Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April Adventures: Travel & Arrival

The view from our Friday night schooling ride...
Traveling to a new show facility is always stressful, especially one over 4 hours away. With this being the first time I've driven a trailer since our accident in December, it was an extra stressful trip. Thankfully, I did not have to do it alone. My husband managed an early schedule at the hospital, and headed home early on Friday to join us.

We loaded up the truck and my BO's small 2-horse Brenderup trailer for the trip. Pig loaded up fairly well, balking some at the narrowness of the trailer and the way the ramp was slightly slick with rain. He traveled well, for him, all weekend. He has never been a good traveler, sweating and shaking like a small dog in a purse the whole time he is in a trailer. I'm sure the accident did not help his mental state in the slightest.

Having never pulled a Brenderup, I was totally intrigued by them. The brakes are kind of ingenious, slowing the trailer on steep hills and balancing it out behind you. However, the light weight of the thing is obnoxious when your horse shakes. It makes the trailer feel unsteady behind the truck, which just about gave me a heart attack. After about 2 and a half hours of solid driving, I realized I hadn't let go of the wheel at all with my left hand. Talk about white-knuckling it!

Despite all the traveling nerves, we arrived at the show facility without incident and with plenty of daylight. Unfortunately, the facility was completely abandoned. One boarder was heading to her car as we pulled up. She briefly showed me the show ring and the main barn, then had to head out. Perturbed, we drove around the facility looking for our stall. Nothing.

Finally, after wandering through three barns, I found a number labeled "after hours horse show#" on a piece of paper buried in a stack. I called it, and 10 minutes later finally had the show secretary on the phone. She told me where my stall was located (small show = free stall upgrade!), and where I could ride that evening. We immediately settled in to unpacking and getting to riding.
This horse will go anywhere I point him. This facility really drove home how thankful I am for that.
Pig was a star under saddle. The arena was shadowy and spooky, and filled with loudly nesting birds, but he kept himself together and listened to me pretty well. I could tell he was tired, but I wanted him to move his legs some. We schooled for all of 30 minutes, running through the basics of 1st and 2nd. If I had known that ride would be the nicest we had all weekend, I might've enjoyed it a little more!

As you can see in the video, Pig wasn't entirely through. We didn't have much of a half halt, and he was reluctant to come into my rein. Probably if I'd shortened my reins and been less stiff myself we would have had a better ride. Still, he was pushing nicely from behind. I can't complain too much.
That dark hallway is the entrance to the show arena, which was closed on Friday night. The first time we got to see the show ring was as we entered for our first test.
We settled Pig in his stall, where he was happy to get to work on some hay. Once everything was squared away at the barn, we headed up to a friend's place for the night. Showing in a city where you used to live has the advantage of giving you time to catch up with old friends. Needless to say, not a lot of sleep was had...

28 comments:

  1. Looked like a nice warmup. He has such beautiful gaits!

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    1. Aw thanks! I think he's fancy, too! :)

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  2. That's Majestic Farm right? It's a 4-5 hour haul for me too- I was debating trying to go out that far for one of their summer shows since the place I usually go to closed (2 hours away and cheaper prices? I miss it) and everything else in VA and MD are 3-4 hours away anyway. Did you like the facility? I'm always nervous to go to a new show facility too. I'm glad you had such a nice ride after a long day!

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    1. First: You should show in VA & MD, since I'm moving there in June and we can stable together and drink wine and admire our chestnuts.

      Second: Well spotted!! It is Majestic. I was totally impressed with Barn A & B and the footing in the indoors was perfect. The outdoors still hadn't been touched much since winter, but the arenas looked nice. The back of the property is clearly falling into a bit of disarray, and I wasn't totally impressed with the show management (no one to meet me/check in/no contact readily available). Still, I think it's worth a drive. The competition in the summer is much heavier and there are usually a lot of FEI rides to watch.

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    2. Well then MD and VA it is! That's quite a distance to go to be at a poorly managed show, especially to go showing alone! If Mikey is feeling up to it, I'm going to aim to take him to VADA/NOVA at (I think) Morven Park 9/12-13. I'm going to talk to my trainer about taking Cody to Dressage at Lexington on 7/10-12 (Lexington, VA, I have no idea about the facilities). I'm hoping that will be a good time for him to play a dressage horse after his break after Rolex, and that way I can ride 6 tests (he does multiple lead changes, so I think I want to give 4-1 a try with the rest of the 3rd level tests). I think those will be the only shows I go to though. Mikey spent a good bit of my money with his surgery! I'm glad to go somewhere that I know someone- I show alone so much! So I look forward to stabling together, admiring chestnut horses, and drinking wine!

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    3. I'll be happy to have a showing buddy! I'm going to miss my Indiana showing crew (I'm looking at YOU KELLY, and others...). I think the September VADA/NOVA could be totally doable! I want to give Pig some time to settle in after the move, and start working on Third a little more. You know, maybe have actual changes. ;) Morven will be super close to us! Wine + chestnut tbs = always a good time.

      Please let me know if you can take Cody to Lexington! Showing 4-1?! How freaking exciting!!

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    4. Sweet! I'm hoping for September VADA/NOVA then!!! I'll ask about Lexington after Rolex. My trainer has enough to focus on right now, but I will let you know! I figured if he's capable of 4-1 (he's started pirouettes, but eventing doesn't use them and neither does 4-1, but the 4* event test is much more complicated than 4-1), why not go for it? It will be a while (if ever) until Mikey will be capable of 4th. I don't care if we fail miserably, well I hope we don't, but between him being new to me and the level being new to me, we might!

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    5. I totally understand the "don't care if we fail, I just wanna try this" mentality! That basically describes my entire show experience with Pig. :)

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  3. I thought you were at Majestic after seeing the pics on FaceBook! I have only drove thru the showgrounds when it was empty - went to look at a horse a few years back for Alexis that was right down the road. You handled the lack of organization way better than I would - esp at a new to you facility! Great looking warm up from you and Guinness :) Going to miss you both when you move...

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    1. Well... I may be glossing over how I actually handled the disorganization. Mainly because I don't want to be stricken from the internet over my use of profanity. Let's just say, I hope their security camera system doesn't have audio.

      Going to miss you too! Going to Harmony? Go to Harmony!

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  4. That canter is seriously dreamy! Glad to hear hauling was uneventful :)

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    1. That canter = big comfy couch. I am so lucky.

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  5. I'm so conflicted. I saw instagram. How bad can it be?

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    1. Overall, not that bad. Pig had attitude, though. So much attitude. Someone tell these thoroughbreds to stop overthinking. ;)

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  6. I think that you look very relaxed and that's a lot more important than everything being perfect. Plus, you guys still looked nice :)

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    1. Thanks! Relaxation definitely became the game plan, then that game plan changed, then changed again. Be flexible, that's my new motto!

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  7. Looks like a lovely facility, and you both look great after a 4 hour white-knuckled trailer ride!

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  8. Congrats on the successful if stressful trailer journey. Yourself and the G-man are awesome!
    *hugs*

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  9. Man that facility looks nice!

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  10. Glad the drive was uneventful! I'm sure there was anxiety around it!

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  11. those birds were NOISY haha - seriously, tho - major kudos for getting such a big drive done as your first time hauling again. i'd be so scared... glad Pig was good for warm-up too.i'm super behind on everything (obvi) but can't wait to read all about it!

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    1. I sort of knew I had to get back in there and just do the drive and get over it. I won't lie, though, it was not fun.

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  12. I'm so glad that you both made it safe and sound :D

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