So first of all, the porta potties at Whidbey were the best managed ones at any horse show I have ever been to hands down. We arrived on Thursday with Kristin’s barn at about noon and left Sunday afternoon and literally every single time I needed to use one it was like brand spanking clean. They were serviced daily and I was just so impressed.
I know. Go to a horse show and spectate and tag along with all the training and novice course walks, hang out with old and new friends and I come back raving about porta potties. But man. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to not have to run in, hold my breath and pray for a scrap of toilet paper all weekend.
My job for the weekend was mainly to keep Cara, Kristin’s mare calm. The last show they went to Cara had some anxiety in the stall which was made worse by a thunderstorm. The idea was that with me there able to take her out of the stall and walk/graze or just sit with her while she was in the stall that she would chill out. In that respect the weekend was a resounding success!
Cara was chill enough that I was able to tag along for the novice and training XC course walks which I found really interesting. Kristin’s trainer is also in the process of becoming a course designer so he had some valuable insight as to what each course was truly asking. The main takeaways for the novice course was to get your horse in front of your leg right away. The first fence was a sharp right turn out of the startbox and then for fence 2 and 3 you were leaving warm-up and facing a field full of horse eating monsters, I mean cows.
The training course was mainly testing if you could keep your horse even in both reins with a twisty track that sported a baby corner, a “skinny”, and several jumps that were set in places where your ideal line was blocked by another jump or tree so you had to pick a line and keep your horse straight through the neck and shoulder and even on the reins.
Interestingly the whole “even in both reins” came up again in the novice show jump course round as the overall theme. So ideally the course designers were prepping you for the skills needed at training level XC in the novice stadium round. This whole testing of the next level skills idea during stadium was not something I had considered before so that was super valuable information for me. But maybe I am just totally behind the times and that’s just common knowledge. Entirely possible. Would be the story of my life!
I also met up with a dear friend who I grew up riding with, like little squirts through angsty teens. She also left horses during college and found her way back to eventing and now is riding an adorable saddlebred mare who is just super game. It was so so nice to hang out with her and reminisce about the days when we had to build hotwire paddocks at shows because there were no stalls.