It was indeed a very quick trip out to Ocala and back this past weekend. Michelle rolled up to my house just after midnight on Friday morning, and we drove straight through to Ocala getting there just before dark on Friday evening. Aside from me getting weirdly motion sick (I do get motion sickness pretty easily but almost never on the highway like that while I’m in the front seat), not being able to find Dramamine anywhere we stopped, and settling for Benadryl instead, it was a fairly uneventful night. By the time the sun came up I wasn’t really nauseous and dizzy and foggy-headed anymore and didn’t have any other problems after that. So naturally we celebrated by getting Fro-yo for breakfast. Is it really even breakfast if you never slept?
When we rolled into Ocala that evening we unloaded Patrick and Percy, took a quick look at some of the projects that the barn manager and Michelle’s friend Kelan had been working on, and then I went to bed. Where I proceeded to sleep like the actual dead. I do not do well at missing sleep, my body just cannot.
The next morning I was up at dawn to get a look at everything in the daylight and start making a plan for what needed to be done and when and by whom.
A lot of the barn prep and fencing – the major major stuff – had already been done by the barn manager, so it was mostly a matter of getting horse supplies, stuff for setting up the tack room, a few things to prepare the RV hookups, and some more tools and equipment for the barn manager. We made lists of things we needed, had a quick meeting with the arena builder, and then on the long list of errands – Michelle and I took her truck to Walmart, Lowes, and some horse stores.
After we finished all those errands we stopped by WEC on our way home (have I mentioned how fantastic this location is) so I could stop in and give some breeches back to my friend Megan that owns Luxe EQ. And ya know… since we were right there I wanted to pop into the Romitelli store real quick to see if they had any brown boots in my size. I’m really trying not to trash my nice show boots with the black glitter top, and the Ego7’s that I’ve been riding in every day have massive holes in the front because the tongue under the laces has completely disintegrated on both boots. It’s… not great. I needed new schooling boots bad. I really LOVE my other pair of Romitelli’s, they fit me so well and are fantastic quality. I figured if the Gods of Boots wanted me to have some brown Romitelli’s (I wanted plain chocolate brown, or at least chocolate brown with very few “accents”), then there would be some in the store, and I’d take that as a sign to get them.
So I stroll into the store, ask the nice lady what she has in my size, and she’s only got a few pairs in that size on the shelf. The Gods of Boots were smiling on me though, because it turns out that one of those boxes contained a pair of plain chocolate brown boots. And they’re cheaper in store than they are online. Who am I to argue with fate?
I think I was in the store for all of 6 or 7 minutes… had to be the easiest sale of the day. After that we walked back to the h/j show’s vendor row to see Megan and chatted with her a bit. There was a Grand Prix in a few hours, so we made plans with her to meet back at WEC later for that. We took the truck back to the farm to unload everything and set it where it needed to go for the next day, then headed back over to WEC for the Grand Prix. It was absolutely PACKED – I guess that makes sense as we’re coming into the height of season and given the fact that there was a dressage show and a h/j show going on there at the same time… you had those folks plus all the seasonal eventers. When we got there at 6:30 (the GP started at 7) all the seats and tables were already taken and there were lines way out the door for all the restaurants. It was nuts, but also kind of fun to see such a strong turnout for a fairly standard weekend horse show. There’s no doubt that you’re in horse country amongst your people.
We stood in line for tacos, found a bench where we could at least watch one of the big screens, and Megan busted out of a bottle of champagne. It was certainly not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening after the hustle and bustle of the day.
On Sunday I was down in the barn at dawn again, getting stuff organized and making a list of all our to-do’s, hoping to try to knock out as much as we could that day.
Once I felt confident that everything was accounted for and organized and we all knew what needed to be done for the day, I left Michelle and Kelan working on the tack room (they’re good decor and design people, definitely not my strong suit) while I went to run a few more errands and get a few more things that we had discovered we needed. When I got back I hit the ground running, trying to knock the most important tasks off the list first because Megan (other Megan… Presto’s trainer Megan. There are way too many Megan’s in my life, including myself.) was set to arrive from Pine Top with a couple horses that afternoon. The rest of her crew and clients would arrive on Tuesday.
Once Megan arrived we got her and her groom and her horses settled, then we all headed down to Horse and Hound for dinner (and the other Megan met us there… triple Meganed). It had been a super busy weekend but it was nice to get time to catch up with everyone. I haven’t seen Luxe EQ Megan in forever (like years??) and Presto Megan is always busy with her growing business, I’ve never really had time to talk much to Presto Megan’s new groom, and Michelle and I aren’t often together in person, so having that time to sit and chat and just enjoy each other’s company was a nice bonus. They’re all great people, and it’s hard to find a better place than Ocala.
Trying to get everything accounted for and completed and ready to go in just a couple days was definitely stressful and a lot, but seeing Megan’s horses standing in the paddock grazing was a nice moment. This property is SO incredibly beautiful, and seeing it slowly but surely get fixed up and rejuvenated, and having other people be able to come and enjoy it… it’s really special. It’s the culmination of a lot of dreams and work for a whole lot of people, and hopefully it’s the beginning of something wonderful. I know that everyone involved cares very deeply about it, and we all believe in the vision. It makes all the difference.
It was tough to get on that plane Monday to come home, feeling like there were still things to do and knowing that I was definitely gonna have major FOMO once the rest of Presto Megan’s crew arrived. We did get the major stuff done though, and everything that was still pending was in very good and capable hands. Plus I got to get a better look at the house and can now start figuring some things out for myself in that regard. So, ya know… time to get home and get cracking. Things are definitely moving along… it’s happening, and it’s starting to feel real.
Texas definitely is not Ocala, that’s for sure. I’m excited to be able to get out there full time and get started on some more projects, there’s so much potential, and capable people to make it all happen. WTW East is going to be magnificent.