Notes from North Georgia, Us

Home Team, Combined Driving
Another horse show, another dawn over a parking lot.

Another showcation, this time sans show. Stepping Stone Farm only brought suit horses to the Northeast Georgia Charity Horse Show & the Mid-Summer Classic Horse Show , at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, Gainesville, GA. Husband Greg and I brought Milton along for more away-from-home experience before summer closed in. Previous adventure [Primitive Trailer Camping, Us at Mid-South 2018]

+ Still enjoyed being on the grounds.
– Lacked the novelty of a new adventure.

+ We had all day to ride/drive and take care of one horse.
– Care of one horse and two work sessions took all day and wore both of us out. I brought projects. I never touched said projects.

+ When the evening session of the show ended at 11:30 on Saturday night, I could stumble across the parking lot and go right to bed.
– Repeatedly stumbling across a parking lot while folks drove back and forth.

+ City matters. More options to eat in Gainesville than in Rainsville …
– … which was a good thing, as we had far more trouble with ants.

+ Every faucet had someone’s hose attached, open to all users. Ours was in the wash area.
– If the hose leaks all over the aisle, turn it off when you are done. Why is this hard?
– Almost came home without our hose. Who thinks to check the washstall when packing?

– Milton is not Caesar, never will be [In Defense, Deary Monday].
+ Different does not equal worse. I need to value Milton for his own self.

+ Teaching a horse to do something is easy.
– Teaching a horse to do something until it becomes a habit is hard.
+ Milton has done so much lunging that the routine settled him when he had his Mr. Hyde moment.

– One pea soup explosion, 3(5) hard spooks, and some generalized fussing.
+ 9 work sessions in 5 days, all ending with gold stars.

– The Mr. Hyde/pea soup was the very first day. Usually Milton waits until after spending the night in a stall. Greg started lunging and Milton briefly lost his mind. I didn’t see exactly what happened. I was too busy running around the arena closing gates. It was almost as if Milton thought he was back at the track, had a panic attack, then realized he was with his people, doing his thing.
+ After a few minutes of Milton lunging quietly, I got on. Go me.

– Hard spooks. One, repeated twice, was on day two, while driving, at a trailer next to the ring. Spooked, spun, cantered off. Lather, rinse, repeat. The third time ended with some moderate hopping. Greg settled him, put him to work, and ultimately trotted quietly back at that end once or twice. The heat may have been on our side, re sails, taking wind out of.
+ In retrospect, probably not as bad as it looked/felt. We are both hypersensitive to Milton’s bad behavior at the moment. Coach Courtney saw everything and was not perturbed.
+ Did not turn a hair at hitching. Wondered why we were hyperventilating.

– The other two hard spooks were during grazing sessions. One at a passing trailer. I saw it coming and had choked up on the bat. The other was horses at liberty in a distant ring. I had just finished mentally commenting that he doesn’t mind what other horses do when he suddenly noticed the other horses, thought, ‘Holy Horse Frolics, Batman’ and spun.
+ Either I’m really good, or he wasn’t really trying to get away.

– Generalized fussing. The third time in the arena, on the last day, Milton decided that he had never seen the space before, that he didn’t like the looks of it, that motorcycle in the parking lot was the herald of doom, that the people on the bleachers where on a rampage, etc., etc.,
+ Standard issue green horse behavior that I found ridable.

+ Schooling in the arena with traffic. Oncoming: no rearing. Yay. Caesar did this all the time. Passing: slow down to see what the other horse is up to. Weird, but yay.
– Overtaking: On look, my new best friend. I must go over to them and bond. Tug, tug, tug, stay in your own lane your silly beast, darn this loose steering.

– Milton had to ride AND drive each day. We were very careful about the heat and how much we asked. A lot of the riding was wandering around looking at things.
+ Eventing and Combined Driving have three phases. Fitness is a factor.

+ The horse is allowed physical and mental breaks.
– The rider/driver is not.

+++++ Milton was a trooper.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

3 thoughts on “Notes from North Georgia, Us

  1. Too many people don’t value their horses for what they are, just what they are expected to be. You’re (and Greg) doing a good job with Milton. At some point a light bulb will come on over his head and all will be copacetic.

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