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December 15, 2011

T-Minus 11 Days

Photo by Coree Reuter.

It's (finally) official—I hit the road on Dec. 26 for Florida, with the horses right behind me, departing on the 27th or 28th. That's 11 days from now.

#$&^!

Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled (Thrilled. THRILLED!) to be leaving sooner rather than later. But I could have sworn that a day contained 24 hours, a week seven days; it seems like the time is flying by, and none of it productively. When I say that I have nothing done to get ready to go, I mean nothing. Blankets aren't cleaned. Saddle pads aren't packed. Trailer's still at the shop, so forget about pallets and hay loaded inside. Haven't even gotten the truck washed.

Instead, what I'm doing is teaching like a fiend and riding my legs off. Everyone's trying to squeeze in one last lesson before I depart, which has meant some long, long days. I'm so glad I get to see everyone one last time, and after the clinic we had last weekend with sports psychologist Dr. Jenny Susser, I'm pushing everyone about their goals for 2012 and what they'll work on when I'm in Florida, so it's nice to wrap all that up. And everyone keeps bringing me holiday gifts of junk food to keep me fortified, so I'm good. Thank God breeches have an elastic waistband.

My own horses continue to develop along. They're all pushing towards different pre-Florida standards. For Fender, it's all about muscle building—longer sets in different outlines and working outside on the hills whenever I can. He's on top of the work for the level I'm hoping to show him at, but I want him to have a topline that's beyond reproach.

Ella's on this path too, although she very kindly put a HUGE dent in her eye—I swear, she must be farsighted or something; I've never met a horse so skilled at banging her head on stuff. So she'll be on modified assignment probably until we leave. I'm OK with this; a little downtime probably isn't a bad idea, and two weeks certainly isn't going to kill her.

Midge is another matter. Midge HATES cold, and while he's been a super good boy, no naughtiness, not a toe wrong, he is about as supple as a big stick. So he's on the yoga plan—lots and lots of stretching, lots and lots of small, quiet work. I'm trying to teach him how to canter pirouette with a low neck. He's so short coupled that I think that by the time he sits on the spot, if he doesn't have his neck short, he'll topple over. So building up muscle to allow him to balance with a free-er neck has been quite the feat.

I recalled a Morten Thomsen exercise from a while back, making transitions from schooling walk pirouette to schooling canter pirouette, and it's working great. The difference might only be half an inch, but any increased strength and decreased muscle tension is a victory. He's piaffing and passaging brilliantly, and we even ran through most of the Developing Horse Grand Prix test in schooling, and he was close to foot perfect. 

So my four-legged contingent is ready for their departure. Me? I think I'd better get started on some laundry.

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