Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

I am the first to admit that Thanksgiving has never meant a lot to me. As a kid I hated turkey...and stuffing, and cranberries, and sweet potatoes, and...well, you get the picture. Even though I'm an adult now, and I eat all of those things, Thanksgiving still doesn't strike a chord with me. I do love spending time with my family, but I'm in the fun position of living close enough that it seems stupid to fly, but far enough that the six hour drive (which turns into an eight hour drive with holiday traffic) is a bit much to just spend a few days at home. Combine that with the fact that Thanksgiving is generally the beginning of the end of the semester, with a myriad of tests up to the day before the holiday and a plethora of projects due in the two weeks following, and it means that I haven't made it home for Thanksgiving since my first year at UNT in 2008.

Generally, I tend to spend Thanksgiving on my own or maybe with friends, stuffing myself with whatever food strikes me fancy. Last year, it was Rudy's BBQ, and there's something wonderfully Texan about eating my own body weight in brisket on Thanksgiving. This year, I spent the day with Jessica Pye, going for a hack on our boys before we attempted to put together our own version of Thanksgiving, which included a rotisserie chicken from Walmart, green been casserole, instant mashed potatoes, and cinnamon rolls for dessert. Terribly traditional, I know.

(The view from Dante's back on Thanksgiving Day.)

Even though I'm not terribly religious, I do make an effort to think about what I'm thankful for. In 2011, there are three things I'm especially thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family. Both my parents and my boyfriend are amazing at supporting what I'm doing, whether it's college or horses. I'm incredibly lucky to have such good financial support from my parents, who also cheer with me in the good moments and console me during the low. I couldn't have done what I have without them. My boyfriend knows when to listen and when to try and fix things, when to send me a random pick me up, and how to make me smile. I couldn't ask for a better family.

I'm thankful for my friends, both horsey and non-horsey. I've never had the easiest time making friends, but in Dallas I've found an incredibly supportive group of people at Gold Chip. I can spend hours at the barn easily, watching lessons and socializing at lunch with people from all over Area V. I'm thankful for my non-horsey friends, because as much as I love horses, I sometimes just need to go to the bar, have a Shiner, and talk about football.

I'm thankful for my horse and his health. Even though Galway was a bit emotionally draining for me, it really helped me realize how much of a partnership I have with him, and how devastated I would be if he was taken from my life. Even when he was sick, he was a total beggar, hamming it up for treats and generally looking smug in his warm stall while I traipsed around in the cold and rain. No matter what, I would never be tired of seeing that face in my barn. He's been back in work for a week and a half now, and of course is going better than ever on the flat, including half passes and lead changes.

Here's to the holidays! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

And Sometimes, Everything Falls Apart

I have never been so relieved to be home from a horse show. This past weekend was one weekend that I can't wait to forget, and although we've all had weekends like that (Jersey comes to mind), I truly cannot think of one good thing about this past weekend.

Other than the rainbow, of course.

Really, it was a lovely rainbow.

It began on Thursday when I arrived at the show grounds for the day, and having not had time to pick up my packet on Wednesday afternoon, I stopped first at the office...where I promptly discovered that I rode Thursday afternoon rather Friday morning as I had thought. This meant I had to drive back to my hotel and get my dressage breeches, which made me late to get on for a long canter, which caused me to miss the riders meeting, which in turn almost made me late for the jog. I didn't catch up on my schedule until after the jog.

I actually was happy to be riding on Thursday, I just wish I had known it. The weather on Friday was supposed to be cold and wet while Thursday was sunny and overly warm. And dusty. But good conditions for keeping Dante a bit lethargic. Dante put in his best test of the season, which was still not nearly what I know what we can do but at least was mostly mistake free and relatively calm for him.

Unfortunately, the judges felt it was mostly insufficient and scored me a 70.3. I was a bit shocked, I admit. I thought for sure it would be in the sixties at least. While I don't dispute my ranking, it did appear as if the judges were scoring a bit high, with the low score in my division a 47.1. Still, once I got my test I saw that they scored me 4's across the board for his canter work because they didn't like the quality of the canter. I do recognize that Dante doesn't have the best quality canter but it's the same one he's always had and I've never gotten 4's on a canter movement that was performed without mistakes.

The weekend was only to get worse. Friday dawned overcast, cold, and raining. It felt like Kentucky to me, not California. It rained all day and the temperature dropped steadily throughout. It was very unpleasant. But the weather wouldn't have bothered me if I hadn't heard Dante cough once. And then twice. And then I saw his nose was full of yellow snot. Even though he was still his bright-eyed self, his temperature was 101.4. It wouldn't have been that alarming except that his temperature at in-barns was 98.4. I called the vet, who was off grounds, and by the time he arrived two hours later, Dante's temperature was over 103.

In the end, I had to withdraw Dante to treat him correctly. He got banamine and penicillin and his temp was down by the evening. He spent three days hanging out in isolation, which turned out to be the private vet clinic of the vet right across the street from the show grounds. He never skipped a beat in turns of eating, drinking, and being generally adorable/annoying. If he hadn't had a cough and snotty nose, I never would have known he was sick.

So in the end, Dante got a nice little vacation in California while I spent the rest of the weekend trying to be a good sport about it. Saturday was lovely, and I spent most of the day listening to Mike and the Captain comment on the 2* and 3* cross country rounds, which was very educational. Unfortunately, Sunday was miserable again weather wise, and although I stuck it out to watch Heather jump a lovely clear round in the muck, by the time the day was over, the disappointment was weighing pretty heavily on me.

Not sure what we'll do to try and finish off a season, or even how quickly he'll fully recover. I think it's time to take it day by day.