Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What you hear when you LISTEN

It is Wednesday before Southern Pines and I am in Virginia. I did have Vaunted entered in the Advanced at Southern Pines and on Sunday made the decision not to go. As much as I would love to go and compete and see all my friends and have fun in my old stomping grounds I have to listen to my horse as he is a major part of my team...well he kind of IS my team.

He ran so very well at Red Hills, despite my error. I also feel as though his dressage is on the upward incline and doing well. However when I rode him last week he just felt a bit dull. This is unlike him on so many levels. He is not a horse that comes out to work and does not give his all each and every time. Therefore I stopped thinking about myself and thought about him and what he needs from me at this moment and this point in the game.

When I did that I came up with several things. The first being my partnership with him. I know this horse better than I know myself. We have been through oh so much together and I know how he works. This is something that I have to trust and be a strong believer in. I have to put out of my head who else is on the entry list, when they last did a hard school or a fast run, and focus on what I know works for my horse. The other thing that I came up with is that I have to stop being selfish about what I want to do this weekend and remember that if I did not have this horse, I would not even have a reason to be out there! Vaunted also has a long and strong history, not just eventing but eventing at the Advanced level. That being said just because I want to be out every weekend and going and blowing does not mean that HE NEEDS to. This horse is boarder line unnatural when it comes to showing up to compete. He knows when it is game time and I swear he knows the blue flags, red on right, and he can count. He has had good runs all year and is really stepping his game up. I was talking to a couple of other riders who have their Advanced horses that have done about the same amount as Vaughn and some of them are only running one event before Rolex.

When I stopped looking at the calendar and when I started looking at my horse and really listening to what he was telling me I actually started to feel better about making a new plan. While the end result is the same the side roads are a little different.
When we are down south there is a great facility but not great turn out and they often times suffer with their feet from the sand and the pounding on the sand affect their bodies. Vaunted last week was telling me that his feet were bothering him and his body condition needed turnout and green grass.

When we were at Kim's the horses lived out all the time. Therefore that is what Vaughn thrived on for many years, that is what transformed his body from race horse to event horse, that is what I know he likes. I also know that I am sitting on a TB. He is fast, easily fit, catlike, and has less than stellar feet. You take the good with the bad. But let me be the first to tell you, I sure am glad at minute 11 to be sitting on this TB of mine!! (shout out to all those OTTB!)
I hope to one day have more than one Advanced horse at a time, but for now he is what I have and I am damn proud of it! That being said I have to take all the little extra steps to make sure that I will be able to keep it that way! I am rather over cautious I must admit, but by george he is going to come out stronger for it at the next one. We are taking this week to work on the dressage and do a couple extra trot sets.

Being the first one back to the VA farm is kinda nice. It is quite and calm. However this means that I am to "set the barn up". While you think that it shouldn't be that big of a deal....let me tell you what thus far has taken place. I get back to the farm and all is well. I start to unload all the extra stuff that I packed up from the south, you know the extra blankets, pads, massive trunks, awkward shaped boxes, large tubs, etc. All this stuff needs to go up the stairs to the loft, OK great, one small problem....most of these things are almost as large as me and match or double me in I have developed a pulley system. I look like a darn FOOL doing it but the job gets done. I also re bedded the stalls, no biggie right...well kind of. We typically use a tractor as the shaving pile is a little far and the stalls are a good size and take a lot of shavings. Well...this kid can't find the tractor. So good ole fashion man power it is! It actually is good for me to get the extra exercise, I guess. :) Doing the shavings is kind of like dragging the arena or the paddocks, instant gratification which I am all about!

Little Pixie also came back with Vaunted and I. She is doing well and working on the adjusting. Before we left the Gibbes she jumped a log and actually jumped so hard and big over it I was almost thinking it was the head of the lake! Good practice. She is having a bit of trouble getting used to her large paddock now but I am hoping she will adjust and stop acting like a loony race horse. :) She is really funny because she loves people and being around people and being in the barn but she is not a big fan of her own kind. IF only they could talk! It's like those movies that you watch when the mom sends her kid to Kindergarten for the first time and the kid wont let go of the mom's leg. Well I have a 15.3 hand kid attached to my leg.....and it is really hairy. Classic.

I took some pictures of the re entering of Virginia via highway 29 north. You know your going the right way when you see mountains. Just like you know your going the right way to the south when you see all those crazy signs for "South of the Boarder". That is also how I give directions, "yea go down 'till you see that funny shaped tree, then turn left there and go to the store with the cat in the window and turn right...". No wonder no one comes to visit me.

Clearly by this blog I have been by myself for a little to long...


  1. Haha you crack me up! Sad I won't get to see you st the Gibbes again, but I guess I will just have ti come see you in VA! provided I get some more precise directions..... good luck! Hugs to Vaughn!

  2. I so admire your ability to listen to your horse and make a new plan-- thanks for the inspiration!