One of the stumbling blocks for me in trailering out by myself was the idea of hooking up without someone saying… “go right six inches, back, back left, left , ok now back…stop stop STOP!!” So Scott had the brilliant idea to get a back up camera installed on the pickup. Genius. That basically took all of Friday. But it was a huge success.
Saturday dawned bright and early, and I go to East Jeezuz, AKA Black Diamond, to pick up the trailer. I get there at about 9 am, and back right up to the trailer. A little back and forth, maybe five minutes, and bingo. I was ready to lower the tongue onto the hitch. Awesome.
Back to Stoneybrook to pack the trailer and bathe Kip. We loaded right at 12:00 according to plan. I gave myself 2 hours to make a 1.5 hour drive because there is no accounting for traffic on 405, especially with 520 closed to put in a fish culvert. But traffic was no problem and we sailed through Bellevue. We arrived at polestar at 1:45. Kim generously stayed well past when Macy was done to make sure I got in ok. It was pretty much a non-event and I parked up front, pretty close in because many people were gone already. I got Kip settled and drug my horse stuff out, waiting to set up the tent because we were right by the Dressage arena. I know I would be pissed if someone started putting up a tent in the middle of my test.
Daddy came out to see me, but he couldn’t stay until my ride time, I felt bad, I don’t think I stressed enought that we would just be in a field, with no where to sit or anything. Luckily I did bring a chair so that was good. Dressage was running about 25 minutes late, so Dad really couldn’t stay for my ride, but it was so great of him to come out and support me . It was hot as blazes out there.
Then, right when I was warming up for the test, Amy, Kip’s former owner showed up! She brought a nice camera, and took lots of photos of us. She will send me a disk with all of them on it, and she videoed my dressage test, too. So nice of her. Speaking of the test, warm up was in a sand arena, and Kip was going forward and round and he was listening nicely. Then the test was in a grass arena which was pretty slippery, so he never did relax, and his canter was really tense, because he could not balance at all. We did the best we could though, and did not make any glaring mistakes.
So back to the trailer to switch bridles. hike up my stirrups, put on my vest and off to cross-country! Surprisingly, no other horses were in front of me, so we were off! It was basically a course of logs,
but the one tricky jump, the Saber Tooth, pointed directly at the photographer’s stand. Galloping down, we had quite the conversation:
Kip: That one?
me: Yes! Good boy!
Kip: what the hell is that?
me: It’s our fence!
Kip: Not that. THAT. You want me to jump THAT? (ears pricked toward the photographer’s stand set up on top of a giant Prelim-looking table, with at big blue canopy over it.)
me: Huh? Dude! We go BY that not OVER that.
Kip: Really? ‘Cause I will do it.
me: No, no no. Not necessary.
Kip: Cause I totally could, you know.
me: Yes, I know.
After jumping the Saber tooth, there were two log piles on a bending line, and a nice long gallop to a helsinki, which if it was eighteen inches, I would be shocked.
So just like that we were done with the Derby. It all went by too quickly of course. But we made it through and I felt awesome. We had to wait until 7:00 for the tests to be released, so I walked Kip out, even though he did not even break a sweat, despite the heat.
When the scores were finally posted, we got a 33 on our Dressage, which was good enough for second. First was 32.5 with 0 x-c penalties, and we were 33 & 0. We would have crushed it if the grass weren’t slippery in the Dressage arena. Oh well — I could not care less. Eventing is all about dealing with the conditions and circumstances as you find them. If you want to be a cry baby, go play with the Hunter Jumpers.
I found Kip’s stall and bedded him down.
I set up the tent, dragged out all my crap, and bedded myself down in the back seat of the truck. (I heart my truck!) I slept like a rock, and woke up at 6am. made coffee on the new camp stove and somehow melted the knob off of it. Fed Kip, picked his stall and by that time, I was ready to go watch the first group of BN folks in Meika‘s clinic. One of the participants was Hank Greenwald, my Vet and all around great guy. I love Hank because he has an opinion about everything, and is more than happy to tell you about it. And I loved watching him ride, because he has this awesome Irish Draft Cross, Jake
Himself. And Jake has his own opinions. They are a terrific pair. I got so much out of observing the first BN group. I was in the second BN group, riding from 12:30 – 2:30. It was gonna get hot.
Finally it was time to tack up and get going for my clinic. I have to say I ate very little this whole time, but was chugging water like a fish. I tried to eat a little something, but it just all tasted like sand, and sat in my gut. Blah. So anyhow. TMI.
I joined the group out on the x-c course a little early, with the Novice folks, and got to watch Meika school a recalcitrant Appy into the water. Man, he did not want to go. Then Susan and another woman gave the little beastie a lead in, and finally he went in. It was great to see the look on his face, as he realized what was wanted of him and that it was safe and he was fine. His young rider got back on him and he was just a champ and went for her too. He is new for her and they are building trust. They are gonna be a dynamite pair. He wants to trust.
Thankfully, I have bought the video of my clinic, so I don’t have to remember all of it. There were only three of us, me, a nice British lady, Penny on a solid Novice TB, Sweet, working on one or two sticky points, and another woman on the cutest mustang, Maverick, working on confidence issues. We started with a simple course of logs, much like the hopeful course the day before. But it was not long before we were cantering up hill to a jump, cantering to jump down hill, and going over some solid BN fences. We also did up and down banks, and eventually we built up to NOVICE obstacles. Kip was fucking awesome this whole time jumping honestly and trying his guts out over ever freaking fence, no matter if I was flapping like a chicken or if I forgot to put my leg on or leaned too far forward or too far back. He is goddam perfect. Meika and the other people riding remarked often on how cute he is, and how great and willing and athletic and smart. I thought all my buttons would burst right off. We did some super challenging courses — log pile to coop, up bank, three strides vertical, down bank — on to a novice raft, gallop on to a coop, then another log pile. Turn and gallop to a choice of three lined up – N, BN and T; take the N log and swing around to another N coop. Double back and take the N oxer and up bank. Awesome.
We also did Saber tooth, water, piano coop, knotty log (the only run out of the weekend – my fault, he was tired. I did not keep my leg on.) Re-presented, gave a smack behind the leg and he sailed over– to charge around the rest of the course and you can be sure I did not stop riding again. He surged back like a champ, and approaching the next fence, I really needed to check him! Woo Hoo!! we were flying!
The women I rode with were so generous and supportive and encouraging, and wanted me to come back and ride with them all the time… It was so touching and I almost started bawling when I got back to the trailer. But Kip needed his tack stripped, and to be sponged, and I needed to get out of my sopping wet clothes and get some water for him and for me. I struck camp and packed up. Kip needed to think about getting in the trailer. I let him – he is too smart to buffalo in. If you give him a minute, he will walk in like a gentleman. Which is what he did. Good boy.