It has been an amazing month! I have received great instruction, and I have met a great deal of new riders and horses. I have gotten to school four times on the same x-c course where the United States Olympic Team holds their winter training sessions. I have competed at the Florida Horse Park against former and future Olympians. I have been to Dinosaur World. I have been swimming OUTSIDE in February. I hunted for shark teeth at Caspersen Beach in Venice, Florida. I have eaten a whole lot of oranges. AND I have seen “THE MOUSE”. What more can you ask for in a month???!!! The kids and I have had a blast.
This is, however, our last week here in Ocala. We have seen the pictures of our farm under all of that snow, and we are not excited to enter back in to the antarctic. We are excited to see all of our family and friends. We are excited to have furniture again. We are excited about seeing the horses and dog that were left behind in the deep freeze. We are excited about getting started on some farm projects. And I am really excited about starting the show season with a wealth of new information and skills that I have learned this month.
Gus and I had a great weekend at the Florida Horse Park. Friday we did our dressage test in the hardest rain imaginable. It was raining from 8am-5pm or so, and 40 degrees was about the high for the day. We all looked like drowned rats with white, see-through, breeches on. White breeches are not a good look for anyone, but add about 25 gallons of water, and you have a look that is darn near punishable by law. Aside from the terrible weather and the sloppy arena footing, Gus did about as well as I could have ever expected. We ended up with a score of 34.7 (65.3%) which put us into 7th place out of 35 riders in our Open Training Division. I was absolutely thrilled with the results because I was competing against several former (and future) olympians and big trainers.
We had much better weather for the second day of competition. It was in the high 50’s and sunny when my Wetherbrooke girls showed up from Ohio to watch Gus and I do stadium. I was soooo happy to see faces from home. They drove for all those hours, through all that terrible weather to come support us at our first Florida show. I felt so loved!!! It was great having them here, and I even got to serve Elizabeth breakfast in bed on Valentine’s Day. For those of you that don’t know her—-she is one of my all-time favorite students that I just love to torment! Anyway, Gus and I had one rail down in stadium, which dropped us down to 11th place. I wasn’t even upset about the rail because he had warmed up so well, and we put in a great round.
Sunday could not have been more perfect. It was 65 and sunny. I had been really worried about a few combinations on the x-c course when I walked it. Gus jumped around like it was effortless. He was fantastic —except for the part where he climbed a fence into the water—- the rest was beautiful. I even got to talk to Bruce Davidson Sr. after I crossed the finish line. It was really neat to see all those famous riders and horses all in one place. Karen O’Connor parked her trailer near ours. Buck and Bruce were warming up while I was. Leslie Law was my trainer and walked my courses with me. I am in heaven. Gus and I ended up in 9th place out of 35. Leslie, of course won—as it should be.
Today I had the day off. Tomorrow is our “light hack” as Leslie calls it. Then it’s back to business on Wednesday.
I had two jumping lessons with Leslie this week. He is tweaking my jumping position a bit, and it is really helping Gus to relax and open up through his neck. He is a phenomenal teacher, and I have already learned a great deal just in the 2 lessons I’ve had this week. I am doing a light hack tomorrow and will school x-c on Saturday with Lesley. Things are really good here! The temperature is 75 today, and I was able to bathe Gus for the first time! He needed it!
Well, my horse and I made it to Ocala! Today is our first lesson with Leslie. The weather has been a bit rainy, so yesterday all we could do was hack. It involved riding down the roads and into the woods for some trotting. Gus wasn’t really thrilled to see the cows. When they mooed at us, he about jumped off of the road! Other than that, it was an interesting trip. I finally got the last of my clipping done, and he looks like a normal horse again.