The last few days were really busy for us. On Friday I think Amy and I set some kind of record for efficiency. By 10am we had fed everyone breakfast, done stalls, filled water troughs, brought in all of the horses that were seeing the farrier that day and had bathed four horses, including conditioning manes and tails. I’m not sure how we did it because I never felt like I was rushing or in a hurry. We finished up with four more baths, tidying up some manes and some chatting with the farrier.
On Saturday after morning chores were done I loaded up Sky and Lexi on the trailer. Lexi made the short trip over to the farm where Amy will be working with her. It is a small, mostly private facility that has a very relaxed atmosphere. The barn was cute, the paddocks were well maintained with good grass in them and it was very quiet. Lexi will love it there and I am happy that Amy will be riding and Lexi will be getting what she needs for her rehab.
Sky and I then carried on to Percy Warner Park where the cross country course was open for schooling. I didn’t go with the intent of jumping since I haven’t really jumped her at home yet. I just wanted to see how she would act and introduce her to some of the natural obstacles like banks, ditches and the water jump.
She showed me what a saint she can be soon after we arrived. I was making my way to the cross country course, much of which is in the huge infield of the steeplechase course. There were a couple of small warm-up fences near the gates to go into the infield. I saw someone coming towards one of them and she didn’t look like she had much control so I stayed outside the gates and waited for her to jump the fence and then pull up. I’ll probably get flamed for saying this but I see the scariest riding I’ve ever seen when I go to these cross country schooling days each year. I see a lot of half out of control horses jumping in very bad, unsafe form (lots of hanging legs and such) and it just makes me cringe to see it all. I hold my breath and hope the horses make it safely to the other side and thankfully they mostly seem to find their magical “fifth leg” and scramble over.
Anyway, this person has to whack! whack! whack! her horse with her crop to get him over this 12″ verticle, and then lands completely out of control on the landing side. I kept waiting for her to attempt to pull him up before I went through the gates. Well, she never pulled up and then her horse suddenly veered out through the gates and slammed into me and Sky. I still can’t believe it happened given how far away from her I was and that I was on the other side of the fence!! Sky was a saint about it and although obviously unhappy about what just happened she stood quietly while I praised her profusely. The rider didn’t even apologize but just cranked on her garden implement of a bit and whipped her horse around and repeated the whole exercise in the other direction. I thought briefly about reporting her to the organizers for extremely unsafe riding but then decided to just carry on and avoid her. The course is huge so staying away wouldn’t be a problem.
In hindsight I wonder if I should have reported her as it might have prevented her later crash. Yet again she was overfacing her poor horse trying to make him jump a barrel jump. He kept refusing and so she went to the crop again, and this time he tried to run out but didn’t get his front legs out of the way in time. He ended up catching both of his front legs on the jump as he tried to pop his shoulder and go around it, and this is a cross country jump that doesn’t fall down. He completely lost his balance and because of his forward momentum flipped over and landed on top of her. Thankfully both she and her horse were ok. I got off of Sky and helped catch her loose horse. Just as with the running into me incident there was no thank you for helping to catch her horse. Thankfully she called it a day at that point and stopped trying to jump this horse. Sky was great and went into the water jump twice, went up and down the little bank and went over the ditch. When I got home and was telling Jason about the incident even he made the comment that he hates it when I go to these cross country schooling days because so many of the riders are so scary.
Sunday started off as one of those days where you wish you hadn’t bothered to get out of bed. It was just a lot of stupid little things that kept happening but when added up make you really frustrated. The climax was when I went to drag my arena and my DR Power Grader failed me. You use a hand-held remote to raise and lower the grader and when I got to the ring and pushed the button to lower it down nothing happened. So I tried the up button and nothing happened again. So like an idiot I kept pushing the up and down buttons waiting for something to happen but it never did (I have to point out here that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result). I’m hoping it is something simple like the battery in the remote needs to be replaced but I decided I couldn’t deal with any more and will worry about it another day. Thankfully the day improved significantly after its aggravating start. Jason worked hard all weekend with another round of bush hogging and the pastures look wonderful. I am running a few days behind on pictures so you can see the freshly mown pastures probably by Friday, maybe I’ll throw a few in sooner!
Norman surveying his kingdom from the entrance of the barn