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We Are Flying Solo

October 26, 2009

Did You Know Caves Kill Horses?

It's true. So Solo tells me.

The second horse trial we did this summer was down at the legendary Denny Emerson's farm so I knew his courses would be up to par with what we could expect at a recognized event. We'd been working really hard and I felt as prepared as possible.

Hiccup #1: I don't really care who I compete against, but I like to read down the list in my group just for fun. Now who should show up in our division but Teddy O'Connor's little brother. Awesome. Well, we weren't going to be winning that one unless he wigged out and leaped out of the dressage arena.

Rare horse-shaped moment in test
Hiccup #2 (which was not suspected as a hiccup until actual commencement of test): our half of the Beginner Novice division was to do our dressage test in the indoor arena. We had a covered arena at home, so I biggie. Hah.

We warmed up, things seemed to be going ok. We entered the indoor, things seemed to be going ok. I showed Solo the mirrors in the ring before the test began, things seemed to be going ok. We went down centerline, Solo's brain exploded.

For the rest of my test, I was riding a heroin-laced giraffe with rolling eyes and a gaping mouth while desperately calling, "Whoaaaaaa, boy, whoaaaaaaa..." Let's just say it didn't score that well.

I was pretty much used to being in last place after dressage. My only mortification came from the fact that David was there that day and I was horrified that he might look at the leaderboard and see our score. I chose to hide behind the trailer except when we had to go jump.

Fortunately, from the bottom, there is nowhere to go but up. While we performed the stadium course at terminal velocity (I figured better to not give Solo a chance to think about the colours), we left all the rails up.

Stadium warmup
And Denny's cross country course was, as expected, big and Totally Freaking Awesome.

Ready in the start box
Clearing Jump 1 with enthusiasm
As a friend put it, "you know you've had a good day when it ends in a shit-eating grin."

We didn't win. We didn't even place. But we finished double clear in both jumping phases and we had a blast. I really couldn't ask for more.


  1. Sounds like more excitement than you were hoping for, but yes, you both look very happy and relaxed in that last picture. Glad it ended well.

  2. Someday I want to come ride one of these amazing cross country courses with you. Every time you go to a show the courses blow my mind. I have a feeling that you and I are the same in that we do dressage just to get to the jumping part!!

  3. Me too, OUAE, I was NOT in a good mood after dressage. But YUP molly, I put up with it to get to the GREAT part!!!

  4. Ah, the famous grin, how I miss it.

  5. I could write a book about all the horse-eating things Mosco has told me about. Strange indoor arenas are high on the list! You guys look amazing, as always. All of your posts make me want to take up eventing RIGHT NOW!
    -What do you think about stock type horses in eventing? Do you think a well-conformed Paint (built like a tank, actually has nice, normal sized feet) would stand up well to it? He's 12, totally bomb-proof & brave & loves to jump in the pasture, though I don't know how that translates to real life :) Just wondering, since all I ever see are TBs, WBs, and other more lightly built looking horses.

  6. Jen, absolutely. The heavier horses have a harder time with conditioning and I wouldn't recommend anything but a mostly-TB at Prelim and above, but at our lower levels, you see EVERYTHING out there, from full drafts to Appies to ponies to the tried and true QH!