Friday, September 29, 2017

9/14/2017 - Championships, Part 1: The Long Ass Drive

Wahoo, we've ground through the pre-championship posts in the queue, time for the big show!

Before we get there, I had one last ride before packing it up for champs. And it was horrible. Absolutely dreadful. I worked inside to use the corners and arena walls, and that might have been my biggest mistake ever.


I had walked Penn around and was gearing up to trot and start tuning him in to my leg... when one of the horses who was in for dinner lost her ever loving mind and tried to claw up the stall wall. They got her out of the stall, but she was hell bent on leaving and leaped out into the indoor, directly in front of Penn. She was very very disturbed, and her abrupt appearance really spooked Penn. Like, legit scared him. His whole body shook with every heart beat. I could feel it in my leg and seat, and see it in his head and neck. The horse was terrified. He wouldn't go forward, he wouldn't go towards the far end of the arena, he wanted to stop and spin. He took a bunch of nervous poops where he just stood there and trembled.

I tried my best to encourage him forward into his fears, and to try and salvage a basic ride that could hopefully end with some relaxation. He did not need pony club kicked anymore. He needed to chill and turn down his turbo. He seemed to get more and more freaked out the more I tried to package him. So I stopped trying to. I sat the trot and let him trot as big as he wanted up into the bridle. And boy oh boy, he went to town. I offered him nothing except a steady rider and he just kept going and going. After a good bit of "excessive big show trot" he was finally ready to take some input and relaxed a hair. I did a little bit of canter, same idea, big big canter. He was a bit squirrely in canter (bodily out of control and he could have easily dumped me), but we got some work done.

I was horrified. He has worked much, much harder than I wanted, and none of it was what we needed to work on. The Perfect Impulse guy was out, and I told him he might need to spend a bunch more time on Penn the next day at his treatment because today was a shitshow. :(

Thursday morning dawned rainy and hot. Irma had finally made it to my neck of the woods and brought tropical humidity with her. Fortunately, she had lost most of her rain and wind by the time she reached us!

Husband and I got to the barn right on time, got packed up right on time, and left the farm, right on time around 10:45-11:00am. The goal was to be at the show outside Cincinnati by 4pm. Ha. Hahahahaha.

My truck had other ideas.

No oil pressure means you pull over before you turn your engine into a hunk of useless metal.
About 15 min after we left, the truck's oil pressure dropped to zero. The truck did that before to Husband, but he pulled over and turned the truck off, let it sit for 5 min, then turned it back on and it was back up on pressure, no further issues.

We pulled over and turned the truck off. I texted my barn owner that shit might be hitting the fan. Husband hopped out, checked the oil level, added some since it was a hair low, but everything else seemed fine. We got the truck started again, and the pressure was normal again. We decided to keep going, and stopped for gas about 20 min later. Everything still seemed fine, so I texted BO that it seems ok, Husband is 99% sure it's an electrical gremlin and the gauge was bad (we've had other gauge problems). About 20 min after that, we were going up a long steeper hill on the way into Pittsburgh when the oil pressure dropped like a stone and the truck lost some pulling power. We managed to limp the truck to a commuter parking lot and popped the hood... and when Husband pulled the dipstick, it came out smoking.


I called barn owner immediately... but no answer, so I left a message. I then texted M (BO's daughter) and was like, "I need to get a hold of your mom, we're stranded with the trailer). Then I texted Dressage Trainer- she was heading to Championships that day too. I messaged another person I knew was going to champs. I messaged everyone I could think of as I tried to formulate plans B-Z to try and get the horse another 5-6 hours to the show. DT was already in Columbus (way far away) and once we were back on the road, one of the other ladies said she had an extra trailer spot if we were still in a jam.

While I called everyone I knew, Husband called AAA. I was actually kind of sad I didn't get to use US Rider, but we were still within an hour of the barn, and only 15 min from my house, so I didn't need to call strangers.

This horse is a fucking rock star.
He stood in the trailer without making a peep the entire time we were sitting in the parking lot.

BO was great- she called back and agreed to let us borrow her truck for the weekend. She set her stuff in order and drove out to meet us. While she did that, AAA was on the way too. So were my parents. We arranged for the truck to go to a local dealership for them to look at whenever they had time and my dad would follow it there to make sure they got the right information down. Mom drove my BO back to the farm.

It seriously took a village to get us to this show. Horse people may be a crazy breed, but they are the most helpful people too. I could not have gotten to champs without the help of a bunch of people.

This made me very, very sad.
Also, this is the biggest truck this flatbed can take, haha.

It also took us like, 10 hours. Not kidding. We left sometime around 10:45am, and arrived around 9pm I think (no earlier, for sure). The trip was supposed to take 5 hours and 30 min. We figured 6 or 7 hours since we had the trailer. Between the stops we made (the first sitting on the highway, getting gas, stopped a second time for a couple hours, stopped again for diesel for the second truck, and stopped again because we we just beat), and the sheer distance to travel (308 miles), we took enough time to get there that I could have driven to Region 1 Champs in NC. The whole point of going to Region 2 Champs was to avoid the 10-11 hour drive. Sigh.

It may be 10:00pm in this pic, but we made it!

Karen was wonderful- she was my go between to the other members of our stabling party, and she got me the combination for the tack room so I could dump all my stuff in there after everyone else left. I promise guys, I may not have met any of you yet, but I won't steal your stuff or miss locking the tack room :-) An 8am ride time meant I had to get my stuff in there the night we arrived or face an even earlier morning.

Next, a very, very early first ride.


  1. Ugh I hate traveling problems. Glad you guys made it safe and sound.

  2. So stressful, but I'm glad you got there!

  3. You're always welcome to call me as well - we've lent out our truck before :)

  4. Horse people really are the best. None of us would ever get anywhere sometimes without the help of others!