I figured I should do a recap post of the long weekend and everything that happened while Hillary was here, with getting the horses settled and my shit unpacked. But then I also figured that no one really wants to hear about my shit getting unpacked or the mundane tasks and errands associated with a move, so let’s talk about the fun bits of what we did while she was here instead.
It felt like we were busy doing shit from sun-up to sundown every day, and well… we were. But we made sure that the first couple hours of the day were set aside for the horses and riding. Partly because it’s a fun way to start the day before you have to get into all the drudgery, and partly because I think it’s important to keep the horses moving and keep their routine, and to be able to get on them and feel how they’re feeling.
We did a light stretchy hack with Gemma and Henry on Friday morning, and they both felt as good as they looked. Which was really nice because in addition to the long trip they’d also had a couple weeks off before that. Gemma went around like she hadn’t missed a day or traveled 1100 miles.
Henry looked shockingly good to me too. Usually time off and travel make him look stiff and weak really quickly, but nope… he was quite spry. We just did a few minutes of flatwork to get them moving and then went for a walk around the farm.
We had a bunch of errands to run that day (including picking up our awesome new-to-us Jump4Joy chevron from Kyle Carter, who brought it back from Kentucky for me, where Jen had brought it from Indiana… this jump is well-traveled), and we had to stop by Seminole and Tack Shack to get some things for the horses, which obviously got slightly sidetracked.
After that we had to run out to Tractor Supply, which is very conveniently located around the corner from a BOMB little ice cream place that has some of the best Italian Ice ever. It’s only 15 minutes from the barn which is information I probably didn’t need but will definitely use (frequently) over the summer.
The rest of the day was work and sweat and carrying things. After we finally got dinner and got settled at home and were about to go to bed, a big ol’ storm rolled in out of nowhere. Out we sprinted to bring the horses in, which was… super fun to do at almost midnight. They were pissed to be inside, but once we got back to the house the skies REALLY opened up and there was tons of lightning, so… it was the right choice even if they were mad.
On Saturday morning we were up early again to turn them out and clean stalls, then Hillary got on Gemma and I got on none other than everyone’s favorite Noodle.
Lord he’s tall. And long. Just a lot of horse and surface area. I forget sometimes, especially since Gemma and Henry are both a good hand smaller and waaaaaay more compact. It’s like being on top of an elephant, but a really nice elephant. I didn’t bother lunging him or anything, I just tacked him up and got on, and away he went like no biggie. I hadn’t ridden him since last September, and he hadn’t been ridden at all since October, so I was pleased that he pretty much got right to business. He’s a good kid in the ways that count, even if he drives me crazy with his continued removal of his fly boots ALL THE DAMN TIME.
I only trotted him for a few minutes since he doesn’t have much muscling or topline left to speak of, and then I asked Hillary if she wanted to take him for a spin. Zero arm twisting was required, and she got on and trotted him a few times each way too. He’s definitely a very different feeling from the other two – aside from being about 45 miles long he’s also got a lot a lot more suspension in his gaits and requires a lot of core strength to keep together.
Once we were done with the kids I put out a couple jumps for Hillary to pop Henry over, including setting up our new chevron out in the field so you could ride out of the ring and jump it. Henry was absolutely delighted to be doing his thing and happily christened the new jump.
Before we arrived we had already scheduled bodywork for the horses on Saturday mid-morning with Jen Oliver, who is fantastic. She did all 3 of them and spent some time chatting with us about them and what she was seeing and feeling.
Despite the long trip she thought they all felt pretty good. There were some tight spots here and there and some knots to work out, as expected, but generally it was really not bad considering their journey. A comfy trailer ride (it never ceases to amaze me how much better my horses look and feel after traveling long distances in a straight stall vs a slant) and then lots of turnout time seemed to do the trick.
After that we had an afternoon of more errands and unpacking (there is no end to any of it, I think), and then had a quick hour or so free before we were meeting someone to talk about training. So ya know… we headed over to WEC. Because why not. Well ok I’ll tell you why not – there was a massive car show going on at the same time and therefore it was crawling with muggles, but we quickly hit some of the main shops anyway. Technically I grabbed something for the barn at FarmVet so it wasn’t an entirely self-indulgent trip, and at least we were quick about it, but… ya know. I don’t feel bad about it.
Sunday was pretty much the same thing on repeat. Ride in the morning, then work and errands. Pretty sure I’ve put more miles on my truck in the last week than in the last 2 years. The good news is at least I kinda know my way around pretty well by now since I’ve seen most of Gainesville and Ocala and Williston and everything in between by this point.
We rode in the morning again, just another light stretching ride and then hacked out. Presto met his official fan club (aka the yearling colts) and now really wants to know why he can’t go live in their pasture. God, can you imagine what it would be like if he had 9 little yearling dumbasses as minions? The farm would implode.
We were pretty freaking exhausted by the afternoon, after days of running around and doing shit, so we gave ourselves a few hours of luxury to sit inside and watch the Badminton cross country replay. It was definitely something. How about that XC performance from Mason (aka Presto’s brother from another mother) though? That boy just romped right around there for fun! After having watched him come up the ranks for so many years it’s really fun to see him doing so well especially at something like Badders.
Monday was Hillary’s last day here, and we opted for just an easy road hack with the horses in the morning. Figured it was best to do that for the first time when both of us were here. Presto was a little snorty about everything but Gemma and Henry enjoyed it. One great thing about living here is that people passing you on the road in vehicles don’t go ZOOMING past, or honk at you, or whatever the fuck else. They know horses, so they slow down and they’re friendly about it. Blew my mind a little after so many years of road hacking in Texas, where you never know how many people are gonna try to deliberately run you over.
After that we did a little more stuff around the barn, ran a few more errands, and then it was sadly time for me to drop Hillary off at the airport. Big sads. So many. She tha real MVP though for giving up an entire week of her life to help me move myself and the horses. There’s no way in hell I could have done it without her. I still have plenty to do here on my own, and riding 3 horses requires some schedule juggling, but it’s manageable now since we got a lot of the big stuff taken care of in those first few days.
Now I’m flying solo! There’s still a lot going on this week, which I’ll catch you up on with next week’s recap post, but that brings you up to speed for moving weekend at least…