Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Shelbyville TN, USA
June 17, 2017
[Show Report]

Bliss & Greg
MTCC 2017 Dressage
Photo by Kate Bushman

Bliss & Greg
MTCC 2017 Cones
Photo by Kate Bushman

Bliss & Greg & Katherine
MTCC 2017 Marathon
Photo by Kate Bushman

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Driving Thursday

Shelbyville TN, USA
June 17, 2017

Greg & Bliss
Preliminary Single Horse – 1st of 1
Preliminary Division – 2nd of 4

Thank you to the landowners, officials, and volunteers for a wonderful competition. Thank you to Kate Bushman for the brilliant Bliss.

The test was steady and accurate but lacked the pizazz of warm up. At one point, I saw Greg and Bliss in the distance and did not recognize them. That’s how good they looked. Now, to get it on command in the ring.

Last but by less than 2 points.

Started strong. Midway through, Greg lost the plot, and it devolved into what Coach Kate called cones bowling. Usually, a penalty involves knocking a ball off the cone. Greg did this. He also knocked over cones. At one point, he ran over a cone. Shades of me and Alvin [Show Report].

Still, the course was sufficiently difficult that he had the second lowest score for that phase, moving him up to third.

We were first at the first obstacle, by a bunch, and second at the other two for the fastest time in our division. If CDE is the driving version of eventing, then Greg had the results of a typical eventer. Go fast. Drive hard. Hate the sandbox.

Our first marathon

View from the Back Seat
Navigators have two duties: to give directions and to move back and forth as ballast. I was able to do one or the other. Mostly, I would get so caught up with directions that I would forget to move. That will come with time.

What won’t come with time is the ability to distinguish my left from my right. In the second obstacle, I said right when I meant left. Unable to process the correct word, yelled, “No! No! No!” and smacked my driver on the appropriate shoulder. He and Bliss quickly reversed course and headed the other way. There’s no fixing this one. We will have to learn to use other words.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott


Saddle Seat Wednesday

If I had to choose between saddle seat and dressage, I’d take saddle seat. You go faster.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Milton & Me

Still waiting. So, a thoughty post.

All the physical parts are in place: trailer, truck, Coggins. Now we need to have all the people in town at the same time. Our most recent random gesture [Sand Colic?] seems to be working. Milton seems to be settling. I would almost … almost … be willing to try him in the enclosed ring myself. But we’ve waited this long for someone else to get on him first. Might as well stick with the plan.

I can’t envision riding Milton on a regular basis. Seriously, my imagination fails. Is he not the horse for me? Proof that one has to ultimately pick one’s own horses? Or am I so discouraged that I am unwilling to hope? Or am I grouchy bitch who enjoys wallowing in negativity? No idea.

Last weekend, Milton got away from Greg on the long lines. On his way back to the barn, Milton neatly jumped the ring tape [Spooked]. Not what you want to see in a driving horse, but encouraging for a jumping horse. (A storm blew. Greg halted so they could quit. Not fast enough. When we got to the barn, Milton was waiting for us in the aisle, giving us a look that said, ‘Didn’t you people realize it was raining?’)

Although Milton jumped 3′ with his front feet, the trailing lines took the tape down mid-body. Unknown whether his hinds would have gone clear.

What happens if Milton turns in a riding horse and a driving horse? How’s that going to work?

Despite living together for almost 30 (!) years, Greg and I don’t actually share that well. HIS dogs; MY cats. He helps me with MY riding; I help him with HIS driving. Mathilda was HIS horse; Caesar (aka Previous Horse) was MY horse.

What happens when we both have an equal claim on the same horse?

How do we settle show conflicts? Lesson conflicts? How does the level of the show/lesson factor in?

If we haul to Stepping Stone, does Milton drive or ride?

If Greg has a lesson, does he get the days beforehand to prepare? No point in wasting lesson money.

What if driving requires different shoes? Can one jump in those?

What if driving/riding training develops the horse in a way not suitable for riding/driving?

Or do I think too much? This has been mentioned in the past.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Rodney Recap

Some positives, one major negative.

Strolling – Rodney and I went for a mounted stroll in the pasture. Although we only went as far as the water trough, it was a wonderful, relaxed beginning.

The single stress came from me. When we turned to go back, he swung his head a little too near our no-climb mesh fence. I had just read a cautionary post, Saddle Seeks Horse: Avoid This Dangerous Donut in the Saddle. Horses getting entangled was on my mind. I thought ‘Eeek, he’s going to get his bit caught and freak’. He didn’t. I eventually calmed down.

Later we went for a group hand-walk all the way around the field, twice: me, Rodney, Milton, and the dog. It was chaotic. I told him to deal. He did.

Standing – I got on near the barn (another new trick) walked to the middle of the ring and stood. Like a statue. Compare this to our less successful attempt in May [It Takes A Village]. He was so completely locked into park that I quit after a few minutes. Nothing more to prove.

Shipping – Rodney took a drive to Stepping Stone Farm. His first time off the property since he arrived. WHAT’S THAT? Oh, okay. WHAT’S THAT? Oh, okay. WHAT’S THAT? Oh, okay. And so on. He’s the sort of horse who would like to show at the same facility several times a season, year after year. Fortunately, this seems to be the paradigm these days.

Rodney at SSF

Jumping – I got cocky and trotted a jump. It. Was. Awful. He zoomed. I grabbed. He hurtled over. We landed in a heap. He bucked. All of these are fixable, except the last. Bucking after jumps is where the rot set in 7 years ago. First a tiny hop after a jump. Then, bigger crow-hops after smaller jumps. Then bucking and spinning without jumps. That one tiny buck tells me that, despite the small victories, nothing has changed.

Full disclosure. My groundcrew, i.e. Greg, thinks my horrendous riding made Rodney feel restricted. Could be. Being the optimistic ray of sunshine that I am about my horse career, I have to take it further. What if all this work amounts to nothing? What if there is no miracle ending? What if buying Rodney was just stupid mistake?

So, I’m back in a funk.

This version lacks toxic self-hate of Snit the First [Anatomy]. Instead I have creeping discouragement & disappointment. I have a horse that didn’t work out. Oh, well. Dreams die every day. My mood is not as deep, but is proving harder to shake. The beige plane is back.

“… the future stretches in front of me as a comfortable, featureless, beige plane filled with an endless repetition of ‘petty tasks and worthless jobs’*, occasionally to be interrupted by tragedy, and gradually descending into terminal rot.”
[For the Record] 2013
(*Terrible Trivium, demon of petty tasks and worthless jobs, ogre of wasted effort, and monster of habit, from the Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster)

I know I should be grateful for beige. In many life siutations, beige would be a vast improvement. But it’s so … beige.

In the time between the up of the dressage lesson and the down of the jump, I had a handful of great days. The work-both-horses, get-to-the-gym, cross-everything-off-my-to-do-list kind of days. I felt as if I had taken the motivation pill from Limitless, only without the morally questionable side effects.

I’m trying to model that behavior even though I no longer feel energized.

When you are so excited by the new place that you forget to chew.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

A Book of Narnians
By C.S. Lewis
Illustrated by Pauline Baynes
Text Complied by James Riordan
HarperCollins 1995

As with Tenniel‘s Wonderland, to me, Baynes is Narnia.

Lewis on Rodney’s Saga
[Off Topic: LEGO for Lent]
[On the Second Day Of Christmas: 2 Talking Steeds]
[Fantasy Cover Art: Horse & His Boy]
[A Fool But Not an April Fool]

L Authors on Rodney’s Saga
Lowe [From Inside The Ropes]
Lampe [Ringcraft, Gearing Up For the Dark Days, Saddle Seat Celebrity]

This Year

[K is for Krementz]
[ J is for Journal]
[I is for Ipcar]
[H is for Hatch]
[G is for Gray]
[F is for Francis]
[E is for Endicott]
[D is for Doty]
[C is for Cooper]
[B is for Brown]
[A is for Anderson]

Past Years
[2016 Alphabet] [2015 Alphabet]

Project explanation [AlphaBooks 2017]. Open to recommendations for the remaining letters. Which books would you choose?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Nearing two thousand.
No fame; no money; no trolls.
My subway car art.

Previous SotB posts [list]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott