It may be 105* (no kidding; that was the heat index today), but we're busy as anything. My sleep and work patterns have gotten very strange: I'm up at 4:30 to get on Fender by 5:30, get the horses done and my boarders lessoned by midday, then a few hours break, then lessons all afternoon and evening, punctuated by odd bouts of napping, working out, officework and coming up with more ways to cook summer squash and zucchini, which I swear is breeding in my fridge at night.
I have two "kids" in my barn at the moment: my own Fender (6) and my student Amy's Bo (7). Both are well-bred, well-started and athletic young horses with no issues (hooray!). They are both easy to look at and have great paces. And none of those things are my favorite thing about them. My favorite is that they both have the most wonderful work ethic. The more you ask, the more they give.
I was supposed to ride Ella in the Saturday evening extravaganza at this year's PVDA Ride for Life, but a wound she sustained in Florida, which was healing VERY slowly, stopped healing and got very oozy and gross, and has required rather extensive and obnoxious veterinary work, as well as considerable time on stall rest, even though she has not taken One. Lame. Step. I am not amused, nor is Ella. Ugh.
My mom jokes that I'm paranoid. I've always been a little obsessed with expiration dates on food; I don't know why. But it wasn't until I read Michael Pollan's In Defense Of Food that I started reading food labels. And I was really alarmed by what I found in my own food. So I started reading the labels of the food my horses were getting.
Redemption! Neither my horse nor I are ninnyhammers. Hoorah!
Midge and I have had an interesting two weeks. We came home from New Jersey and I said, OK. Look. You're not a bad guy. And I'm not a bad rider. And yet here I am on the one-way train to Crazytown. Let's take a break. So we did. We hacked, we rode outside. And when I put him back to work on Tuesday, he felt like himself again. Go figure.
The USEF rulebook says: "The levels of dressage are offered as a means of evaluating a horse that is changing." I think about this a lot, as someone who makes my own Grand Prix horses. But lately I've been thinking a lot about how much a horse changes within any given level, particularly the top one.
I've just returned from another AWESOME monthly-or-so clinic at the stunning Sally Run in Wytheville, Va. We were sitting around the dinner table chatting, and a few of the riders expressed their frustration at the world of showing. There are lots of things that aren't ideal about horse shows, but the one that frustrated these riders the most was that so often they came home from the shows empty-handed.
I saw a clever line somewhere about horse shows: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.
There are seven stages of grief, whether it's incredible loss, or something much more mundane. First there's shock and denial. That was the not-knowing-what-to-say, the silence as I came out of the ring on Sunday. What the heck was that? What just happened?