Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kittens, horse shows, and a Full Barn

What a crazy busy month June was!  When I bought this farm almost ten years ago, it was my hope that I could sit back a bit and "play owner".... I'm not complaining (much) but it has been the opposite!  Seems like there is never a time I can sit down and not feel guilty about doing so.  BUT it's all good stuff....this past month we got all new footing in the indoor arena - something I could only have dreamed about doing had it not been for the extreme generosity of some of my boarders.  It was a test of my patience for sure, because it seemed like it would never be finished.  I felt like a bus driver full of kids saying "are we there yet"?  Disrupting the lesson and riding schedules for 50 horses for three weeks is not something I ever want to be in the middle of again.  But it's done, it's beautiful, and we are all back to normal.  Just in time for one of our Famous Southwind Farm Combined Test and Jumpaloozas - a semi yearly event that is a lot of work to put together but a lot more fun to watch happen.  We had nearly 60 entries, which is about the limit on our parking field.  Our little Derby-like course seemed to ride really well and it was a pleasure to watch everyone go around.  Again, it is thanks to the generous volunteer work of so  many of our boarders that make it go so well.  I have a GREAT group of boarders here and I can't thank them enough for being so awesome!

Off topic I have more than my fair share of cats and kittens right now.  I did volunteer to foster some kittens from the vet hospital that Jenny works at, but I should have known that I wouldn't be able to  resist keeping one (at least).  I kind of inherited another young cat with a food allergy, so her plan to be a barn kitty probably won't happen.  And just returned is a kitten with an eating disorder - she WON'T - but I actually think we've got her sorted out.  She can go on to her adoptive home I don't think they will have any more trouble.  How, you ask, did we get a kitten that refused to eat anything unless it was forced on her?  Well we gave her a ravioli one night and she never looked back.  My tiny kitten Niblet was the same way until one day I dropped a noodle which she promptly inhaled, and then just started eating solid food.  So kind of as a joke we tried it with Tiny, and the next morning she ate another ravioli, then drank kitten milk from a bowl, and is eating kitten dry food.  Go figure.

And my horses are awesome.  I have a new baby boy out of Carol Herron's mare Riva, by Ari's sire Ariadus.  He's very handsome, very friendly and VERY big.  A real colt already, he's a lot more naughty than Ari was at his age, but it's not malicious, just playful.  Not sure what I will do with him since in the year since we bred his mother, I have learned that the warmblood movement is not so great for my bones.  I healed a bit crooked from the BIG OUCH a few years ago, and the way of going of the big warmblood hurts me quite a bit.  I've been struggling with Ari a lot because of this.  I do love me a TB :))
Photo: This one is pretty gorgeous
Ari and Toga were superstars at Waredaca.  It was pretty wet that weekend (what is Waredaca without a muddy parking lot, though?) so I just let Ari lope around the XC so he had a bit of time, but still finished second with a 29.10.  Addie and Toga were also quite amazing and finished third on a 27 in T's last Novice for a while.  They were also reserve TIP winners...again :)) So fun to watch Toga cruise around.  Seneca went great for them as well, doing Addie's first Training finishing 4th with a little bit of XC time.  Another bout of rain left Bittersweet Field pretty soft, so Addie was very smart to lope around.  Another TIP award .....then there was me.  Ari was very good in dressage, he tried really hard to keep his feet underneath himself in the deep ring.  I was pretty happy with it and went into stadium confidently.  We've been schooling grids - a LOT of grids - lately and it has really helped his jumping form.  I rode the first 1/3 of the course thinking it was one of his best ever, then rode to an oxer and crashed.  It wasn't an OH CRAP moment or anything, I saw a distance and rode to it.  But when I got there the distance wasn't, and as Ari tried to put in another 1/4 step I think he looked down at the gravel in front of the jump and just couldn't do it.  I popped off and we both kind of landed halfway in the jump.  The noise of my air vest deploying (VERY happy I had it on for stadium) scared Ari and he ran off.  I feel bad for him, it was his first stadium stop EVER and it really wasn't his fault.  Just one of those classic misses that couldn't be fixed.  I'm not at all discouraged and I don't think it's going to be any kind of issue.  He had a week off because either there or in the field he banged a hind leg and has a giant hematoma I've been waiting to go down.  It's much better but he may always have a bump.

In this heat it's tough to get motivated, let alone be an effective rider.  I've learned that if I am not in a good frame of mind, it's not even worth getting on.  Hacks and some short jump schools keep the horses fit, we have some fun, but don't overheat their bodies or brains.  Hopefully we will get some rain soon so the ground will be good once the heat breaks.

Still trying to figure out what to do with the summer as far as my competition schedule....again I try not to compete in the intense heat for all of our sakes.  But now that there are shows every weekend everywhere, it's hard to sit back and take a break while the competition rides on.  I feel the pressure to keep riding - not so much because my horses need it, but because everyone else is.  Trying to make smart decisions about my summer riding.  And this year I have an added obstacle to work around (if you want to call it that ) I am going to France on a riding trip and then....wait for it....the WEGs!! As if riding through the castles of southern France weren't good enough, we just happen to be at the end of that trip at the beginning of the WEGs.  Only makes sense right??  Once again, thanks to Amy I am about to embark on another once-in-a-lifetime event.  Soooo excited :))

I will get a couple shows in before I leave for Texas and the AECs at the end of September.  Ari is going for sure, and if Toga qualifies...we'll see.  I don't think he can go at Training level - according to the list, he's qualified at Novice but I don't think that is correct.  He did win one, but I think he's competed at too high a level in the past.  Maybe on a Training team?  I wonder how many Adult teams they will get way out there.  Might be worth thinking about that too.

I've rambled on enough...out to the barn now which, for the first time in about six years, is full.  It's a big relief but now a big challenge to keep the fields in good shape because of the extra grazers.  There are good and bad sides to both a full barn and being down a few.  Always something!  But we have some great new people with really nice horses and I look forward to taking care of them all. 

Au revoir for now