Thursday, June 13, 2019

Dressage in Wine Country I & II

While normally I would split a two day show into two posts, I can barely get around to getting one out at this point.

For one--wow, it really sucked! Also though, ALL MY THINGS are intent on breaking themselves. Between rehabbing the psycho cow dog's partially torn ACL, my ancient fat cat having a seizure and needing extensive further diagnostics (though I'm not convinced the answer isn't just that he's an ancient fat cat), my truck receiving a dwindling mortality deadline, and the shit storm with the trailer you're about to read, I'm kind of over everything.

But first I gotta go wait for the chiro to show up for my horse because what's one more thing to chuck money at at this point, right?!

obvi worth chucking money at a barn mate for this tail braid

I'm going to try to format this so it's quick and easy to read/write. I also paid a lot of money for the show photographer and only ended up with one usable picture which is a bummer.

Let's do this thing.

The Arrival

I did day two of this show last year. I remembered three things about it: the ride down was a bitch, Opie was a tense mess because of the isolation from other horses in the ring he showed in, and the management was all over the place. This year, the ride down actually wasn't as bad as I remembered it. The management had improved, and overall the show from my end ran pretty smoothly, but I wasn't too inspired when I went to check in and there was a line already out the door with no one sure yet who was in charge of what.

The Good Boy

The thing I was most worried about was this being Opie's first overnight show, and that he was going to make poor life choices left alone in his stall at night. You know, like getting cast because he loves his giant fresh pile of shavings and ripping his leg off again. Fortunately he was the very best boy. He had a young mare on one side of him and two stallions on the other, and he only occasionally nickered when the mare left. He didn't weave, he wasn't anxious, he ate and drank like a champ, he hung out ground tied outside his stall while I tacked him up, and then stood like a statue while I ground mounted.

snackin' while waiting for me to finish dressing

Test Riding Blonde Moments

I ended up riding three tests over the weekend after scratching my last one. I fucked up all three.

  1. Saturday 1-1: Fixated on that fucking canter-trot-canter transition we messed up both days at Houghton, I forgot you don't actually pick the canter back up until C in this test. Thank god the judge rang me for an error and had me repeat this movement because Opie spent the second half of the diagonal half rearing, half launching. Also thankfully she didn't just ring us right out. 
  2. Saturday 1-3: Yeah, you guessed it. He picked up the wrong lead in that transition. I went back into the warm up after this test and made him do it about twenty times in a row. There were excessive dramatics, but I managed to end with one I was okay with.
  3. Sunday 1-1: Exhausted, hot, pissed as shit at my horse and the asshole rail birds, and warned that this judge was getting annoyed about people tarrying at the in-gate, I heard the bell and headed in. Only my ring was a whistle. So I got waved out, apologized, and then the scribe had to yell out that she had now blown the whistle. To be fair, they soon ditched the whistle because no one could hear it.
hears everything. even imaginary things.

The Tests Themselves
  • Saturday 1-1: Opie. Was. Tense. He was a giant ball of "I'm the last horse to go before the lunch break therefore there are no other horses anywhere in sight and that is not okay." Every fucking comment was some version of tight, distracted, bracing, yada yada. Except the 7s on the walk. I'll take my small wins wherever I can get them, guys. The final comments for this one made me laugh. "#4 (the stretchy trot which is broken but on the repair) is generally the frame you should be in for this level--this was more a Second level frame. He needs more swing and a longer connection." I assume what she was trying to convey was that Opie was too smashed into a shorter frame and that he needed to be longer over his topline. Agreed, I just thought the wording was funny.
  • Saturday 1-3: Honestly the trot felt even worse in this test, and it scored a long line of 5s for--you guessed it--tension. Fortunately the walk reset him and we ended with a long line of 7s for the canter work, minus the 4 for the missed lead in the transition. 
  • Sunday 1-1: I cannot begin to describe how satanic Opie was to warm up. I put him on a 15m circle in a corner of the giant ring and cantered him for twenty minutes straight, occasionally having to yank him to a stop when someone would wander directly into our path which would make him rear to the point where he almost dumped me a couple of times. Bitches. I want one tiny circle in the far corner of this giant AF ring for my clearly melting down horse. GO THE FUCK AROUND ME. Then, once I got #childsatan reliably on four feet and was walking around at large waiting to go in, I changed directions while passing a pair of trainers on the rail to avoid their student making random circles all over hell and creation--because that's called COMMON FUCKING COURTESY--and the trainers were like, "She keeps following Student around or something." "She's probably trying to pick up tips." At which point I seriously considered accidentally on purpose kicking them in the face as I went by. Deep breaths, how do you beat these people? By going in and winning your test. So we did. 
must have been all those tips i picked up while on the opposite end of the ring
managing my rage monster and trying to avoid people that couldn't be bothered
to avoid me.

The Ribbons

Obviously the most important part.

how da fuq did we get any of these?

We were fourth for the first test, third for the second, and then went to the wine and cheese gala to pick up our Best Turnout Award. Our win in our only test Sunday was also good enough for High Point OTTB at First Level. The scores? A 60%, 61.94%, and a 60.86%--and yep, that last one was good enough for both high point and to win the whole class. Outside of Training, the judging was tough. Does no one know how to ride the new tests? Clearly I'm firmly in that category!

For Fuck's Fucking Sake

I've always had this fear that I won't notice if I blow out a trailer tire and will just keep rolling down the road on three wheels. Y'all, that's not a thing. On my way home, just about to hit the busiest split of interstate, I blew out a trailer tire so hard it sent the fender flying. I was able to pull right over onto a wide shoulder, had the world's fastest mini crying meltdown, and then got to work changing my first tire. 

Right as I was finishing pulling the blown tire off, ass glued to the side of my trailer for fear of getting smashed by vehicles that are a lot like warm up riders who won't get out of the way, a highway truck pulled up behind me. One of the friendly gentleman started directing traffic over while the other helped me align my spare and then put the finishing muscle on tightening the lug nuts. When they were done, they even ran back and grabbed my fender for me. They complimented me for my preparedness (aka my paranoia about being stranded helpless anywhere and therefore being a horse trip doomsday prepper) and sent me on my way.

poor old lady.

The good part (??) of losing the fender was that I could see the back half of the tire that didn't blow. Remember the trailer inspection I just had done? The one where I paid them a lot of money to break my lights? They also changed the wheel bearing on that tire...but didn't bother telling me that the bearing had caused uneven wear on the tire and it needed to be replaced. Or, you know, replacing it themselves since it was in there for inspection. Plus the tire that blew looked like it was a re-cap which had been put on by the other trailer place I'd taken it to a couple years ago. That's not okay.

And this is why I cannot with mechanics.

Or horses.

Or people.

opie's face = my brain currently.


  1. Jezzy Chrizzy - I'm glad you two are ok minus mental load, and that the highway truck men were able to help you out. Also congrats on the ribbons just take them and run lol

    1. My OTTB High Point award was left at my stall while I was loading my trailer, and I was like, "Not sure they gave this to the right person, but I'm not giving it back!"

  2. WOW that's quite the tire blowout! I'm glad you're all right and also that some people stopped to help you. That's the worst.

    One of my worst fears is having a tire blowout at speed (any kind, not trailer or hauling related) and it was actually a huge relief once I had one because it wasn't that bad, I lived, and everything turned out okay. So hopefully itll have the same effect?

    1. I definitely had this morbid fear that if I had a blowout my rig would go careening out of control and everyone would die, but turns out that's not as likely a scenario as it played out in my head.

  3. I'm pretty sure warm up rings are the 8th circle of hell. You deserve a ribbon for not booting those rail birds in the face.

    1. They are the WORST. And Opie seems to be a magnet for crazies so they make him especially wound because he doesn't like horses in his personal space on a good day.

  4. Well that was QUITE the weekend!!!

  5. Why do they ALWAYS put the lower level classes just before lunch or the end of the day so the green horses/less experienced have to deal with pony separation anxiety on top of everything?

    Do you hear me dressage people? WORK ON THIS. I know 13 and T3 are the most boring and popular tests ever. Saving them for last angers EVERYONE.

  6. i need a nap now after reading that. And Valium. And a glass of wine. Whew glad you all survived. SHIT Opie is the prettiest though :)

    1. He got lots of comments on his looks while out grazing. Not so much while being a rage monster in warm up. :P

  7. Ugh. I guess at least you got some nice satin?
    I'm so glad the highway dudes showed up. Not that you couldn't handle it, but it's nice to have traffic moved out of the way for you.
    Glad that's all over for you. Hopefully Satan Opie will retire now. And ALSO, eff those ass hats with their ridiculous comments. Opie should have run them down.

    1. I appreciated the highway dudes stopping for sure! It alleviated my fear of being flattened by a semi if nothing else!

  8. Honestly, warm up rings are awful. Especially in dressage. Last weekend I almost blew a gasket at people blocking the rail to talk to their trainer/support crew.

    Good for you on knowing how to change a tire. And not killing Opie. Or the people. Sometimes we need to rewarded for not committing murder.

  9. The trailer tire thing is my biggest fear yet I dont have a spare. 😬

  10. There should have been big ass ribbons just for coping with half of that! I hope everyone is feeling better now (except those nasty railbirds)

    1. Taking away their blue ribbon was a great moral victory for Team Child Satan.

  11. Oh man, what a crazy show. It sounds like you both handled it as best you could though. Here's hoping your next one is MUCH more pleasant! <3

  12. You are MY HERO for not bitch slapping (verbally) those rail birds. What the actual fuck. People need to learn to whisper if they are going to be so vile!


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