As I write this, winter storm Nemo is invading New England. I hope everyone is safely at home and all their animals are also sheltered from the blowing snow and wicked cold. Virginia was spared and my emerging daffodils, peony tips, and Rose-of-Sharon buds are thankful. Seeing my flowers begin to return to my garden beds reminds me that spring is not that far away. If we can make it through February, any winter weather that decides to visit in March usually doesn’t stick around all that long. Good thing since I’ve seen some dressage schooling shows on the calendar for March, and by April, winter is just a memory and we can look ahead to pretty days spent at the local show grounds.
I’ve spent some time looking at the available shows and trying to plan Ike’s second show season. He spent his inaugural year doing Intro classes at licensed and schooling shows and then transitioning to Training Level only at schooling shows. Because of the classes and shows we entered, I didn’t have to empty the pocketbook to obtain my USEF Membership, my USDF Participating Membership, Ike’s USEF registration, and Ike’s USDF registration. Since our goal for the coming year is to qualify for the USDF/GAIG Region 1 Dressage Championships, I had to bite the bullet and empty the checkbook to get us street legal for licensed shows. I’m now scraping together the funds to enter the necessary shows in hopes of qualifying. I’ve also got my checklist of things to get done before our first scheduled outing on April 29, 2013:
1) Get the trailer inspected. The inspection sticker expires this month, so hopefully the weather will cooperate and it will get done so that we are safe to travel.
2) Clean out the trailer dressing room. I’m really not certain how the chaotic state happened, but every time I open the door, I cringe. Okay, I lie, I KNOW how it happened, but I’m just in a deep state of denial that I actually let it happen. I am so anal about everything else at the barn that it is so wrong to let the dressing room exist in such a state. Unfolded blankets, a Christmas gift bag with trash, unidentifiable packages of stuff, and none of it where it should be.
3) Try on my show clothing. Need I explain why this is necessary? I did already purchase a new pair of white gloves for this year. The ones I have been using since 2007 are the color of dirty street snow and it is time for them to retire.
4) Condition and polish my boots. Dreadful, but necessary chore. I’m seriously considering paying the local shoe repair place or a Marine to do it for me.
5) Tame Ike’s mane. Yes, there will be a spa day coming up soon. I openly admit that I am not proficient at pulling and thinning a mane. I compare it to plucking my eyebrows, I do the bare minimum to prevent unibrow for fear that I will overpluck and be left with bare skin where hair should be. My greatest worry is that I will pull too much mane in one place and not enough in others leaving no alternative but to roach it and pray for quick regrowth.
6) Work on my half halt. Practice centerlines. Improve our up and down transitions. Work on my half halt. Improve our stretch down trot. Learn half halt timing. Perfect our circles. Square halts. More half halts. Hmm, there seems to be a preponderance of work on my end in this entry.
7) Do something really nice for my husband. Without his support, I would not be on this journey with Ike. Without him, Ike and I would be hacking to shows. Without him, shows would be lonely. He is our greatest cheerleader.
8) Organize my paperwork. All our necessary registration paperwork, rule books, vet certificates are shoved into a file box. It is all in one place, but that place is my home office and that will not help me when I’m at a show scratching my head while trying to remember membership numbers or test patterns. Guess I need to accomplish task #2 or fear losing this paperwork in the chaos.
9) Measure my whip. How awful it would be to put in the ride of a lifetime to only have it negated by a whip that is 1 centimeter too long.
10) Take time to breathe and just spend time with Ike. While time in the saddle is important to success, I believe the real partnership bond forms with time spent out of the saddle. The new spring grass will be here soon enough. I will steal some time to find a quiet spot at the barn and let Ike graze while I stroke his neck and back and remind him how lucky I am to have him in my life.