Our Whirlwind June

Welcome back!

I’ve been away most of the year so I’m working on recapping some of our fun!

I began with A Beginning to a Busy Year and last week launched May Flies. It’s hard to believe I could get busier but I did! June was a whirlwind of a month.

I’ve been increasingly interested in eventing, yet, I’ve never actually BEEN to a 3 phase event before. It never really felt like a realistic venture for me but it was growing more evident that I might just start dipping my toe into these exciting new waters. On June 5th my friend and I took a trip to the beautiful Green Mountain Horse Association to watch the spring Horse Trials. GMHA hosts up to the preliminary levels.

Upon arriving we weren’t exactly sure what we were supposed to be doing, I work Saturdays so we were there Sunday for the cross-country phase. We got our bearings and found a place to view the activity. We moved around the course and watched the incredible courageous riders of Preliminary, Training, and Novice levels navigate their courses. I was able to practice with my camera and even got to meet, chat, and get tips from John, GMHA’s amazing official photographer. I was floored at how kind he was and willing to chat between riders.

The following week I began vacation, originally scheduled for a Tik Maynard clinic in Saugerties, NY. We had been waitlisted but I decided to keep the days off and enjoy the needed time. As it happens, I received a message on Monday that there was a last-minute 2-day opening. I jumped at the opportunity despite it being my first trip alone to an unfamiliar place.

Tuesday night (Yes the day after I got the message) I camped in my trailer at the farm to make the morning run more smoothly. Wednesday morning I woke early, fed Nahe, loaded, and we were on our way to Saugerties. We arrived early so we could unload and get prepared for the clinic. Our first day was groundwork. It was hot so Nahe was feeling sluggish but I learned some excellent tools to help reduce the amount of “badgering” I’m guilty of.

We all enjoyed dinner together and I camped there overnight for the riding portion of the following day. Although I was only given a spot in the ground rails section it was incredibly useful for building a solid foundation. We worked on transitions as well as adjustability within gates. For example…between two ground lines I was challenged to trot, walk exactly 5 steps, then pick the trot back up. It’s not as easy as you’d think!

We the worked on a combination in which we could canter it in 5 strides, 6 strides, or 7 strides. This unlocked a whole new concept inside of me and I have practiced it several times since. While Nahe’s regular canter stride made 6 comfortable strides between poles, I was able to condense him into 7 and extend him to 5. It was amazing to feel the difference and know how each canter felt, I wish I had known this sooner but glad I do now!

The day after I returned home from the clinic (Friday) I attended a small horse show run by local students at Greeneville FFA. I was given the honor of building their entire course for them. I didn’t participate in this show; I showed up to photograph and support this group. It is the only NY school to have an arena of its own. It was both bizarre and cool to pull into a high school to see the average school building, sports fields, and then….a gorgeous outdoor arena! I’m so happy I had this opportunity.

The following day we participated in a local show run by the local GMO (Group Member Organization) called ENYDCTA (Eastern New York Dressage and Combined Training Association). Nahe and I performed the same intro test as before. While warming up for the jumping round his fly veil began to bother him. Thinking “do this jump and I’ll fix it after” he tried to do just that. Unfortunately he said “No mom, I can’t.” As he halted in front of the oxer I was sent into a barrel roll and through the jump rails. I looked up and realized I had Nahe’s bridle and Nahe wasn’t attached.

As I got up from my fall I looked for Nahe who had turned around and began walking away. Realizing he was free I like to think he was looking for help. He approached the first unmounted person he could find who held his neck while I made my way over. In a movie I picture him as Lassie thinking something along the lines of “Oh my God I killed my mom she needs help.”

I put his bridle back on, mounted, and started to ride again, this time without the fly veil at all. He refused to jump. At this point, he had lost confidence in it. We jumped the two verticals again to assure him that yes, we can. Sure enough, that’s all he needed and he continued to jump the oxer. Inside the jump ring, we conquered the course and made a few friends along the way. As we waited our turn we cheered each other on. After the division concluded I was excited to learn we won!

Sunday, the following day (still within the same week), my friends and I went to our favorite vacation destination. OTTER CREEK!

Four of us went in 2 trailers. During our rides we split up into pairs and met up for lunch at a selected spot. Tiger was happy to have the smaller group size and we managed to get in some flat galloping sessions! What a great feeling it was to feel Nahe flatten out and give it his all! At one point Tiger and Nahe galloped side by side, both having fun but not being bad. What a great pair of men!

The camping trip concluded one hell of a great vacation! We relaxed, unwinded, and spent some quality time with each other.

The Sunday following my epic vacation three of us loaded our horses and drove an hour over to Vermont to a beautiful horse farm in the mountains. We had an intense cross-country lesson where we had the opportunity to work the horses on hills, through water, up and down banks, and over ditches. Nahe took a lot of convincing to jump the ditch but in the end, we conquered it. The other two horses looked downright professional. All three horses learned, grew, and were absolutely wonderful.

June was incredibly busy. We spectated, showed, schooled, lessoned, cliniced, and camped. No regrets!

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