Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 5 of the 5-Day Challenge and Life Adjustments

Made it! Whew. Well, except for the conformation critiques of the mares, but that's coming, I promise.

Before getting into the last five questions, though, I have An Announcement!

 A few of you knew this already but were sworn to secrecy until I could give my boss notice, but for the rest of you: Lex and I are moving to Ohio for the spring semester. I got a visiting faculty position at a university there, just for the spring, while someone else is on sabbatical. This means that we are going to have to deal with the cold.

I am a southerner. I have a southern accent. I say y'all, and I know the true meaning of "bless your heart" [roughly translated: go throw yourself under a moving train]. I like live oaks with Spanish moss, and I like being warm. I do not know what to do with actual snow. Lex is a Florida girl, too, and I doubt she's ever seen snow. I suppose we'll just have to do our best. I'm already blanket shopping, but if anyone has a 78-80 blanket you're not using and want to sell me, please let me know. I don't even know what kinds of blankets I'm going to need. Or what I will possibly wear outside myself.

BUT! This is going to be fun. Lex will get used to an indoor, we will be in a state that doesn't even have the dreaded coastal hay, and we'll be just a few hours from the Kentucky Horse Park. I already bought Rolex tickets! And then I'll come back, hopefully with some cash in hand, and be able to figure out how to do this horse thing along with the professional historian thing.

Also, Lex was just fabulous today. Her willingness to bend left has come leaps and bounds in the last week. It's always more of a struggle to the right, but she's getting there. She has some really nice moments here and there.

Anyway, without further ado:

21. Favorite classes to watch

Grand Prix, always, if there is one. Otherwise, whatever the jumpers are doing that day. Hunter derbies are cool but I will always, always be by the jumper ring if given the choice.

Who DOESN'T want to watch this all day?

22. What's in your cooler at a horse show?

Well, it will probably be at home because I'll have forgotten it. If I do remember to pack human food and not just horse snacks, I'm likely to have Gatorade powder, crackers, cookies, and maybe grapes. I don't eat a lot on show days, though peanut M&Ms are always a winner.

23. One thing about showing (or riding in  general) that you wish you could change

[I am fully aware of the futility of this campaign as an attempt to end drug use in humans.]
The way some people hurt their horses in order to win. Let's not DRUG our HORSES at SHOWS anymore, okay? No more of this "Oh, I'm just giving him some Ace so he will have a pleasant experience" crap. It's an excuse and everyone knows it. Who's to say that Ace is a pleasant experience? No drugs, no cruel training methods, no electrified girths or tacks under the noseband or bleeding, please. And for that matter, don't simply use up a horse or jump his legs off. The horse's welfare comes first, always, and anyone who pushes the horse too hard or treats her like a tool for getting ribbons or slips her some Reserpine just to win prizes should be ashamed of themselves. My trainer has a philosophy about winning that I like, which is that it isn't worth it. If you're the first of ten to go in a jump off, just have a clean round, pat the horse, and go home. If there's no prize money and/or you're not in an excellent position to win anyway, there's absolutely no reason to try to win and take more out of the horse than necessary. Sometimes you win those classes because everyone else makes more mistakes than you. But wait for the moment, that one class where everything lines up just right, and when you know you can win, then you do it. That's how you get horses with multi-year careers at the top and you don't just burn them out in seven months. With that philosophy, you know there will never be any drugs near any of our horses. I really think trainers who drug horses for shows are beneath contempt, and it sucks that that is a controversial statement.

24. Your ringside crew

My girlfriend (who also rides and shows, yay), my trainer and his partner in crime, and sometimes my lesson kids. My mom would TOTALLY come to all my horse shows if she could, but she lives several states away. 

25. Best prizes

I have boxes of ribbons at my mom's and some other stuff I've won, but I don't really think I've gotten that Best Prize yet. I need to join some local associations and rake in points for year-end awards or something. Of course, I could buy many many coolers for the price of one show day!

Welp, that was fun. Stay tuned for the confo critiques. I hope to get that up tomorrow.


  1. Congrats! Sounds like a fantastic opportunity.

  2. "Win a year end award" is totally a bucket list item for me. ;-)

    1. Let's make it happen! Cute bay OTTBs deserve year end awards!

  3. Congrats on your visiting position!

  4. Exciting! Sounds like a great opportunity :)

  5. Not sure where in Ohio you're moving to but that's where I'm at!! Feel free to email me if need any advice about the weather or whatever!! Tbidwell614(at)Gmail(dot)com

    1. I'm gonna do that right now! Thank you! :)