If asked to describe myself, there are many words I could use. But the first one that comes to mind is horseperson. I'm a rider at my core, and horses are not just a hobby of mine--they are part of who I am. Maybe the largest part.

The purpose of this blog is not only to serve as a training log, but also as a tribute to my best friend.

13 August 2011


"this is the stuff that drives me crazy,
this is the stuff that's getting to me lately..."

I'm going to stop apologizing for lack of updates. Unfortunately, it's mostly due to lack of riding! The Bucs played their first preseason game at Kansas City on Friday night, so last week was a mess getting ready for that... on top of torrential downpours. We hardly ever get full days of rain in Florida (usually storms are fast and furious), but we had about three straight days of nothing but rain. It was ridiculous!

I was traveling with the team to the game, so I had arranged for Jody to ride Randy on Thursday and Friday for me. I felt pretty good about that plan, and was thankful that someone would be able to get some work in during the good weather while I was away.

Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Jody called me on Thursday as I was preparing to get on the bus to the airport and team plane to let me know that Randy had felt off. My heart dropped to my stomach. I am so nervous about Randy's soundness, sometimes I feel like I'm just waiting for something to happen to where he is forced to retire. I'm becoming paranoid as he ages!

I forced myself to stay calm and we decided that, since he was so due to be shod, perhaps that was the issue. The farrier was due to come on Friday, so Jody said she would come out to ride after Randy's feet were done and would let me know how that went.

I jetted off to KC, which is a story in itself, and heard from Jody as I was preparing to get dressed for the game.

She said Randy had been great, no feeling of not-quite-rightness and they had gotten in a great workout. I was so relieved, and it helped me to sit back and enjoy my duties at the game (sidenote: winning the game in a shut out, 25-0, also helps the enjoyment factor).

We arrived back in Tampa around 430 am on Saturday morning. I was in bed by 530, and for some reason naturally woke up at 8. So I decided that despite the lack of rest, I would go to the barn and get a jumping school in.

Fromt the first step of walk I knew something was wrong. Randy felt terrible--stiff, short-strided, in pain. He wasn't bobbing his head or pinning his ears, but his movement was so abnormal. After lunging and examining it really seems like it's something in his back or higher up than his hocks/stifles. Because he was fine for Jody just yesterday (and she has dealt with enough lame horses to pick up on subtle offness, so I completely trust that he was indeed sound for her on Friday), I can't imagine what is wrong, but you can guess how I feel now.

It's been a horrid day with all the worries.

For now, he will get a week off and will go on some bute to see how that makes him feel. I'm scheduling a chiropractor to come out, as well.

This is so not good, and I'm such a worrier for my boy, anyway... I definitely didn't need this. The one thing I have to keep reminding myself of is the second bit of the lyrics I posted at the top. While this IS the stuff that drives me crazy, the line continues and says, "in the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed."

Please let me remember that in the days to come.

07 August 2011

fitting it all in

"so please forgive me when we meet again,
for staying away so long,
i've just been out there in the dawn,
singing my early morning song."

I thought I was going to be fine to ride on Friday, as it was a one-a-day practice due to end by 4:30. But Tampa weather conspired against me, and a rain delay forced everything back. The day really cleared up nicely, but I wasn't home from work until 8 PM as opposed to 5:30, so I didn't get a chance to head to the farm.

However, my boss told us not to hurry in to work Saturday morning (two practice sessions, 10:30-noon and 7-9), so I set my alarm for the wee hours and headed to the barn around 5:15 AM.

After using the flashlight app on my phone to find Randy in his pasture, I pulled him to the barn and got ready to ride, heding my bets that it would be starting to lighten up outside by the time I was tacked and ready to go.

I was right, but just barely!

Worked a little flat schooling because I didn't have time to set fences. We had a decent ride... he threw a few little tantrums when I began asking him to really try and be through, which was frustrating. He will get his Legend and Ichon tomorrow, though, which I think will do wonders. Unfortunately, the old man needs a little special care!

I manged to get back home by 8:30 AM, where I grabbed a shower and headed in to work. It was a pretty long day, because we had a morning practice, then, instead of our regular evening practice, we hosted Night Practice at the stadium. That's a big fan event, and while a lot of fun, is also a lot of work. But things went smoothly enough. I was home by 10:30 PM, and while I knew some people from work were meeting out for some drinks, I also knew I wanted to ride early on Sunday, so I decided just to go to bed.

This morning, on Sunday, I was out at the barn by 8:30... later than I had hoped, but oh well.

It was also a player day off today, which meant a day off for me, too! I actually had time, after schooling, to clean tack and just chill out a little. 

But tomorrow is right back at it with another two-a-days, so no riding for me. I'm hoping to fit one in on Tuesday, and Jody will probably ride Randy on Thursday and Friday, since I'll be traveling to Kansas City for the first preseason game against the Chiefs.

Good lord. This might be more difficult than I thought!

03 August 2011

"it's a fight between my heart and mind
no one really wins this time"

Whew. Another couple of very busy days. In the time since I've last posted, my friend Jody has exercised Randy twice (Sunday, July 31 and today, Wednesday, August 3) and I have exercised him once (Tuesday, August 2). So he's getting some work in, but I certainly miss being out at the barn.

Work has been crazy, but enjoyable so on most counts. I'm a little bummed because Jason, one of my coworkers, is leaving to take another position. I'm so happy for him--he deserves this--but it's going to be rough for the first bit without him. I am also the kind of person who becomes very attached to other people, and I definitely bonded with Jason during the nearly two years I worked with him. He's a good person and friend. Luckily, the rest of my department is composed of other good people.

 PR family photo... Jason will always be family!

One thing about Jason leaving is that I may be asked to travel a bit more with the team. I'm totally torn about this. I want to travel very badly and had, in fact, been meaning to approach it with my boss for some time now. It's a big step for my career. But traveling means being busy every. single. weekend. Either working our home games or traveling with the team to away games. So it would be extremely difficult to keep up my riding (though I still believe I could opt out of one or two games due to prior commitments like Rocking Horse).

I guess it's too early to worry about that right now. I have to concentrate on what is going on now and see how things shape up at work. But this is certainly the most inconvenient season I could have picked to desperately want to travel!

On the riding side of things, Jody was pleased with Randy both times she rode him. On Sunday they worked on lots of lateral movements and really trying to get him to rock back on his haunches at the canter. We've been having issues bending left, and I definitely felt that on Tuesday... we had a couple mini-tantrums on his end. I really should get a chiropractor out to check him over, but I just don't have the money right now. He's sound and working well, just giving some signals that it's not as comfortable for him to bend that direction.

He is also due for his Legend, which may have something to do with it.

My poor old man...

I hope to get out to the barn on Friday and Sunday. Friday for more flatwork and Sunday for some jumping. Cross your fingers that my scheduling holds!