Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Unlucky Horse

There are some weeks, I feel like I own a Very Unlucky Horse.

This is one of those weeks.  Last week was too. 

It's never a good sign when your barn owner calls you at work.  Fortunately, Chili will be OK, but the summary of the situation is in some Mysterious Horse Fashion she managed to take a chunk out of the medial (inside) part of her stifle area.  Fortunately, she missed the stifle proper.

I've decided not to post the before picture.  It's kind of gross, unless you enjoy those types of photos.  I have a lot of these photos on my  phone, but I'm slowly learning it's not polite to share these images with the average person.

Chili ended up on a few days of stall rest.  For an exuberant four year old, it was moderately painful.  But she made it through it.  She's back outside on turnout, as long as she behaves...

Now a week into this ordeal, it looks like my horse's leg won't fall off at any moment, which I would say is a major plus.  ;) 

But it's certainly isn't Chili's summer.  She's had a dog attack, a kick to the face, and this Mysterious Horse Injury within three months. 

Poor horse.  Maybe bad luck for horses comes in threes as well.

As for me, I'm hoping this emergency vet bill will also come in under a "three" too.  ;)  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Whirlwind Part II

After my arrival in Raleigh, my main objective was finding a place to sleep.

I had been up extremely early that morning, worked a full day, nearly missed a flight, and sleep seemed like the thing to do.  My husband was confused why I wasn't doing backflips on his plan to surprise me in Raleigh.  I was surprised and pleased of course.  I was just more tired.  Poor guy.  :(

Next morning, important things came first: search for caffeine.  The hotel ran out of coffee.  What kind of hotel runs out of coffee?

So, we went through the drive-through next to the hotel and got the obligatory-almost-fall drink: pumpkin spice latte.  OK, I am now matching 95% of college aged girls out there drinking coffee this morning.

An awesome internet horse gal who lives in Raleigh messaged me and planned to meet me at the showgrounds.  Awesome.  I can have photographic proof of my epic fails in life.  Just kidding.  I was trying to stay positive.

The Raleigh show grounds are pretty condensed.  There were a lot of horses in a very small space.  I was just showing one class in-hand, so we had Thunder, the horse I was showing, all prepped and then was told that the judges were taking a break.

I almost look like a normal person here. 


So we went back to lazing around.  I went and bought an obligatory show t-shirt since I couldn't bring myself to pay $78 for a hoodie that another vendor wanted.  Seriously?  Good grief.

Back to showing.  The sport-horse in hand class is basically set up like many warmblood inspections.  There's two triangles.  There's a smaller triangle and a larger one connected to it.

The smaller triangle is for the walk away, across the top, and towards the judges and the trot triangle is the same, but a longer distance for trotting.

The horse is stood up before and after the class at the apex of the triangle.

After much anxiety, it was finally my turn to show.  My friend handled him first in the open class and he was pretty well behaved.  She just warmed him up for me.  Or so she said.

Thunder loves one thing most in the world after hanging out in his stall with his young stallion buddy: liberty.

Sorry dude, not liberty time. 

He was fine.  A little unhappy about me nitpicking him while standing him up for the judges, but one was very picky.  "One foot forward."  "Another foot forward please."  "Wait there."

Or that's what I'm imagining she said.  I couldn't really hear most of it due to being hard-of-hearing, but that's the gist I got of it.  But at least, I did get a cursory nod to walk the horse.

Thunder decided that walking was for the birds on part of the long side.  He did a wonderful passage though.  Oops.

But when it came time to trot, he really did have a great time.  He loves to trot.  And I love to run the trot with him.

Photos taken 10 years apart.  Top photo was me last week.  Bottom photo is not me.  :)

I was really anxious when I left the ring.  Anxiety is pretty normal thing for me though.  I really didn't think we would place well because of Thunder's exuberance.

But we knew we had a National Top 10 title, so after endless waiting, I took Thunder into the ring and waited some more.  They announced the top 10 winners and had the top 10 winners photos taken.

More waiting.

Then while I was standing there on the rail, I heard Thunder's name mentioned.  I, of course, never heard my name, but dang am I attuned to the name of a horse, I don't even own!

I was absolutely stunned.  Too bad, photographers didn't catch my jaw on the floor.

Ten years apart, Thunder managed to win two reserve national champion titles.  Very cool!  

So thank you Thunder.  You made an incredibly crazy less-than-24 hour trip to Raleigh worth it.  Even though, I almost managed to miss flights on the way home too. 

Maybe it's time to stay out of airports for a little while.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Whirlwind Part I

Last week was an incredible whirlwind.

I am still working on getting the ropes at my new job.  I do various functions in the laboratory.  The most recent department I trained in is blood banking, which is responsible for matching and issuing blood products like blood, plasma, and platelets. 

Sounds simple?

Some days.  But my luck isn't very lucky.  Some people have antibodies that like to attack other red blood cells, so it basically turns a short easy test into a long endeavor which reminds me of a mixture of a crossword puzzle and a Sudoku puzzle.  

Tuesday was mostly a quiet day at work until about half an hour before I needed to leave to catch my flight.  Then the problems began...

Fortunately, I was able to get most of the things wrapped up and my awesome co-workers stepped in so I could drive like a slightly mad hatter to catch my flight.

Then, there's the whole luck thing again.

There was a massive car accident in the city between my workplace and the airport.  I decided to wing it to figure out how to go around.  My GPS was very unhappy, protesting every half mile that I needed to "make a U-Turn". 

Sorry GPS.  I have a flight to catch.

I parked at the airport, ran like a madperson and made it to the terminal with ten minutes to spare.  Hurray!  Problem one solved.

I soon arrived in Raleigh.  I was still in my work and un-lucky haze wandering through the airport when someone grabbed me.  I was a little confused and then realized that my best friend and husband were standing there.

They decided to purchase ridiculously cheap airfare ($50, seriously?) and surprise me.  Surprised I was!

So, after working a full day, dashing through various airports and across a state, I started the beginning of my 24 hour trip to Raleigh...

Stay tuned for Part II

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Looking Back

Shows are sometimes a good time to look back and see the progress that's been made and what still lays ahead.

I took Chili to a local open show this past weekend.  Unlike many open shows, this show attracts a lot of horses that do show on the breed and rated circuits, so it's nice to have beautiful, high caliber horses.

It's also run by a friend of mine, so that's a perk.  Sort of.  It also means running interference, dealing with crazy people, and trying to overcome the major introvert personality to help manage the show.

But it was a good experience.

However, back to reflecting.  See, I'm off topic already.

In my weekend of reflections, I realized that I am lucky to have a nice horse that puts up with my shenanigans on dragging her to a show when I have not properly ridden in the past four weeks.  She puts up with my unstable aids as I am obviously not fit from not riding, but also struggling to keep my grip even on the side with the injured shoulder.

I also poorly planned things, so that meant that I just tacked up and rode my horse right before the class.  Good thing, she's my semi feral little four year old chestnut Arabian mare.  

We've had a summer of setbacks, that's for sure.  But as I finished my last class on Sunday, which was an open sporthorse under saddle class, I realized that I am truly lucky to have my little mare who was game to try, despite both of our setbacks.  She really wanted to do what I asked her to do and for that, I need to see how far we've come, versus how far we have yet to go.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An Incredible Adventure

At the show that I injured myself, I missed my chance to show my friend's very handsome Half Arabian stallion.

I was devastated.  I was really looking forward to showing him.

But I have been given a second chance.  At the last show, he qualified to show at Sport Horse Nationals in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I was asked to come and show "Thunder" in the amateur-to-handle Sport Horse in Hand class. 

This is tricky, as I could only get one day off of work...so I am flying out after work in the evening, showing the following morning then flying out that same afternoon! 

But it's bound to be a wonderful adventure and hopefully Thunder will wear roses.

Thunder was reserve champion once at Nationals before!