March 20, 2012

Horses Make Life Suck Less

SprinklerBandit wrote this in the last posts' comments and I had to steal it because it was hilarious, yet so apt.  I cannot think of a better way to lead in to the Tales of Day Two.

After leaving Carolina Horse Park, we followed a long and complicated set of directions which ended up at a place I had been before -- only now I actually knew what it was!  It was our fellow Adult Rider Alison's farm, where Encore, mum, and I were graciously allowed to spend the night.

I was a bit concerned about Encore because he was going to have to stay in this horrible pasture overnight, but he seemed to decide he could make do with the conditions.

Just awful, isn't it?
There, I also discovered the cutest pony of all time.  Don't argue with me, because there can be no comparison.
Meet Ponytail.  100% purebred Pony.
Yes, yes, she seems all innocence and preciousness, but I got the eerie sense that Ponytail KNOWS things, that she merely allowed the humans to think they were running the show.  I caught her, for just a moment, during breakfast, watching us with superior expression.

Heh.  Those humans.  They think they're soooo smart...
Ponytail and her mini horse companion (minion?), whose name I missed.
The minions wonder why I am not preparing pony breakfast immediately.
After a lovely night, it was time to load up and head back to CHP!
Whoa.  Mom.  Check it -- shrunken hairy horses.  What's up with that?  And why do we look like blueberries?
It was hard to leave such an idyllic retreat, but we had a hot date with a XC course that I couldn't wait to run.

Fun while you wait:  put Russell the russell in my bicycle basket.  How can you not??!
He always rides around on his mom's scooter, I think he secretly liked my awesome milk crate...
Our time came though and we took the long hike back to the start box and warm up area.  As I let Encore trot out the kinks, I realized he was actually TIRED from the day before.  This horse never gets tired -- maybe I wouldn't have to do a wrestling match to avoid speed penalties after all!  He immediately locked on to the warm up jumps, took them all beautifully, and we were ready to go.  I already posted the helmet cam here, so I'll leave you with a few snapshots of a course that was fun, inviting, and as I always feel at the finish flags, far too short -- I want that feeling to last forever! 

Check out his new muscle-butt!
Sigh.  Really, mum, this is the hardest you can come up with? 
Yay, galloping, NOW you're talking!
Wait, what?  Gallop slow?  Why do you ruin everything!?
And then it was over.  But I was thrilled with my horse; he'd run double clear XC and the only problem we had was that the jumps were so small, he barrelled right up to them!  Had I not missed my turn in SJ, he would have jumped clean (he is quite careful and hates knocking rails) and we would have finished on our dressage score -- putting us in 5th place in OPEN Beginner Novice in a division of 18 at his very first recognized horse trial.  Just knowing that was enough for me!  Even with the real results (rider error included), he finished 11th, middle of the pack, and had a healthy row of zeros across the most important phase (XC) and came in just 18 seconds under optimum time, so we were pretty close to smack on the pace.  Not bad for an ex-racehorse who just got back under saddle late last summer. 

I can't wait to see what happens a month from now...


  1. Congratulations on your placing!!! And yes, horses make life suck less. MUCH less!

  2. YAY!!! That is so fantastic! :-) Good for you both!

  3. He looks like such a champ! I always feel so dumb when I forget my course but good for you to at least make it back to the right fences!

  4. Thanks!

    And Tatiana, it happens to EVERYONE -- ask David O'Connor about the Olympics. I technically didn't forget my course, but I sure didn't know where that jump was!

  5. Glad to hear the smile in your writing! Congrats to that and your ride!

  6. Yay, baby TB! So proud of you guys! I bet you're still grinning ear to ear when you think about it. You have such a bright future w this horse and I can't wait to see you guys in action at Longleaf!! Until then, keep your head up and know that I am thinking about ya.

  7. Oh my goodness that pony. I am going to go steal him!!!!
    And I love the "why do we look like blueberries?" pic and caption!
    You guys really do have a great future together!
    And ya know, we need a Solo update!

  8. or, erm...her. I will steal HER. oops.

  9. Omg! Flying Solo has quoted me! I feel famous.

    Love the pics of Encore on XC. He is hot stuff. As are you, actually. :-p Wish I looked that good in stretchy pants.

  10. Haha, thanks y'all -- and Ryan, Encore's going Novice next month, the show will be ON!

    Alana, Encore is definitely a him, I don't do mares. And don't worry, there will be a Solo update soon. :-) Right now I'm pretty busy just shedding hair off of him, but the shine is returning!

    SB, I'm sorry, I'm just not into girls. Although if you have a billion dollars and want to buy me a horse farm, I could be.

  11. Cutest pony, I do agree.

    And well done!!!

  12. your captions were cracking me up. The blueberry one esp.

    Also, I'm jealous that you get a paddock option. My poor pony is stuck in a stall for 3 days at shows :(

  13. You go girl! Awesome photos, beautiful orange pony and cute real ponies!!!!!

  14. Thank you! And Check, this is why I try to stay with friends, so pony can sleep with paddock. Plus stabling at CHP costs approximately a zillion dollars.

  15. Oh! I know Encore is all man-minus-some-parts. I was talking about the floofy adorable pony. I want an adorable little founder-on-4-legs floofy failed child's pony, and I will name her/him Effecy for short. They are just so adorable! Or a mini donkey. Or both!!!!!

  16. OH. Yes, Ponytail was definitely a her. She was darling. I also have a weakness for mini donks.

  17. Ok, time to 'fess up: you really picked Encore because of that impossibly gorgeous/handsome/cute face, not his brain, right??? ;-) He sure is a looker! Glad things went so well here, other than slight pilot error (they should have let you finish walking the course). I'm amazed that you guys are moving up to Novice already but he certainly does jump up to that height!