Somehow another week has gone by. Time flies when you’re having fun. Or when you’re busy. Or both. It can definitely be both.
I feel like I’m settled into the routine now, which is nice. I’ve gotten a handle on how to manage my time and how to structure my days to fit everything in, and in the way that makes the most sense. I’ve mostly got the horse’s ride schedules worked out too (there’s some flexibility in there of course) and I feel like now things are kind of chugging right along. As much as they do with horses anyway.
Last Monday the farrier came, which… it’s always fun when you move and have to re-build your entire team of equine professionals. This guy came highly recommended by a couple friends though, and not only does he seem capable of communication, he also shows up on time and is positive and quiet and patient with the horses. He did a great job on their feet too, especially with getting shoes back on Presto. He’d worn his hind feet down to such nubs that I wasn’t sure the farrier would be able to get shoes on them at all, but with some creativity he did manage it, and Presto is looking and feeling a lot better.
Everyone was warning me to brace myself for the Ocala farrier sticker shock but… lol. It was $25 more per horse. For a farrier who actually communicates reliably and shows up on time and does a good job. I’ll take that, thank you very much. So far that’s been my experience with just about everything. They said hay here was astronomical… it’s pretty much the same as in Texas, but it’s better quality and a much better selection. I guess the key to avoiding sticker shock is to come from an equally sticker-shocking place. Granted, these days I think it’s pretty much just all expensive everywhere. Things aren’t cheap in Ocala, but what I do absolutely LOVE (LOVELOVELOVE) is the selection. Tons of farriers, tons of vets, tons of places to get hay and feed and supplements and supplies and and and and. Soooo many different brands and styles of literally anything. I haven’t even been to all these places yet, it’ll take me months to explore it all. And everything is within 20-30 minutes. There is a lot to be said for that. It’s almost overwhelming.
On Tuesday the Arion saddle rep came out so I could demo their monoflap. If you recall I sat in one and talked to them some at Kentucky, and really wanted to ride in one. Turns out that the Florida rep is friends with a friend of mine (Megan that owns Luxe EQ) so I had a little inside connection. Luca came up from WPB with a car full of saddles, and I sat in the xc model and the dressage model. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow!
On Wednesday our friend Libby (who is also a Patreon member as well as the owner of Higher Standards Leather Care, and she’s been instrumental in getting BreedRideCompete hooked up with event organizers for live streams!) was in town, and she swung by to meet the kiddos. We’ve chatted online for so long that I already consider her a friend, even if it was the first time we’ve ever actually met in person. Presto was on his usual behavior, pulling my hat off multiple times while we were standing there talking.
Libby did confirm that the horses are all exactly as advertised on the blog, so there’s that. I had a couple things to give her from the Patreon VIP giveaway stuff, and she was kind enough to bring me the newest scent of HSLC soap, Lemon-Aid, which is an exclusive they’ve made for Jeffers. It’s like a frosted lemonade or lemon cupcake – lemon with a bit of vanilla. Really nice summer scent. And perfect timing because I was just about down to the bottom of my jar of their Rosemary Mint. Highly recommend… I’ve loved HSLC for years, it’s my favorite saddle soap, and Libby and team are good people so win-win.
On Thursday and Saturday mornings I had to run mares across town again to Ocala Stud. Another race mare getting bred to Noble Bird on Thursday, and then one to Girvin on Saturday. I know the route now without any kind of GPS, so that’s a plus. And the breeding manager there struck up a conversation with me on Saturday, so I guess I’m at least sorta “in” now. We’ll see if these last handful of mares check in foal next week or not… would be nice if they all did, since we’re pretty much at the end of breeding season for the thoroughbreds down here.
We got a lot of rain over the weekend but the weather has still been pretty darn nice (when compared to oven-like Texas anyway). The rain waits for the afternoon/evening so I can still fit my rides in in the morning when it’s cooler. Yesterday morning I jumped both Gemma and Presto, which was honestly a bit entertaining to do back to back like that. Gemma is a smooth little rapid-fire sportscar, and Presto is this big long-striding gallumper with tons of suspension. They are… extremely different. Extremely. And a distance that looks like it’s gonna be a bit long on Gemma or Henry is not at all a long distance on Presto. My eye is going to have to get used to that. He covers ground like nothing I have ever ridden.
Presto seems really happy to be back in work though, and especially hopping over some little jumps again. That horse does really love having something to do, and the harder the better. His brain is always looking for something to occupy it. On his days off from work I usually find myself in his paddock playing with him or trying to find something to keep him entertained (which often consists of putting his fly boots back on repeatedly so he can take them off again).
I love having him back, too. I love riding him, he gives you just the best feeling, even if he requires more physical effort (my abs, omg) and more mental effort (gotta stay 3 steps ahead of him at all times) than the other two. He’s a challenge, but a fun one… something different. At some point I need to find someone to take some lessons with but I’m kind of dreading that part a bit. That’s hard. My brain can’t yet. Maybe next week.