Tuesday, May 24, 2016

T-Minus 4 Days until Pine Hill!

Holy cripes!! Where did time go so fast?? How is Pine Hill already here? And Stillwater is only a week after that!

O at the Romp... I ordered the professional pictures so we will have them soon to share! 

I don't know about you, but before shows I start to get anxious. Especially with a horse like O, I really need to be careful about overdoing it. When she is tired, or a little bodysore, or anything of the sort, she is just all kinds of difficult to deal with. It's always been a habit of mine to never work my horses the day before a show - possibly this is partly due to my nerves (o god am I going to nitpick at my horse and piss them all off right before a show and then everything will be terrible and we all will DIE), partly due to the timing (so much easier to not have to worry about working them and instead focus on the million other things to do), and probably mostly due to the fact that literally the one and only time I have ever worked a horse at the showgrounds the day before the event, I ended up in the hospital with a severe head injury. Obviously that was just a fluke thing, but it leaves an impression on you, and ever since that happened I've never been able to work a horse the day before a show ever again - just superstition, I suppose.

I do also need to be careful about under-doing it. O works hard for a living, but a lot less hard than a lot of horses do. Gone are the days of working my horses 6 days a week, every week, forever. My stint in endurance, however brief, taught me that horses don't need to be hammered on if they know their job. They need to be fit and sound, absolutely, and their bodies need to be able to handle the stresses of whatever you throw at them, but you don't need to exhaust them. Unfit horses get injured for sure, but overly worked horses also get injured. (I mean, ANY horse can get injured, but still. You know.) O has several years of fitness under her belt and a good baseline there - plus she has been showing regularly and also getting worked during the week. When we move up, she'll need an increase in fitness and an increase in training, but as for right now she is well fitted up and capable of handling herself. But she doesn't work nearly as much as I have worked horses in the past, and sometimes I feel that I don't work her enough. It's a super fine line to walk with a mare like her - what is too much, and what is not enough? 

Thankfully, she does not ever need to be worked down for working down's sake. She's that horse that you can take her out of the field after long periods of doing little or nothing, and she's exactly the same. Hot and ready to go, of course, but exactly the same. She's not going to pull out the aerials at a show just because she hasn't worked in a few days. She has thankfully always been this way, even when I first got her. So, I tend to err on the side of caution before shows and just let her do nothing for a few days - keep her body feeling good, and focus on everything else I have to do. Admittedly, she'll be in a stall at Pine Hill for the first time in her entire show career, so I expect I may be doing a bit of lunging before I hitch up...!

My pre-show ritual usually starts the weekend before a show, especially if it is a big one or one where we will be staying overnight. It's pretty similar to what I was doing when showing Gogo seven years ago (holy crap, 7??), save for the fact that I definitely don't bother to wash and vacuum out my smelly stinky Patron truck anymore. I mean, I will actually bother to clean it tomorrow, because it needs it desperately and I can't exactly expect poor B2 to have to sit on top of mounds of random accumulated stuff in there (which tends to happen when you spend nearly your entire day in your truck), but as for shining up all the chrome polish.... nahhh. 

Anyway, for show prep, I make a list of all the million things I need to do, and sort them into days. I didn't get a chance to get anything started this weekend, so had to settle for starting yesterday with an email to the organizer to make sure we were solidly in and all was well, making a checklist of things that needed to be done, and... yeah, that was pretty much all that got done yesterday. As for today, after work I cleaned out and organized my trailer tack room, sorted through all my show clothes and packed them into the trailer, put all my feed and water buckets into the trailer, and washed O's leg boots. Tomorrow, I'll wash and pack my harness, pack hay and shavings and feed, put new bedding into the trailer, make sure I am stocked on Ulcergard and Pro CMC, go get a new trailer spare (and actually, probably get new tires on the truck too since it's about time for that anyway), clean out my rancid truck, and go get a massage for myself. One thing that has definitely changed since I was showing Gogo is the fact that I am no longer starving and poor, and can do things like go get a massage for myself and buy new truck tires without feeling overly taxed. I've worked super hard to get where I am today, and looking back over this expanse of time makes me feel proud. It hasn't been easy, and sometimes I feel like I should stop for a second and congratulate myself a little bit. I've worked my holy buttcheeks off to get here. I deserve it.

Thursday, I'll tidy up O's hairdo and feet, check to make sure which boots are fitting her at the moment, pack my clothes, get the hotel info, and make one last going-over of all the things I'll need to have packed. I work all day on Thursday as well, so there won't be a lot of time, and some of these things may get pushed to Friday morning. On Friday, I need to get hay and fill all the weekend haybags for the home horses, wash and load the carriage, hook up the trailer, load up the mare, and GO! 

The best part is - there is another great big show the weekend after, so I get to do it ALL OVER AGAIN next week! 

If any of you have nothing better to do next weekend (or the weekend after) and you live near Pine Hill (or up near Stillwater OK), come on down (or up)!


  1. Wow - clicking on the link to the Eventing a Go Go blog really took me back... So crazy that I've been following your blog all these years.

    1. I felt the same. You were (and still are) a huge inspiration to me! Your drive and passionate devotion to making sure your horses welfare is # 1. Is the reason I have Stuck around (blog stalked) you for so long.

  2. Is the Stillwater show June 4-5? I'll try to make it out!

  3. I always rode the day before a show, and it was always a horrible ride. It was part of my showing ritual to expect to have a really bad ride the day before so I lost all hope and expectations for the show the following day.