French Creek Derby at Polestar – 2014

We got 4th place! Sweet!

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Pony Club Camp, 2014

This gallery contains 13 photos.

Camp was wonderful, and I loved spending so much time with Kip, who was spectacular. All our cross-country rides were a joy. Here are some of the things we jumped this year, in no particular order:

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Success kid.

I think we finally have it.

The Narrows Pony Club Combined Test was just fun, from the beginning to the end.  Kip and I have figured out loading and hauling.  This show was at Donida, and I am fairly comfortable with the layout, and know I can get the truck and trailer around, and park in a way that I know I will be able to get out, so there is not much anxiety about that.

Kip in his stall, finishing breakfast.

Kip in his stall, finishing breakfast.

Showing at a venue I am familiar with has made me much more confident about maneuvering the trailer ‚Äď I actually backed it around a corner, to make it more convenient for me to load up, when we were leaving.¬† In the past, I would have schlepped my stuff for BLOCKS rather than even think about backing up!¬† Yesterday, it occurred to me I could back around the corner, and get my tack room 20 feet closer, to make loading just a little easier.¬† And I did it. That alone is HUGE.

My dressage ride time was at 11:40.  I was riding the USEA Novice A dressage test (again), and then there is a stadium jumping round. The scores of those two rides together combine for your final score.  I had also purchased an extra jumping round, because jumping is fun (so fun, omg), and over way too soon.

I arrived at the event way before my ride, so I could settle Kip and check in and look around, without being hurried at all. When the time came, we tacked up and moseyed out to the warm-up arena.

The last time we were here was for the Dressage Rally, and the warm-up was your classic MESS, with people barely (or not at all) in control of horses careening around, or horses that were freaking out, rearing and plunging around the arena.  No less than three times, we had horses kick at us as we tried to warm up, and the final one came so close, I felt the hoof brush by my knee.  Unsurprisingly, Kip was a wreck in warm up after that for the whole Rally.  Our scores reflected that. grr.

I was relieved as we warmed up this time, that Kip did not seem to remember that the last time we were here, the other horses were dangerous ‚Äď he warmed up nicely, and did not act like all the other horses were going to attack him (poor guy).

Our test was our usual ‚Äútense, above the bit, needs to stretch more into contact, abrupt transitions‚ÄĚ and full of 6‚Äôs, but I did not mind, since he‚Äôs been off for two weeks due to a pasture accident, and this was just the third time I had ridden him since getting his stitches out (I forgot to mention that before now). Also, I lose my mind a bit in tests ‚Äď I forget where I am, and am concentrating so much on what I am doing, I realize at the last minute, that the next movement needs to happen right now! Holy cow, Canter, canter right now! ¬†Abrupt transitions, indeed.

After dressage, I went back to the barn to switch tack, and came back to find that Novice jumping would not start until 12:50.  So I hopped off Kip, and let him have a little snooze in the sun while I watched the Beginning Novice jumper rounds. It was good, because Novice was the same course, just with the heights raised.

Beginning Novice/Novice course

Beginning Novice/Novice course

The weather was beautiful, with white puffy clouds ‚Äď it was supposed to rain, so I was prepared for that. Luckily, I keep a spare white short-sleeved show shirt in my trailer for just such emergencies¬†— but did not bring sunscreen. Today I have sunburned arms, with my left sporting an outline of my medical arm band ‚Äď a good start for my EventerTan. ¬†I just need the helmet line across the forehead, and I will be set.

When it was finally time for the Novice Jumping rounds, I needed to wake Mr. Kip up. He was in full-on snooze, with his muzzle resting on the top rail of the arena, top lip pushed back a little bit to bare his horsey-teeth.¬† His eyes would flutter open a bit occasionally, and then would droop back closed, like a YouTube puppy, sprawled in his food dish.¬† It was adorable, but sleepy-puppy-mode will not get us over what look to be giant fences. ¬†At novice, the fence height is 2‚Äô11‚ÄĚ which does not sound tall, but sure looks it from my vantage point.¬† Some of the obstacles were also oxers, and their max spread is 3‚Äô3‚ÄĚ.¬† With the exception of the first vertical, this course was max height, with three wide oxers.¬† This can make these jumps look massive, at least to me.¬† My job here was to not let Kip know these were intimidating, and to get his feet moving.

In the warm up arena, there was an X, a max vertical and a big oxer.¬† We jumped the X to get the idea that jumping was happening now, and I asked for a nice rolling canter. The vertical was no problem, so I called heads up on the oxer.¬† Well. On the approach, Kip‚Äôs head goes up, and ears prick forward and he gives his best WTF?!?¬† suck back; so I put my leg on ‚Äď and he started sliding to a stop, but it was too late and sproinged over at the last minute. I had thrown my shoulders forward (it is hard to sit up when this happens) so I landed in a heap on his neck.¬† But he did not touch any part of that oxer. ¬†My number gets called immediately.

Apparently that oxer woke him up, because as we cantered into the arena, he was seeking every jump in the place, trying to figure out which one was first.¬† It is a great feeling, to have the horse asking you if he can go to that jump? Or that one? Which is first?¬† I gently steer him away, as he wants to lock on to fence after fence, until we make a left turn and approach fence one, and I let him know, it is this one.¬† Fence one was a natural vertical, not a problem. Fence two had been really sticky all day, with horse after horse taking one look at it and ducking out.¬† I made a wide turn to it, so Kip had plenty of time to scope it out before we got there ‚Äď it was a faux corner, with the left the pointy end, and the right the wide end, with gates beneath it. Kip didn‚Äôt find it scary at all. We took a right to number three, then a loop around to the left to the number four, the first maxed oxer. Kip had landed on the wrong lead after three, so we were counter-cantering to this giant fence, but he was in a great rhythm, and happy to go, so I let him. Swept to the right for number five, a very flat-faced verticle. At this point, Kip was going hell bent for leather, and I needed to get him off the forehand, and rocked back on his haunches. Six and Seven were coming up, a three-stride– and if I let him stay flat, we were going to pull a rail. It is also at this point that I am glad I decided to switch him to his jumping bridle in between phases.¬† Sometimes he is such a lamb, I feel bad for having the slow twist snaffle on my jumping bridle ‚Äď then there are other times, that I am really glad it is there.¬† He can really take over and just blast around a course, unless I make him slow down.¬† But, he came back nicely, and six and seven were no problem, left to eight, which was a big, blue and yellow striped ¬†oxer made entirely of panels. It looked massive. We came around the corner with Kip cross-firing like crazy ‚Äď he was on the right lead in front, and the left in the back. I tried to pull him up to rebalance and get a correct lead — heck ANY lead, but ¬†Crazy beast was having none of it, and the fence was approaching rapidly, so I left him alone and just made sure my heels were down, and I was sitting up. ¬†He landed on the right lead, and took us to the last combination, vertical in, two strides and oxer out — we were done.

That was entirely too much fun, and I was glad I would get to go again.  I let Kippie catch his breath, and we were back at it.  This time through, I was able to concentrate on keeping the rhythm the same, and setting him up way in advance for lead changes.  This round was much prettier. But just as fun.

Third - not bad!

Third – not bad!

Then we just hung out for another hour or so, waiting for scores.¬† Dressage was a 40.0 (egad, I am getting worse) and jumping was double clear.¬† I never did find out what optimal time was, but I didn‚Äôt get any penalties, so it must have been ok, because I got a nice yellow and orange ribbon ‚Äď third place.¬† I collected the pony, loaded him up, and was home by 5:00.¬† It was a lovely day.

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Area VII Adult Rider Spring Fling at Aspen Farms

Well, isn’t that an uninspired yet descriptive title.

Spring Fling was very much in the success column, even with the lack of ribbons.

We loaded up and hauled in with no problems.  The thing I was most nervous about, finding a pull-through parking spot, was not a problem.  I found a spot in the first field, right next to the portable stalls.  I unloaded Himself, and set out to find the dressage arenas and to look at the course.

I got there in plenty of time, so after scouting things out I sat in the truck and ate junk food while watching it pour.  Did I mention there were intermittent downpours?

It was raining lightly when we went up to the Dressage warmup, and Kip was being a ass, and spooking at sticks along the trail. ¬†I wanted a good, long warmup and it was a challenge, but got him a little bit relaxed. ¬†He took every opportunity to sling his head in the air and gawp at things — other horses, the wooden dock along the arena, the judge’s Easy-up — all excuses to tense, counter-bend, brace and all his other favorite things, ¬†as we made our way around the warm up. I have a challenge of keeping his attention without picking at him while doing dressage. ¬†But he is just so distracted by every little thing–I have to figure out how to keep him focused with out nagging him. Because that just makes him turn off and quit listening all together.

It was raining pretty hard when we went in for our test, and since Kip hadn’t see any of that end of the arena, there was plenty to distract him from the task at hand. ¬†Also, the footing was really heavy and he was behind my leg for the entire first half of the test. ¬†I finally got my wits about me and just booted him up into the contact for the second half, and our scores reflect this – the second half of the test is is 6’s and 7’s with an 8 thrown in for good measure – as opposed to the first half ¬†of 5’s and 6’s. ¬† The free walk kills me – The second I ask him to stretch down, he does at first, but the very first thing that catches his eye, Zoom! up goes his head. *sigh*.

We totally caught a break in the weather for our Jumping rounds, with no rain.  The footing in the jumping arena was draining better, too; so was not nearly as heavy as in the dressage arena.  Our first go was a Ride and Review.

We did great, focus is not the issue here! — First, a small BN log, then left to maxed out brush jump. ¬†I really stepped on the gas to this one, because it was huge and funny-looking. I knew if I didn’t run like hell to it, we were not going over. Kip sucked back a bit, but I gave him a smack on the shoulder (with my new bat, which I love). ¬†That focused him, and he sailed over it. ¬†Bend right to ¬†Novice logs, and a right turn to an airy vertical, left to more N logs, and jump six was a covered bridge-thing, with holes near the ground line, which looked weird and scary — Leg on and look up. ¬†Kip jumped it fine and then back to the right for another solid log pile, and on to a max oxer, two stride combo- we stalled a bit at the oxer so I put my leg on for the out and we made it okay. ¬†Right to an up bank, much easier than I anticipated, and I brought him to a trot for the down, so he could see it. Slight hesitation but down we went, and jump eleven was another solid log pile.

I felt it was a good, solid round. ¬†I spoke to Johnathan for my review, and he said we were a little quick, but that he was really rolling, and maybe his most comfortable canter is a bit on the fast side. He commented on how fast we were going to the second fence, and I told him my run like hell strategy, he laughed, and said that that worked, Kip did seem to be wanting to suck back, but after that he was nice and bold to the fences. ¬†He did tell me to “ask and allow” more — to put my leg on for a stride or two, then allow Kip to answer. ¬†I do tend to put my leg on and keep it there. ¬†So, he asked me to do the 1 & 2 ¬†again, with the ask & allow — of course Kip’s seen this hairy jump now, so I was able to give him a much more polite ride.

For our Derby round, I got complacent to the four, I let him get flat, and we pulled a rail! Totally my fault РI did not ride to that stupid fence, and we left long. I felt bad for letting Kip down.  He really jumped the remainder of the course, though; he was not gonna touch another rail after that.  (Even now, I just put my head in my hands over the memory of this. Such a stupid mistake. I am sorry Kip!)  This was our first rail in competition.

Since we had a rail, and such a tense dressage test, I knew there was not a chance of ribbons for us.  I waited around to pick up my dressage test, which was released around 4:30-ish.  I got a 39.1.  Very fair and deserved, but so disappointing.  When I got home, I pulled out all my Novice dressage tests, and I have not improved my score in two years. In fact, this score was my second-to-worst score on this test.

I need to simultaneously work on my dressage, and relax about it – because it is my¬†trying so hard that is resulting in these bad scores – I am feeding Kip’s anxiousness with my own.

Overall, we finished 15th in a field of 33. ¬†Not bad, but I can’t help but wonder where we would have placed, had I not gotten that rail. (Or could actually ride the Dressage. humph.)

Next up: Dressage Rally. Hoo, boy.

 

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2014 Season – I love planning!

Here are the shows I hope to make this season:
Donida Dressage Schooling show on February 8, March 1, and April 5

Jumpernite, Maybe; This is a really expensive schooling show. I am not convinced I want to pay so much. It is $30 a class! February 22, & March 22

April 25-27 Dressage Rally!!

May 17, Baywood One Day at NWEC.  The real beginning of the season.

May 24 & 25 – EI Horse Trials at the Washington State Horse Park. I really hope I can school here first – my last XC experience here was the rather scarring technical fall at the ditch. I am still mad about that.

Then in June – Nothing! There is nothing scheduled but the Aspen Farms Horse Trial – so I guess if I don’t want to ¬†pay $500 for three rides, I just don’t get to compete in June… ūüôĀ

But July makes up for it – Pony Club camp from July 17-21, then off to Montana to watch the Event at Rebecca on the 25-27! Best two weeks of the year!

August 2 & 3, Lincoln Creek Back to Back One Days , and the 9th is the Skagit Valley Derby – this is a maybe.

September 13 & 14, the EI back to back One Days, and Sept 27 & 28 the Lincoln Creek Event.

Wrap it all up with the Show Jump Rally ¬†October 17 – 19 — this year we have been assured Horsemasters will be able to go. Last year we got bumped, because too many PC teams went, so there was not enough space for us; so this year they are running a third arena.

If I go to all of the shows I want to, that is about 22 dressage tests,  eleven Cross-Country rides, and around 10 Stadium Jumping rounds, give or take.  Is that enough? I guess it will have to be.

 

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Vegetarian Whole 30, day one

I have started the Vegetarian Whole 30, I’ll be eating clean as I can for 30 days. ¬†The vegetarian version includes some dairy like keifer and greek yogurt, and allows soaked, rinsed and boiled legumes.

News exclusive: I plan on adding wild-caught salmon into the mix. I have eaten a bit of salmon over the last few months, and it does make me feel better. It still freaks me out, though. I have to be in a very certain mindset to cook and then eat it. Sometimes I can cook it, but then eating it is right out. Thankfully DH has no qualms with my leftovers.

Water is going to be hard, I need to drink 65 ounces a day.  Here are the guidelines to the challenge:

You can earn up to 10 points a day. Each day you will get 1 point for posting what you eat (by 11am the next day at the latest). You’ll get 5 more points if you follow the strict paleo eating rules as laid out by the Whole Nine folks. There are no partial points for food. Tough, I know. Food is either 5 points or zero points. 1 point for getting 7 or more hours of sleep. 1 point for drinking enough water (half your bodyweight in ounces per day). 1 point for doing 10 minutes of mobility (not counting class time). 1 point for sticking to your own goals as to number of days per week you want to be working out. We will call his a work/rest ratio point.

Here are my resources:
whole9 forums
My Vegetarian Whole 30 Facebook page
Whole 30 recap Even though this page is not vegetarian, it has a ton of ideas, and I can sub in my protein of choice.

So far today:
Lentil squash soup
apple
spinach blueberry smoothie.

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2013

 

nostalgia

2013 started out really tough. ¬†I was very depressed about Collette’s death, and was just not coping. I was so alone and just so sad. I just wanted to call her, and regretted so much all the
times I did not when I could have. ¬†In March, I decided to try pharmaceuticals. ¬†They helped when mom died, but this time they flattened me out too much– I didn’t feel anything, and was kind of a zombie. So by June I quit taking them, and I just went back to being sad. ¬†It didn’t help that Kip was mysteriously lame, and the lack of exercise was making him an asshole. ¬†He didn’t come back until late June. ¬†When I look back at the first half of this year, it is just a black, fuzzy smear.

Kip and I at Polestar

Kip finally did become sound, and we had a very uneven show season, but did successfully  complete our first Novice at Pole Star.  And Pony Club Camp was great, even though he was still somewhat in his asshole phase. The summer saw some shows, and I finally got a horse trailer, so next year I will be fully mobile. But he did kick out in it one of the first times I hauled him, and ended up with seven stitches and twenty staples in his left hind.

I have always loved fall and early winter, but I was dreading the holidays this year. Without Mom and Colette, it all seemed so pointless.  But miraculously, this year, there have been a ton of holiday parties and family gatherings Р Thanksgiving at my house was pretty much a success in that everyone was fed, and the food was pretty good. I loved having my family over to my house, and need to make sure it happens more often.

20131208_164209Then Daddy got married to  a wonderful lady named Barbara, and I look forward to getting to know her. She has been incredibly emotionally intelligent about navigating our family, and I appreciate that so much.

My dear Laura visited from Boston, and I got to spend an evening with her, and Scott’s brother ¬†Rick came ¬†in from Austin and we got to spend a couple evenings with him, too.

And Dan and Lisa’s holiday party was so much fun, we got to meed an old friend’s new wife, and meet a bunch of new smart people. There was also dancing and a sing-a-long. Then of course, The Christmas Party — which is becoming the center of my holiday season. Of course I cried during Silent Night. ¬†I believe this year’s party was the most wonderful, warm, lovely time I have had for a very long time. We got to share it with Dan and Lisa, and they were a big hit and fit right in ¬†– Lisa started a dance party in the living room, and made everyone tell how they met¬†their¬†SO – I got to laugh, and spend time with so many fantastically smart and funny people, and I love each and every one of them. Seriously, this year’s party was epic. I just love Jay. ¬†He is really such a great friend, to bring us all together every year.¬†laugh

Christmas day was spent at Lacey and Jeremy’s house, and dinner was exceptionally delicious.

Somewhere in all that whirlwind, I realized I was no longer depressed. I think it was because I was able to see how much I am loved.

Anyway, I am not going to make any resolutions this year, except to try to do my very best.

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Cheryl says I should write a book

I suppose by now, I should expect it. The completely unexpected, that is.

I was caravanning to the Whidbey Island One Day Event with Tracy and her daughter, we were planning on leaving Stoneybrook at 12:30 — and since we were on the road by 1:00, that I was counting as a huge victory. Kip loaded relatively easily, it just took a couple of circles, and Bodie standing at the front of the trailer, his head visible through the window, for Kip to step on to the trailer.

I had Kip’s¬†shipping boots¬†on, because he has been known to step sideways and pull a shoe off while trailering.

Traffic was not bad, and we made good time, even through Everett, where it can get pretty sticky. ¬†We turned onto Highway 20 and made it over Deception Pass, a bit nerve-wracking pulling a trailer. Not only are those bridges high, they are really narrow; and it is a tourist spot, so people are everywhere. But we were fine. As we drove along 20, a hawk dived toward Tracy’s truck, narrowly missing it — it was freaky, I can’t imagine what that bird thought it saw.

Driving through Oak Harbor, where Highway 20 makes a turn to the west, I felt a big lurch. It was odd, because the road seemed smooth there, and I hadn’t noticed a big dip or anything. But in town, in traffic, sometimes you can’t see the road as much as you’d like. All seemed quiet now, and we would be there in 10 minutes, at the outside.

We pulled in, and quickly scoped out which corrals we wanted, and went to unload the horses. I opened the door and immediately saw Kip had hurt his leg, there was blood on the shavings.  His left hind shipping boot was laying on the floor of the trailer, and I could see lacerations on his leg. His sock was red.

In retrospect, what I think happened, is that when we took the turn in Oak Harbor, he stepped sideways to steady himself, caught the edge of the shipping boot, pulling it partway off.  Then in trying to get it the rest of the way off, Kip kicked out, which made it flap, and suddenly become terrifying, and so had to be escaped from NOW, he kicked hard, and it came off. But I think in kicking it off, he wedged his hind leg in the angle made between the divider and the trailer wall, and the pressure of it opened up his leg.

banged upBut I figured all that out later. After unloading, I put him in a corral, and got my first aid supplies out of the trailer, and Tracy went to the bulletin board and found the number for a local Vet. I really owe Tracey, she was so much help in this crappy situation. Anyhow, we cold-hosed the leg, and I could take a look at it finally, and could see a couple of the cuts were to the bone. It doesn’t take much to get there on a horse’s leg, they are just skin, ligaments, and bone. But I knew we’d need stitches. The cuts were all very fresh and bleeding, so it had just happened — which is what leads me to believe it happened in Oak Harbor.

drugged upThe Vet arrived very quickly Рit turns out she just happened to be driving by and Tracy saw her and told her about Kip Рshe never got my phone call, because it was the end of the day, and her phone was dead. But Tracy flagged her down, and directed her to our corral.   She sedated Kip, and cleaned up the wounds. Five stitches and twenty staples. He will need to be on antibiotics for seven days, and can have his stitches and staples removed at fourteen to twenty days.

I stayed overnight, because you can’t trailer them after being sedated like that. He was a pretty good boy, and did not demolish his corral, like last time. So that was a victory.

He stepped right on the trailer in the morning, although he stared banging and carrying on the moment he was loaded. We need to work on being a little more relaxed about trailering. (sigh. This situation will make that harder, I fear.)  And I need to do standing wraps and bell boots instead of shipping boots. It is always something. Anyway, we drove home with no incidents.

He does not seem to be lame. The vet said I could ride on Sunday — that is today, so we will see.

I had been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time, and I am so disappointed. I don’t believe there is anything I could have done, short of having a crystal ball, to keep this from happening. ¬†You know why I think it happened? I did not do my Lucky Manicure.

 

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Mixed Bag.

Well. That was a day.
I left the house at 9:15 – my first ride was at 3:37.

Thankfully, there was zero drama loading Kip onto my new trailer. It was his first time in it.

We drove to Polestar in Lake Stevens, easy drive, we got there in a little over one and a half hours, arrived at about 12:30. I had a corral reserved, because Kip is still not tying. Just yesterday in the wash rack, he pulled back for no reason I could see – but when he encounters no resistance, he just stops. If he does encounter resistance, he just freaks out and things escalate badly. it is easier to just not tie him. He never goes far. This strategy does not work, however when you need to walk your course. So, we got a corral. It was a healthy schlep from the trailer, but so worth it.

So 2:45ish rolls around and it is time to warm up for dressage — We had a great warm up, he was forward and lifting his back, and relaxing very nicely. We decided to stand in the shade for the two rides before ours. I noticed people seemed to be having some tense rides. Lots of Giraffe-necking. So when I went in to the arena, my goal was forward and relaxed. But no. I think the wall of the arena was just tall enough, to encourage lifting the head to see what was going on — if the wall had been six inches taller, the horses couldn’t see out – or six inches shorter, they could go to work, and still see what was happening out there. As it was, the wall was just low enough to see the top of the head of taller pedestrians, and for bicyclists heads to just float by. Disconcerting. Kip’s entire test was described as “tense” and “above the bit”. I am not sure we got more than a 5 for any movement. I just did my best, and decided I was not going to sweat it.

Finally it was time for Cross-Country, and we had another good warm-up, Kippie eager to jump and happy to gallop. So, it is 5:00, we move to the start box. There are two stadium jumps to invite you further into the course, then a log pile. Take a right to a nice roll top. it is alone in the field, so I drove to it – Kip had half a mo, where he thought about going around. But no, over we went. On to a coop, then “the box of rocks” – maxed out height and width. Just a big box. Full of rocks. Big. Kip was a little surprised at the width. He took a look as we sailed over. Then there was the #7 – “the log option” One log was just a huge log, kinda skinny and up on a small riser. Next to it was a funky looking ‘S’ shaped log. I wanted the big log, but Kip was really not interested and put on the breaks a stride out. I just scooted him over and let him look at the low end of the ‘S’, and booted him over from a halt. We sproinged over. I rode pretty aggressive to the next two and I could feel him just take over. He decided that if this was what we are doing, then fine. we were GOING. Wine barrels, big roll top, and sliced log, not a bobble. Then he saw the water. He just loves the water. He took the bit and we tore like hell down the hill and through the water — then took the big bank out; he actually took me to that bank, not to the small one. Crazy horse. Over the piano keys, and we were done. Holey moley that was fun. Thankfully we had scheduled a schooling round, so we get to go again!

Well, round two was awesomer, if that is even a word. Since Kip knew where we were going, I barely had to steer – it is eerie how fast he memorizes things. We basically FLEW around that course. I actually had a problem getting him to listen to my half halts, and he jumped some of the jumps flat, because we were a little far out from them. One time I was really telling him to add, and it felt like he was going to chip, but he took off really long. It is a good thing I had a hold of his mane, because he totally left me behind. I am sure it looked hilarious and I actually hollered “Holy Shit” over the jump. Yeah. Class all the way. I think I got whiplash. Most of the course though, was just gallopy and fun and we did a great job. He still ran like hell through the water. I think he likes the splashing.
Kip and I at Polestar

So, we got Fourth, because of our terrible Dressage score, but over-all I am very happy with our ride. So much so, I am not even going to dwell on the hour and a half it took to load, because Kip decided he wanted to stay at Polestar forever. Ugh. Thank goodness for the three other awesome eventers who were willing to help me, and run through every trick in the book for a horse who does not want to load. Then we drove home, safe and sound.

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Pony Club Camp, Whidbey Island.

I went to Pony Club camp from July 19 – 24. It was, as you may imagine, pretty awesome.

There were no major dramas, at least not for me and Kip, but there were daily small ones.

Kip arrived at WIPC camp really amped up. He was snorty and distracted and generally a pain in the ass to handle. I put him in the corral, hoping he’d settle a bit, before we went for a walk around. ¬†He did not settle so much. When we did decide to take the horses out for a graze, he was dragging me around and being pretty horrible. I borrowed a chain (I don’t know that I even own one anymore – I have never needed one with him) and got him under some semblance of control. Then we went for a very tense hack.

100_8439Night one, Kip and Premo stomped and chewed on each other all night. Premo pushed a board out, into Kip’s corral. in the morning, it was laying in the middle, nails up; of course. But disaster was averted.

The next morning before our 10:30 Dressage lesson, I lunged him for 20 minutes, and he called and snorted and generally ignored anything I told him to do — so I just kept sending him around, kept his feet moving. By the time the lesson started, he was controllable, but still distracted, but much better. Later on we had a stadium jumping lesson with lots of gridwork, which Linda, the instructor, kept nudging higher and higher; until the ending line seemed massive. Kip loves stadium, though, and just ate them all up.

That night, Kip and Simon pawed and squealed all night long. One board down, in the middle of the night. We tied the boards to the posts, so there would not be as much of a chance of them laying face up in anyone’s paddock. But still, not much sleep.

Day two lessons: Dressage 9am was really awesome, and Kip, by this time was closer to his normal self under saddle. Then at 1:30 was XC with Linda — it was the best XC school I have ever had, we were jumping all novice stuff, there was no screwing around with logs, and Kip was a BEAST (in a good way). Taking me to the base of every jump, galloping through water (a little faster than novice speed…) Water, ditches, banks, coffins, brush jumps, and doing little courses of eight questions or so. It was really great to be able to string them all together, and to really get rolling on the terrain. I just kept my chin up and my leg on. And held on for dear life. ¬†We were out there for two and a half hours. My legs¬†were jello.

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Third night, I thought for sure Kip would sleep- but instead he demolished his corral. Broke two boards in half, and the third one was down. Little jerk. Sharon had to take Simon home that day, so we decided to  put Kip in Pony Purgatory by himself at the end of the row.

Monday was stadium jumping of the grass, and that was a blast, too. We got to jump the Pirate Ship, which is a Training jump.  We were doing a line: vertical,  oxer, left turn to

vertical on a hill, down the hill to a two-stride (with a giant maxed out oxer in the back), take a right roll back to a skinny, then a good uphill gallop to the ship, which we flew over. It was huge, and exhilarating.

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Dressage was in the afternoon, and my legs were just about shot. But self-preservation kicks in, and you have to ride Рespecially when the  instructor takes your stirrups away.

The last day was the mock event. We rode at around 10:30 I think. It was a combination of stadium and XC. ¬†Fence one was a red vertical, to a brush box. Right hairpin to a panel¬†oxer; ¬†gallop up the hill and across the road ( I was yelling Heads up! Make a hole! to the little kids on ponies wandering around on the road, not paying attention to the course.) through a chute of rosebushes, and by a big scary pile of stumps, left turn down another close chute of bushes, over a log, back to the stadium area. Over a black and white oxer, hard left over an airy vertical and then a good long gallop on to the XC field, — Up a¬†molehill, jump, a hanging log, ¬†down the other side; this is where Kip’s rockets engage. Galloping sweep¬†right to a ramp, over a house, ¬†gallop through the water; take a left, jump the sharks tooth, and on to the second water. Gallop like a fiend (if you are Kip) through that water, too, then over the Rock Logster, across the road and left to the window coop. Big long gallop back to the stadium jumping area, take a left and two people are holding a length of toilet paper about three and a half feet off the ground. It is fluttering in the breeze. Kip is giving this crazy thing a look, I keep my leg on, and he clears it – not pretty, he was kinda wondering what the heck it was, but we were clear. ¬†Yay! I immediately want to go again, but that is not how it goes. There are turnbacks in a half an hour.

For turnbacks we had to clean all the sweatmarks off our horse, clean the bit, and the girth. ¬†Report to the Pony Plaza within a half an hour of completing your ride. Get inspected (I have a tiny bit of slobber on my bit. Demerit. Answer a horse management question: How many splint bones does a horse have? I don’t know. Twelve? Six? Four? Turns out there are eight. Another demerit. Oh well.

At the closing ceremony, our teams are revealed Рthe instructors assigned us to teams, which were a secret Рand it turns out, they decided to put the Horsemasters all on one team, and we got second.  Yay, more satin for the collection!  I am a ribbon ho!
100_8447Exhausted, we packed up and left by 430, and arrived at Stoneybrook at 7:30. It sure is a  lot of work for seven minutes on the XC field. But worth it.

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