Here there be dragons...

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

A year in a week

Wow.  What a week.  Pretty sure it lasted about a year.

Let's see... Monday?   I don't even remember Monday.   I vaguely recall Kennedy, Rowan and Chelsea doing some superstar dressage which pretty much made my day.  But that seems a LOT longer ago than Monday.

Tuesday I'm pretty sure didn't even happen.  Do you remember Tuesday last year?  Yeah, me either.

Wednesday is what made the week so long.  Wed am I woke up sick.  Very sick.  Food poisoning.  As unpleasant and uncomfortable as you can imagine it being.   Steph was doing the morning barn for me (never been SO very grateful for that!) and being the awesome woman she is took over the afternoon for me as well.   Now usually Wednesdays are my easy day because I don't teach in the evenings, so if I have to be sick, that's the day to do it.  The problem?  It was the day we had booked for the first xc school of the year. And usually feeling the way I was it would've been cancelled.  No question.  But did I mention it was the first?  And Saturday was the first HT.  First HT *ever* for two of my students.   XC school before that is important.  And they were really excited.  And I know how upset I would've been in the same circumstance if my coach had cancelled.  AND I know all of them would've been totally cool about it -- which made me that much more determined to try to help them.

So Stephy to the rescue again.  I showed up, but she managed the organizing and hung out for the loading since I couldn't've handled anything other than perfect equine behaviour the way I was feeling.   Fortunately my horses are saints and all loaded beautifully.

Got there and got organized - Rowan on Jack, Chelsea on Lissy, Kennedy on Nick, and Amy on Flora.  Flora, who's almost 5, was going for her first xc experience ever.  We started in stadium -- I was feeling almost alive then.   Warmed up and let the horses and riders relax a bit and then started very slowly over tiny fences.  Slowly we jumped bigger and more interesting jumps -- it was really cool to watch both horse and rider confidence growing!   Till at the end Rowan and Chelsea even jumped the castle :)  Woohoo!

Then it was time for XC.  All the girls navigated the PE course beautifully, while Chelsea and Rowan also tackled some of the Entry fences.   Flora was so much fun to watch -- you could see just when she got the hang of the game.  She went from never having jumped anything xc to being able to confidently do the bank combination on the first try!  Woohoo.  It's a shame she's destined to be a hunter >;-P    Jack, otoh, was having WAY too much fun.  Rowan's challenge isn't getting him over the jumps -- she's figured that out.  Her challenge now is keeping control *sigh*   Jack felt the need to go for a gallop and decided he could do it faster without his pilot.  He went left when she went right and then he continued to book it around the field for a few more laps -- even jumping a fence on the way!  Fortunately Rowan was fine and hopped back on. And since Jack had galloped himself out, the rest of their school was uneventful.  Chelsea and Lissy are on a serious ON streak.  They jumped everything beautifully on the first try, both clearly having TONS o fun.  Really good to watch.  And while Nick was being his usual lazy self, Kennedy did a good job with him getting him to jump the entire PE course -- coming from hunter world, Nick isn't nearly as easy to ride on xc as he is over sticks because he's not at all sure what he's supposed to do with these weird log-type things.   But Kennedy did a great job of convincing him to go over them all :)

Only issue is about half hour from the end of our xc school, my endurance ran out.  I started to feel horribly ill again and when I stood the world spun.   It got so that I was teaching sitting down in the middle of the field *sigh*   Ah well.   Steph managed the untacking and organizing again and Bryn very kindly drove the truck/trailer home for me.  I *almost* made it, but not quite.

So Thurs I was supposed to have MY xc school.  Which I @ least had enough sense to cancel.  I was feeling much better, but still pretty dopey and a long way from ready to eat anything.  Took me forever to get stalls done -- and even that only happened because my amazing dad helped me out.  Thurs eve before teaching I decided to ride.  Yes it was stupid, but you're not surprised are you?   Now I *did* at least consider that it wasn't a great idea, so I went out with the hill-work idea.  Ie, walk-trot only.  Perfect.  And the walk went well enough - she was through and marching well enough.  I was a little dizzy and my reflexes were down -- it'd been almost 48h since I'd eaten anything by this point.  And then I tried the trot, and it was a horrible fail.  After about 10 strides I had to admit defeat :(   But it was sunny, with just the right breeze...  Perfect riding weather.  And I was feeling like crap and grumpy and tired and really just wanted to ride my pony.  There are times when it takes a four-legged being to make you feel human.

So do I acknowledge this is a bad idea and go back?  Of course not.  Can't trot, may as well go for a walk hack.  She needs lots of lsms and I never have time to give them to her...  We get out about as far from home as we can go without leaving the property when the world starts to spin.  Less good.  So I get that I have to go home -- but the question is how?  Do I dismount and walk or try to ride?  The issue of course being that Athena doesn't lead particularly well.  hmmm ok try riding.   Heading back on no contact.  Athena's power walking but maintaining her walk.  All good.   And then a rabbit jumps out in front of us.  Time froze for a moment as my barely-functioning brain processed "rabbit = scary monster = horse spin and bolt = too tired to stay on = this will hurt.  *#$*"

And then... "Wait, why am I still on the horse?"   Yup, my saint of a pony took care of me.  Didn't move a muscle.  No spin.  No bolt. No nothing.  Just stood very still and grew for a second.  BIG pats for pony.  Walked home uneventfully and I fed her an extra couple carrots before putting her outside.  Then I just went and curled up in a ball till it was time to teach *sigh*   Lessons actually ended up going well, but omg I felt horrid.

So the debate that night was, do I cancel my Friday lesson?   You know the answer to that :)   Now I *did* actually manage to eat half a piece of toast on Friday am, so that was progress.  And my coach knew I wasn't well since I'd cancelled xc the day before.  So we did a lesson with a focus on slow and details rather than speed and strength.  Probably smart.  I was frustrated with my riding, but we did manage to get Athena working well so at least partially effective.   The rest of the day I was feeling almost human.  Tired and slow but not ill any longer.  Sweet.  Even managed to have a sandwich mid-afternoon.  Lessons went really well -- Rowan and Jack came to an understanding and went off adventuring with no excitement, so good to go for Saturday.

And then Saturday hit and I felt sick again.  Booo.  But got out to the barn and got to the show and after a little while felt normal again.  Phew!  We had an AWESOME day at the show.  That story is on the GRS blog :)   Jack wore his big-boy clothes, Lissy was an all round superstar.  Both girls rode like pros and jumped double clear.  Woohoo!   Sat eve I was still pretty exhausted.  I hate that being sick on Wed still knocks me out on Sat :(   Also forgot my book at the barn so that pretty well destroyed my evening relaxing on the couch with a book plans.  Searched for a movie but couldn't find anything.  All-round fail.  So spent forever writing a blog post or two and then actually went to bed at a reasonable hour.  Imagine that.

Got to SLEEP IN this am.  You have no idea how amazing that was.  Rebecca did the barn for me and I didn't have to teach till 11.  Sweet.   Taught a couple lessons - both of which I was really happy with.  My last lesson got cancelled so I decided I had time to ride.  Was a little bit of brilliance or disaster there.  Oh dear.  From "can't keep the horse in the dressage ring at the canter" to some of the best movement I've ever had from her.  Swung back and forth between the two several times, ended with something reasonable and went out for a hack :)   Figured that was a good compromise.  Afternoon stalls took next to no time since the horses had only been in about half an hour *g*   Fed my ponies and went home for Father's Day family dinner :)  

Happy Father's Day Dad!!!!

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