Yesterday was a lesson day. I LOVE LESSON DAYS! I rarely get the opportunity for lessons these days because, since I am not working, the hubs is not as thrilled to shell out the $$ to improve my, ahem, hobby.
When my friend called me asking if I wanted to ride with a 3* Eventer, I begged Ryan for the checkbook, and to my amazement, he relented!!
Yesterday morning was blisteringly cold. Okay, blisteringly cold for the South. I was well prepared, though, in my double layers of Under Armour cold weather gear and my snuggly warm Mountain Horse Winnipeg (windproof AND waterproof…worth its weight in gold). Eventers are notorious for having the gear to battle the elements. We wear things that say dri or wick to pull all the sweat away from our skin.
We use things like “Anti-Monkey Butt Powder,” too. Because a case of the red-butt never did anyone any good…
And then, you gotta have your Zocks, so you can get your skin-tight leather boots over your ankles and calves.
After bundling the child up in multiple layers, packing a lunch, and kicking the wieners out to potty one last time, we were finally ready to head out to the barn to fetch the ponies. You might be wondering right now…a child? Oh yes, dear readers, Mommy does not have childcare (that is muy, muy expensive my friends), so the three year old son goes to the barn on a daily. Before you go calling Child Protective Services, let me just tell you, the barn is a great place to raise children. But that’s another post.
A typical horsey excursion usually results in at least one catastrophe, but the sun was shining yesterday, and aside from a little miscommunication about whether training project pony should stay in the trailer or exit with me, we were fully loaded and rolling in under an hour. I can’t say Johnny didn’t see this coming. He knew something was up when I strolled casually into the pasture.
And, amazingly, the hour-long journey was uneventful as well. I was pretty darn pleased with myself by the time I off-loaded the ponies. They settled down nicely with hay nets in their faces, and I took off to watch the end of my friend’s lesson and hopefully snap some amazing action shots. (I am a terrible action shot photographer. What I got were lots of pony knees half-raised and awkward mid-stride shots.) I at least got some fairly artistic shots at the end of their lesson, which I shall post later. Meanwhile, 3* Eventer’s boyfriend unknowingly volunteered as baby-sitter when he walked up with the dogs.
Fast-forward to my warm-up pre-lesson. I had set up my son in the barn with lunch and told him Mommy was going to ride and would be up in the ring if he needed me. I had just finished cantering left and was about to canter right when I heard a faint, “MOOOOMMMMMMAAAAAA!!!!!!” Mommy instincts kicked in, and I realized it wasn’t yet a panic call. This was a ‘where are you?’ locator beacon. So, I yelled back. And then he yelled. And then we weren’t getting anywhere. I dismounted and walked back to the barn to find a tearful little boy. Sigh. I walked him out and showed him the ring and told him he could come watch or stay in the barn out of the wind. He opted to stay out of the wind. Back to the ring I went.
About the time my lesson began, though, he wandered out to the ring and was promptly bowled over by 3*’s bulldog. More tears ensued, until 3* taught him how to point and say, “NO!” to the wildly enthusiastic ‘Gumbo.’ My son was thoroughly pleased with this new trick, and amazingly enough, it actually worked–no more toddler bowling by the bulldog. The actual lesson will be another blog, but suffice it to say it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E.
Here’s where the real fun began. Once Johnny was cooled out and happily munching hay again, it was time to focus on planning our upcoming horse show. Our group had scheduled a meeting to nail down details. But first, I had to fetch my son from the truck. He was hanging out in the warmer truck while I untacked and cooled down Johnny. I went to open the door, and…Nothing. He had locked the doors. Briefly panicking, childhood memories flashing back, I asked him to come unlock the door. Thankfully, he has this skill down pat. However, when I opened the door, the panic alarm went off and would not cease, so I turned the key in the ignition, and voila. I removed Carson from the truck, shut the door, and we spent the next hour discussing horse show logistics.
When it came time to go, I went to put my son in the truck. The driver’s side door was locked, so I went around to the passenger side. Also locked. Murphy had waited patiently. He’s got a sick sense of humor, that guy.
The barn owner was fairly certain she had a truck unlocker gimmick, but after a valiant searching effort, it was determined to have vanished. It was at this point someone mentioned roadside assistance. Brilliant! Here’s where I have to throw in how much I love my insurance company. The lady from USAA was so kind and understanding and said they’d have assistance out there within the hour and would I like a courtesy call when they were approximately 5 minutes away? What I got was a phone call from a towing company maybe 15 minutes later asking for confirmation and that he was enroute. The barn owner graciously let me borrow her golf cart to meet the guy at the end of the long driveway. Unfortunately, my gloves were locked in the truck. And by this time, all the sweating I’d done in my lesson was now thoroughly evaporating. I was chilled right down to my bone marrow. My son, though, was roasty-toasty in his little pillow coat.
The guy from Bluewater Towing was efficient and professional. He had the truck unlocked in a matter of minutes. Training project pony was slightly hesitant to load onto an unfamiliar trailer in the dark. I threatened him that refusal to load the trailer now was not his best choice. I think he sensed my sincerity, because he promptly scooted forward into his spot. Johnny, my beloved pony, self-loaded, and away we went.
Miraculously, we made it home without any other incident. All in all, I’d call it a successful day!