.” We were in the exact middle of the field geographically and so the walk back was a bit long. Finn was waiting patiently when we got back and we put Isabelle back on the trailer (no problems) and headed back to Ashmore. We were back early and had time for me to do some work, chat with some Ashmore riders and get things cleaned up while Hilda went off for a long hack on Extravagance with Eddie Wiedmann and Duke. Then, to Hilda and Andres’ house for a great meal prepared by Andre for which Lynn and Johnny Merlet joined us. We watched video (of Pau and this event), ate yummy food, drank the Ferrari Carrano Siena (an excellent low price option) and I got yet more birthday presents!! All in all a great weekend, despite that trio of mishaps. That will teach me to keep my shoulders up and my tush nearer the tack. Next week is the Derby. I will get to work on maintaining forward speed, without losing the smoothness.