Sunday, November 6, 2016

Puff Daddy and "Excuse you!??"

The clinic starts on 18 November.  So far, my grand plan of doing ALL THE JUMP SCHOOLS with local trainer and perhaps even catching Stephen Bradley to prepare has not worked out.  Like, at all.  I had wanted to haul over and get 4-5 good jumping lessons in, to allow Soon and I to get our heads in the game over fences we hadn't seen before.  Unfortunately, the the timing has been bad and I only get to haul out to jump on new property over new fences maybe next weekend.  Maybe.


So I've set up some fences at home for the time being that are a little more interesting than just the rails we usually jump (XC fences obviously don't count here, he jumps those fine and this isn't an XC clinic!).  This weekend I grabbed some haybales and a flower box and constructed something fun, and then put up a Swedish oxer because I figured he hadn't seen one of those in awhile.  I practiced my counting out loud down to the fence (I need to practice that more), and also practiced my driving reins (already pretty used to that exercise).  Much to my surprise, he had to stop and look at the Swedish (!?), but he marched down to the haybale contraption and jumped it like an eq horse.  Ok.  Overall a very good and productive jump school, and something I wanted to build on for today.  Or so I thought.

Looks like he jammed himself up when he threw on the brakes to the oxer, as he had a little bit of filling in his right front ankle this morning.  Puffy ankle earned him the nickname of Puff Daddy for the day.  He wasn't quite right, but also not lame...after trotting a couple of circles I called it a day.  It wasn't worth risking jumping him and making it worse.  We'll try again later.  We iced him, put some DMSO concoction on it, and gave him a gram of Bute and we'll see if he's able to flat on it a little tomorrow.  I'm just hoping he needs a day or two and will be fine.  I'm already stressing about not being totally prepared for the clinic thanks to my Schedule of play the soundness game would really put me in the nut house.

Assuming all is well, we'll hopefully haul out for a jump school this weekend and jump twice.  We'll flat and relax until we leave on the 17th and then it's pretty much in Anne Kursinski's hands after that.  Whee.

Went to the beautiful Mount Vernon yesterday with a couple of friends to enjoy their Horses and Hounds event.  After a special tour of the property, we settled down to enjoy the fox hunt demonstration courtesy of the Caroline Hunt.  It was a beautiful day on gorgeous country, and it was fun being there with folks who didn't normally have the opportunity to see a hunt.

As we were scoping out a viewing spot, a lady asked me about the Hyde Park vest I was wearing (something that I picked up on my recent trip to London).  She asked if I had ridden at that stable, which I did (I'll blog about that I swear!), and she said great, because she lived around the corner.  Which seemed strange to me, because she didn't sound remotely English.  In fact she had the flattest American accent ever.  But hey, maybe she was an expat, what did I care.  Or maybe she was talking about Hyde Park in NY?  I didn't know, didn't care...It only got weird when we ended up next to her for the hunt demo.

She was facetiming a friend of hers (presumably in the UK, though she didn't have any kind of UK-ish accent either she sounded like she was from Ohio) and they were going back and forth joking about being in America and watching fox hunting.  "Can you believe it?" said the lady next to us.  "AMERICANS!  FOX HUNTING!"  And her friend replied "OMG are they using western saddles!?"

Yes.  Because we're all American heathens that run around in western saddles on little Mustangs and spotted ponies screaming "YEEEHAWWW!" instead of Tally Ho, and the huntsman yells "GET 'EM LITTLE DOGGIES!" at the hounds when they're on a line.  We also like to keep some automatic rifles on us in case we actually catch the quarry because you want to blow that fucker away big time.  Because 'MURICA.

My internal reaction was "EXCUSE YOU??"  And then I wanted to educate her that by being in Northern Virginia, that she was standing in the cradle of American Fox Hunting.  Literally...she was standing on Mount Vernon; George Washington is regarded as the father of the American Fox Hound because of his great love of the sport and his breeding programs.  I wanted to tell her that she could drive two hours in any direction and find some of the best sport this country had to offer.   World class horses, riders, staff, and territory all here in the Mid-Atlantic region.  I wanted to tell her that hunting in the US had a long, storied tradition of excellence. A tradition that I was proud to be a part of for several years.

This was my office for three years!


....But I didn't.

Because judging by her comments and her giggling, she didn't seem interested.  I didn't want to waste my time.  I also didn't want to let this distract me from the lovely demo that the Caroline Hunt staff and field members presented.  The lady shut up when she saw them, I'm hoping it was because she appreciated how traditional they looked, how well turned out the entire field was, and how impressive it was to be in the company of a working pack of hounds.  It was all perfect.  Even the rogue hounds and the Whips having to put in overtime.

Speaking with Caroline Hunt members after the demo

I get it.  We can all be ignorant of each others' cultures and traditions.  This was no big deal.  Even if the lady of questionable nationality didn't know much about the US despite sounding like she grew up in the middle of it, she got a great introduction.  It was lovely to see one of the greatest country sports just miles away from D.C.  What a privilege it is to share it with folks who wouldn't otherwise get to see horses and hounds up close.  It was a special day, and I'm glad to have taken part.

Even if we're all still apparently cowboys.  Fine.


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