Solo and I ended a fantastic year at another dressage show. We’d competed many times at first level, and really made a lot of progress, improving our average by almost ten percent from the year before. I set out all these plans to move up to second level in February. We’d been schooling the movements at home, and though I wasn’t expecting 70 percent, I knew we could at least get our feet wet at the level. So, I planned to up my ride time and started focusing.
I’m having good rides, and just focusing on dressage for now. We haven’t jumped since the three-day — it’s okay, we need the time off.
I get an opportunity to move Solo to a new barn, which is managed by my great friend Kate. I am so excited to have him back with her, as she is a wonderful horsewoman! We start talking about all the riding and showing we’re going to do, and I’m counting down the days until I can move him. I plan to bring him over during Christmas break so I can take advantage of being off of work and ride a bunch.
Solo gets kicked in the head. He now has sixteen stitches and a wicked fade. We say good riddance to 2020.
Solo loves the new farm. I can feel a difference in his body three days after I move him. He is so relaxed in his back and just feels like a million bucks. I entered the horse show on February 13 at second level, and I started to get excited.
And then it snowed.
And then my work schedule blew up, so I scratched the show.
And then it snowed, and iced, and snowed again.
I haven’t been at the barn in almost two weeks. Between a crazy work schedule and equally nutty weather, Solo has had some well-deserved time off. The snow is mushy and the ground is slick with mud as I walk down to catch my boy.
He’s bundled in three blankets against the cold, but my hand against his shoulder is warm. He’s happy. I’m happy. For now, the thirty minute hack down the road is enough. There will be time for lessons and horse shows when the weather is better. The past year has been hard, and like so many others, my brain is a bit fried from dealing with the pandemic. Working in a public school during this time is difficult. Trying to salvage a sports season for my student-athletes has been even harder. But we’re managing, one day at a time.
Second level will come eventually, and maybe there are some training level events in our future, too, but for now, I’ve taken the pedal off, because sometimes you have to give yourself a bit of grace. The horse shows will be there when I get a chance to catch my breath. They’ll be there when we’re ready.
I’m not sure what 2021 looks like for Solo and I, so we’ll take the hacks, and the snuggles, and I’ll bring Ryann to the barn as much as I can so she can play with her unicorn. Soon enough she may be begging to ride herself, and I may not get as many blissful hours of just Solo and I. So this month I’ll enjoy my horse and be grateful for all of the gifts he has given me over the last five years.
And next month, when the sun is out and the Blue Ridge starts to change from grey to green, we’ll start again. The spring is a wonderful time to dream about adventures, and I’m looking forward to thinking of some new ones.