...We all know its true, right? Shall I name the ways? WELL, I will get to that in a minute.
This might be a long post, but I PROMISE it will be a juicy read.
As you all know, (hopefully) the show was a 3-day, and I was gone for 4
days in Illinois for Hunter Oaks.
We (Nancy and I) left Thursday with the 3 horses in tow and all their crap. I was a BIT worried, since my trailer alone weighs 3,000lbs...plus 3 horses, 5 bales of hay and 100lbs of grain and ALL our tack and suitcases....yeah thats a LOT of stuff. The truck was a trooper though, and got better gas mileage than it ever has before on the 260 mile trip (14MPG-wow!). The drive really sucked, since it was blazing hot and the truck has no AC....but we made it in one peice.
As we unloaded without mishap, I was looking around thinking how happy I was to be here and leave ALL my worries behind for the weekend. The grounds were beautiful, the truck drove great and all the horses arrived in great shape despite the heat.
Then...it happened. It seemed my life ended. I got a text from (name removed), the owner of W_______ and the barn I boarded and worked at. Her text read something like this, "Hi, you need to do EVERY waterer every time! One at 63 did not get cleaned. At this point I need you to take your horse and leave and not come back. I will get people to cover your remaining shifts. Thanks"....
I was completly STUNNED and shaken. What in the world did I do? Right, I missed ONE waterer, which someone does on a regular basis every week. ONE! I had no warning...she never said a word to me about displeasure of any kind...I tried my hardest to keep y corner clean, do my shifts well and even go above and beyond my duties almost everytime. Even when I didn't have a shift, I did work at the barn. I was flattened. I sat down and cried for about 10 minutes. I LOVED that barn...the horses, the boarders, the trainer, the arenas and the area. I had NOWHERE to go. I was at a show for crying out loud and not allowed to return. I had exactly 3 days to find a place, in a city where hardly any eventers reside.
After my 10 minutes of sobbing, I stood up, wiped my eyes and mass texted everyone I knew an SOS. Most people just wondered WTF and asked what happened, of which I honestly had NO IDEA. I texted her back, asking for an explanation, but she did not. This had to be something else besides a waterer, but I could not figure out what...
This could not be happening. Not only did I almost get fired from my main job, but I just got fired AND kicked out and now my horse was homeless. I had a major problem...I am poor. She let me work off board...what now? I cannot explain to you how distraught I was...
WELL, my sweet angel of a friend texted back letting me know we were welcome to stay at her place, even though she has no indoor, for a reasonable price. I was SO relieved....I cried again, ha. What a way to start this weekend off.
Anyways, after that crazy-ness, I hopped on Yankee around 8pm to do some schooling around the dressage rings. He was HORRID and I was having a difficult time holding my shit together. I gave up at dark and just prayed he'd come through for me.
Friday, Dressage Day, dawned early, and after the worst night of my life (not going into that here) and 3 hours of sleep, I crawled to the barn. I rode at 9:47, so I prepped early.
Our warm-up was freaking horrible, again. He was SUPER calm for the first 30 minutes and I was really happy. No bucking, crookedness or head tossing. So I let him rest and watched a few tests. with 2 in front of me, I woke him back up and attempted a trot...um, HELLO! NEW horse here under me now. The MOST crooked, teeth chomping, bucking, retarded, psycho, squealing horse I've ever sat on. I was crying again as I dreaded our test. Well won;t be doing THAT again will we?
As I headed to the ring, Yankee refused to relax and stop walking crooked and I was seriously about to withdraw. Instead, the INSTANT (again!-rem. MCPC) I walked by the judge, he dropped his head, relaxed his back and chewed softly at the bit. Um, ok?
And he gave me this...
The best dressage test to record for us :) I know he was a titch stiff on the first turns, and he tripped badly twice in a row but the ring was holey (wtf is up with holey rings in the midwest area). Otherwise, he was absolutly PERFECT. Perfect people...for him. I have NEVER had him be as relaxed and willing as he was in this show AND (drumroll please!) we got a NINE on our free walk! A 9!!!
Mostly, we got 7's and 8's but for good reason, a 5 on our halt (how many times did he move? lol) and our first movement a 5, since it sucked bad.
I was high as a kite on the way back, and he starting playing the second we left the ring but I didnt care...that was SO good for my psycho OTTB. I didn't care what score or placing we were in, I was just excited we had ONE good test, for once!
We ended up with a 34, to put us in 10th out of a field of 21. The leader had a 30, so competition was tight. If I had been in the other division, I would have been first, which sucked a little, but I was STILL happy nonetheless. I was excited, going into XC, since Novice is cake for Yanks.
XC Day was hot as hell.
I rode at 11am and by then it was already like 97 (H.I. of over 100) and I was concerned about my horse. The course was tough for Novice but I wasn't worried since he has gone training so many times. I had mom at the start box sponging and scraping him and it was working. He was feeling fresh.
TOO fresh....I was SO tired after our warm-up and was feeling faint. I had been drinking gallons (literally) of water all weekend but you can't fight heat, sun and humidity with a stuffy vest and a crazy horse that won't listen to half halts.
He basically bolted with me for the 1st half of the course, and I was struggling to remain in the tack. Beginnings if heat stroke. He was SO fast, by the time we got to the halfway point, it had only been 1:23 seconds....WOW. SLowing down needed immediately!
I slowed to a walk between fence 11 and 12a/b and since it was so long of a walk (2 minutes) Yankee got his wind back while I was still struggling to not pass out and die...
When I told him to canter again, he basically grabbed the bit and bolted...it took EVERY OUNCE of my energy to bring him back to a nice Novice canter, but it took a major toll. By then I was barely hanging on....I couldn't breathe...
....He took the half coffin no big, but I don't remember him jumping it. We came up to fence 13, a BABY coop, but half hidden in trees. OH and so were the jump judges. he spooked at them bad, and refused the fence, but by the time he did that, I hadn't even noticed. He was cantering off to the left and I was like "ohh....he...refused, shit"....he went over it the second time just fine but I don't remember that either...
....the last 4 fences I 100% do not recall and we galloped across the finish with me hanging onto his neck. The only way I did not fall out of the saddle was by grabbing his breastplate, but I still fell on my butt while * gracefully * dismounting. The Medics were on me like dogs to a cheeseburger and mom took Yankee and began the intense cooling process. (She dumped buckets, scraped, walked, let him sip ...repeat. He worked himself into a tizzy trying to run off with me, but cooled down 100% in about 15 minutes.) It took me about 3 hours to just stand without shaking...it was rough...
I knew I was sensitive to heat, but NEVER did I think I would come so close to passing out on a Novice XC. Guess the heat will do that to you.
With the refusal, we dropped from 10th to 18th, the bottom of the division. I was a sadpanda again.
Stadium day....what a day.
I was still very upset with how the heat affected me, and how I let Yanks down. I simply did not ride the last 6 fences, and we in turn put in a poor performance.
I got to the barn early, again. Plus I wanted to watch the Intermediate and Prelim go.
The sky looked scary, but they started SJ on schedule at 8 a.m.
FOUR horses went before this warlock blew in and scared everyone back to the barns...
Is that not the scariest thing ever???????? That is literally how dark it was outside. I was scared shitless.
At approx. 8:10a.m., people scurried to get horses inside, tack, hay, chairs..everything.
Then, the wind blew like a hurricane and the sky opened up. I have videos, but have yet to upload them. It was insanity. It rained for an hour straight, and we were getting bored, cold and wet huddled in the barns. Beginning to wonder when they were going to call the show.
By 10a.m., two hours after the rain started, they called a meeting for all competitors. they explained that from the footing expert and vet reccomendations, continuing would be a bad idea. Um, DUH!?
WHO STILL wanted to ride in that footing? I for sure was ready to go and not even risk riding outside on that ring. But Prelim people and others were relentless. WTF!? You seriously want to put your horse and yourself in danger, JUST to qualify for the AEC's? I mean, sorry, but there will always be more AEC's, sucks, but it'd suck worse if your horse fell out there on you and broke itself or you, for good. IDIOTS.
The TD still decided to give it 2 more hours and then decide.
Many people left.
We stayed, since Abby was in 1st place and wanted to see what was going to happen...
3 hours later, the rain stopped its pounding, and the organizers had set up a makeshift, but legal SJ course inside in the tiniest indoor ring I have ever laid my eyes on.
OK, since we were here, why the hell not?
Insert rushing to get dressed, tacking up and convincing bewildered horse that we were indeed riding today.
It was kind of funny in retrospect, and I'm sure he was the most confused.
Divisions went fast, and it took only 30 minutes for my division to go. We had no warm-up and got to glance at the course before going. Since I was only Novice, I was not concerned about no-warm-up (injury wise) since I had trotted and walked him for 30 minutes on the driveway. I was however, concerened about remembering the course, and getting him to turn that tight!!
He ended up going clean!! He was a STAR! Turned on a dime, came back and extended when I asked and I was super duper happy!!!!!!!
What a ridiculous weekend.
Oh wait, doesn't stop there.
SInce we got about 7 inches of rain in 5 hours, you can only imagine what the grounds looked like. I will help you imagine...
Beautiful isn't it? Actually, no. Since I had to get my rig out of that. It refused. So I had to get pulled out by a massive tractor....it was a ridiculous sight. After ALLLLLL that this weekend, the mud...was just....funny. All I could do was take it in stride and laugh my ass off.
watch a video of the mud!
Overall, we ended up 5th out of 21 starters. Tons of people that stayed had issues with the SJ since it was indoors, but Yanks pulled it off!
My pretty ribbon is the pink one next to our Queen park 8th. I've won all this this year :)
So....I've come to the conclusion...that who else would drive over 200 miles, spend over $600, sleep in no AC for a night (Thursday), put up with the heat, the braiding, the horse, the rain, the mud, the heat strokes...
...Only horse people. Because we are batshit crazy.