I live in a one-bedroom apartment above the barn. It’s perfect—kitchen, bathroom, lots of closet space for all of my pack-rat accumulations, and a really great couch I inherited. I’m in dire need of a decorating intervention from someone on TLC, and a date with a vacuum cleaner, but its location, location, location is to die for. I can look out my window and see horses in their paddocks. I can throw hay in my underwear. (Not that I ever have. Nope. Not ever.) And most importantly: I can hear the horses at night.
This has its disadvantages. One evening I was cooking dinner when I heard a horrible clatter from the barn. I flew down the stairs to discover that Midge had untied his Jolly Ball from where it hung from the ceiling, and was using it as a soccer ball, throwing it around, getting it tangled up in his legs before picking it up in his teeth and flinging it into his stall walls, causing a horrible noise which sent all the other horses in the barn flying. Not so amusing.
It’s also not improving my insomnia. I’m a terrible sleeper, always have been, so when someone decides to play with their feed tub at 3 a.m., I’m awake and catching every BANG.
But when Cleo got herself cast in her stall last year, I was there in seconds and got her back on her feet before any damage occurred. When a client horse looked like she was thinking about colicking a few weeks ago, I could keep an eye on her through the night.
It’s changed my perspective on horse shows. After poor Cleo’s follicle debacle at Gladstone, I’ve placed a much higher priority on stable security and having someone around as much of the time as possible. Like a good Scout, I like Being Prepared.
Today Ella and I are preparing for the Young Dressage Horse Trainer’s Symposium, a three-day invitation-only conference for trainers of young dressage horses. This is my third trip, and my second with a horse. We’ll ride for Ingo Pape, one of Europe’s top young horse trainers, and a wonderful instructor. I learned a lot last year, and I’m looking forward to it again! (And, ahem, the parties aren’t so bad either.)