Can you tell just how excited I am??? I leave one week from today to achieve a goal I have had for 4 years now. So close. So very, very close.
Monday I went out to ride, but as I was grooming her I realized how little day light was left. While I love the atmosphere of hushed ancient panic to get all the calories in as possible before winter hits, the sound of leaves crunching underfoot and the crisp breeze of autumn, I really dislike the sun setting earlier and earlier. My nights at the barn are quickly becoming extinct.
Instead of hastily getting a couple frantic loops on the grass tracks in before it was too dark to be safe, I opted to just hand jog her around them. I instantly wished I had prepared for that and wore shorts instead of my cotton breeches. We set off at a good clip down the grassy track separating the mares and geldings and worked on our trot out command. She was behaving well until we reached the back corner and came down the long, far side of the gelding pasture. It really is all my fault because I was feeling good and enjoying the endorphin rush I was getting from taking an early evening jog with my horse on a warm fall day. I picked up the pace and let myself sprint down the far side, urging Gem into a race (like I could ever beat her on foot!) and let out a happy "squee" as she tossed her head to the challenge and charged alongside of me. Well, the geldings took the challenge up as well and soon Pete and three others were racing alongside us on the other side of the fence. This was too much for my Gemmiecakes who became nervous and didn't know if she should still listen and stay beside me or take up the challenge of the geldings and race ahead. I kept her in check until we reached the end of the pasture and she settled again as we made it alongside the arena field toward the road.
I had already decided not to jog alongside the road on foot. She is really good around cars and such but it only takes one jerk honking, screaming or throwing something to result in a broken bone or hurt horse, so I planned to just turn back around and go the way we came. As we neared my turn around point, a herd of horses from across the road came charging towards us to their fence. I didn't know horses were even over there and by the look on Gem's face, she didn't either. She let out the loudest, most disgruntled snort I have ever heard come from a horse and spun around. She was up, up, up and pranced with tail flagged and the most gorgeous Arabian floating gait I have ever seen her do. Too bad she doesn't do that under saddle! Now my alarm bells were ringing. I could take my flaming dragon alongside the road or back alongside the hopped up geldings again. I chose the geldings to be away from the road and we managed to go along the far side with her prancing circles around me and trying to canter in place when I made her stop. Eventually we turned the corner to the back side and she calmed down enough that I asked her to jog the rest of the way back. Good grief!! I don't need either of us hurt now!!!
Before I left I grabbed a small amount of grain and mixed in her vitamin powder and gave her both as a treat as well as to hopefully continue the trend of her eating well after working.
Tuesday I had a lull in my schedule at work and the weather was stunning. Sunny and 80 with a slight breeze. I didn't have enough time to ride, but could get a bath in, so I grabbed Her Highness who was most decidedly not very happy to see me two days in a row. I told her it was spa day, but that didn't seem to cheer her up at all. I shampooed her up then applied conditioner to her mane and tail and let it soak for a bit before rinsing. I noticed that she is maintaining a great body weight (still a BCS of 6 :) and looks really good right now. Eventually I unhooked her from the cross ties and let her graze in the barn yard until dry. Once dry we headed back to the cross ties for a brushing and once again I gave her the grain with vitamins which she scarfed down. Back out in the pasture, she looked at me funny and walked away shiny and clean to roll in the dirt.
Wednesday morning before work I headed back to the barn to meet the vet for her health certificate so we could legally leave the state next week. She came right up to me and laid her head in the arms :) Back in the cross ties she went while we waited for the vet who showed up on time, had at least a clue about what endurance is, and was thorough but quick. While he filled out the form, I loved up on Gem and scratched her neck. She rested her head on my shoulder and slowly it got heavier and heavier until she fell asleep!! That's a first!!! The vet commented on how wild my endurance Arab is and we all laughed at poor Gem. Once he left I attached her lead rope and went to put her back out, but she wouldn't budge an inch. She stood in the wash area looking at me like I had lost my mind and would not move. I looked at the hubby and he laughed saying that she was looking for her grain. So I went and got her red bucket and put some grain and her powder in. Once she licked it clean, she readily walked away and back out to pasture. Spoiled mare!
Now it is Thursday and all my tack is sitting at home waiting to be cleaned. I think I may give Gem the day off and work on cleaning the tack instead. I told myself that I would pack as much as possible this weekend to take stock of what I need to get last minute and what I can make do without and tonight may be a good night to start that endeavor too.
One week to go and I am getting more and more excited as the days go by!