Wednesday, March 30, 2011


All the other competitors started arriving today on the show grounds; it is always amazing to me how busy this place can get, particularly after how quiet it was yesterday! The horses have settled in very well, Monkey finally stopped screaming and spinning and decided maybe he would eat something. I rode today as well, all the horses were on good behavior considering everything (particularly Monkey was surprisingly focused and workmanlike). The weather was fantastic, mid 80s and sunny all day; I have to say I am less interested in how the show goes and more interested in being in the sunny warm weather for a few days! I took Mom to the airport this evening, she's headed back to PDX. My other stall cleaner :) flies in tomorrow around noon. Ran into several other Northwesterners who have made the trek down to this show, I think everyone is a little more chipper when they aren't being rained on incessantly. ;) Mom and I met some very 'shiny, happy people' at Starbucks this morning, I swear, you can't get that degree of happiness without some sort of chemical means. More later!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


All the horses finally settled in this afternoon; they were all pretty restless last night and this morning. Monkey in particular was hugely traumatized when he was relegated to the CDI barn, two barns away from his good buddies, which is very typical for him. He screams, he spins, and it goes on for hours. You'd think he'd never been to a horse show before! After a half day or so, he finally started to calm down. Majek and Bolero, on the other hand, were pretty happy next to each other in the National show barns. The weather has been surprisingly warm, today it hit 80. It was just beautiful, and nice to be out of the rain (and wind, and hail, and snow...). The forecast is calling for 90 on Thursday!

Arrived in Southern CA!!

We finally arrived in Burbank last night at about 11pm. Mom and I left Idaho at about 7am, so it was a loooong drive. Unfortunately, some rain and snow had gone through Southern Oregon and Northern Nevada the night before, so there was quite a bit of packed snow and ice on the highway in places. We passed a Suburban that had taken a corner too fast and flipped over, and a van pulling a small trailer that went off the road and tipped the trailer onto its side. Needless to say we kept it pretty slow, the truck and trailer felt really solid on the road but I'm not one to take chances in conditions like that! The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, surprisingly the horses rode very quietly in the trailer (Majek normally paws and kicks much of the time, and Monkey tries to out-paw him). Maybe they like the new trailer??! The scenery in Western Nevada/Central-Eastern California was stunning, the mountains there have just tons of snow on them right now. Traveling down US-359 into Bishop it just beautiful, it follows the Sierra Nevada south through a valley. Mom was disappointed she didn't bring her fancy camera so she could take some pictures. My truck hauled the new trailer like a champion, and I have to admit I LOVE my exhaust brake, which I have nicknamed "Baby Jake" (that's what happens when you drive for 15 hours, your brain just gets really wierd). It helps slow the engine down significantly so adds a bunch of braking power without putting as much strain on the transmission and disc brakes. Unfortunately it doesn't sound anywhere near as masculine as an actual Jake Brake (like the semi trucks have), it makes a high pitched squeaking noise like it has yet to undergo puberty. Hence the nickname. The final stretch into Burbank is always the worst, I tried to warn Mom but you really have to experience it. After driving for 15 hours on mostly lightly traveled highways, you hit CA-14 which eventually puts you onto I-5. And you spend 20 harrowing miles on I-5 before you can (thankfully) exit to Alameda which takes you to LAEC. It is insane. Luckily this year I was totally prepared and got into California driving mode instantly, so no problems weaving in and out of traffic and driving like a mad woman trying to keep up with all the other idiot drivers. It helps that I-5 is horribly bumpy, so it feels like a really bad roller-coaster ride. Upon arrival at Burbank and successful unloading of the horses, Mom promptly drug around in the truck looking for beer. I'm sure she was wishing I had some vodka shots or something a little stronger. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

All packed!!

  • I pretty much packed everything I own into my truck and horse trailer and am (more or less) ready to hit the road in the AM! Every year I seem to pack more and more stuff to take with me, especially now with the bigger trailer I have no reason to hold back. Why take only one shirt when you can take 5? Why only 5 t-shirts when you can add 5 tank tops? Why only 1 saddle pad when you can take one each horse for every day of the week? Why shop in CA (obviously they don't have stores) when you can buy every food item you'll ever need up here and tote it down with you?

  • I'm not feeling super confident pre-trip, Monkey now has a bunch of small bumps on his back under the saddle pad, which started about a week ago after the last injury-fiasco (I won't get started on that one). As if I needed more stress, he also had a swollen right hind leg yesterday. So I called my vet on his cell phone (it felt like Groundhog's Day, after last weekend's injury-fiasco and the same frantic vet-phone-call), and blurted out, "he's trying to drive me insane!!" Thankfully he was sound and the bumps don't look to be a big problem. So I diligently wrapped the right hind to keep the swelling down for overnight.

  • So this morning, I notice he scraped up his left hind. I swear, he hears "Burbank" and starts banging himself against the wall trying to create some sort of injury.

  • Majek and Bolero are luckily in one piece, however, both were spooky goof-balls all weekend. I think they are picking up on my higher-than-normal stress levels and finding monsters in every corner. Look!! A hose! Look!! A piece of paper! Look!! A cat!! Look! The chair in the corner that's been there for the past several years!! Naturally this isn't helping my stress levels any.

  • On the plus side Mom has been keeping on eye on the weather for our trip down. After all, it is hugely important to check the weather forecast every 15 minutes, just in case it has drastically changed and huge amounts of snow are going to be dumping in Winnemucca. But just because it didn't change 15 minutes ago doesn't mean we shouldn't check it again in 15 minutes! Why wait until the afternoon before you leave? That's silly, we should stress about it for days beforehand! Mind you, this is the same person who asked me TWO WEEKS ago if I had checked the driving conditions for my trip yet.

  • So we're planning on leaving tomorrow AM, probably between 6 and 7am. That should put us in Burbank at LAEC between 10 and 11pm. Then the REAL fun begins (or that's what I'm telling myself)...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Getting ready to leave for CA!!

I'm in the process of packing for my drive to Southern California...normally I would say "sunny" So Cal, but since it hasn't been, I'm a bit more reserved in my enthusiasm. I have two big shows lined up, the Festival of the Horse CDI in Burbank April 1-3, then onto Northern California for the Golden State Dressage Festival CDI in Rancho Murieta April 7-10. Both shows promise to be super-competitive and intense, if not sunny.
This trip will also be the maiden voyage for the new (bigger) horse trailer, irony of ironies I now have a 5 horse and am selling the 3 horse, but I'm only taking 3 horses to these two shows. Go figure. At least it'll look bigger and fancier! Plus I have more storage room for all my stuff, so I can now bring everything I own.
Escorial (aka Monkey) will be showing in the (intimidating) CDI short-tour classes, which are extra-competitive this year as a result of the Pan-Am games at the end of the year. Should be great fun! I finally got my freestyle nailed down, which will be helpful, considering I've never ridden one in competition before. Oh well, I guess it'll be one big experiment.
Charismatique will be showing in the Open show in PSG and the Developing Horse tests and young horse Bolero (at his first ever show, do I make great decisions or what??) will be showing Training level. All in all it should be an awesome couple of weeks.
Now all I need is that famous California SUN!! (Can you tell I'm getting sick of winter??)