Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The 200th Post

I can hardly believe it, but here I am writing the 200th post of Memoirs of a Horse Girl.  Actually, I have written more than 200, because there are a couple Memoirs completed and waiting for the right moment to publish.  For the time being there is a lot going on, horse-related and otherwise, so that I find myself forgetting that I am actually off for the summer.  Of course there is the business with the therapeutic riding center up for sale, which is stressful and something that I had to come to terms with a year ago.  Helping to run a campaign to save the farm surfaces many feelings and emotions, good and bad, which are easier to just bury.  However, if it is possible to save the place, then I want to be a part of it and I believe that I do have some skills to offer, as do my comrades who have taken the hammer to the anvil.  Maybe the farm is beyond saving, but we, at least, want the opportunity to try and some communication about what is going on would be much appreciated.

Happiness in horse form

Of course, when it rains, it pours, and my teacher has contacted me to ride with her this week.  I absolutely cannot say "no", unless there is a hurricane, derecho, extended power outage, or something else crazy like that, which NEVER happens in New Jersey, or so I thought.  The week is quickly filling up, so Saturday may be the only day.  I truly appreciate her working around my schedule and she is very supportive and knowledgeable so seeing her will be wonderful.  On top of that, I have a school-related commitment (Go Science Fair!) this Wednesday, the only one of the entire summer, and the Township Committee meeting is the same day.  I have also been teaching therapeutic lessons on Wednesdays for the summer, but, thankfully, a friend is available to substitute, so that one is covered.  A patio is being installed in our backyard, which makes me feel like I should hang around the house, and my sister-in-law is due to have her first child, very, very soon.  This is understandably on everyone's minds.  It is difficult not to get a little jumpy if she does not answer her phone.  Did she go to the hospital?  But, so far, the baby is sticking to the schedule and we are waiting in the wings.  This will be the family's first grandchild, so there is a lot of hubbub.

AND, didn't I mention something about new horse show attire?

Well, I gave my barn some dates to consider for transportation and the one that worked out is this Sunday.  That's right.  Harley and I are entered in a dressage schooling show for THIS coming Sunday.  Oh dear.  I have been riding my horse when the weather permits, but we have not been practicing tests.  Test-riding is about a million times different than regular training or riding for pleasure, even if my pleasure happens to be dressage.  Last year we had two successful outings at schooling shows at First Level (I do not show beyond schooling shows.  Too much money and too much stress.  I want my horse and I to have fun!), so that seems like the logical level to enter this year, but...

...what are my goals here for the schooling show?

Am I showing to prepare my horse for a big show career?

No.

Am I showing to get better at the First Level tests so we can be competitive at bigger competitions?

No.

Am I showing because I expect to go in many more shows this year and I want to map my progress?

No.

So why am I showing, if not for the experience and some fun?

That's it.  I want to take my horse somewhere, and this place is very, very nice.  Dress up.  Have a nice ride or two.  Maybe show off a couple things that we are good at.  Maybe just showcase where we are and get the opinion of a judge, whose opinion, of course, will be of our snapshot performance, having known nothing about where we come from or how long it has taken to get there.  Maybe try something that we have never done before...

...like Second Level.

Am I crazy?

I signed up to ride First Level Test 3 and Second Level Test 1.  I had planned to carefully school the things from the second level test that are the most difficult for us, polish the things we are good at and hope for the best, knowing that this is most definitely a leap of faith and an experiment.  I want an experience that I have never had before.  I have shown three horses to First Level, but I have never entered the ring for a Second Level test.  Harley is an unlikely candidate to make this happen compared to the horses I have ridden in the past, but he has some things that they did not have and, I believe, some talents to offer.  I feel a sense of urgency with everything going on around me and riding Second Level is amidst all of it.  I no longer have the free week to relax and prepare like I was hoping.  Anything could happen this week, from a heat wave to a farm sale or revival to a new baby in the family.  What if it comes on Sunday?

How can I concentrate on simple changes and counter canter at a time like this?!

I guess Harley and I are just going to have to go out there and have a good time.  Even if we bomb the Second Level test, at least we have pioneered a new experience for ourselves and it won't change the things that are important...

...like the fact that I love my horse and every chance I get to ride him.

Thanks for reading and wish us luck!
This week, we are going to need it.

The sunset as viewed from my back door.

My view one year ago this week.  The same sun setting off the coast of Hawaii as seen from our hotel in Kona.  My husband and I are "LOST" fans and we just can't seem to shake the notion that "We have to go back to the island!"

28 comments:

  1. Here's to a quiet week and a very successful show! Best of luck to you and Harley. :0)

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  2. Yay for second level! Even if you flub it, you've still shown moxie by getting out there and trying.

    Good luck!

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  3. Good luck at your show - how exciting!

    Hawaii is my favorite place on earth, thus far. My mom and I stayed on the Kona coast in 2006, an unforgettable trip.

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    1. I completely agree. When I think about future vacations, that is the only place that I want to go. Unfortunately, the trip is very long (and expensive), but it was like going to another world. We took a helicopter ride over erupting volcanoes and 1800 foot waterfalls. What else can compare to that?

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  4. Good luck this week and with the show. I've schooled 2nd level but never shown there. Have fun and don't stress -- keep the focus on having a fun experience. I've never managed to do that myself, but it seems like the correct goal. :)

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    1. That's why I am pushing myself to "just do it". It takes so much preparation to get to this point and even though we are definitely not solid with everything, I would rather move forward. Mistakes can be learned from, but first you have to be willing to make them!

      We do school Third Level stuff (flying changes and half-pass), although Harley's conformation will never allow him to look the way most people envision a Third Level horse, so I kind of feel justified in trying a schooling show at Second. However, why haven't I been schooling counter canter? Why, why, why? There is my first mistake!

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  5. Second level is a great adventure. Good luck!! Have you ever heard of Interdressage? You might hone some second level experience there www.interdressage.com

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    1. Thanks for the link, Sydney! That is a very interesting service.

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  6. Congratulations on your 200th post! You really are a busy girl with a lot on your plate.

    The main thing is to have fun at the show. I'm sure Harley will be just fine if you are. A new baby is so exciting but I hope he or she will wait until next week to arrive. Your pictures are wonderful. I'm partial to the Harley one and the Hawaii one. We were big fans of Lost too.

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    1. Thanks, Grey Horse Matters!

      There is almost nothing worth watching on TV since LOST ended. It was like a 6-year movie. I loved the characters and the flashback/forward/sideways driven story. We went on a LOST tour in Oahu and saw many of the places where the show was filmed. I stood on the beach were the airplane crashed. It was just too cool!

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  7. Goodness, I'm exhausted just reading about all of your adventures. I love your attitude about the show, that's how it should be, fun. I would be thrilled to show off a horse like Harley anywhere. He's #1! Hopefully you will get a little down time before school starts up again. Oh, I think my favorite photo is the one from your back door. Looks like heaven to me. Good Luck with everything!

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    1. I didn't get a chance to watch Lost the first time around. Well, thanks to Netflix (and you) I have just started my Lost "Journey", from episode one, I am 20 episodes into season one and I can't get enough.

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    2. That's great! I started re-watching season 1 recently. I cannot believe how good that show was even the third time around. I am going to encourage you to persevere through season 2. I think it is the weakest season and that the show "lost" some viewers then. From the third season on, it is a difficult show to top, in my opinion!

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    3. Oh wait. Maybe that was season 3!

      Anyway, I like the entire series so I can't tell. I am so glad that you are watching "LOST". Netflix really comes in handy.

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  8. Well that's strange - I suddenly realised yesterday that next Sunday is probably my very last chance to compete in my dressage club, so I will also be heading to a show somewhat unprepared! We can swap notes next week :-)

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  9. Congratulations on 200 (published) posts!

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  10. Wow, 2nd level, SO EXCITING! Good for you for just going out and DOING it - I hope that you and Harley put in a test you are happy with!

    Can't wait to see pics and hear all about it. Good luck!

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  11. Happy 200th post!

    My trainer always tells me not to concentrate on the "tricks", but to make sure the basics are good. If the basics are good, the tricks will be there.

    Judging from your involvement with ARCH and the date of your upcoming show (if it's where I think it is, I know the owner of that farm), I'm guessing we're not that far from each other. I have my own truck and trailer, feel free to email me if you ever need a lift to a show. I show in that area frequently.

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    1. Thanks. That is very nice of you, Shannon. My friend boards at the facility where the show is being held, although I have never been there myself.

      I completely agree with your trainer and that matches my philosophy of dressage. Even though I have two nice riding rings, neither one is a measured, lettered dressage arena, so part of my dilemma is that I have to get used to riding in a 20 by 60 meter (eye-balled) arena with markers (i.e. random barrels and jump blocks sans letters). And there are so many elements to string together. I like the lack of down time in the tests, because it keeps my horse's attention, but Harley and I are used to much more laid back training plans.

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  12. Congrats on the blog milestone :)

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