As the holidays pushed onward, the beans slowly began to dribble out of the bag and word spread among close friends and family that we have a new short stirrup rider on the way and expected to arrive later this summer. As days pass, the dreaded morning sickness and extreme exhaustion that has plagued me has lessened, albeit not totally disappeared. However, between the sickness and the various holiday engagements, I haven't found myself with a ton of time to spend at the barn. While I had grand plans of spending hours and hours and hours of my glorious 3 week Holiday Break at the barn, life has had another plans.
As each day dwindles passed, I find myself astonished the clock reads a late hour and I yet again, was unable to make it to the barn however as the sickness subsides and the inevitable get-togethers are reduced to nothing, I look forward to getting back to a regular routine as I head back to work next week. That being said, despite not being able to ride as much as I had hoped, I haven't been completely unable and on the days I have been able to make it to the barn, Sierra has solidified my deeply buried inclination that I genuinely do not want to sell her.
For Christmas I was gifted a Go Pro with a Helmet Harness. I have wanted a Go Pro for some time, mostly because it was a cheaper version than a camera that tracks me as I ride both indoors and out, and I could both use it on my head for a different (and fun) perspective, but also have more versatility given that I tend to ride in 'weird' locations that don't often have a convenient ledge to balance a phone. This way I could attach it to a fence post when I ride in the field and so on and a few days ago, I was able to take it on its maiden voyage. Sierra had been essentially untouched for 2 weeks and I wasn't entirely sure what to expect and I thought a perspective of a helmet cam as I get catapulted through the air might serve as interesting media.
I brought Sierra inside, truthfully unsure if I would be brave enough to get on her and thus I would settle for lunging her. I tied her to the rail and began about my business but concluded that I would take the risk of death - it's really funny how your perspective changes once you're carrying another life inside you that you're responsible for. She was acting like a 19 year old house cat who was a little inconvenienced by the fact that she wasn't napping, but also enjoyed the attention so I decided to ride.
I hand-walked Sierra a lap around the ring to warm up my own stiff body that's dwindling in fitness before getting on. Much to my surprise, she walked off like an old western pleasure pony. We made our way around the ring, but the footing was horrendous at the far end so I chose to only walk large then work mostly on a circle. At the far end, I could see the base in some areas and there were mountains of piled up dirt in other areas.
As we picked up the trot, she continued to feel quite behind the leg and sleepy - something I truthfully welcomed quite happily. Given that I haven't been riding much lately nor keeping up with my regular activities around the farm, I can feel my fitness dwindling and I was uncertain if I was capable of riding through some of her antics, but luckily there really wasn't much. When the heaters kicked in and made their dreaded banging and squeeling noises she became a little more lively and on occasion, thought she might rush through the bridle, but it was quite minimal and I was overall extremely happy with the ride.
Following our ride Sierra's personality was shining through as she begged to share my apple despite having her own and until I began preparing to take her out, she was as quiet as a mouse and in that moment, I knew I did not genuinely want to sell Sierra. I took a moment to text my trainer and advise her of my change of heart, but did mention that given the absolute right circumstances and price tag I would entertain it, however I did not want her advertised in any way but rather, if someone came out of their way to ask she could provide a firm price. Since making this decision, I feel so much more at ease.
My trainer is teaching another clinic in the area (one of which I am going to audit, but sadly can't afford to ride in) and as such, she is going to bring her trailer up and take Sierra home with her on the morning of the 13th. I'm not entirely sure when she will be coming home yet, but sometime between mid February and early March. At this point, I am hoping to arrange another clinic for her so she can haul Sierra up and stay for the weekend to teach a clinic. Alternatively if the weather allows, I would like to go down and get her myself (vs hire a shipper) and take a lesson with her. Either way, time will tell. I bit the bullet and we entered Sierra in a show at the end of the month at a large venue and it will provide an exceptional training opportunity no matter the outcome of her 4 Hunter Flat Classes.
The cost was not something I had expected to incur given that the shows down south are significantly more expensive than ours up north, however when I sought out a trainer it was important to me to find one that had the potential to take her to a show, so despite the unfortunate costs associated with it, I believe it's a wise investment. I anticipate the show to go one of two ways - Sierra will be fantastic and we will learn that I influence her even more than I thought and therefor the show anxieties we suffer from are more than 50% my fault, or Sierra will pull her usual antics and Carol Ann will have a better idea of the issues we have and therefore be able to coach us more effectively to overcome it. Regardless what happens, I look forward to getting a recap from CA and adding more miles under Sierra's girth with an extremely capable rider who I believe, has a better chance at providing Sierra with a good experience than I do.
I will miss her in her absence, but I look forward to starting this journey with CA at the wheel and even though our path is taking a bit of a detour due to expecting a baby at the end of July, I still hope to make as much progress as my body will allow this year.
|She's a chonk right now and makes our new pad look like a postage stamp|