I don’t know about everyone else, but I love spring. Since I moved to North Carolina in 2006, I have not had one real spring. It is winter, then it is summer. I am a big fan of the transitional seasons, and I have been missing spring and fall. The temperatures have been truly spring here. We keep saying, “Boy, it’s cold for this time of year,” but really, this is what spring is supposed to feel like! I am using this time to really enjoy my horses and ride as much as I can in these lovely temperatures. I know the heat of summer is breathing down our necks!
Since I last wrote, I took Bug up to Dr. Kevin Keane, otherwise known as “The Man” in equine veterinary medicine. Things just weren’t adding up with Bug, and I wanted a second opinion from someone who sees upper level event horses on a regular basis. Sometimes, it just takes new eyes to see what’s going on. To make a long story short, after hours of diagnostics, (Bug is very, very stoic and a bit hard to diagnose.) we discovered that Bug definitely needs some minor shoeing changes, but the biggest finding is an active splint! After a few weeks of thinking there was something major going on, we have found that it is something easily fixable. Of course, I won’t be 100% relieved until he is 110% sound, but I am definitely feeling a lot less stressed. We are hoping that Bug will be back competing later in the summer!
In the meantime, I have been doing a lot of riding. There are quite a few horses at my farm right now, and I am learning so much from every single one. If you are looking for a humbling experience, start riding greenies on a regular basis! They will teach you very quickly that you don’t know nearly as much about riding as you think you do. I love it! I am using this down time from Bug to try to get as fit and strong as I can. Heaven knows it takes a lot of energy to get a wiggly green horse around a BN cross country course!
This past weekend, I took two of my greenies to the WindRidge Farm HT in Mooresboro, NC. This event is one of my favorites for the young horses, as it is super well run, has a laid back atmosphere, and has challenging but friendly courses. Alicia Henderson always runs a great event, so I was excited to take the babies out.
The first of the greenies is Forever West, a 10 yo Hanoverian gelding by West Coast. Cole is a strapping boy who was a dressage horse in a former life. Unfortunately, by the time he got to me, he had acquired some bad habits in his flatwork. He had never jumped before, to my knowledge, and it was my job to show him the ropes. Honestly, it has been an interesting trip with him. He is very different from the OTTBs that I ride, so it is an ongoing education for me. This weekend at WindRidge, I felt like Cole really started to get it. I took him out BN back in February to Full Gallop, and I decided that it was just too early. I went back to the drawing board, and I’m so happy that I did. He put in a great test for a 27.6 to lead his division. The show jumping is on a good deal of terrain in the grass, and I am still sorting out the right pace and connection with him, so it was quite a difficult course for us. (Honestly, it was difficult for a lot of people, as rails were flying in all levels.) Unfortunately, my riding cost us 2 rails and first place. However, I was thrilled with him. He went in there ready to work and was a really good boy. He went on to jump a double clear on the cross country on Sunday. I was so happy with him, as I felt him growing up as the weekend and courses went on. He finished in fourth, and he was quite proud of his ribbon.
The second of my greenies is Pretty Hip Hop Hotty, a 6 yo OTTB mare. She has been off the track since early last fall, but I gave her quite a bit of time off before putting her to work. I absolutely love this mare. She just gives me a great feeling. She can be an opinionated redhead, but she just gets better and better every time I sit on her. She gave 110% this weekend, and I was just thrilled. Hotty was quite muscle bound and body tight when I got her, and her movement just keeps getting better and better. She went into the dressage arena and just stepped up. She scored a 35.7 (even getting one 8!), which had me elated. She still has so much room for improvement, that I know she will be blowing it out of the water in a few more months. She went on to jump lovely double clear show jumping and cross country rounds to bring home the 8th place ribbon in her BN division. For her very first recognized event and her first BN, I think she was pretty darn amazing.
This weekend has reminded me just how much I love this sport at all levels. Though I’ve been bummed about Bug being out of the competition scene, I have been blessed with these two amazing green horses who have so much to teach me. I feel like we are learning together, and when Bug comes back, I will be that much better an Advanced rider because of it. The horses have so much to teach us if we will just listen. I feel like Rocky Start Stables has quite a line up of great horses, and I am excited to see what is in our future!