"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

These boots were made for walking.

After I write this blog, I hope I can post it on FB.  I do not like the new updates!  The folks at FB are making it difficult to use and are about to cause themselves problems.

The flooding was bad but now under control.  The area seems back to normal.  

Last week was my first trip to Montgomery, Alabama.  I wasn't kidding when I said I hoped to survive the week!  Work presented me with new challenges and people.  I won't lie, the worst challenge was finding out at the last minute that I was the presenter all week.  I hadn't pack the right shoes for hours and days of standing! My feet still hurt.  Being in Montgomery let me visit with a few people from the VA project I hadn't seen in months.  It was great to catch up with them.

Friday night on my way home, Cindy asked if I wanted to ride Graham at the Beaufort Hunter Trials the next day.  Sure, why not!? Graham is a five year old TB gelding and such a very nice horse.  I hadn't been on a horse in a week and Graham was worked once in the last week.  We went out, in bad mud, and had a great day!  We brought home two blues and a reserve champ ribbon! 
 Fred had some down time while I was away.  We did flat work the last three days and jumped last night.  He was a bit full of himself and it was the first time I was able to really feel capable of standing up to him.  We'll go round 2 on Thursday with Lauren and Napoleon.  My schedule is a little crazy right now with work and I plan on running at Plantation in October at BN.  After that, we'll prep for a strong start next year. 


Friday, September 9, 2011

Hello there, Mother Nature.

Fred and I survived our first serious travel event since the trailer incident in July.  It took help from Cindy to get him on the trailer, but once on Fred stayed put.  It was just me and him at Carousel Park while we got ready.  He was quite cooperative despite his increased height! We had a great schooling with Sally and the group.  Sally kept us at BN so we would have a confidence building ride. 

We had to jump up the bank a few times.  Fred doesn't jump in a way that will propel me out of the tack.  The more I think about it, that's probably a good thing.  When we do certain jumps, I have to be strong enough to get myself out of the tack, hold it, and stay out of his way.  We worked on having the correct canter to fences.  It's forward, not up and down.  As usual, I have to ignore Fred's celebrations and ride.  We had one run out because I didn't ride him straight to a fence.  Sally really got after me! It was appropriate butt kicking.  After that Fred and I had several good fences, which made the last few weeks of frustration worth it.

On Monday, Paige and I started practicing for our pairs debut on Sept 25 at Twin Brooks.  Watching us try to stay together must be hilarious.  

At the end of our ride Monday, the rain started.  It hasn't stopped since then! Wednesday was the worst.  There was horrible flooding in the Susquehanna Valley!  I went out and saw cars submerged, scared parents who couldn't get to their children, and rushing rivers in places that are no where near water.  My dad started pumping water out of their basement Wednesday around 2pm and is still pumping water out of the basement.  At best, they were able to keep the water level at around a foot.  

Wednesday afternoon and evening I went out and took photos and video of my area.  A mile radius around our house in Hershey saw major damage.  The area had not seen flooding like this since Hurricane Agnes in 1972.  

The weather has changed some upcoming plans.  Lauren and I had hoped to get our redheads back to eventing at Olney on Sept 18 but yesterday they cancelled the event.  We're bummed but also relieved that all of us are safe and in one piece. 

After hours of work on the ring yesterday, Cindy has made it possible for to ride in the outdoor again with Sally today. 

Saturday afternoon I will be home to cheer my #23 Penn State Nittany Lions on against #3 Alabama.  I hope everyone going to the game is careful and plans accordingly.  The main road from Harrisburg to PSU is out due to the flooding.

Sunday will be an early start.  The Fair Hill horse trial moved from Saturday to Sunday.  I will be there to help Sally with her rides.  Her first ride is 8:04 am.  I will be able to stay and see Cindy and Graham.  After that, I must rush home in time to shower and head to the airport.  I'm flying to Atlanta Sunday evening and then driving to Montgomery, Alabama for the week.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Prepping for Olney and stalking Burghley.

The new project is going well.  It's a challenge, no doubt about it.  I'm working with software that IBM recently bought and as usual, I have no training on it.  The project sent me to Atlanta last week as a hall monitor.  The client was at the IBM facility for an intro to the software.  It gave me a chance to meet the people I'm working with and see the software.

I was able to sneak out to Chattahoochee Hills farm Wednesday night.  It is about 20 miles south of Atlanta.  The American Eventing Championships are held there from 2010-2012.  The site is astonishing.  There is a long lane that finally ends up at the top of a hill crest where you can see the beautiful stabling and rings to your left and the cross country course to your right.  The weather was very nice for August in Georgia.  I found a groundskeeper who gave me permission to walk the course.  The XC was still undergoing work.  Jumps were being set, the water complex had been drained and re-leveled, and there were sprinklers and aerators at work.  Photos from my adventure are posted on Flickr.  After being at the site, I'm hoping to win the lottery and qualify for next year's AECs.  The guest stabling is nicer that my house!

Back at home, things are quiet.  Quiet is always good.  Tyler is happy.  The latest report is that he mostly keeps to himself and grazes.  He has been taking advantage of gates left open and apparently looks coordinated and healthy as he comes running back to the barn when he hears the rattle of grain.

Fred and I are trying to prepare for Olney on Sept 18.  We've had a few unexpected bumps which are out of our control, but I think we're ok now.  My plan is to take him to Carousel on Sunday for XC with Sally and to Fair Hill Tuesday if needed.  The biggest hurdle, besides keeping the little bugger in one piece, is a work trip to Montgomery, Alabama right before the event.  I'll be counting on Cindy and Lauren to help me keep him going that week.  It's impossible to event without a team to help you.  

Rumor has it that Fred and I may compete against our good friends, Lauren and Napoleon at Olney.  The red heads should have a lot of fun there. 

Lauren and a very happy Fred out in the field at HVS.
Lauren and Napoleon over the training corner at Plantation.

Currently the biggest, baddest, and most intimidating three day event in the world is taking place.  The Burghley Horse Trial is amazing.  Take a walk around Saturday's cross country course with the designer, Captain Mark Phillips.  (Yep, same guy I will ignore if Sally's giving me directions.)  Nico Morgan's photos make me want to go out and spend a lot of money on a nice camera.  Eventing Nation has many links from the event.  Check out the US's best chance, Sinead Halpin, as she walks the first five fences.  Sinead finished 3rd this year at Rolex, she was the highest placed American.  The leaf pit just leaves me speechless.  And if the site is holding up to the demand, watch the replays of all the beautiful and crazy pairs compete.