Wednesday, February 24, 2010

less than 2 months now!

I cannot WAIT until our Kentucky trip in April! Seriously, I am getting so antsy waiting. I don't even have anything left to plan so it feels like time is dragging even more slowly. Here's what we have planned so far:

Mon. 4/19 - fly into Cincinnati and have dinner at Montgomery Inn, a great place for ribs, overlooking the Ohio River. From there it's about an hour and a half drive to Lexington.

Tues. 4/20 - drive to Louisville and tour Churchill Downs, the racetrack where the Kentucky Derby is held. We'll take our time coming back and check out some State Parks - maybe the My Old Kentucky Home State Park, which is located where Stephen Foster penned Kentucky's state song.

Wed. 4/21 - tour Thoroughbred breeding farm Three Chimneys where horses like Point Given, Smarty Jones and Big Brown stand at stud. I've visited the farm twice before and I think it's a great place for a "semi"-horse husband to learn a little more about the business.

Thurs. 4/22 - day 1 of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, dressage. I know Nathan will probably get bored of dressage fairly quickly, so we'll go see the rest of the Kentucky Horse Park - visit Cigar, look through the Breed's Barn, etc.

Fri. 4/23 - closing day of the Keeneland spring meet. We get to dress up for lunch in the clubhouse, overlooking the paddock where the horses get ready for their races. I want Nathan to get a feel for racing and I don't think there's any better place than this beautiful old track.

Sat. 4/24 - this is the day that I'm looking forward to the most, day 2 of the Rolex, cross country. This is what sets eventing apart from other horse disciplines. I want to walk all around the course and see as much of it as possible.

Sun. 4/25 - last day of the Rolex, show jumping, and the awards ceremony. I didn't get to see this the last time out so I'm really excited. It will also mean more to me this year, I think, because I've been jumping for the past year. Granted, four-star show jumping is a little different from pre-adult hunter, but it's closer than trotting down a trail.

Mon. 4/26 - fly home.

It's going to be so great! I've tried really hard to plan a trip that Nathan will enjoy. Since the first time I visited Kentucky, back in 1997, I've felt a very close connection with it. I just felt like I fit in - I instinctively knew my way around, the people that I met wanted to talk horses with me at length, and the rolling hills we drove past seemed to soothe me. I want Nathan to connect with it, too, so that we might be able to live there someday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

schooling show pictures

Thought I'd share some of my favorites from the schooling show on Valentine's Day. Keenan and I didn't do too terribly - 3rd and 4th in hunter over fences classes and 2nd in equitation on the flat. I did, however, totally botch my equitation over fences class...I don't know if I didn't know my course 100% or if I was still so tired that I couldn't stay focused...but at one point I totally forgot where I was going. *sigh* And of course I was beyond angry with myself after that. I don't really know why I get so hard on myself when I "fail." Part of me feels like since I've wanted to do this for so long, I'm somehow entitled to do well. Also, I know how much this sport costs. I wish I was young enough to be blissfully unaware of the money involved, but...I'm not. Sometimes I feel that if I'm not perfect at this, then I'm not fulfilling my part of the "investment." By the way, I know this is all absolutely ridiculous but it's just how I feel.
I have to admit though, after saying all that, the horses and people make everything completely worth it. I care so much about succeeding, yes, but even after a tough day, when Keenan wants to snuggle or I hear Rapper nicker as I walk down the aisle to his stall, I'm at peace. I'll always struggle with "winning" and my own definition of success but at least I've got my boys.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rapper and his mini-me

Just had to post really quickly about Rapper and Lex.
Lex is the weanling colt at our barn who was born in June and for the past few weeks, Sarah and Laura have been turning him out in the arena with Rapper for company. Rapper is small, has always been turned out with other horses, and does not wear shoes so he's a safe friend for little Lex. Also, while Rapper is easy going and very social, he does not tolerate nonsense so he is a good one for Lex to learn manners from - it's good for him to learn he has to be respectful of both other horses and people.
The first time we turned them out together, poor Lex was TERRIFIED of Rapper and Rapper just stood with this bewildered look on his face like "what did I do? I just wanted to be friends..." Until last night, I hadn't seen them turned out together since again, although Sarah assured me they'd become buddies.
Well darned if they aren't the greatest little duo! Lex is Rapper's shadow, wanting to do everything Rapper does. They raced one another down the long side of the arena, they inspected the cavaletti stored at the other end of the arena - and when Sarah and I went out to get them, they did the cutest thing; I called Rapper to me first and he came moseying down from the far end of the ring - taking his sweet time. I lightly slapped my thigh and said "c'mon, let's hustle please." He IMMEDIATELY picked up a trot and headed right over. When he got fairly close, I lifted my hand and said, "that's good, bud." He dropped right back to a walk and stopped in front of me, politely as you please, ready to be taken back to his stall. Lex mirrored him exactly. It was so cute! And when we led them in different directions to go to their respective homes (at opposite ends of the barn), Lex hesitated for a moment, like he didn't want to leave his friend.
I'm really happy that my little guy is able to be such a good buddy to Lex. I know that Mike and Mollie take a lot of pride in the horses they breed and that Sarah is totally devoted to the horses she trains and it means a lot to me that my little Arab gets to help bring up one of their babies. I hope this can be Rapper's job for many years to come!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Great lesson.
Great horse.
Time to sleep.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Good lesson tonight, I only botched one of three courses, the other two were actually pretty solid! Sarah's exact words: "way to show these kids how it's done!" "wow, fancy!" I had a really great time with Keenan, he's such a goof. And Rapper has started doing a cute thing - when I'm about 3/4 of the way down the aisle to his stall, he starts nickering like crazy and gets so excited to see me. It's cool to have horses who are so affectionate and who I have such a connection with.
In other news, it's time to start planning our show season. Right now I'm thinking...
  • February 14 - Pony Club benefit show, Goshen, OR.
  • May 14 - 16 - Mother's Day Classic, Eugene, OR.
  • June 25 - 27 - Early Summer Classic, Wilsonville, OR.
  • July 16 - 18 - Country Classic, Wilsonville, OR.
  • September 3 - 5 - Northwest Spectacular, Wilsonville, OR.

I might add in the Spring Hunter/Jumper show next month, but honestly, showing is so expensive and it takes so much time off work...I just wish I didn't HAVE to have a job and could just be a horse bum full-time. Sometimes (almost always) I wish I could work at the barn full-time and take care of all my horse-related bills that way...*sigh* maybe someday I can just live my horsey life instead of having to split it with the real world.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I hate not being great at something I care so much about...I hate that I've wanted to be good at this since I was ten years old and now that I finally have the opportunity, I feel like I'm blowing it somehow. I know it's just me being impatient, I know I don't actually suck...I'm just constantly reminded of all that I don't know and all that I haven't can get so disheartening.

But at the same time, with guys like these
who could lose too much heart?