Friday, May. 24, 2024

How To Prepare For Devon

THREE MONTHS BEFORE: Natasha, one of your assistant trainers, asks if she can join her family on a vacation for a chunk of time that includes Dressage at Devon. It’s not great timing, but you’re well staffed at home, so missing one person won’t be a disaster.

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THREE MONTHS BEFORE: Natasha, one of your assistant trainers, asks if she can join her family on a vacation for a chunk of time that includes Dressage at Devon. It’s not great timing, but you’re well staffed at home, so missing one person won’t be a disaster.

TEN DAYS BEFORE: One of your working students decides to quit and, having apparently been raised by wolves, also decides that you’re not owed the courtesy of two weeks of notice, and she’s leaving the day before you head to Devon. That leaves you with three people to care for 17 horses. (The response of those three people, by the way? “No problem. We got this.” Love them.)

TWO WEEKS BEFORE: Out of curiosity, when was the last time you practiced the Grand Prix Special? (June, 2015). Do you know the Grand Prix Special? (Nope.)

THE SUNDAY BEFORE: Get a phone call from the man in your life, wherein he tells you that he’s running a 102* fever and feels like he’s been hit by a bus. Take everything with zinc in it in your medicine cabinet.

THREE WEEKS BEFORE: Get into a fender-bender (you’re fine, car is not), and watch as your beloved VW gets towed to the repair shop, where it sits. And sits. And sits. And sits. And sits. Fortunately, GEICO is a bunch of rockstars, so you’re in a rental car and everything is fine…

5:30 AM, WEDNESDAY: … except that the repair shop takes SO long to get the parts it needs to fix your car that you run up against the maximum period of time you can have said rental car, and as such have to return it in the pouring rain before you leave for the show.

Oh yeah. The rain.

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THE MONDAY BEFORE: It’s raining.

THE TUESDAY BEFORE: It’s raining.

THE WEDNESDAY BEFORE: It’s REALLY raining.

THURSDAY: Build an ark.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE: Attend the Regional Finals, where your wonderful Princess Ellegria will be terribly smart and win everything (even after you have a meltdown in the warm-up on Thursday like a doofus). Vow to keep your &*@#! together between the shows, to not panic about how she’ll inevitably need a day or two to recover from the long Regionals and the trip to and from North Carolina.

TEN DAYS BEFORE: Send Ella out on a hack to recover. You are cool, calm and collected, and she deserves it!

NINE DAYS BEFORE: Work Ella lightly. She still feels a little blah, and it’s totally OK! You are completely relaxed.

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EIGHT DAYS BEFORE: OMG SHE FEELS TERRIBLE PANIC PANIC PANIC

SEVEN DAYS BEFORE: It’s a fresh, cool morning. Nearly get bucked off. (She’s recovered. You’re an idiot.)

THURSDAY MORNING: It’s going to be raining all day, and since the Princess does. not. handwalk., you tack her up to go for a walk instead. It’s mostly a non-event, with some minor excitement about the wheeeee running babies, but she’s really pretty fly about the whole experience, and for a moment, you worry that the Devon-induced enthusiasm you were hoping for wouldn’t be there. Maybe Ella has settled in and matured, and will just be her normal self, even under the big environment of a big horse show like Devon.

1:45 pm THURSDAY AFTERNOON, THE JOG: As you fly your Ella-shaped kite down to the jog strip, with her double-barrel kicking towards the officials and volunteers, know this: NOPE, enthusiasm will NOT BE A PROBLEM THIS WEEK. Pass the jog with flying colors anyway (mostly because they want you and your monster to get the hell outta there), but do not win Best Dressed in spite of your fabulous purple dress and Dubarry’s combination. Speaking of Dubarry’s…

THURSDAY MORNING: Wandering around killing time, find yourself in the Dubarry’s store. A dashing man in a tweed jacket asks you, in his posh British accent, if you’d like a beverage while you browse. Of course you would, you say, as he hands you a shot of Bailey’s, in a champagne flute. Glance at your watch: 9:32 a.m.

Smile. There’s no place like Devon!

SprieserSporthorse.com
Lauren Sprieser on Facebook

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