Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee...

It gets hotter than a ........

Oh, you know the rest.

Anyway, before I start telling the tale of the AECs, I will first tell the tale of the competitors (after) party. First, my readers, understand that I did work at the Fork, which not only throws killer competitor parties, but even more killer after-parties, complete with beer hidden in the bushes, naked people in the river, shacking up in the apartment above the barn, etc... (all of those events actually happened the year before I was employed there, shame).

Anyway, little did I know the shinnanigans that would be had from 11pm-2am when I jumped on the back of a gator with my friends. Nothing bad, mind you, except we did have several cases of Barefoot Wine (sponsor of the AECs), and tour guides who happened to know every inch of the 9,000 acres we were on. We viewed the location of the video shoot for the Alan Jackson song (of which this post is named after), we drove around to see Troy Glaus's cabin, nearly went for a swim in a lake, and in general had a GREAT time, that lead to a very LONG drive home Saturday morning. Did I mention we had a AWESOME time? We did.

But now allow me to tell the tale of how we got from Wednesday to Friday night....

Amanda Miller (, her groom Ali, and I all were riding down together, so after getting a late start (1.5 hours!), we headed down many many miles of interstate to arrive at (near) our destination. We then spent a bit thinking we'd read the directions wrong, until we finally saw a little bitty sign with an arrow for 'Chat. hills event'. We pulled up, got our map to the stabling and began the trek up the road. About 20 minutes later (seriously), we arrived at our barn. This is after passing hundreds and hundreds of trailers, horses, people, farriers, vendors, wash racks, etc... Of course to fit over 700 horses onto one facility, the stalls would have to be pretty tight. Luckily our event horses are used to stepping over buckets, tubs, fans, small children, dogs, etc...

The boys got settled and we went to walk our course. It looked like so much fun! Quite a bit smaller in size then what P has been jumping, but some tough, tough (did I say tough?) questions that would definitely keep him thinking!

I got up Thursday morning to bathe and braid as my ride time wasn't until 11 or so. P was a bit naughty in the warm-up to begin with, but really came out of it nicely. I was super stoked with the horse I was sitting on. I was earnestly watching the horse before me and just as she turned down center line, I stuck off across the walk way between warm-up and the competition area, only to be stopped by a volunteer who said I needed to wait until that horse made it's final 4 strides and halted (it was halfway across the arena before I'd be reaching my competition ring anyway). Well, during those 4 strides, P had an epiphany that this was no normal competition, and that there were people, and flags, and tents and all sorts of scary things. Thus I rode my test a bit conservatively.

After watching the video, I was very pleased with my boy! And THEN I looked at online scoring and was NOT pleased with my score, but oh, well... nothing I could do about it now!

On we went to XC where P ROCKED the course.

Everything seemed easy, and I'd like to think P and I BOTH had a blast! Plus we made time!!! Something we don't do very often! Back to stabling we went with a happy grin, and a good pony! A couple rounds of ice, and a walk or two lead us to the wine and cheese party... where we needed WAY more food with our wine!

Luckily that night my parents had gotten a hotel room so we didn't need to tent it. Man a shower and Taco Bell seemed like the two most awesome things at that moment!

But we were back at the show early the next morning to take P our on a hack with Connor (and whoever thought it would be a good idea to put a hack trail THRU cross country, was not thinking clearly. Both ponies would have liked to tackle the XC again! Amanda and I both survived, and then I got to spend a bit of time test driving Land Rover's and browsing the trade fair before our 4:30pm stadium ride.

P warmed up for stadium nicely, although he was rubbing the front rail of the oxer just a bit. I stuffed him into a short spot right before we went down to the ring, just so he'd have to jump up and around and I guess the plan paid off since he went in and pulled off a double clear for me! YEAH FOR FINISHING ON OUR DRESSAGE SCORE!!!! We moved up 18 places after our dressage to finish in 26th place. Not too bad in a division full of professionals from around the country!

(check out the awesome change at :44 and my over half halt at 1:09)

Then it was on to the competitor's party, which you already know about.

I was a bit crazy and taught a full day of lessons Sunday, plus rode a couple of client horses in a dressage show. Needless to say, I was a bit beat come Sunday night!

This weekend I head to Indiana to teach a clinic and be in a wedding, then it's off to WEG next week! Speaking of WEG, a HUGE congrats is due to RebHow (Rebecca Howard), my former employer, who had made the Canadian Team with Rupert (a little horse that I said was going to the Olympics when Rebec said "he'd make a nice Young Rider's horse"... see Rebec?)

Ciao, ciao!

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