Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fresh Starts

Wow, today has been a whirlwind of activity.

It began at 3:30 am, when my alarm kindly woke me up so I could catch my 6 am flight. I'm relatively certain that this is the first time I have ever seen 3:30 am from the getting up side of things, although to be fair, I knew of its existence thanks to sporadic all-nighters and the occasional party during college.

Still, 3:30am is incredibly early to wake up. Especially when your final exam didn't end until 7 pm the night before and you didn't get to sleep until midnight.

Okay, enough with the whining. I was able to catch a few extra Z's on the plane and ate some Poptarts for breakfast. The breakfast of champions!....Or not. After the plane landed, I managed to somehow end up with not only a lovely Toyota Camry as my rental car, but also a soft pretzel that the Enterprise counter was handing out. Yay lunch!

The Camry and I zipped up I-95 because we were on a deadline. Bafflingly, it appears that PA and NJ think you should be driving only 55 on the highway. Luckily, the other drivers on the highway agreed with my withering assessment of the speed limits and I was able to make good time and arrive at the Horse Park of New Jersey just before noon.

Since the jog was in two hours, I got straight to work. Heather and Bonner had kindly already bathed him for me, so all I had to do was braid him, groom him, wrap his tail, add quartermarks, touch up his clip job, and polish his hooves before the jog at two. Oh, and I had to look cute myself. No problem!

Then comes the part where I'm dumb and I arrive at jog 20 minutes early and have to walk in so many circles that my feet get blisters from the shoes I purposely bought one size too small so that I could jog in them. Go me.

Luckily Dante jogged up quite well. Dante's not the best behaved at jogs, but not in the way most horses are bad. He jogs readily enough, but really wants to stay a half pace behind me the whole way down the lane. So I tap him with my in hand whip, and he happily speeds up....and then I can't stop him. It's not as if he's running away with me or anything, but he just blithely ignores the eggbutt snaffle in his mouth and tries to keep trotting into eternity. Thanks horse.

But we looked damn good. No photos yet though, the parentals don't arrive until tomorrow. Bonner's mom got a few and of course the show photographers were there so I hope to end up with a couple nice ones.

After the jog, I hopped on (after changing out of my dress). I was just planning on giving him a light work, but it took us longer to get in sync than I thought it would. The heat got to me a bit, and since my ride time is 4:10 on Friday, I need to get used to it. Finally, at the end I got over the heat bump and he got over the 'I don't want to flex today' thing and we got ourselves nicely in sync. Hopefully we will have a bit better time of it tomorrow, having refreshed ourselves of the concept of dressage today.

Now, I could have waited until tomorrow to walk the cross country course, but that's one of my favorite things of the weekend. I love the discovery of new things to jump and the anticipation of cross country day. So I set out to walk the 9 minute, 14 second course.

Wow, it's long.

It's also lovely, set primarily in a beautiful emerald field. I can see why spectators like this event, as you can see the majority of the action from one vantage point. The course winds back and forth at least 4 times through this field. Now, this also makes it difficult to figure out which jump is yours and where you're going after. I definitely accidentally walked the first three jumps of the CIC** before realizing my mistake. I also got lost at least twice trying to find a jump, became confused due to some roping, and almost gave up while climbing a steep hill at the end. But an hour later I finally finished and I am so glad to be here.

(The fields of the Horse Park of New Jersey.)

I'm going to try and get a coursewalk up at some point, but that is not tonight. I will say that I am very excited about jumping the bank complex, the coffin, the brush fence, the trakehner, and most of all, the keyhole! The course looks great with lots of galloping room. My main concern right now is that the ground is pretty harder, and there is no longer any forecast for rain. I really hope they aerovate the ground.

Tomorrow will begin with our coursewalk at 8 am with Mike. At 2 pm, my parents arrive so I'll go pick them up and then from 4:30 to 5:30 is ring desensitization, so I'll go ride then.


  1. I wish I didn't relate as well to this post as I do. That was basically me getting ready for my first CIC of the year.

    Good luck with the rest of the weekend! It is such a gorgeous venue and I'm ridiculously jealous of your grass tracks there!

  2. GOOD LUCK Maggie! Will be rooting for you this weekend!