How do I know it is that time of year again? Well, random food items are gone, miscellaneous items of my clothing are missing, the garbage bins are overflowing, and oh, the house is absent the gleeful sounds of rambunctious terriers.
What you ask…, well I suppose since you are reading this you already know what it is I am talking about, but perhaps you don’t. Maybe you are waiting with baited breath to hear of the surprise event that seems to happen earlier each year, yes the great migration south and eastward in search of the perfect horse season. My understanding of the event is usually based on the fact that articles of my clothing go missing, the refrigerator mysteriously empties, and there is a sudden increase in bills to pay. Again as people remind me that I do not have children, they seem to think that I have no concept of a life with offspring. Please go back and read the comment about clothing, food and bills, now honestly, doesn’t that sound like teenagers to you?
But in my reality it is the time of year that Amy heads off with the ponies and goes for a walk-about. I have decided it really isn’t about some specific event or contest just the getting out and doing (the reason no one can ever tell me what events they are actually going to, I guess.) That sounds really cool and perhaps a bit of a self-discovery thing, but having to plan around it is really difficult. My poor mother-in-law, Jemi, thinks I deliberately either do not tell her things or am being a royal pain because I do not plan travel in a timely fashion. No ma’am, just living with YOUR daughter… Now I get the whole grandparent thing too, “revenge is mine…” Of course it does create a bit of a conflict at work. The fire department really likes it when you plan your vacation a year in advance (read MANDATORY.) Have these people met my wife, heck more to the point, do these people understand horses?
Having been in the Navy I am a bit familiar with the whole separation process that happens before long trips and deployments. It is fairly predictable, and yet we (well at least I do) still fall in the hole. The human brain starts to protect itself from the angst and the loneliness of long times apart from friends and loved ones. Then throw on top of that the time crunch needed to get everything done before the rigs roll out the driveway… oh yeah, you got the perfect storm baby, it is that thing that marriage counselors call “money time”! Eventually you get down to a routine, on the phone, how are the horses, how are the dogs, how was the show, how is the weather, did they find out what was wrong with the truck…you know the normal stuff. Last year we added another comment, what hospital are you in? (I am going to pay for that one.) This year,… no, I am just going to bite my tongue and not say anything about hospitals. Period.
Probably the most excited for this whole thing are Razzle and Jasmine. There is good squirrel hunting in them thar woods, fields, paddocks, etc. The ASPCA has certified that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. I do miss the furry little mongrels, although it is nice to have my side of the bed back again (mom tosses and turns a bit too much for their liking on some nights.) Jasmine is always the eager beaver to get up. By about the third time up in the middle of the night of tossing and turning, Jasmine doesn’t even raise her head anymore; she just burrows a little firmer into my back.
This is that moment in the writing that I get all betwixt, do I review the past month or two that gets us up to speed for the coming couple of months, or do I just jump in about what’s coming?
I guess plain and simple I’ll look back to make sure we get going in the right direction. The major reason for this is the passing of Becky Broussard. We were driving home from Montana after seeing Amy’s father when we got the news. It is one of those “you sort of know what the phone call is” before you answer it, just hoping that you are wrong. Given her quiet nature, I will leave it at it was both fun and a privilege to know her. We give our best wishes and prayers to the friends and family of the Broussards.
I find it humorous that people talk of an “off season” in this sport, because I really never get to experience it. Yes, the end of October into the start of November is time off for the horses. The weather hasn’t turned bad, yet, so they just meander about their paddocks and pastures living the life of Reilly. The horses start back slowly, trail rides, lots of dressage, and then, eventually, jumping. Nothing too big, just enough to remind them there is something at the end of dressage to look forward to.
This fall we got a new member to the Barn, his name is Adam, a Bavarian Warmblood born in 2007. He is named “Adam” because his breeder’s name sounds/looks like Sandler of Adam Sandler fame… He is cute and gentle. He was found by a friend, who was traveling in Germany, hanging out in a field with his friends enjoying life. The next thing he knew he woke up in the USA. It is pretty funny, because my German I took in high school is finally coming to use, talking to the horse. The first time I spoke to him, his ears perked up, like “oh my gosh, I thought the world went crazy and didn’t know how to talk correctly anymore” (hey, it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) So far besides spending money on the horse, now I have spent money on Amy because of the horse. He is quick, very quick, gentle yes, but damn quick. He has dumped three people so far, some twice! He always greets you with a smile, and thankfully no teeth are involved in that smile either. Adam is just hanging out this year at home while Mom is traveling, he is learning how to chill, important given his ability to drop anyone at a moment’s notice.
Before long December became January and the time to ship off to places in California and who knows where else has arrived. There are trunks to pack, trailers to load, and backs to inject (Amy’s – remnants of WEG 2002.) Lauren took off with the horses so Amy could attend some local meetings. I have decided we should probably avoid California, if only for the sake of the fact that our truck HATES California for some unknown reason. Sure enough, given that consistency is the hallmark of excellence, the truck had brake problems. Actually it was the trailer, for the most part. Lauren got stuck in the Chino area for a day while the issue was worked out. I am still arguing with the jerks who “fixed” the brakes in the first place in Washington. Eventually the truck, the trailer, the horses and the girls made it to Thermal, just in time for the show. Albeit significantly poorer thanks to repair bills.
From what I hear, life at the horse show in Thermal is a bit “different” than what eventers from little ole’ Washington are used to; something about feeling like white trash apparently (not my phrase, theirs!) They didn’t bring along their lawn, or picnic benches to set the proper ambience, how gosh of them.
With some trials and tribulations the girls moved on to Galway’s winter event. Robert Kellerhouse always works hard on getting the most out of Galway for the riders, and it was a good start to the season. It is always nice to get that first event out of the way; you know, “Have I been doing the right thing with the horses over the winter?” Will the Coach (CMP) think I am on the right track? Will I have the power of my convictions to withstand the inevitable doubts that plague us all when it comes to horses or life in general, and will those convictions be right in the first place? Thankfully the show went well. The boys showed up, ready to go to work; and trust me this is important, because otherwise the phone calls get really long and uncomfortable!
After the event Amy and the boys headed up to their home base for a while, El Campeon Farms in Thousand Oaks; a very beautiful place that the boys just love because of the laid back pace and good footing. There are Zonkey’s to keep the horses on their toes (Donkey, Zebra crosses), and tortoises to keep the terriers enthralled for hours. The west coast training sessions have been held here. The owners of the property, the Gonda’s have provided a wonderful place for the riders on the training list to shake off the winter rust and move into the start of Olympics 2012 preparations. A problem with this level of the sport is you are always looking years down the road, as if time doesn’t go by fast enough as is. (picture: Razzle looking for turtles, squirrels, bunnies or pretty much anything that moves.)
So given that my latest performance evaluation at work alludes to the fact that I have a tendency to over talk a subject (me, really?), I guess I better wrap this up so I can get working on a few other projects: bills, work, barn, etc., etc. Until we meet again, I wish you well. Trust me there is a lot more to write about, and it is only February. Say good night Jasmine.