Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Aftermath

In all, counting the added hours I picked up driving from the central time zone to the pacific, the trip took me about 56 hours. I figured most of those were actual road time. Many of my stops at stations for fuel where under fifteen minutes except some of those with Jesse (Those guys could drag out a stop! LOL) . I didn't make a single stop solely to get food. AND most importantly I'd slept at the most about six hours, although that's probably generous.

I will never do that again. I misjudged the miles involved between stops and ended up driving when it was dangerous. It was equally as dangerous to pull off in the pass. It was a catch 22 so I took my chances driving trusting myself more than some of those crazy drivers whizzing through those roads.

I'd like to say I slept the entire first week I was back. The truth is, I did not! I did sleep a lot those first three days but there were things to do here that were more important than sleep.

I went to a Jody Strand clinic put on by the Daffodil Arabian Horse Association the very weekend I got home. I didn't just go to watch, I took two horses to ride. Talk about not knowing one's I go again. I'm sure that decision affected my recovery time.

In all it was over a month before I began working horses again. I was just too exhausted to even consider it before then. When I did, it was only a couple of horses. I still have not worked up to my usual schedule of three loads a day.

The horses were equally as exhausted. Even when we pulled into the farm, their response was not what I expected. Normally when we return after a horse show, sometimes even after a schooling excursion, the farm is electrified with the calls of horses. In this instance the horses at home had plenty to say, the horses in the trailer only perked up their ears. Even Legs walking up to his stall did not raise his head at the call of one of his mares, let alone vocalize a response.I've never seen the horse so tired.

I might add my help at home did not really take care of my herd the way that I'd wanted. Despite complete sets of instructions on what to do and NOT to do, some things were just not done. That old saying "While the cats away the mice will play" definitely rang true here.

The horses were none the worse for wear but it still bothers me their care was less than desired. Mostly it was about stalls that weren't cleaned daily. Part of them were done but not all..........not on any day. I don't know how that all worked. All I know is how much bedding was gone through when I was gone. That tells me it didn't get terrible.......they just didn't do all 26 stalls each day.

The other thing that didn't happen was horses did not get turned out. The entire three weeks I was gone my poor horses stood in their stalls. I got a call one day that Dare had grabbed Lindsay by her shoulder. It threw Lindsay off balance (Lindsay has impaired balance) and she feel to the ground. Now I know why. Dare was trying to tell Lindsay she was getting claustrophobic with that colt still at her side. (I'm not making excuses for the mare, it is what it is. BUT had she been turned out even a couple of times, it never would have happened)

Granted part of the time the weather was horrible but Lindsay and Dave did not take advantage of the good days. They just let the horses stand in their stalls and took advantage of me not being here to remind them of what the horses needed.......even though I was asking on phone calls. Before I can ever go again, this situation will have to be fixed.

The other thing I would hope to remedy is being at the horse show alone. It was not fun having no one to share this adventure with. Communications with people from home was limited.......not by me but by them. Sometimes I was downright lonely. I would certainly prefer to have a companion who cared about horses on this trip. Someone to sit at ringside with and talk about what's happening in the ring would have been really nice.

Not long after I came back I watched a show about former Biggest Loser contestants. On it one of the former winners talked about his goal of doing the Iron Man Triathalon in Hawaii. He made this comment about just once in your life pushing yourself beyond the limits of anything you've ever believed you could attain. For me..........that was this trip.

Not the actual being at nationals part, that part was easy compared to the actual getting there and getting home. Being a sixty-two year old woman in fairly reasonable health, that kind of trip is still daunting.........especially for someone who doesn't even go to the grocery store......unless forced.

For the record, I get forced about once a year........and that is usually horse show related or even that wouldn't happen. I not only don't like to shop, I just don't like to go. I prefer to be at home.

Add to that driving straight through.........and you've got a whole other issue. Both my body and my mind were pushed to the limits. I tried to show that as I wrote these posts. I hope it came across. It's sure not a trip I would recommend for the faint of heart. I have a whole new respect for myself that I even accomplished it!

I know I've mentioned this more than once but being geographically challenged figures into this. I hate being lost. I hate the uncertainty of what can happen when I'm not where I'm supposed to be. I don't trust that things will work out under those conditions. In other words, I hate feeling vulnerable to whatever life might throw my way.

I have heard horror stories about trips to nationals and Scottsdale ever since I got involved with showing horses. I have friends who have lost horses on these trips........and others who have lost trucks and/or trailers..........and still others who have had major repairs on these outings. It seems like everyone I know has at least one horror story about such a trip.

Maybe it's a right of passage............whatever it is, I now have mine out of the way. I'm hoping from here on out it will be smooth sailing AND you can bet I'll be doing everything I can to NEVER AGAIN make this trip alone. I have tested the fates as much as I dare.

Does that mean I am planning on returning to nationals again? Well, if I can scrape the money together, I'm really shooting for 2010. I believe my horse WILL indeed be ready by then............I'll just have to keep you posted. In the meantime I will be working towards that goal..........and this time along with Legs, I'd like to be taking one of his babies.

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  1. What you did was courageous.

    Getting lost is so much worse with a horse trailer than a car. You can almost laugh about getting lost in a car. But with horses, you have this incredible stress of "What if I cannot turn around?" and that has happened to me a many times. It's especially rough when it's not even a paved road, just somewhere in the mountains, sometimes with a steep cliff on one side.

    I mostly trailered alone, (usually only from the Seattle area to central Oregon) and I love the independence of it, but Oklahoma!? That's amazing.

    Speaking of tired...when my horse got off the airplane in Luxemburg, he was in a total daze.

    I was going to suggest you get an OnStar system, so you have someone to help when you aren't sure where you are, but I think you are going to be getting real live volunteers to go with you next time. I would be one volunteering to help, if I were still living in WA.


  2. I'm glad you are considering it again but with proper help all the way around this time. Experience is valuable.
    How is Scottsdale looking this Spring?

  3. I am VERY proud of your amazing accomplishments! I agree, that was a trip from hell and frankly, I am surprised that you would even consider it for 2010. But that shows your character. This last trip just made you stronger, more capable, and determined. You saw a vision of what could be and you want it. And now you know how to get it done. I'll be rooting for you.

  4. I think we're all glad you made it home safe and sound. It's a long dangerous trip by yourself and something can always go wrong. Take a pat on the back out of 'petty cash' you did a wonderful job! If I lived closer to you I'd certainly come and keep you company.

  5. Incredible. And glad you got your rite of passage done.

    Having someone with you is so important - particularly if it's someone who can help navigate and drive.

    It's very disappointing to have folks not take care of your horses well when you're gone. Sounds like you need a web cam...

  6. I so wish that I lived closer, MiKael. My only problem at that point would be what to do: stay home and make sure the horses are well cared for OR go with you to make sure you and the show horses are well cared for.

    I know I've mentioned it before, but have you considered taking on a working student? I know your experience with teenagers hasn't been great (your granddaughter) but there are hardworking young people out there who would LOVE to learn from you. You have so much to teach about breeding and riding and showing and you teach all of us on your blog so much.

    I know that it would be taking a chance and that trusting anyone other than yourself and your family to care for your horses is difficult. However, speaking as a former teenager...a girl that people took a chance on...those adults who trusted me and taught me, changed my life and I worked myself silly to live up to their expectations.

  7. So glad all got through this adventure safe and mostly sound! So much more could have gone wrong. Hopefully, you will have a strong man to go with you next time, if you go again. Maybe your trainer? You might also want to consider investing in a portable GPS for big trips. They talk you through the routes and can show a lot of valuable information.

    Which baby are you considering taking? That would indeed be exciting!

  8. I'm so glad you made it home safely. What a journey!

  9. I also wish I lived closer, but I am probably as geographically challenged as you are so wouldnt be much help there, but at least the driving and stuff could be halved and you would have company.

    You accomplished something tremendous here I just wish you had at least one ribbon to take with you and know that next time you will be better prepared and give them all hell especially with Legs and one of his babies!

  10. What an incredible journey! Gosh, darn! BY YOURSELF??? Oye! I can't wait to read more of your blog!