Coasting Along the Stormy Sea of Life

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything last!  No, I haven’t turned into a recluse, or gone missing.  I just have nothing and yet a ton of things to report back on!  It’s been all quiet on the Northern Front, but yet also kind of crazy.  I feel like I’m in a little lull before the storm.

My leg is doing better and better every day, which is great.  The incision is slloooowly healing over where it split apart.  I start 7 weeks of radiation therapy on Tuesday, 1/25.  I’m a little nervous about that, but it should go well, and the treatments are very short.  It’s just going to stretch on through late March, so it will be a lot to deal with.

I entered a radio contest through US99, a Chicago based Country radio station.  The contest is to sing the National Anthem at a bull riding rodeo on Feb 3.  I was selected as one of the top-3 finalists! Yay!  I’m still in shock, but the contest isn’t over.  The girls that are in the top 3 are now being voted on by the public!   

Please visit the website and place your vote, for me! I’m Amanda, the top name.  And I thank you.  I would love to have the chance to sing at the rodeo!  How cool would that be!!?

In the form of the horses, I don’t have too much going on.  After being confused for April, January finally caught up and Winter is upon us in Northern Illinois.  We’ve had snow, ice, sleet, and temperatures have dropped below 10 during the day. 

Someday, oh someday, I shall move to warmer climates.  Maybe.  I did live in Georgia for almost 2 years, and while that was warmer in the winter, it was way too hot in the summer!  Somewhere in between, maybe, like Tenessee could be good.  lol.

Anyway, my horse-cicles are doing just fine.  I don’t know about them, but I am so ready to get back to driving!  The weather calls for a little bit of shaping up this weekend, and I plan to do some ground driving with them and trick work.  Luke is eager as ever to do tricks, and I’ve gotten Luke & Chewie to Spanish Walk in synch for several strides.  But then Luke gets jealous of Chewie and pushes him away.  lol.

I need to work on them separate, and if my leg holds up my plans are to ground drive the minis tandem (or have hubby do that), ground drive Chewbacca and do tricks individually, and ground drive Luke and do tricks.   I don’t think I’ll do all that walking this weekend, but if the weather holds out, maybe during the week I can squeeze that all in. 

I also want to attempt (eh, hem..) to teach Luke to piaffe on the long lines.  I think he can learn it, I think I can teach it.  So we’ll see.  I tried to teach Spyder to piaffe on long lines, and she tried many times to kick my head in.  But Luke is quite forward and understands collection, too.  It may take months, but we’ll see where I get.  Plus, Luke is a nice pony that doesn’t hate me like that mare did.  lol.

As far as Dixie is concerned, I have made a decision.  Dixie is/was in purgatory after last year’s run-in with a truck.  We didn’t get hit, but it was her single worst drive ever, after she had been doing uncharacteristically well for months.  She’s a diva, and a pain in the butt, and she really does not like going out on the road, alone or in company.  She does OK many times, but most of the time, she’s a fight and a challenge, and when she ran me in front of a truck, I just stopped working her on he roads period.  

This year’s outlook for Dixie is to drive her tandem only.  I have no plans of ever taking the tandem out on the roads for many reasons.  Jesse is still green, and occasionally wants to “bolt” forward (if you can call scuttling 2 or 3 strides bolting), and is not road ready at all.  Plus, since he’s not mine, I would not want to take him on the road and risk anything.  Additionally, with a tandem, driving by myself, that’s 2 horses, 1 cart, and 1 person + speedy traffic.  That just sounds like a recipe for disaster should something go wrong.

So since the tandem will stay on the barn property, Dixie’s new job is to be a wheeler and never a single horse hitch again.  That frees me up to concentrate on driving Chewbacca, Luke, and Jesse single, and Dixie still will get work when I crack out the tandem, ideally once a week.

And, boy oh BOY do I have some big plans and awesome reasons to get all those horses working.  Not only because it’s fun as heck and I simply love driving them all, but oh the horse show plans!  How they are rolling in, and the year is barely 3 weeks deep yet. 

Firstly, I attended the driving club’s first meeting of the year.  I volunteered to be CDE navigator for 2 club members.  That means, if they want me to do it for them (since I have no experience, it will be interesting to say the least…), I’ll be the one standing in theback of the 4 wheel carriage, balancing it, and literally navigating the driver through the cross country course, around the obstacles, and all the while, keeping a pen and paper handy to write down speeds and times.  Easy, right?  lol.  Let’s just hope I don’t fall off the carriage.  You get points deducted for that.

In addition to the numerous driving shows planned for 2012, there are 2 that have me in a twist!  The first is of course, the Columbus Carriage Classic.  I’ve been talking about this show before.  I am actually hoping my husband will attend it with Luke, even if for only 1 of the 3 days.  It is a 2 hour drive from us.  This is a big, formal, fancy show.  If driving had an A circuit (it doesn’t), this would be an A show.  They are more than ready for this, and I have said to my husband (somewhat jokingly, but kind of serious, too) that if he shows this show and brings home blues, he can officially retire Luke from showing. 

Unlike showing hunters, where you have local open shows, B shows, A shows, and up from there to AA and AAA and then FEI, so you always have room to move up, and even if you don’t, and just stay at the same level, odds are, you will have new competition eventually because other people will move out of your level and new people will come in…. with driving, you have the open shows and the ADS shows and that’s it.  Of course, there’s FEI level competing if you have the money and ability to travel all over the world to compete. 

 If not, you have a few select, small local shows that offer driving classes.  Many of these shows do not have “driving judges”, rather they just have their English or Western judge for the day judge the driving classes.  These shows, while fun and great exposure and experience, and cheap, usually don’t require any of the formalities of the ADS shows, in terms of attire, turnout appearance, or even showing through all of the gaits.  The ADS shows would be the “A” shows of the driving world, and they are further apart, more expensive, but formal to the hilt with their 200+ page rule book.

Luke has been shown at the local level for 5 solid years.  This year, it’s time for him to move up.  If Chewbacca is ready for Columbus, I’ll take him too.  Where I left off in the fall, Chewie still needed to establish 3 different trots, and more flex.  Where I plan to pick up in the spring is to teach him those things, and start to practice speed & agility in the hopes of doing a CDE.  Columbus falls somewhere in between, and if he’s ready, it would be fun to go.  We will see if we can make this happen with either (or both) horse. 

I’m working on my driving outfit already!  Getting all the pieces, have a hat, got a jacket & pants, and have a lap robe coming.  I’ll get new gloves and a new whip at the Midwest Horse Fair, and all I need is a shirt and a ribbon to doll up the hat and my outfit should be complete.

The other show this 2012 that has me all up in a tizzy is going to be held at this place.  Ahh… Lamplight.  Lovely Lamplight.  If you visit that website, you’ll see a drawing at the top of the page of the place.  That is only part of Lamplight’s facility.  This is an A circuit venue that I’ve been to many times to spectate and take photos and watch the Grand Prix jumpers & Dressage horses in all their glory.  They host 3-5 day long hunter & dressage shows, USDF regionals, top Grand Prix’s, and even major horse sale auctions.  They have I think 7 or 10 arenas, 5 barns, hundreds of stalls, a cross country course, and the place is just amazing.  Ever since I first moved here and saw Lamplight with mine very own eyes, I wanted to compete there. 

This year, Lamplight is going to host its first ever driving show.  They’ve never had one before.  Ever.  It is tentatively planned for May.  The weather should be great, and I can only hope that a place like this venue pulls in a great turnout.  I’ve already told my husband to keep his dates clear, this is one show I am NOT going to miss, and I don’t care what’s going on.  If I have the ability I may even take Jesse, and show both Chewbacca and Jesse, as well as have my husband show Luke.

This is going to be awesome!!!!!!

And, 2012 is turning out to be the good year I told it to be to me.  Another possibility is that my husband may be able to demo with Luke at the MidWest Horse Fair, too!!  The driving club has been asked to provide demo horses & drivers for a clinician at the fair, Muffy Seaton, a world champion driver with many many many credits to her name.

There are a lot of variables to consider about doing this, but he’s been saying for years he wanted to “show off” Luke there, so we’ll see.  Working against us is the weather, of course.  The Horse Fair is the 3rd week of April.  The weather is still sketchy, and it is very inconsistent year to year if I can actually have the horses driving by this point, let alone ready for a massive, massive event like this.  Cost is a factor, too.  Although the clinic wouldn’t cost anything, there are fees for stabling & fair admission, and of course, hotel for 3 days, hay, gas, and food.  My husband and I would have to decide if we want the Horse Fair to be our “vacation” for the year, because we can’t afford to do both.

As much as I would LOVE to see him demo Luke at the Horse Fair, we are both leaning towards not doing it, because we want to take a real vacation this year.

We are tentatively thinking about taking a road trek across the country to Viriginia… the same weekend as the Horse Fair, lol.

So, lots of big plans.  Only problem with big plans is that you inevitably end up with conflicting dates and not enough money.  ha!  But those are small problems.

Wow!  A lot to say for nothing happening!  2012 – be good to me.  lol.  I’m eager to get radiation started, so I can be done and move past this whole cancer thing.  Alas, though, I am waiting on results of yet another CT scan that I had done yesterday.  My doctor is suspecting that I may have a tumor in my abdomen, and I’m awaiting word back on that.  Keeping fingers crossed.

Please keep you fingers crossed for me, too!




About kshai1715

I am a lifelong equestrian, photography enthusiast, sci-fi lover, and sci-fi convention & costuming geek that also loves movies and video games. I am a hard working 30 something woman that survived cancer and am looking forward to a long, healthy, self-empowered life. Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy reading about my horses (and the rest of my life) as much as I like writing about them.
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One Response to Coasting Along the Stormy Sea of Life

  1. Voted!

    You are extremely busy and have so many plans! I’m excited for you!

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