Thursday, August 25, 2016

Schedules and Show Prep

Penn is enjoying his pre-horse show nommies.

Let me start by saying I have severe show anxiety. It's much better now than it was when I was a kid, but my least favorite part of every show is when we turn down the drive and the venue pops into view. It makes my stomach churn, I don't know why.

I battle the anxiety by making lists, creating schedules, and then good old exercise closer to the date (barn work if I'm lucky!). Since Penn came to me with zero show and life experience, I took him to 12 dressage shows, 1 hunter show, and 1 hunter pace in the last year. That did wonders for my own show anxiety and the anxiety of teaching a new partner the ropes. Getting out there and showing over and over again really helped make everything a non-event for both of us.

I started carefully constructing our August/September schedule about 3 months ago. Things like the chiropractor and farrier were scheduled long ago to make sure I had first crack at each professional on the day I needed them. A long time co-worker/friend recommended I make up a calendar schedule of what needed to happen before Championships. He had to do something similar to plan for a month long motorcycle trip that he's taking that starts at the Pacific Ocean and ends at the Atlantic (super freaking cool trip, btw). He and I have been trading stress and anxiety stories as we both put all the pieces into place for our own trips.

You'll have to click on this to really read it.
I uploaded this into blogger no less than 3 times because I kept adding and changing things.
And I published the post, then uploaded a new change shortly after. So 4 times.

You'll have to click on this to really read it.
I uploaded this into blogger no less than 3 times because I kept adding and changing things.
And then I published the post, then uploaded a new change shortly after. So 4 times.

A brief explanation:

  • Red Dates: August
  • Blue Dates: September
  • Orange Cells: Adequan injection reminders
  • Pink Cells: Dose with Omeprazole
  • Purple Cells: Ring work, ie test practice, lesson, etc.
  • Green Cells: 'Fun' days, ie trail ride or hill walking
  • Yellow Cells: Horse Shows

It was actually kind of hard to keep to my desired 3 days of ringwork, 4 days of rest/trail ride schedule I mentioned before. With the shows coming up, lessons, and mandatory rest days for the chiropractor, it was basically impossible for me to put 3 days together like I wanted. I did the best I could, and I'll probably keep tweaking it.

I had my first real meltdown on Tuesday when the vet office called me and said the chiropractor was going to be at a conference on 9/14 and that they needed to move my appointment from that day to a day the following week, and was that ok. I'm pretty sure they didn't expect my raging NO response. I told them the whole point of that visit, which I scheduled almost 3 months ago, was so that my horse would be freshly adjusted before leaving for championships. If it happened the next week, I'd be taking an overdue horse to a major horse show.

Flinging his alfalfa! I wanted to throw things on Tuesday too!

I asked for the last available appointment before the chiropractor's trip, and they were able to fit me in on 9/9. That date is still fine, and to be honest, I feel a little better about it since Penn will absolutely be better from any possible soreness by the time we leave for Championships. The office was a little iffy about that day, only because the office schedule showed it as clear, but they needed to confirm with the schedule that traveled with the chiropractor. She's very popular in this area and is usually booked solid for 3-4 weeks from the current date. Everything looks good though (psychotic me called this morning to confirm a time since I won't be able to be there since it's on the fly and not according to schedule!), so I can relax again.

I did a little pre-show shopping too. Horse show = buy all the things because pony needs them, right?

I got him another bale of compressed alfalfa from Tractor Supply (as you can see from the pictures). I've been giving him a flake when I come out to ride. I leave him in his stall and groom him in there while he munches on it. He's been a bit better about his girth, so maybe his tummy is feeling a bit ulcery. I have a bunch of omeprazole that I'm holding on to for our big trip to Championships, so I'll make sure he gets that too. He's been enjoying his treat... especially since I learned he does not like it soaked, at all. As in, he absolutely will not eat it. I'll keep giving him a flake (or half flake if I can break it apart) before riding throughout the end of Championships. I'm not having BO toss it to him daily this time around because he started associating it with his hay. He would waste the hay by tearing it apart looking for alfalfa and trashing it instead of eating it when he ran out of the good stuff... which means he's not only wasting money (hay = $$$$) but he's not getting the roughage he needs either. I might try cubes at some point (they're a ton easier to work with!), but he seems to really enjoy the chopped alfalfa in flakes. It makes him drink a ton too, which is good! He drank about a half bucket with his alfalfa last night.

Speaking of drinking, HolyBully posted about Horse Quenchers, so I decided to order some sample packs from their website. Penn doesn't always drink well at horse shows... He never seems out of sorts from it, but with a 10 hour drive coming up from PA to NC (hello climate difference!), getting water in him is SO important. I'm really hopeful I'll have them in time for this weekend, but if not, I'll have them for Loch Moy the following (I would hope since that's a week and a half after ordering). I got Penn peppermint, apple, and root beer flavors to try. I'll see if he has a favorite (I'm sure it will be root beer since I don't like root beer), and then I'll either get some more single serving sizes or I'll order a small bucket. I won't need it that often, so I'm not concerned about the economies of scale right now when a bucket is only keeps for a year or so. Well, this is all assuming he'll drink it, but the company boasts a 99% acceptance rate, so I'm not terribly worried.

My trailer is set up in a way that I can safely hang a bucket next to Penn's head, and he can easily get to it if I lengthen his trailer tie. The goal would be to half fill the bucket (so water doesn't just slosh onto the floor!), put horse quenchers in, and hang it for the duration of the trailer ride. I've tried offering him water at rest stops, but he's always showed zero interest in drinking. I'm hoping this gets him to drink the whole way down to NC. He'll have a bucket of horse quencher water the whole time he's at Championships, and on the way home too.

I stuffed it back in his feed bin and he ate a hole in it, haha. Looks like a bird nest.

Ooo, also, I won third prize in EventingSaddlebredStyle's Olympic contest, which is two strands from Dark Jewel Designs. I'm currently looking through browband strands to see what I want, but I'm having trouble picking! I know I want a navy colored one, but I keep seeing more and more browbands I like! Thank goodness I can pick two! I'll hopefully have those picked sometime soon so that they can be made and then Penn can model them for you all!


  1. I kinda hate it when I set up a perfect plan and schedule with all the pieces fitting perfectly together - and then one of them changes. Drives me nuts. Tho sometimes it's good for me to remember to let go a little and be flexible so that small shifts can't throw me off my game. Sounds like you've got everything coming together as well as possible!

    1. You know, the piece only changed when I went to create my calendar? Logically, that means I shouldn't write calendars up anymore! I have to figure out how to be flexible... and it's hard because scheduling is my coping mechanism, so you screw with the mechanism and it all just falls to pieces!

  2. Bobby loved the sample packs I got from Horse Quencher years ago so I ordered him an entire bucket since he used to be really bad about drinking at shows, too. Of course as soon as I got the bucket he decided he hated it and wouldn't drink it anymore. He magically decided one year to be a grown up and drink like a champ at shows, so maybe Penn will grow into it too.

    1. Ohhhh I'll be so pissed if Penn does that! I think Penn just needs more experience. He got a ton this year, but nothing is a substitute for time.

  3. I make so many schedules and plans. I love them!

  4. Holy jeez I just about had a stress attack looking at that calendar. Like I carry one around in my head but for all the horses I juggle I should probably write it out but then I think I'd get anxious about how much there is to accomplish if I wrote it out???

    Anyways. Wow. Good luck on all the adventures!!

    1. It doesn't bother me because I used to do it when I evented too. Except it said things like trot sets, dressage school, jump school instead of breaking down the rides. Penn and I have all the skills already, so there's no panicking about learning something new by x date. I have things I need to work on, like my show warm up because I need to get that ingrained in my head since I have a tendency to throw it out the window when it comes to actually warming up for a test. It's a lot of reminders too!