Sunday, September 21, 2014

Show Prep

I have to say, I haven't been this excited to go to a show in a very long time. I am SO EXCITED for this little bitty schooling show that I am completely nonplussed by the fact that I will be bypassing spectating on XC day at the AECs (which is the same day). JenJ will be out there, and I'd like to see her since I missed her the last time I was in Austin, so I might still head out for Sunday. But I actually feel completely 100% apathetic to the fact that the AECs are this weekend, for the first time since their inception probably. It was all I ever dreamed about for years, going to them... and then I went to them, twice, and it was amazing the first time and heartbreaking the second. The past few years following that fateful ride when Gogo blew her legs out, I had heartache every year when the AECs would come around again on the calendar, wanting so very badly to be back galloping on those courses again. Last year, all I could think about was trying to figure out a way to get O to the AECs, and those plans drifted over into this year. At some point, I realized the amount of stress and pressure that I was putting on myself, and realized I was beating myself up over something that really was beyond my control. I was trying all of these different sports and not feeling satisfied with any of them, but now that I am getting into a sport that I am REALLY having fun with, I've been able to let all of that stress go. And I find that I just don't *care* that the AECs are this weekend. (And they're not just happening this weekend, they are HERE IN TEXAS, only two hours away from me.) I don't feel like I have to beat myself over it because I'm not there showing too. For the first time since I can remember, they are just not important to me right now. 

What IS currently important to me is making sure we are prepped for this little show! The last few shows that O and I went to, we did very well at, but I wasn't *really* that into it. I didn't take my usual prep time, I didn't make sure every last thing was sparkling. We had a great time at all of them, but my heart really wasn't deeply into it. But this one... this one I am INTO.

And there is so much to do! After our first time working around the poles and barrels last Tuesday, we went for a brisk 6 mile hack down the road on Wednesday, and then she had Thurs-Sat off (not really by choice; work taking up too much time.) Today we got back to work with 45 minutes worth of solid dressage work, starting out with some suppling work around the barrels/poles and then moving on to work with transitions. Last Saturday evening, I was able to participate in one of the Coachman's Delight online classes, which the local driving club had recommended to me (since I can't get anything lined up with a trainer). This particular class was on building a good halt-halt, and it was really great - lots and lots of helpful hints and exercises to use. Today in my experiments, I realized that while the exercises are pertinent and useable, O actually already has a good halt-halt already installed. Under saddle, you have to lock up in rigor mortis sometimes to get through to her with a half-halt, but when driving, all you have to do is close your fingers and stop following for a second with your hands.

She was not *quite* as excellent today as she usually is, but she was still very good and compliant. A not-quite-as-excellent day driving for this mare is WAY better than even a really good riding day.

So, what needs to be done this week in order to prep for the show? Let's see...

I need to clean out my trailer. Like, ALL the way - stalls and tack room. It's a filthy mess.
Harness needs to be re-scrubbed.
Mare needs to be clipped and trimmed, and then of course bathed right before the show.
Gotta find my Coggins... where did I put that thing... normally I know where EVERYTHING is but I haven't seen my Coggins in a little while!
Gotta figure out what all I'll be wearing - the stuff O will be wearing is black and red for the most part, and all of the dress is informal, so I'm sure I'll figure out something.... jeans and red t-shirt or something like that, with my crash vest and helmet on top of that.
Memorize all those patterns! Won't be terribly hard but that cones course is kind of a doozy... especially since I've never done one before.

Six days out from her little driving debut!


  1. I'm so happy to see you so excited and into driving! It's been so much fun following along as you and O learn this new sport. I'm so looking forward to your show!!

  2. Yea! I am so excited for you and can't wait to here how out goes. Best of luck!

  3. Hey, has O seen other horses in harness before? That can be a bit spooky for them. Better to manage that when she doesn't have a vehicle attached. It is actually weird how they don't mind their own vehicle but seeing and hearing one attached to another horse can be a big deal.

    1. Oh yes, we decided we're going at least a few hours early so she can be led around and see other horses and their vehicles! I think if she is going to freak out, it will be at the VSEs. Those little devils are scary!
      I Am also fully prepared if she DOES freak out to just scratch and let her stand around and watch all the others. Either way it's a winning learning experience!

  4. Also, make sure she is securely tied (ie no breakaway) anytime you aren't actually in the vehicle with reins in your hands. One spooked runaway horse at a show can create havoc. Take care and have fun :)

  5. Oh dear, I sound like an old woman! But O is awesome and I really want your show to go well.

  6. So exciting!! Can't wait to hear how it goes!!!

  7. SQUEEE! I'm super excited for you!

  8. So excited for you both; I'm sure you will do well :) Good luck and have fun!

  9. VSEs are part demon. It's what makes them so small...

    Have fun!!!!

  10. Driving is so addictive. I'm excited for cooler weather and being able to get my crew out more and maybe getting our two draft girls pulling together.

    When I did it I had a polo and black jeans plus a dark apron/knee rug I borrowed from my instructor.

    Good luck at the show and have fun! It really sounds like you have found a good niche for the two of you.

  11. yay i'm so excited for you! hope you have an absolute blast - i'm sure O will be (and look!) amazing!

  12. That is awesome! I am very excited for you! Can't wait to read about it all :)

  13. Weeee! So excited for you and O!!