Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The 2015 International Wrap-up

 Diva from our photo shoot this week.
Thanks to Jennifer Barr for
capturing this moment.
So, its a wrap on another year, the fifth time I’ve ventured into middle Tennessee to compete at the WHOA Colt and Pleasure Walking Horse International.   And, the fifth year of my blogging, with over 50 blog stories posted, hundreds of followers and thousands of views.  I promised at the beginning to take you with me and relay the stories, good or bad - success or defeat.  That has been hard at times, especially in the defeat, when I’d just prefer to quench my sorrows in a nice big margarita.  But, that’s a different story.  Most of all I’ve enjoyed hearing from all of you through it all - cheers, congrats, concerns and more.  So, thanks to all of you for being with me through it all.... so far.  And I hope you stay with me as my journey continues.

As I exited the ring on Diva from my very last class of the 2015 International with my yellow 3rd place championship ribbon, it was a little bitter sweet.  I was exhausted, but I was sad that it was over.  I scooted off of Diva and gave her a pat - I was fairly sure, she was happy it was over.  She was tired too, and it was a long, hard week for her - 15 hours in the trailer, stitches in her tongue, and a good girth rub to show for it all.  Poor girl.  Although, she’s a trouper, and her tail swung back and forth as we walked back to the stalls.

It’s been a great week - and I am very proud my horses have received a ribbon in every class.  The final tally for my show string - a first, 2 reserves, five 3rds, a 4th and a 6th.   What’s even better is that Halo is doing well, I have a great photo shoot of B and D,   and I had a great timing seeing Carlan and the girls, Tami, Jane, Hannah...and the entire HP team.  I’ve also met a few new people - many on the same type of journey as me - learning, competing and trying to improve their riding acumen.  And, I’ve certainly learned a few new things about my horses, my riding and about myself. 

Wisconsin competitors,
Eileen and Bruce hang by the stalls.
Once Diva and I reached the stalls, it was pack-up time.  Carlan, Emily and Katie helped me organize, pack up what we could and get things that were not needed put in the truck or trailer.  I’ll leave before 6am tomorrow - so I only want to be wrapping legs and grabbing water buckets and fans in the morning.   In no time, we were done, and headed off to have dinner.  Mexican.  Again.  Of course.   After dinner (and the most fab guacamole), there were many hugs and good-byes.  I headed back to Miller on my way back to the hotel to check water and tuck in B and D for the night.  Once at the hotel, I spent some time packing my bags and after a quick shower I jumped into bed for a fast sleep.

Diva resting in her stall.
Bzzzz.  Bzzzz. Bzzzz.  4am came quickly.  By 5am I was leaving the hotel and heading back to Miller.  By 6am the trailer was hooked up, fans and buckets packed, legs wrapped, and horses loaded.  I walked the perimeter of the trailer and truck to double check tires, and jumped in and started the truck. I rode down the white fence-lined Miller driveway, and glanced back once before I pulled out and turned right to head to the freeway and back to Wisconsin.   Ten hours later, I turned left into my driveway and drove along the corn field to my home.  It always feels good to be home.  Fashion was waiting in the paddock, and greeted Diva and Bourbon as I pulled them off the trailer.  Scott drove down to the barn on the four-wheeler with a smile on his face.  He greeted me with a hug - and it felt good.   We spent the evening recounting my rides and I needed to describe every detail of Halo’s win. I showed him the winner circle photo and medallion, and a smile spread across his face and he looked at me - we smiled at each other.  All I could think was that I was a lucky girl to have him support me in this dream.  Thanks babe.  I love you.

Next stop will hopefully be the Celebration.  I’ll stay in touch with Hannah over the next few weeks to see if Halo continues to do well.  Fingers crossed.  

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