Live to fight another day.

Well that could not have gone worse.

I got up at 4:30, and wanted to leave by 5. Instead I left at 5:30. So I was already late when I got to the barn.

When I got there it was pitch dark of course because it was (by this time) six o’clock in the morning and it is October. This made using the back up camera on the truck completely useless, because while the back up lights would illuminate my trailer ball, it did not illuminate the trailer tongue. So a few panicked moments later, I realized I could use my GPS unit set to daylight to light up the trailer. I propped it up on the trailer and It worked! I could see the trailer hitch! A couple of back and fourths later, I was cranking the tongue down on to the ball. Plugged in the electrical and got…nothing. Squirreled it around and it seated the plug in better. Still nothing. I checked the blinkers on the trailer – they worked, The brake lights? They worked too. Just no running lights. I messed around with it for almost an hour. Still no running lights, but the floodlight in the back, I guess for loading up in the dark, worked. Kerry finally came out and he said that it would be light soon, so why didn’t I just turn the flood on and go? Okay, I said I will!

I realized I needed to leave right that minute to have a prayer of making it to my dressage test. I get my horse and he does not want to load. It took way too long to get him in the trailer and the minute I did he decides to start pawing the wall and floor of the trailer – BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! This is not my horse trailer so it is very concerning. I decide to get a move on so I can make it to my test, and besides once I start moving he will focus on his balance instead of being unhappy about being in the trailer. BANG!BANG!BANG!BANG!BANG! Idiot horse.

We drive on, and I have little panic attacks along the way not really trusting my GPS — I put the address in it , but did not really study the map or read the directions provided.. you know how sometimes the GPS is wrong? Well I panicked about that every 20 miles or so. There are traffic lights all through Roy and Yelm. Every time we stop I can hear Kip BANG!BANG!BANG! Jeezuz.

But Wait! There it is, up on the right Northwest Equestrian Center! I have arrived! (so there is proof something did go right!)

I park the trailer (pull-through spot! Two things have gone right!) and go to get my packet. One of the mothers volunteering for the pony club works at the County! What are the odds! She wants to chat and I have exactly 20 minutes to unload my horse, unpack my crap, and warm up for my test.

Nice lady wants to meet my horse, I tell her my stall number. I run to go unload Kip. Well at least he is not pawing. I open the door and go in. His front leg is up in the air. It is up in the air because it is stuck in his haynet! AUGH!!! That is why he did not paw at the stop lights in Rainier. He was hung up! I pull the quick release on the hay net, which does not release and is not quick. I hike his leg up to take the pressure off the knot and it finally comes free. I look at his leg. Miraculously, it is fine, but he is ready to get out of this G.D. trailer Right Now. So I open the gate and he shoots out like he was fired out of a cannon, and immediately starts bellowing at the top of his lungs. Ear-piercing whinnies right next to my ear – since I am leading him to his stall — and oh look, there is the nice lady from work. What’s his name? What’s his breed? how long have you had him? Holy crap lady. I am dying here. I put him in his stall and get his water buckets, that while I am filling I also manage to dump water all down my front, soaking my sweatshirt – the only warm thing I have brought besides my show coat. Kip drinks while I get the tack . Run a brush over him, saddle up and off we go. I have about 10 minutes to warm up.

He is screaming his head off the whole time. I decide I will just trot him out, let him get some ya yas out, that is really all I can do. Much too soon, it is time for my test and off we go. At least he stopped whinnying for the test, but he was all over the place. Terrible test. Oh. And there was a huge stick in the arena, and it got caught between his two back legs and tripped him really badly, and we almost went down. It was actually not a stick at all but a really slender log. It was about two feet long and about an inch in diameter. As I was leaving the arena I asked a bystander to remove it. That is when I saw how big it was. So wow. at least that was done.

Time to walk the cross country course. As I approach the trailer to retrieve my packet with the map in it, I see that the trailer’ s fender looks funny. All in one huge rush I remember all the way back to leaving the barn that morning, with Kip banging away in the back, one of the bangs has sounded kind of different — well that was because I must have hit that tree that is too near the driveway, right where it takes that sharp turn! SHIT SHIT SHIT! I dented Alex’s trailer’s fender!!!! my heart just sank and I felt like a million kinds of an idiot. But Wait! there’s more! As I get closer, I realize the fender bent into the tire and it ate most of the tread off the edge of the tire! PERFECT! Now I have to fix her a new fender AND buy a new tire! I grab the fender an bend it back out so it cant chew up the tire any more. it bends back out to a perfectly usable shape, but it is still bent. I am fully expecting to have to take it to a body shop. I am screwed. I think the tire will at least get me home (it does – spoiler alert).

After almost crying, I get the cross country map. I can hear a horse over at the barn whinnying its fool head off. I am sure it is Kip. I don’t go look.

The map bears almost no resemblance to the place I am at – I am a bad map-reader to begin with, but really, this is bad. I finally find the start box and start to walk the course. After about the third jump, I check the legend again — Beginner novice is the yellow placard with black numbers, right? Yes, right. These jumps look HUGE to me, I carry on. I decide they are just looking large, because I have had a hard day, and when we get on the course, kip will lock on like he does and we will be fine. The jumps were decorated for Halloween and there was this one that had a ghost hanging in the bushes right next to it. I commented to some people also doing the walk that that was gonna be a problem for my horse. One of the more advanced riders looked at it, and told me exactly how to approach it, where to look and where to put his shoulders so it would minimize the scariness — exactly how to ride it. I love Eventers. They are so nice and generous. That made me feel better. The jumps were still looking huge. And there were 15 of them

Back at the truck I try to eat, but am just too nervous. Finally it it is time to tack up again and we are off to warm up. I gave myself lots of time this time. Kip had stopped screaming, but was crazy distracted. I did get him listening to me and doing some transitions, but his head was in the sky. We did some warm up jumps and then it was our turn to go to the start box. He walked calmly in and out of the box around it a couple of times, and the starter said “You can go when you are ready” So I got a good forward trot and off we went to the first obstacle – a very inviting log. Kip looked at it and snaked his head around and wiggled and tried really hard to stop, but I had my leg on and BOING he sprang over that jump like a deer. That is bad, by the way. Jumping like a deer is the wrong way for a horse to jump. I decide I need to get him listening and in front of the leg, give him a pop on the side with my bat and off we go, and he spies #2 and comes to a dead halt and backs up 3 steps That is a refusal. I pop him again and he jackhammer trots up to it, halts and sprooings over. I land in a heap on his neck. Jump #3 he is dodging back and forth so fast I cannot keep him straight or forward at all and finally he wheels around in a 180, and off I go. Thankfully I land on my feet, and still have a hold of his bridle — once he was facing away from that horrible jump he was fine, so did not try to run off at all. (Trying to count my blessings here.) I told the jump judge we were going to Retire. That is the nice way to say I Quit. We walked off the course and I decided I had had enough. We jumped one or two of the warm up jumps again, just to end on a good note. Enough. I was going home. I was not going to even try at Stadium.

I packed all my stuff back up, turned in my bridle tag and my pinny and went to get my horse. This time he really really did not want to load The last time he was in there he was attacked by a hay net, after all. After what seemed like ages, a nice lady offered to help, and after another age, we got him loaded. Again, Eventers are so nice.

I drove home, keeping an eye on that tire. A blowout is really all I needed. But it held out. So I got home. Unpacked all that stuff. put the horse away.

I have a call in to the woman who owns the trailer. She has not called me back yet. This is going to be expensive. My trailer-borrowing days are over. I am back to bumming rides until I can buy my own trailer.

I am glad I am home and safe and so is my horse

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