Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How did we get here?

Or since we haven't left, how did it come to pass that we are going to WEF?  As a teenager, my family lived outside of Tampa and it so happened we bought a horse from Gene Mische's barn.  This led to my first trip to Wellington and a few weeks showing in Tampa, back when Stadium Jumping owned the show.  Fact:  I am old enough to remember when both venues had grass grand prix fields.  Over the years I've been back several times for some amazing experiences but I always assumed showing there again was outside of my realm unless "lottery winner" became my new job title.

My saintly junior horse, Ollie

A year ago, I didn't have my own horse.  I had ridden off and on after college, most recently having leased a friend's wonderful young hunter followed by a jumper that was a little too eager for distinctly-amateur me.  It was financially possible, barely, but I felt like I should have a massive savings account and some sort of stock portfolio before I should own a horse.  Then I decided I'm 34 now and I want to enjoy my life instead of waiting and waiting for an opportunity that may not come.  I horse shopped and decided on Tucker, a coming 5 year old thoroughbred that was most distinctly not cut out to be a race horse.  He didn't know his changes and was relatively green, although he had some great starter miles from the eventing barn he came from.  But... he was (and is) incredibly sweet, sane, forgiving, quiet and takes a joke with the best of them. 
Tucker's baby face, a week or so after he arrived
He's spent the last 10 months learning how to work his body, showing a bit in the 2'6 divisions and generally figuring out what he is doing with his life.  The last two winters in Boston have been really tough and this native Floridian has had enough.  I was joking around on Facebook about going to WEF with another horsey friend, and before you know it, another friend with a farm near the show offered me a stall at a very fair price.  There was also a place for me to sleep (crucial).  Critical point, it was 0 degrees when she offered, so I took the bull by the horns and said yes! 

That's me taking the bull by the horns.  It's how I handle business. It's a metaphor.  But that actually happened.
Other than the flights, the cost is similar to any other AA show... I just don't normally show for 3+ weeks in a row.  We've gotten almost 4 feet of snow in the last week so I am feeling a bit more justified in our winter vacation.  My goals are fairly modest - I'd mostly like my horse to be his usual civilized self in a much bigger atmosphere, I'd like to get a minor tan through my SPF 30, I'd like his changes to get more consistent and I am hoping he moves up to the 3' Thoroughbred hunter division during his last week of showing.  Even in the 2'6 divisions, the horses are incredibly fancy so I'm not going with ribbons in mind.  

My amazing (non-horsey) boyfriend is also not a winter aficionado and was able to get a job videoing at the horse show, so I am very much looking up to seeing him after over a month apart.  I had told him before he got there that this would be unlike any horse show he had ever seen and I am 99% sure he didn't believe me.  He sent me this picture upon arrival and told me he didn't know a lot about horses, but he was pretty certain every single one he had seen cost more than our condo.  Quick learner, that one. 

Boyfriend is here; I am in the tundra. #jealous

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