Friday, July 31, 2015

The Good. The Bad. And, The Awesome!

Emily and B are ready
for the Youth Trail class
So, as usual, I start out with best of intentions to blog each day...and then the show happens.  I’ve been up at dawn and not back to my hotel until way past midnight - so the blogging has been minimal.  For most of you, I apologize for leaving you hanging regarding Diva.  I’ll start there, with an update, in this posting.  

Diva is a tough cookie!  I’m very proud of her. Only a day after her 5 stitches, I decided to try the bit on her to see if she’d even accept it.  And she did.  The stitches were over an inch down from where her bit rested - and she took the bit right away.  I had wrapped it up with a latex bit wrap, so it was soft and squishy.  She tested it a little and then let it be.  Next, I lunged her.  I thought I’d start slow, and see if she’d react in any way.  She lunged fine.  So, I put a saddle on her, and walked/rode her around a bit.  My finger tips just lightly holding the reins.  She walked just fine, bit in mouth.  In fact, she turned towards the ring, which was filled with riders practicing between the morning and evening competition sessions, and went right in.  Once she hit the ring, she went right to work.  I was totally amazed - she wanted to go out there and do what she came to do.  And so we rode a practice ride.  She didn’t miss a beat - and my only indication that anything was not completely normal - was that she was a little more soft in her mouth than normal when I squeezed on the reins.  But, honestly, it was slight.  I couldn’t believe the luck.  I rode her for only a short warm up and then put her back in her stall.  My plan was to try her the next day again and see if this was a fluke or if there was possibility that we’d be able to show after all.   I won’t hold you in suspense - we showed!  (Whoop!!!)  And she was a solid ride every time - consistent and shaking.   She took a 6th of 15 in the western class, a 3rd in her English class of about 9 (I think) and a 4th of 14 or 15 in another western class.  What a rock star!  What an awesome mare!  My baby girl!  :)

Mary from Wisconsin
sang the National Anthem.
Bourbon has been in two classes so far.  His first was a youth class with Emily Cotten for a 3rd place ribbon on Tuesday night.  I didn’t ride him until Thursday, and that big boy pulled out a reserve ribbon in a large class of about 12 or 13 nice horses.  He came in second behind a renown World Grand Champion horse, Suiza, and in a class of great contenders!  I was tickled pink on his ride!!!!  And, he pulled out a great ribbon as well.  To celebrate, we jumped in the winners circle and took a photo - and I was joined by Annette & Mike Weber and Mary who were here from Wisconsin, the beautiful trio of Carlan, Emily and Katie Cotten, and my dear friend Tami Steinbrecher.   We all went out to the trailer and tipped a few Wisconsin beers in celebration afterwards.

Next an update on Halo.  He’s on the grounds.  Hannah brought him so I could see him, plus to keep him on his training schedule.  Ironically, his stall is back to back to Bourbon’s and the two of them keep glancing over the stall walls to meet each other and make friends this week.  I think Bourbon looks over the stall wall when he hears me in Halo’s stall - and visa versa.  On Wednesday, I trailered Halo over to the vet’s to have a follow up visit.  Some X-rays, hoof tests, and walking maneuvers - and the assessment is VERY VERY GOOD NEWS!  Couple this news with the experience Hannah has been having from the saddle and everything points to great and awesome news.  Now, its all up to the training and our Mr Halo getting the light to come on for his timing.  Huge sign of relief...we’re on our way now.

Surprise bridal shower for
Hannah and Jason.
There is a big crew from Wisconsin here this year. Many ribbons have been collected - and the youth are getting a huge experience watching and riding at the show.  I’ve had so much fun hearing their stories of their rides, and seeing a few of them show.  there have been cheers and tears - but everyone is learning and having fun riding in that huge ring.  I’ve had to convince Owen to go into a class no matter how many horses go in.  And he had a great ride yesterday - securing a reserve/2nd place ribbon ride himself!!!  I think he’s more hooked now then ever!  The youth are also meeting a few folks - like Connie Waldo, Hannah and Emily - who either have done or will do a Zoom session.  They like meeting them in person, and have picked up even more tips and hints on showing and riding while here.  They have also shopped at Bedford and seen Nashville.

For me, the days have been filled with show prep, show baths, and lots of practicing and socializing.  It’s been exhausting but fun and the weather has been hot (over 100 degrees F a few days!).  One evening the Hannah Pulvers crew threw a surprise bridal shower for Hannah - who has plans to get married this Fall.  It was crazy and fun time.  I also had a photo shoot with Diva and Bourbon with Jennifer Barr, who did the shoot of Halo.  I can’t wait to see the results. Hopefully will see the proofs today.

Celebrating Bourbon's Reserve
ribbon ride.
Unfortunately, I continued a string of bad luck with the trailer tires!  In fact a second tire was found flat one morning, and I had to change that one.  That provoked Scott to go have me change ALL the tires - just in case.  Seems when one tire goes, they all soon follow.  So, now I have 5 brand new tires - 4 on the trailer and one spare.  I also had to have the truck jumped one night at about midnight.  We think it was bad diesel or some air in the line - but via FaceTime Scott was able to walk me and Tami through the processes and we got the truck started successfully.  Somehow  I have acquired about a million bruises from packing, swinging saddles, and changing tires.  War bruises, I guess. I hope that the “bad” is over - and only good stuff like good rides, good health, and fun times lie ahead the rest of this week.

I have a few more classes, and potentially will go into a Championship class, before heading home on Sunday.  I slept in a bit today, and then had time to write this blog. But, now I think its time to head over to Miller and get back to it.

Chuck and Mike share
a beer at the trailer.

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