Well that was probably the longest break I’ve taken from the blog in years, but I was too busy enjoying my vacation from real life. It’s been ridiculously nice. The cool mountain air, 24/7 pony time, and hanging out with cool horse people all day… it’s what my soul needed, in a big way. As I’m typing this post it’s 47 degrees and I’m sitting in front of Henry’s stall listening to him munch his hay.
The drive was delightfully uneventful. We broke up the 17 hour drive into two days, put on a podcast, and it really wasn’t bad at all. Both boys hauled great, ate and drank a lot, and got to stretch their legs at our layover location. They came off the trailer looking fresh and happy and feeling really good.
We arrived on the 4th in the early afternoon, got the boys settled, and did an easy ride to stretch their legs. My original plan for the first week was to do some jumper rounds and a schooling dressage test on Friday before the show started, but due to a high number of entries they only offered jumper rounds through Novice and only had a short court set up for dressage. So… those things didn’t happen. I didn’t really mind though, because Henry was kinda wild and spooky those first few days. I got on him twice a day and he still didn’t finally stop spooking at the dressage letters and tents (and bushes and trees and rocks and stumps and squirrels and…) until yesterday. At Coconino the dressage courts are set up in the racetrack, which can definitely make it a little tougher for the OTTB’s. They ain’t dumb, they remember what a track is. One morning I got on and ended up just cantering for 20 minutes straight until he finally relaxed and took a deep breath. That seemed to be what he needed, and he’s felt better and better as he’s settled in.
We have a lot of people and horses in our group so it’s not as if I was lacking things to do, even if I wasn’t showing. I would hack early in the morning, help and spectate all day, and then ride again in the afternoon. It’s been busy, and really fun to watch and cheer on my barnmates without the stress of showing myself. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’m delighted just to be here, no matter what I’m doing.
Yesterday after the show was over they opened the course briefly for XC schooling, so we headed out with a group. I really just wanted to jump a few things to get us dialed back in to the XC ride, but we ended up jumping a lot of the Prelim stuff. Including the giant gross Weldon’s wall that I hate with every fiber of my being. If someone burns it down, it wasn’t me. But Henry was FANTASTIC, just locking on to everything like a machine. He didn’t even blink at the Weldon’s, or the skinnies, or the coffin, or the water combinations. Even when he tripped in the ditch of the coffin he never took his eye off of the skinny out. He just felt absolutely amazing and really happy to finally be doing something he thinks is fun.
So, after that we had a discussion about changing my entry. Originally I had entered Training, but switched to PT last week when I saw that they were offering it. After yesterday’s school Trainer said that she thought another Training would kinda be a waste of his legs at this point, and she’d rather see me challenge myself at Prelim than just hop around another Training. After how he felt yesterday, I have to say that I agree. He’s on fire, and he’s ready for the harder and bigger stuff. It felt like we could have done anything. So last night I switched my entry to Prelim. This poor secretary, I am so annoying.
Today is a day off, we’re taking everyone on a walk hack this morning and then the humans are headed off to do some hiking and sightseeing. Tomorrow, back to work!