Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

GRS clinics with David Wilding-Davis

So Sunday dawned bright and early.   But our day started well before then.

Hailey and I were going to ride with former Canadian Event Team member David Wilding-Davis up at the gorgeous Cedar Run Horse Park.  Our ride time was 9am.  Only catch?  Cedar Run is north of Collingwood... So let's do the math (a very bad idea early in the am)...   9am ride time means there 8:30 (maybe we can push that to 8:45 if need be - especially as Steph very kindly agreed to sacrifice her Sunday and come help!).   Ok so targeting 8:30.  3h drive.  hmmmm 7:30, 6:30, 5:30....   Leave home at 5:30.  Fun.   Some of you may be aware that loading is not a strength of Athena's...  That means starting loading at 4:30...  Which I was not about to do, so compromise at 5.  Which requires being at the barn at 4 to bring horses in, feed, hook up trailer, etc etc.  Which means leaving home at 3:15.

I repeat, 3:15.

The things we do for our sport.  Especially Steph who wasn't even riding!  (Have I mentioned how awesome she is?).   So I set the alarm for 3 -- I can be out fast when it means an extra few minutes of vital sleep!   I also know that it's *really* more like 2.5h drive, just the anal side of me always leaves 3 so we're not late.  So I mentally adjust that leaving any time before 6 will get us there with lots of time.

So alarm goes off at 3 and I'm up and out on time.  Hailey texted me about then so I knew she was already on her way.  Driving the truck and actually remember to take everything out of the rabbit that I needed.  All good right?  Yeah - except that I got half way to the barn and realized the key to my office is with the key to the rabbit.  At home.  And I need stuff out of the office.  Less good.

Turn around, go back and get said key, muttering at self all the way *sigh*.   Pause long enough to text Hailey and beg her assistance to bring my horse in and feed since now I'm going to be VERY late and Athena is not the fastest eater on the planet.  Fortunately Hailey, too, is very awesome and took care of this (I totally have the best students on the planet!).   And she's been showing all summer so knows a lot of what needs to be done to travel (hay nets etc).   She even groomed my horse and put her shipping boots on!   I'm so spoiled :)

So I get to the farm a little before 5.  Go to hook up the trailer and the ball wasn't attached to the truck -- no  big deal, I expect it's in the back of the truck.  Except it's locked.  And it has an actual key hole.  And the truck doesn't use a normal key.  This is *not* a good sign.  So I drive to the indoor arena and turn the lights on so I can see and start trying to figure out how to get the back of the truck open -- fortunately there's an inside button too and all was good.  Drive back and hook up trailer, which, btw, is ridiculously easy when you have a backup camera!  hahaha

Loading A was a bit of a snot -- and definitely got away from us once and went for a very impressive run around an indoor (ever try to catch a black horse in a dark arena before sunrise?  Yeah - I don't recommend it.  Fortunately the lights don't take that long to turn on :)   Some pretty incredible movement though.  However, at least she was a 20 min brat not a 2h brat and with Laura's help (now *that* is a dedicated friend coming out to help load a horse at that hour!) we got her on.  Bella the super pony of course just hops on next to her and away we go, just before 6am.

Drive was uneventful; the sun rose about half way there which made things a whole lot more civil, and we saw very little risk of the threatened rain.  Also, given the complete lack of traffic we made excellent time, getting to Cedar Run in about 2h.  Despite my awful start to the morning, we were still early. hahaha sweet.  We pulled in to find a chain across the gate.  hmmmm tricky.   Fortunately it turned out that it had already been opened for us earlier, so we were able to let ourselves in and unload.

At which point Bella started grazing contentedly and Athena started a power march exploring as much of the property as she could.  She also somehow managed to get filthy in the trailer so while Steph explored with her I followed along trying to get a moving Athena groomed and presentable.  Or close enough to :)

Eventually got both horses tacked up -- Hailey bridling her own pony alone for the first time off property (a fact which appalled both Steph and I when she mentioned it *g*  And here I thought *I* was spoiled :)   Hop on and Bella was quite content to chill; Athena, less so.  So we went for a power trot and a half and a few canters while we waited for David till eventually she chilled enough to walk.  Not to graze, but to walk.

When David got there we did a brief warmup and then started hopping over some tiny logs.  Athena was reasonably rideable by this point (yeah for earlier energy dismissal :) but Bella came to life!  Have never seen that pony quite so, ummmm, exuberant *g*   Hailey did an awesome job with her, mostly giggling at her antics and trying really hard to follow David's instructions on how to slow that pony down!  hahaha

So we went around jumping mostly PE and E logs with the occasional PT fence thrown in for good measure.  I was a little frustrated because I felt I wasn't riding particularly well, but at very least with David's help we got Athena jumping a little more consistently :)  So that was good.  "This is not the type of horse I'm used to seeing you on..."  hahaha no, no she's not.  Pretty much the extreme opposite actually.  "Ok well this'd get you killed if you were sitting on your usual type, but probably work with her."  hahaha sure enough - it worked :)

And while I was feeling pretty out of it, I was being totally shown up by my student who was proving to be a superstar; Hailey was busy putting in some of the best riding I've seen from her.  hahaha and Bella did, eventually, chill out and return to her usual superstar self.  We went down to the bank complex in the woods which was lots of fun -- Hailey took the whole "lean back" thing to a whole new level -- aiming for Rolex rather than Entry :)   But she moderated it before we got to the more complex bank that had a showjump fence after it.   Then up top again to jump a few mini-courses.  Always good :)   Both horses were excellent for that actually.

Off to play with the ditch, which went just fine.  Athena was feeling slightly tired and so getting *very* strong at this point (breaks were ummmm intermittent at best - and the fat snaffle I had her in wasn't going to do much about it :), but at least she was honest about it.   Bella didn't even blink.

Follow the banks and the ditch with a quick play in the water and we've got all aspects of XC covered!  It was sooooooo much fun :)   Made better by good company, perfect weather, and *almost* well behaved horses (totally well behaved would be boring after all :).   Loading to go home Amy (D's equally amazing wife) helped me out with Athena and we got her on with very little argument.  *phew*   Drive home in daylight was reasonable -- really, if you're going to go that far, that's the direction to go in.  The same time spent on the 401 or even the 400 isn't nearly as pleasant!  Got home just in time to feed the horses their dinner :)

Overall an awesome day!  Thanks tons to David for yet another brilliant clinic!

Pics on Facebook here if you're interested :)


Post a Comment