After my super positive year-end post, I guess it was inevitable that 2019 would start out terribly, right?
A couple of days before I headed to Temecula, California, for my first assignment of the year, Oh So started to seem not like himself. I had only been able to hack because of snow, and he just seemed pretty slow. I actually had to kick him along, which is not like him.
I decided to call the vet on the day I left for California because he was sitting listlessly in the stall, and he ended up having a fever and couldn’t lower his head and neck, which was quite scary.
Since I had to get on a plane, we decided to treat him with Banamine and doxycycline because the vet could only assume tick fever. I found that to be a little strange considering it was January, but she said they see spikes in it this time of year. There have been a few horses in the barn who’ve had vague symptoms like his, and that seems to be the go-to diagnosis, but I wasn’t going to accept that as an answer.
After a truly disastrous 2017 in which I broke both my ankles and ended up selling Thomas and working through a lot of physical and mental pain, 2018 was one of the best years of my life.
Even though Oh So had a couple of minor injuries that caused some sleepless nights and one missed event, and despite tons and rain and event cancellations, it was the first full competition season I’ve had with him in a long time. Thing actually went to plan 90 percent of the time, which is a hard thing to do with horses! I almost had to pinch myself with each event and show we finished. Looking at the wall of blue ribbons from this season, I can hardly believe it.
I’ve written a lot about accepting that novice is where we’ll stay for the remainder of his career, and I’ve had to adjust my expectations and goals with him, but this year I was able to reach my goal of getting my USDF bronze medal. It felt pretty amazing to set my sights on something and actually achieve it. I’ve had to force myself to not have big goals with him anymore because of his age, but that was one that we actually pulled off!
Winning nearly event, even if it was just at novice level, was a huge deal, and we were recently awarded the inaugural Maryland TB/STB Eventing Series, which came with a huge check and lots of prizes!
I just had a flat lesson with Heidi for the first time since October, and she asked what my goals were for this year. I was hesitant again to name specific things, but if I could improve our third level scores that would be amazing. The good news is that she noticed we’ve been doing our homework, so we’re on our way to getting a bit more collection and throughness in the lateral work, which will hopefully translate to better flying changes.
As far as eventing, I’d love to do the Area 2 Championships, and the American Eventing Championships are really tempting, but I don’t know if I can justify the entry cost.
2018 was a pretty amazing year of travel for me. I went on 16 assignments for COTH and got to discover amazing new places like Badminton and New Orleans, and saw the world’s best horses and riders at the World Equestrian Games. Personally, my trip to Scotland was one of the most amazing vacations I’ve ever done, and it inspired me to look ahead to new discoveries this year. I’m thinking Iceland perhaps and definitely Burghley on the fall.
2019 is going to be a stressful and emotional one since my parents are putting our farm up for sale and moving to Kentucky. There’s no detailed timeline yet, but I’m bracing myself for some strife as my entire life is about to change. We’re a close family and have lived in the same area my whole life, so it will be a seismic shift.
For now though, I’m looking forward to my first trip of the year back to San Diego and Temecula for the Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival and then to Palm Beach in February, while praying for as little snow and rain as possible!
The 2018 season’s gone out with a bit of a whimper and not a bang for me unfortunately. With Seneca being canceled and now Waredaca getting a few inches of rain, I decided to scratch today.
I knew at the beginning of the week that I likely wouldn’t be running cross-country because of the wet weather forecasted, but with reports and photos coming in yesterday of trucks being towed in and out and knowing that the dressage and show jumping warm up are on grass, plus having to get up at 4:30 a.m., I decided not to risk it for a combined test that wouldn’t count for anything.
My trainer asked me to consider what I would get out of it, and honestly, probably not much. We’re both bored with the novice test and don’t *need* to do it, and we’re looking ahead to some local winter jumper shows for practice. I hate to throw another $200 down the toilet, but that seems to be the nature of this year for everyone. I just wish Waredaca would have made that call for me. I was still undecided right up until I went to bed last night, and really could have gone either way, but I also think I needed a quiet day where I can get some stuff done around my apartment, have a nice ride and probably clip him again since he grew his hair back so fast!
Well, things didn’t go according to plan at Seneca. It was pouring rain on Saturday when I went up to walk my course, and Lisa and I pretty much knew we wouldn’t be running the next day.
Fortunately they made the decision a little easier for me when they cancelled all competition on Sunday, but it was a real bummer for me and for the event!
I had to head to WEG the next day with my co-worker and friend Kimberly. We arrived late afternoon to check out the venue and get our credentials, which went pretty seamlessly.
The venue was a complete mess, but the two main stadiums and the footing were great. I keep telling everyone who asks how WEG was that I went in not expecting a lot of polish, and we definitely didn’t get that. The media center was not ready for us on Monday, but by Tuesday it was functional. There was air conditioning, power and WiFi, which was about all we really needed. They fed us two meals a day plus a generous afternoon snack, which is more than we could have asked for and very much appreciated.
Oh So and I headed to CDCTA Dressage At Morningside on Aug. 18, and I’m happy to report we got our final score for our bronze medal!
We had later ride times, so it was pretty warm, but luckily overcast. We rode Third 2 twice, once in the regular class and once in the Test Of Choice class because I didn’t want to have to learn Third 3 with only two weeks.
Unfortunately Heidi wasn’t available for a lesson the week after Loch Moy, so I worked on my own a bit just riding lots of haunches in in canter to prepare for the half passes.
The last week has been a whirlwind of dressage. I took Oh So to the By Chance Farm licensed show in Maryland to do two first level tests that we weren’t able to do back at PVDA in May because of the footing.
The farm was quite lovely and compact with an indoor ring for warm up and two outdoor competition rings. The footing was great in all the rings, and if I only had one complaint it would be that the indoor warm up was a bit tight with lots of FEI horses pirouetting and tempi changing around us. Oh So was a little worried about that, but mostly kept his focus for our simple warm up.
With the cancellation of Surefire I had a bit of a gap between competitions, but we had a lovely schooling on July 4 at Surefire instead. It was pretty cool to just hack over, ride for an hour, then hack back, and I only wish I could have done that for the event. Sadly they’re not having a fall event this year 😦
I had a very long weekend at the Great Meadow Nations Cup, and somehow, after a horrible heat wave earlier in the week, the humidity dropped, and it was somewhat bearable for horses and humans.
I spent Father’s Day like so many before, at Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials with my dad!
I had super early ride times and was done by 10:30, which I was grumbling about at 4 a.m. when I woke up, but I’m glad we got done before it got unbearably hot.
Bittersweet Field, where the event is held, had some damage due to cars and tons of rain this spring, and they ended up cancelling the prelim and intermediate. As a result, there were some rutty spots on course and the dressage warm up was half the size and not super great.
I can’t remember a Memorial Day weekend where it wasn’t hideously hot in Virginia, and this year was no different. I competed at the third Loch Moy Starter Trial after missing the second one last month due to Oh So’s injury. As much as I missed being at Virginia Horse Trials, I was glad I made the choice I did, because we won!
It was basically gross and humid from the time I got to the barn at 7am until I got home that night at 7pm which really just exhausts me. I’ve never been a hot weather person, and this was the first weekend where we were eventing in the heat. We’d gotten a taste of it the week before at the PVDA show and didn’t like it then either!
We’ve had crazy amounts of rain over the last week, and I was kind of glad I wasn’t entered at an event because there was no way we would have run.
But I didn’t really expect the brand new fancy all-weather rings at Morven Park to be unrideable on Saturday.
I’d entered the PVDA Spring Dressage Show, and had planned to do two first level tests on Saturday and two second level tests on Sunday to knock those scores out and start really working on the third level tests for my bronze medal.