Road to the AECs: Adult Team Challenge

OK, so I’ve done a lot of whining about all my various anxieties around the AECs. But obviously there are things to look forward to- else, why go?

So today starts a new series about why, despite my fears, that I am excited about the chance to go to Kentucky. Let’s start with one of the reasons: the Adult Team Challenge.

Every USEA region has its own Adult Rider group, which generally just means you paid a little more with your US Eventing membership to enroll, and in return you get included in lots of fun programs, swag, and of course, the opportunity to participate in the ATC.

My new team mate making it look easy at the Dutton clinic

At the Eventing Championships, each area gets a certain number of teams per level (I believe it’s 2), and each team consists of 4 riders. Initially, we set up our team to include another of my trainer’s students, plus a participant from the Phillip Dutton clinic some months ago, and the last was randomly assigned to us.

Surely the loudest team in terms of color – where’s the award for that?

Not knowing who our 4th member would be, we joked that as long as they enjoyed adult beverages, they were in. Eventers- we like our wine (and beer, and mimosas, and you get the picture). So, when we started talking about team names, #TeamAdultBeverages was thrown out as an option. Also considered were Simply Southern and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. But being as boozy as we apparently are, Adult Beverages won the day.

After designing the logo, a friend suggested we make t-shirts- because hell yeah we wanted to represent our AAness (uh, that’s Adult Amateur to you!)!

My friends are the best

If you want to support #adultteambeverages in our quest to dominate the Novice level of the Adult Team Champs, buy your swag here!

I’m excited to be on a team with other Adult riders, who all share the love of the sport but also understand that as amateurs, we are always balancing the call of riding with the need to make a living, and the challenges that come with that. I can’t wait to share in the joy of just being at KHP with those people and know that there are so many back home (and all over) who are cheering us on, ideally wearing a cute shirt or at the least, enjoying an adult beverage themselves!

Here’s hoping for lots of memories made and if we’re lucky, a victory lap for #teamadultbeverages- surely the most fun team at the AECs!

 

 

Road to the AECs- A Review of my Worries: Part 3

First of all, let me just say that watching multiple episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale does nothing positive for the mood.

I make dumb mistakes. Mistakes I will regret for the rest of my life. The biggest one that comes to mind is my last cross country run on Foster. I was having the time of my life, flying (for Foster at least) across the country, when I was pulled up 4 fences from home- I had missed an insignificant fence on the course. The fact that I never got to feel that sense of completion on what was to be his last run makes me sad.

I’m worried that I will make this investment- time, money, emotion, and I will do something classically dumb to mess it all up.

still the best gif ever

I’m very good at that, after all. Remember when I forgot where to go and jumped a BN fence from a standstill? Here’s the video to jog your memory.

I hope I don’t disappoint myself. Disappoint all the people supporting me. The people that plan on watching the live stream. My coach traveling to KY. My dressage coach here in NC. I want to make them proud.

If it comes to laughing or crying, I’ll pick laughing every time. But I am desperately hoping that this will not be that time!

But first, we gotta get there.

 

 

Road to the AECs- A Review of my Worries: Part 2

My absolute greatest fear in signing Jack and I up for the AECs has been the challenge of keeping us both healthy until we get there.

My vet and farrier both agree- Jack could be the world world bubble boy

It’s no secret that Jack is accident prone.  But more on that in a moment. As you all know, my first steps in getting us (him) prepared for even the idea of the AECs included getting my saddles re-fitted to him (after 2 years that seemed prudent anyways) and had him adjusted by a chiropractor. Since the chiropractor, I have noticed some changes- notably with how easily he bends right now (and also how he struggles a little more to the left), so I’m glad I did it so far out from the big event to allow us both to settle into those adjustments.

I also started Jack on an electrolyte to help him deal with workouts in the heat of summer. He’s definitely drinking more (and peeing more- sorry to the folks who clean his stall!) as a result. Ideally I would add Horse Quencher to his water a day or 2 before we travel so it’s not foreign to him and he will drink on the long trailer ride.

And then, because I felt like his topline/muscle tone wasn’t where it should be given the amount of work he’s in, I also added in an amino acid supplement for muscle support and to help him recover from the conditioning sets that I’ve introduced recently.

Speaking of conditioning sets, that’s also part of my plan to help keep him healthy, as well as prepare for the physical taxation caused by the long trailer ride and 3 days of competition. Our last set looked like this, with 2 min breaks between each burst, and I was really encouraged to see him recover in less than 10 min- a new record for him.

  • 3 x 5min trot sets
  • 2 x 5min slow canters

Because Jack has some respiratory complaints, the conditioning sets are meant to get him extra fit- with the theory being that a fit horse with a breathing issue should handle the summer temps much better than an only-somewhat fit horse. We’re using his inhaler before every ride right now, but soon I’ll start introducing small amounts of Dex (I’ve already called the USEF to find out legal parameters to be safe), and the steroid should help calm some of the inflammation in his lungs and help him stay comfortable since his inhaler (Albuterol) isn’t legal at recognized competition. I also plan on stocking up on Flair nose strips since that seemed to help at our last horse trial, and hell- it can’t hurt!

Then, in terms of just monitoring him at home, I am so lucky to have excellent barn staff that appreciate how important a goal this is for me. They are very kindly wetting his feed so he gets all those expensive supplements (otherwise he picks through them), putting on stable wraps on his back legs (which tend to get stocked up in the heat while standing), and best of all, not judging me for the amount of crazy I must seem these days.

And to top it all off, after every big workout (mostly considering this to be jumping or a conditioning day), Jack gets to wear his ice boots for a minimum of 20 minutes. I’m lucky that he’s used to them and will happily free graze with them on while I finish other chores (or have a glass of wine) as we both decompress from the ride. Helping us both recover from workouts (me mentally, him physically) has been key for keeping his fugly legs from getting any fuglier.

There you have it. My OCD/Type A personality bringing all the crazy to the barn. And even still, I’m scared to say I’m going to Kentucky- just hoping that we’ll have the option at this point.

Road to the AECs- A Review of my Worries: Part 1

If horses have taught me anything in life, it’s to take nothing for granted. So despite the fact that I have worked very hard, put lots of hours and certainly lots of dollars towards the goal that is the AECS, I’m all too aware of the fact that Jack could get an abscess at the last minute and all of my planning could go up in smoke. I realize that’s a bit of a cup half empty sort of approach, but that’s my current mindset.

There’s lot of little things that need to add up and go well to get to Kentucky and be able to participate, so I figured I would share a little bit of where my brain is / aka ask you to join in the anxiety that is my reality these days.

 

One of my main concerns, if indeed we make it to the point of actually traveling to Kentucky, is the trailer ride there. I’ve never [by myself] hauled a horse more than a few hours, and currently I am positioned to drive the better part of a day to another state.

Jack is an excellent loader, but not the world’s most casual rider. He doesn’t tend to eat in the trailer (in fact very rarely does he take a few bites even) and his typical MO includes peeing as soon as he gets on board. So, dehydration is an issues as well as keeping his stomach filled.

Not on the menu: Hands

I intend to load him up on omeprazole to keep his tummy happy, but I’m worried about how I’m going to get him to drink in the trailer. I was thinking I would have water in a large gas can (never used for gas of course) so that I could offer him water in a small bucket at stops, but I’m doubtful that he would actually accept such an offer.

I also am just straight up worried about him standing on a trailer for so many hours. I was thinking of investing in trailer eyes, but given the many costs of getting to this point, I’m having a hard time justifying it. To those who have trailer cameras- do you find it gives you peace of mind? Is it possible to find such things second hand?

And then, there’s the fact that I’ll more than likely be in the cab by myself, focusing on staying focused (a conundrum) and trying to keep myself from going insane. My truck doesn’t have bluetooth, but I’ll be looking into podcasts or audio books that I can download to my phone. I really enjoyed the Root of Evil podcasts, which was fascinating and macabre, and would love suggestions on your most entertaining ways to pass the time in the car.

Please, tell me your best practices for trailering such long distances! I hate driving, and all this is freaking me out!