The Duchess hersef - graciously allowing me to hand graze her after our ride.

Well, not really, but it might as well be my first Rolex.

We have determined – somewhat hesitantly on my part – that Colby will debut at a small ‘Mini Event’ about 45 minutes East of home on June 10.

Yes, Bromont is that weekend, and yes I am once again going to have to live vicariously through the HJU members who are going….as I don’t really think not riding the crazed lunatic for 3 days prior to going is the best of ideas.  Additionally, I am not missing the chance for Colby’s first ‘eventing’ outing in what is probably the most perfect setting for it.

Everyone has to start somewhere and when my xc coach told me about said mini event, I figured that was as good of a place to start as any.  It is basically a short course.  So, we will ride the Canadian Eventing Entry Level Test #1, have a bit of a break then move on to the jumping.  The jumping will start in the jumper ring, then head out over a series of cross country fences and finish up back in the jumper ring.  Following Eventing Canada rules, the jumping portion will be timed and faulted accordingly.  Sounds fun right??!  Welllll…..

Remember how I said ‘somewhat hesitantly on my part’? The hesitation is coming from the fact that I have absolutely zero idea on how she is going to react to all of it and that is what makes the pretty little butterflies in my stomach feel like flesh eating butterflies with fangs.  She could go either way.

Let’s discuss:

Option #1 -> She’ll be a complete crazed lunatic

I am not exaggerating.  There are times when her whole body simply tenses – I think (hope!!) it is because she is excited.  It really doesn’t matter if we are flat schooling, jumping or hacking.  Her whole body will simply tighten up under me and it is 50/50 as to whether she will explode, or pay attention to me and get down to business.  (I usually have to tell her to stop acting like a big baby…and then I remember she IS a big baby!!)

She doesn’t really get nervous – unless there are cows in the vicinity (but that is a completely other post – you know, the one where I turn into a reiner and try to hang on for dear life). She doesn’t really get spooky, but she likes to take a look at things.  Her mind is constantly looking for something to do and if I can keep her attention, then we will be okay.  Unless she is in heat. Then, I might as well not even go.

When she is in heat, she is a nightmare.  She is Miss Thaaang and I would rather NOT deal with her then try TO deal with her.  Mares.  Chestnut Thoroughbred Mares.  Good thing I am patient. She will seriously give me attitude about everything and it makes me want to bop her in between her eyes right on her double whorls.

The other day – while she was in heat – was the most frustrating ride I have had on her.  She absolutely refused to relax, was looking at everything except what she was should have been looking at, was hanging on my hand and would literally throw a hissy-fit-temper-tantrum when I would give her a little tap with my whip to get her forward and off my hand.  Bru. Tal.  Upon conclusion of the most frustrating ride of my life, I took her on a hack to cool out…or so I thought.

She proceeded to prance, neck arched, on a completely lose rein, for a solid 10 minutes.  Then, we ran into 2 other riders coming back from a hack, she squeals and heads directly for them – at a controlled prance.  Once we get to the other horses (both geldings), she turns on a dime, sticks her butt into one of their noses and wiggles…literally.  She is a floozy.

Depending on her mood, there is a very good chance that the Crazed-She-Devil-Lunatic will be out in full effect.

Option #2 -> She’ll be a complete rockstar

Rolex in 5...?

I am not exaggerating.  There are times when I feel like I am riding a 4* star horse. (Not that I ever have, not that I ever think I will, but I imagine the feeling I get when she is ‘on’ would be similar…hey, everyone can dream right?)  Light, self carriage, in my hand, her back feels light and accepting of me and the contact, power, floating…like I am sitting on a helium filled balloon.  It is an incredible feeling.

It’s as though she says ‘Yep, I feel like being awesome today, let’s get at it!’ This is when she is receptive to everything, nothing fazes her and sometimes I think she is laughing at me when we try something new.  I took her over a ditch for the first time a couple weeks ago – and while it was more up than over, she didn’t balk at it at all.

About three weeks ago, we went off property to a little schooling jumper show.  Big scary decorated jumps (there was a 2 stride triple combination where the standards were 10 foot high castles with a TON of rails!!!), show atmosphere, she had never been to the place before…she walks off the trailer, sticks her head straight up in the air, looks around, snorts a couple times, prances beside me for 6 seconds, then is bored with it all and starts eating grass…as I stare at her dumbfounded.  She warmed up beautifully, did a spectacular job over fences and acted calm, cool and collected.  You know, as if she had been doing it her entire life and not at her first off property show as a 4 year old.

So, going in to June 10, I am going to use the entire thing – and the next week as lead up – to focus on the process, enjoy the fact that the little filly has come such a far distance in the 10 months I have had the privilege of riding her and use it as a learning opportunity for June 23 – when we hit our first ‘real’ event.  And of course, not let myself get nervous (hahahaha) and have fun!!

As an aside – she really isn’t a crazed lunatic – she is an unbelievably sweet-natured red-head with a strong work ethic (most of the time), who loves what I ask her to do (most of the time), enjoys what I ask her to do (most of the time – we are still working on reverse) and tries really really hard (all of the time)!