Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Jane snapped this shot of me having
coffee and blogging on the porch
swing one morning.
Saturday morning I rose early to overcast and cloudy skies. I am beginning to think my luck may be running out, and that rain is definitely in the forecast for today. But as the morning progressed the sun came out, blue skies appeared and it teased us a little bit. I got up, had my coffee and texted Hannah to confirm a morning practice ride. Then I jumped in the car and drove the 45 minutes to Shelbyville to see B.  My drive was met with rain drops and sunshine. Boy, who knows what today will bring. The weather is literally changing by the minute. 

When I arrived at Main Gate Farms there were already multiple cars parked by the arena. I pulled off into the grass and and killed the engine. I pulled my hair back into a pony tail, put on my baseball cap, and pulled on my riding boots. I then headed into the barn through the doorway near Bourbon's stall. As I rounded the corner, I noticed his stall was empty, so I progressed into the cross tie area. "There you are!  Good morning B," I said, and B perked up and turned his ears towards me, and gave me a little hoof pawing hello. Candy was there with him, tacking him up. I gave him a pat and looked into his eyes. I swear he looked just a little lazy eyed, and I wondered if he had got a good night's rest after last night's big class. 

Who would have thought this day
would end up in T-storms!?

In no time we walked out of the tack area, down the long row of white painted stalls (I think there are 36 stalls in this aisle way,  18 on each side), and into the large cedar lined riding arena. The arena is set up with an observation deck at the center for customers to sit and socialize, and a round pen on one end. There were numerous customers sitting at center ring watching Hannah ride Absolute Sky. He's her lite shod horse, and is pretty awesome to watch up close like this. He steps really high and you can hear him snort his way around the ring. It feels electric charged. One of Hannah's customers took him for a spin that morning, much to her delight. I passed on the chance, but took a rain check. I wanted to focus on B and he was already getting warmed up as I watched.

I jumped up on Bourbon next and off we went.  We dog walked at first, and then after one lap, I picked him up into a slow flat walk. He felt really good, was soft in my hands, and snapped and shook. I just enjoyed the ride. I focused on keeping him at a slow walk all the way around the ring. I checked his nose and gave a release. I  could feel him rise in the chest and get a little snappier at the knees. He does this really cool thing once in a while where he just hoofs it. I can't describe it well, but he snaps those knees and really grooves. It's pretty amazing and powerful. All in a very good way. I love it.  We're having a great ride. Hannah gives advice and instructions along the way. We're doing good today. I feel good about my ride and I feel like we're progressing on this whole learning journey. Maybe this weekend is a big breakthrough for me, for B, for both of us together.  I walk him for a while to allow him to catch his breath. Then I pick him up and work him again. It's so smooth. It's so fun. And it's all so over before I want it to be. But it's almost noon, and the horses going to the show tonight all need their show baths. And so they take B from me, and back down to the wash rack. As I watch Bub lead him away, his little tail swinging left and right to his stride, it's like my whole heart goes with him.  Bye B. . . .
Jane and I at the Bluebird Cafe.

I quickly divert my attention to the other customers who are there, before I get too sad.  I watch a few clients ride their horses and then we make plans for a Mexican lunch down the street. I give Hannah a hug, as she won't be at the show with us tonight, and say our good byes. Then off to lunch, which is always a great opportunity to learn more about the others who are on a journey much like my own. We swap first walking horse experiences and tips of the hobby. And we all share our deep appreciation for what Hannah is doing with our horses and for improving us as riders. I hope she realizes how much she is appreciated and respected by us all. It reconfirms for me that B is in a good place and being well taken care of - just as I would take care of him at home. 

After lunch I head back to Jane's to take a nap. I'm exhausted and I thought I'd feel better tonight if I could just rest for a few hours  When I arrive I find Jane and Jean are out in the front lawn grooming Jean's horse, Clever. So I stop and chat for a while. Its really nice to catch up with Jean.  Then I head to the house for that quick nap.  The heat gets to you, and it sneaks up on you fast. I've learned to constantly drink water down here, or you'll get light headed in an instant. When that happens, it's over. 
Waiting in line.  McD in hand
to tide us over until we get in.

I stretch out on the bed and watch the ceiling fan go round and round. The next thing I know, my alarm is going off. I guess I was tired. I lay there for a while, thinking about my ride from last night. And I wonder if I could have done any better. He felt good. I guess I was hoping he'd earn a better ribbon. As I thought about it, I remembered that they post the judges scores online.  Since this is a bigger show, there are actually 3 judges, and the three scores are put together to get to the final ribbons.  However, online they post each of the judge's individual scores. Hmmm, I wonder how B faired by each of them, I wondered if I really wanted to know.  I exhaled, reached for my iPad, typed in the walking horse report URL and pulled up the judges cards for his class. And there in the cards....B had received a second placement by TWO of the judges!  Woot woot!  In fact he had even been placed ahead of the horse that won the class in the eyes of one of the judges. Well that certainly was validating.  We had done a good job. Frankly, we probably did an outstanding job, especially considering that it's hard for unknowns like me and B to get high ribbons in classes like this, at such big important shows. I was delighted!  And so proud of B. 
Can you tell which one
is Jane?

I think I walked with a little more spring in my step as I got ready for tonight's classes. I was excited, and determined to go in focused. My enthusiasm was only dampened by the black clouds that came rolling in as I pinned up my hair and rouged up my cheeks.  Darn it!  Will this blow over?  Yikes, it's pouring and lightening. On and on the rain pelted the window. And my cheer faded.  I came downstairs just as Jane came bursting through the front door, wet and laughing. OMG this does not look good.  I texted Bub to find out if the show was on and he said yep, horses in the ring. My class wasn't until later, but the show's early versatility classes had begun, and B and the HP team was on the grounds.  Well, okay I better get going. So I finished up, and ran out between the raindrops to the car.  However about 10 minutes into my drive, Bub called back with the cancellation news. I guess the heavy downpour that had been in Franklin, just reached Shelbyville and the horse and riders were sent running for cover.  B was back in the trailer, and they we're going back to the Main Gate.  So much for riding in the ring tonight. :(.   I made a U turn and headed back to Jane's. 

Mark Germino on stage....
singing about Antique shopping!
We decided to make lemonade out of these rain soaked lemons, and got ourselves fixed up and went out for some country music. Our destination was The Bluebird Cafe, a famous spot for music writers to showcase acoustic songs they wrote and test out new material. We waited in line for over an hour for the chance to get into this small, intimate place. And then enjoyed an evening, up close and personal with Mark Germino.  He played his new material, to test out on the audience. He was funny, and his songs were playful. One was about columbine flowers, one called 'wow, I was just laying there', and one about a man waiting (not so) patiently on his ole lady who was shopping in the antique store.  LOL, I could have seen Scott relating to that one!  

So in the end, the rain tried to take away a good time, but we found a new path....and the weekend ended up being a great mixture of riding and rich music. 

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