Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bucket List Events

I used to have a bucket list of places I wanted to go around the world. Mongolia, Spain, Iceland, Ireland. I've been everywhere on my buckets list now, which is why I bought the horse.

THIS GUY <333333
But I'm developing a new bucket list and it's events I want to ride at. I've been to a lot of events to watch and I'm addicted to helmet cams but the more of them I see the more I realize there's a lot of eventing outside Area II and I want to see it ALL.

5. The Hampton Classic (Southampton, NY)

Riiiight so, this isn't an eventer event. But I used to live in H/J land and it was my dream to compete at this horseshow. And as I was compiling my list and I really wanted it to be five long I cast my brain about for my sixteen year old girl wishes and remembered this one. The summer I could've done this I actually ended up moving into school this weekend for my freshman year at college. Boo. But I'm not a college student now (which I am reminded of every day, thanks real world) so I could still make it if I want. And I do want. Just need to slap out a couple good rounds at 3'6" and then book my $400 a night hotel room... right...

If this is a thing I'll get a VIP table and everyone's invited.

4. GMHA (South Woodstock, VT)

When I was in college a good friend of mine was teaching eventing camp at GMHA. The place is freakin' gorgeous. I played a massive game of either tag or capture the flag with all the campers, as well as getting to ride my friend's horse a couple times. I saw my first trakhener there! It's pretty and green and South Woodstock is a sweet town. Plus why wouldn't you want to hit up an event called 'The Festival of Eventing'??

Anything that has a stone wall is cool.

3. The Fork (Norwood, NC)

Thanks to BuzzterBrown this event is on my bucket list. When I first started eventing I poured over his videos. I wanted to learn all the names - horses, riders, trainers, TDs, everything. The course at The Fork looks really cool. And um, who doesn't love the wine and cheese jumps?? Plus I've heard it's really hardcore course and a must for most of the big names on either coast. And they have a competitor party? Let's be real, you had me at wine jump.

2. Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, MT)

I think if you're within an eight hour or so drive it's an unmissable event for the season. It's absolutely gorgeous there; I think my eyes would explode from looking so wide at everything. The courses look detailed and fun (there's freaking teepee jumps and a little saloon town). Plus it's a huge event so there's shopping and TONS of competitors from all over the country. Honestly I'd just love to go just to watch or groom but I'd have even more fun if Runkle could tag along!

Wish I could groom for this girl when she goes back.

MOUNTAINS!!! I'm sorry, I ride in New Jersey. My version of a mountain is the sawdust pile.

1. Fair Hill International (Elkton, MD)

Naturally this is #1 on my list. This was the very first event I went to, over ten years ago. Not as a competitor, but with my 4H group. None of us had watched cross country before and most of us were hunter/jumper types but the lead of the 4H group was really into exposing us to everything. So we carpooled down to Elkton to watch. It was gorgeous out, the leaves in full swing for fall and any event rider I had ever heard of was competing. Karen and David O'Connor were both riding multiple horses there. We sat by the gazebo and also the second water. I remember it like we were just there last October.

The next time I went to Fair Hill it was as a rider, for my very first event. I did the beginner novice on an old Advanced horse who knew EXACTLY where we were the second we got off the trailer. I'm pretty sure a lengthening isn't required across the diagonal. At BN. And he reared in the start box because I stupidly walked in when we had 30 seconds left.

Naturally this experience has stuck with me ever since then, seeing as competing there is my 'Andromeda Goal'. I don't know if we actually can, and if we can it certainly won't be anytime soon, but I still go every year to watch the best in the business gallop around a gorgeous old school course. And of course drink all the cider.

So what are your must hit events? Have you already been to some of them?

Update on Pinkygate 2016: the giant mitten cast is off but I still have four (!!) pins in my pinky. I have a splint on now and a follow up appointment in two weeks and hopefully at that point I'll be able to ride. At first the doctor said it would be three more weeks but when I started to cry he said I could come back in two. MAYBE if I was lucky I'd be cleared. Or I'll just start crying again and see where that gets me.

It's pretty gnarly though. Bionic pinky.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


So, SprinklerBandits made this post on how to talk to horse people, and I thought that was apropos and funny. But the problem isn't starting to talk to horse people.

It's getting them to stop.

I was fortunate enough to go to college I picked a school in the most horse-centric place you can go besides Kentucky, Saratoga Springs. Their motto is health, history and horses. Rich people came up to go to the jenky smelling springs, the US won its independence up there, and there's also the Saratoga racetrack. That place is beautiful, has been featured in many horse racing movies, and the partying scene surrounding it is unrivaled. Seriously. If you like horses and day drinking and sundresses you need to go to Saratoga.

To find this picture I googled "preppy derby champagne"
I had very few horsey friends when I was younger. So my decision to surround myself with them in college was not arbitrary. I tried out for the varsity riding team, didn't get on (their loss, obviously) and rerouted to polo. The polo club was run exclusively by students, and was definitely a monumental job. We managed the budget, the ponies themselves, the competition schedule, donations, and the ponies' 'off season' jobs. Plus more non-horsie things like fund raising and throwing raucous parties. We were a closely knit group, and spent almost all of our meals and free time together.

Squad goals.
Much to the chagrin of the like, four other people we were friends with who WEREN'T obsessed with horses.

They would sit at the table, drool dribbling from their mouths, as we discussed the farrier schedule, the vet schedule, the crazy shit our barn manager was trying to pull and the ponies we played at other schools. It was fascinating, important discussion. For some reason they didn't think so? And it's horses, so naturally there is TONS of gossip especially because of the dynamic between the riding team and polo team... even those of us that weren't on the team all rode at the school barn.

I'm babbling now, and you can imagine with even one other person to feed the spark it would turn into a raging forest fire.

I don't care if we just came from the barn WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT ANYWAY

One day one of the guys at our table (a boyfriend of a horse obsessed rider in our group) finally exploded and demanded a safe word so that we would stop going ON AND ON about horses. The other (MINORITY) non riders latched on to this.

The safe word was 'acorn'.

So they would hear us winding up...

"You won't believe what the barn manager did."
"Did you see [insert offensive nickname here] at that tournament?"
"Missy tried to kill a JV by leaving the indoor"
"Oh man in my jump lesson I had to jump Artie and he was a piece of shit"

And they'd go OH GOD NO ACORN

But unlike most safe words, it rarely worked.

You can't stop horse people once they get together. But I appreciate the fact that they tried.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

RIP Pinky

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that with my first horse comes my first broken bone.

I don't feel very cool or witty using voice to text, I'll tell you that for free. If I thought I was funny when I talked I would've started a podcast, not blog. So apologies in advance.

I tried googling spiral fracture pinky x-ray so that maybe I could post a picture that looks like my x-ray, but to be honest all of those look like a tame representation of what my finger actually looks like.

it looks worse than this.

I was having a phenomenal lesson on Sunday. Runkle was absolutely jumping out of his skin. He was so excited to be out and jumping, he felt like 2 million bucks. I'm not sure why he stopped at the skinny; honestly i think it just surprised him. Just before we should've taken off he decided we couldn't jump it and very quickly ran out to the side. For about half a second I thought I could save it, but belatedly realized I was already halfway off and there was nothing I could do.

I landed on my feet (which was awesome because it was a mudhole in the ring) but I guess on the way down my hand got caught on the reins and I wrenched my pinky pretty well. After a minute to gather myself I got back on and finish the lesson. He was pretty exuberant, but I still rode really well and had a blast. Which is good because it'll be a while before I get to jump again. :(

When I woke up the next morning it hurt even worse than it had the day before. It was slightly less swollen and which really just showed off how crooked it was. It should tell you how much it hurt that I actually went to urgent care to get an x-ray. I fucking hate doctors, needles, sick people, the doctor's office smell, the waiting room and filling out a million pieces of paperwork.

Uhhh i forgot, i have somewhere else to be. like, mars.

Yeah, not huge fan of the doctor.

After urgent care took x-rays, they immediately referred me to an ortho specialist. Even to the extremely untrained eye it was obvious that I had severely fucked my shit up.

Later that day, when I saw the ortho specialist, he said it was a no-brainer and that I have surgery on my fucked up digit. I needed pins to..reconnect my pinky again. Fun. He said we could have the surgery on Tuesday or Thursday, and started to talk about doing it on Thursday, at which point I said why would we wait? Let's just do it tomorrow.

It's easy to be brave when you're in the doctors office and he's telling you surgery is the only option to fix your fucked up shit. But the next day when I was bearing my ass in a backless gown and wearing really sexy hospital socks I did not feel very brave at all.

The anesthesiologist basically treated me like a scared 10-year-old, He made fart noises while the nurse put in my IV because I was shaking and ready to leap out of bed back to the car. Runkle, I feel your needle fear. When I woke up the same anesthesiologist was telling a joke about prostitutes which I apparently found so funny I made him tell it three times (much to the chagrin of the poor nurse who was trying to do my outprocessing).

I did cry once she closed the curtain for me to get changed. I feel like it's just been one thing after the other; shitty weather, a strangles scare, more shitty weather, and now this. I was hoping to start at the Fair Hill Starter Trial May 8th, but I don't know if I'm even going to be riding by then. Sigh. Hopefully at my post op on the 25th I will have more (good) news.

The moral of the story is: safer to ride bridleless than with reins that will tangle up your pinky and severely fuck your shut up.

I will say I'm a total badass and did finish the riding lesson so I'm going to take my street cred where I can.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What's in Your Tack Trunk?

There was a bit of an unofficial blog hop going around about 'what's in your tack trunk' and I am obsessed with my trunk so I took my camera down to the barn to get some pictures to make a nice official blog about it. But it kind of devolved...

Bet you can't tell which stuff is mine.
Most people have their brand covers on their saddles. Or something in a nice, staid normal horse color. But apparently I want to be able to tell which are my saddles from the goddamn moon so that's that. In my defense, it exactly matches my boot and garment bag (.... wait).

Organized chaos
It doesn't get any better on the inside. Yes those are purple hidey boots, and purple vet wrap, and a purple grooming tote. Purple squirt bottle, even.

I have a tiny rubbermaid container that actually doesn't have any purple in it, however it does have a more precious commodity hidden inside it: SCISSORS.

Coveted scissors. Probably have to start locking my trunk now.
... yeaaaaah.

My grooming bag is massive and awesome and matches everything else. And you'll probably be shocked to learn i only have one purple brush. I've had that brush, no joke, for almost 20 years. That's dedication.

Noticing a trend?
Before I even bought Runkle I found a full set of patent leather jumping boots on Facebook for a song. Which I bought. They are not handling the pummeling they get very well (seriously, he doesn't have shoes, so what is he even doing) but I love them and they are beautiful and they actually do fit him really well and protect his legs. And my parents got me that Irish knit, I think I heard my mom sigh from 20 miles away when I told her it could come in purple.

I take leg protection very seriously.
Not as seriously as coordination.

So this entry started as a serious list of the things I have in my trunk. I'm well stocked and its organized and I have a pharmacy that would rival the vet's truck, but...

Yes, that's a purple air vest.
And yes, I had to call the UK Point 2 office to order it special because it's only available in England.

In my lesson last night I was told I had gone too far. You know what I have to say to that?